First Bluebells 2020

Walking up Brakey Bank this morning I was pleasantly surprised to find some Bluebells out in flower and fully out too. Not many but plenty of Wood Anemones, a few Celandines and a couple of Red Campion too. That coupled with finding two Gorse Shieldbugs on Monday makes one feel that despite the incessant wind and rain, Spring is still able to make it’s presence felt.

Exmoor ponies

HBC have purchased 6 Exmoor ponies, yes 6 not 5 as announced on Facebook. They are currently in the heathland compartment behind the Quarry closest to the Coastguard cottages. They arrived on Saturday but today was the first opportunity to get a decent photo due to the atrocious weather. Still windy this morning but a bit of welcome sun.

Parking charges

This week the parking ticket machines at the Country Park that have been locked up since one was broken into in November have been brought back into use. A Ranger also informed us that as from 1st April there will be an increase in the charges. £2.50 for 2 hours, £3.50 for all day and £50.00 for a season ticket. We also know of at least one enforcement ticket being issued today.

A watchful eye

Seen this morning from the Firehills, the fisheries patrol vessel Watchful whose home port is Shoreham and is capable of an impressive 23 knots and carries a crew of five. Her job is to protect the fisheries and conservation sites of Sussex and her duties include not only enforcement but marine research as well. She has a RIB that can be launched from the stern for boarding and inspection of fishing vessels at sea.

Woodpecker Day and yet another Tiger

Since the second phase of the gorse removal on the Firehills, I have regularly been seeing Green Woodpeckers there and today was no exception with one flying along the line of the post and rail fencing at the western end. The bonus today was a Great Spotted Woodpecker flying directly across in front of me at head height as I was walking along the southern edge of the Quarry.

The tiger is a slightly different Tiger Moth to my last sighting, G-PWBE that currently flies from Headcorn which according to my friend Google is an Australian replica built in 1959 and was photographed last Sunday afternoon.

Tiger_moth_G-PWBE

A Municipal Clock in Fairlight Glen

Today I was able to find just one specimen of Moschatel, a wild flower that has eluded me for the past 2 years and I feared that the advance of the rather vigorous Ramsons across Fairlight Glen had eradicated this rather unique plant. The flower stalk has 5 flowers all at right angles from which it gets its other common name, Town Hall Clock. It would be a great shame if it disappears from this spot as I have been told that it is the only place it has ever been recorded in the Country Park.

Yellow Archangel is now in flower as is Cow Parsley.

More migrants arrive

Yesterday I saw my first Whitethroat of the year, which is just about the right time. Many of these warblers will be arriving now having flown all the way from West Africa. The greyish head and white eye ring of this one suggests a male. The “white throat” from which it gets its name is also clearly visible.

I think my collection of Coastguard helicopter photos is now complete with this one taken from directly below as it flew over.