Pett Level and Pannel Valley – 26/09/15

Shaun, Alan, Al and Sue met at Toot Rock, Pett in bright sunshine. Shaun and Alan saw a peregrine at Cliff End; Sue and Al had been slightly delayed by the spectacle of many warblers in berry-laden hawthorns and brambles near the sewage farm , where lots of blackcaps and chiffchaffs, with a few whitethroats, were feasting.

Setting out from Toot Rock, we again saw many chiffchaffs, a fieldfare, and a jay, and heard the first of several redpolls and siskins flying over. A small flock of meadow pipits was also seen from here. A young common buzzard was calling from the trees on the old cliff line, and soon we saw it flying with another buzzard, previously seen perched on a gate post. There were probably four of these birds seen during the course of the walk.

It’s a good walk out to Pannel Valley from the Pett end, but we were rewarded with some nice birds, including three kestrels, a hobby, several Cetti’s warblers, reed buntings and swallows. More siskins and redpolls were heard, as was a very brief song from a skylark. Alan saw a kingfisher as we approached the screen hide – sadly, the reeds completely block any view from it now.

We were glad to reach the main hide at Pannel for a chance to sit and eat our lunch. There were few birds here, other than teal, a few shoveler, and mallards, though we did see one greylag goose and a stonechat or two. But things got better when a buzzard perched on the roof of the hide opposite, from which it made a few forays before returning several times. Best of all, a hobby made repeated passes in front of the hide, giving us really good views. A marsh harrier, obviously hunting, appeared several times, too.

The two other hides produced little of note, save for a couple of very handsome stags which appeared before vanishing again into the reeds. Had they escaped from the main herds? We shall never know.

It seemed a very long walk back to the cars, (though two male stonechats showed well) so once there, we decided to drive back to Pett and try a sea watch again, as by now the tide was on the way out. Little egrets were seen, and many oystercatchers, but Shaun found bird of the day – a razorbill. Further scanning produced some Sandwich terns, and Al picked out a greater black backed gull from the many gulls on the shore.

Our combined total number of birds seen was 66.

Bird Group Outing to Pulborough Brooks RSPB on 12th April 2015

Seven members set off at 9:30AM on a bright sunny but breezy day with previousnightingalely reported Scarce (Yellow Legged)Tortoiseshell butterfly and Nightingales being high on the “to look for” list.

The rare butterfly was not reported that day, but Peacock, Comma, Small Tortoiseshell, Red Admiral and Brimstone were seen. Some of the party only stayed until lunch time, and up to that point the Nightingales Continue reading

SOS Bird Race 2015

There’s still time if anyone is interested in getting a team together for the annual SOS Bird Race. The Race is to get as many species of bird in one day and raise money through sponsorship, all in the name of charity of course! Teams can pick any day from 1st January to 11th January 2015. Monies raised go to the SOS.

If you are interested please contact Val Bentley on [email protected] or ring Continue reading

Bird Group Outing to Dungeness RSPB – 6th Dec 2014

On a bright, sunny, but crisp morning, Sue, Martin, Bob, Judy, Maureen, Alan, Jeremy, Deidre and Al met at the visitor centre.

Sue, Martin and Al had already seen nuthatch, feral pigeon, goldfinch, blackbird, collared dove, starling, black headed gullpheasantcarrion crowredshank (in Rye), curlew (Camber golf club) and jackdaw along the way and prior to our arrival at the reserve, we had all Continue reading

Tawny Owls Being Killed on Ashdown Forest Roads

It has been reported (East Grinstead Courier, 30/09/14) that at least 10 Tawny Owls have been killed on the roads around Ashdown Forest in the last 6 weeks alone. The East Sussex Wildlife Rescue & Ambulance Service (WRAS) sent out a plea to motorists to slow down at night after having to deal with and care for the Owls at the road side. It is a sad fact that a lot of our wildlife gets maimed or Continue reading

Ashdown Wildlife Facebook Group

For anyone wishing to post or find sightings, pictures or general Forest-related information please visit and join our new Facebook group Ashdown Forest Wildlife (

It is an open group so anyone can join and post and openly discuss the wildlife of Ashdown Forest. We ask you to please be polite, posts be relevant to Ashdown Forest and to refrain from Continue reading

Eagles – Yes Eagles!

It would seem that our “Eddie the Eagle” is possibly not alone. Although he’s moved away from the Forest for now there appears to be a reports that there may actually be more than one bird, with one reported in Pig Bush area of the New Forest and the other (albeit unconfirmed at this time) over in Kent near Canterbury. The plot thickens! We await to see if “our” Eagle comes back.

Eagle Watch

Both Gills Lap and Long/Airstrip have had many avid bird watchers and twitchers virtually camping out waiting for views of the Short-toed Eagle, some come every day to watch. The bird eats snakes and other reptiles so it has hung around an area where there are a fair amount of both but especially lizards. There is only a finite amount of these so food may become a problem, this is probably when the Continue reading

Short-toed Eagle – Gills Lap / Wrens Valley

Short-toed Eagle on Ashdown Forest, 15th June 2014We were glad to see that the Short-toed Eagle returned to Ashdown Forest for another tour around. A number of the group managed to see it, others unfortunately dipped, although there’s nothing to say it won’t hang around or come back again! At around 13:30 it was circling and looking for a meal over Gills Lap and Wrens Valley, then slowly it drifted over Old Lodge. It’s not every day the Forest Continue reading