Today Nick and David guided on a special birding walk put on by South Downs Wildlife in Billingshurst, for local environmental group Billigreen. The weather forecast looked a little hit-and-miss but as things turned up, it was mostly 'miss' - with blue skies and even a rainbow for the very light shower we did endure.
The walk started well with nice flight views of a Sparrowhawk over the sports field by the car park, demonstrating its distinctive 'flap-flap-flap-gliiiide' flight style, even when hounded by Jackdaws!
A little further on, we were teasted by the calls of Treecreeper, Goldcrest and Great Spotted Woodpecker. The latter two afforded us a couple of glimpses but the trail went cold on the treecreeper.
Out in the crop fields we caught sight of several Skylarks and a very pale Buzzard. The larks even burst into song, it was turning out to be just a mild day! As we passed hay meadows and hedgerows we encountered species like Meadow Pipit and Yellowhammer, while a Nuthatch called in the distance and a Bullfinch called - and even sang - softly in a roadside hedge but refused to show itself.
Towards the end of the walk, we caught site of another Great Spotted Woodpecker and a darker Buzzard on the lookout for worms, then a Green Woodpecker yaffled at us as we negotiated a stile and a couple of Jays were seen.
Back at the car park we enjoyed a flock of Long-tailed Tits in the trees, some Pied Wagtails and Meadow Pipits on the playing fields and the sound of another Nuthatch. We also saw three Common Darter dragonflies, reminding us once more how lucky we had been with the weather on our birdwatching walk!
We recorded the following 37 bird species in our two hours around Billingshurst:
Great Spotted Woodpecker