Friday, 25 March 2016

25th March - Ashdown Forest, East Sussex

Its Good Friday, the sky was blue, and the sun shining.  We all as a family met up and headed for a walk around Ashdown Forest with the focus on Pooh Bridge.  The walk though skirted the edge of the Hundred Acre Wood, made its way to Hartfield, and then back down to cross Pooh Bridge.

As we set of from the car park an immaculate male Brimstone flew past, and as usual didn't stop, but flirted with me as it hovered around the grasses.  We came off the main track and walked across a field.  The sun was very warm for the first time this year and soaring Buzzards could be seen on either side of us as we walked.

Walking along the edge of the Hundred Acre Wood there were Goldcrests calling and in the pine trees above us I could hear Siskins calling.  A Kestrel set the alarm calls off as it crossed over our heads, and in the fields Rooks foraged probably for the nests in the distant rookery.

As we came out of the wood and walked through some horse paddocks Katie spotted a Swallow, the first of the year and it conveniently perched in a dead tree, briefly sang.

This was my first swallow of the year, and I would consider this to be a bird that has returned to its nest site, as all around us were horse stables.

Buzzards were now everywhere, and one came close enough to attract my attention.

In the sheltered area the sun was warming everything up and more butterflies appeared, a Peacock flew past us, then two Small Tortoiseshells were dueling around a clump of daffodils, then settled on a piece of mud.

Not my first this year, but the first pair to allow me to photograph them.

A little further on another orange butterfly appeared, this time a Comma and definitely my first of the year.

This spot was very well sheltered and the butterflies were coming thick and fast and they were very mobile.  Another Comma, and two more Small Tortoiseshells, and then a Peacock that settled on the ground to show the wonderful colours in the wings.

The walk then made its way uphill, and into the village of Hartfield where we stopped for a drink in the pub.

Out of the village we followed a very muddy track towards Pooh Bridge.  From the track it ten comes out across a field.  The bridge was very busy, lots playing Pooh sticks.  From there we made our way to the car park.  A lovely walk in some gorgeous spring sunshine, just so disappointing that the weather will not last for the rest of the holiday.

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