Last week I was in Brighton, on a cat-sitting gig. I'm pleased to report that nothing went wrong, cat-wise, this time, and Mango and Pepper were charming company. Knowing that Shane often comes down this way for birding purposes, I suggested a meet-up and on Friday we had a quite unproductive but enjoyable look around some of the coastal and downland sites. It was a warm and mostly sunny day, though with a cool breeze up on the tops. We kicked off at Woods Mill, headquarters of the Sussex Wildlife Trust.
Birdwise, there wasn't a lot around here. The reserve is often good for both Turtle Dove and Nightingale, but neither of these two lovely singers were in evidence. The Reed Warblers were still chuntering away and there were occasional interjections from Blackcaps and Whitethroats, but the place is so lushly vegetated that actually seeing any little birds was nigh on impossible.
We went coastwards after this, stopping to examine the Adur Estuary from the large and lovely wooden footbridge (the old Shoreham Tollbridge) that crosses the river just north of the airport. I'd not been here before, and was most impressed by the birding-friendliness of the bridge. Its sides are above head-height so there are no obvious human outlines to scare the birds, but there's a wide 'viewing slot' at the perfect height to look down the muddy estuary. Just a pity there weren't any birds there, really...
After that, we rounded off the day with a trip up to Devil's Dyke in the downs, a gloriously picturesque area of rolling green hills and far-reaching views. Sadly the chill breeze was still in evidence and the hoped-for butterflies didn't materialise.