Trip reports

Burton Mill and West Dean Woods, West Sussex on Saturday, 25th February, 2017

Friday, 3 March 2017

We spent the morning on a circular walk anticlockwise around the Sussex Wildlife Trust's Burton Mill Reserve, commencing at the Mill Pond and passing Black & Chingford Ponds. The track-side trees soon after the start of our circuit held one (possibly two) Firecrest and at least two Marsh Tits. During our walk here we had sightings of both Red Kite and Common Buzzard in flight and there was a single Little Egret resting at the back of Chingford Pond and two Treecreepers in Black Pond Copse. A dead mole was found by Burton Mill Pond.
Early in the afternoon, we drove to West Dean on A286 southwards, took the second turn on the right in this village (opposite the village shop and a pub) and followed a narrow lane for c4km to a small carpark on the right near SWT's West Dean Woods Reserve. From there we walked onwards on the lane, making a right turn at Staple Ash Farm and then, at the acute left-hand bend before Yewtree Cottage, continued straight ahead along a bridleway into the mixed woodland. After c1km, we retraced our steps to the cars and departed for home at c17:00 hrs. Some of the Group saw and heard a Raven close to the car park and more Red Kites and Common Buzzards were seen in flight here. A covey of four Red-legged Partridges emerged from the lane to cross a field of horses south of Staple Ash Farm and a male Yellowhammer was heard calling and then seen at the topmost pinnacle of a dead tree near Staple Ash Farm. Ten or so Redwings left trees and a pair of Bullfinches was seen in flight over the lane near the SWT Reserve.
In total we had 49 species on this trip and the cumulative total for our five trips in 2017 is now 115.

Prepared from information provided by John Parish.