For illustrated talks on natural history and history see

For illustrated talks on natural history and history click here for

Wednesday 28 March 2012

How to spot grass snakes

Yesterday afternoon I spotted three grass snakes; two in New England wood, Cuckfield and one on the High Weald Landscape Trail west of the town.

Usually grass snakes will slip away before you get a chance to see them.  However, on this occasion I was on  my own and often standing still looking for birds and listening to their songs.  There was a breeze but on each occasion I heard a very faint rustling of the undergrowth that was unlikely to be the wind.  I thought that it might be a wood mouse yet they were all grass snakes slithering through dense, dead brambles that had been piled up in the wood and in a hedgerow on the trail.

Conclusion; To spot grass snakes your ears are a better detector than your eyes -- a bit like a barn owl perhaps.

P.S. I did try to photograph them, but they were too quick or simply out of focus to show you here.

Monday 26 March 2012

Friday 23 March 2012

Fritillaria meleagris in flower now.

Snake's head fritillary is in flower now.  And the seeds that I sowed in pots the year before last are flowering and will be sown in a lawn in Autumn.

Ladybirds today

Never spray insecticides and the ladybirds thrive.  Lovely.

Wednesday 21 March 2012

A date for your diary; History of the Adur valley, Tuesday 10th April.

History of the Adur valley

The turbulent history of the Adur valley over two millennia including six 1,000 years old churches from Steyning to New Shoreham will be presented in a pictorial presentation by Peter Lovett at a Badger Trust Sussex meeting on Tuesday 10th April at 7.30pm in St. Wilfred’s Centenary Church Hall, Haywards Heath.  All are welcome at a cost of £3 per person.

 In June, I will be leading a 10 miles linear walk, entitled "The Rape of Bramber: visiting six 1,000 years old churches."  The talk in April is both a valuable source of detailed information for anyone intending to do the walk in the summer and an opportunity to experience the historic sites of the Adur valley for anyone not able to join the walk in June. Further information is available from 

Monday 19 March 2012

Moschatel, Town-hall Clock plant today.

Adoxa moschatellina the Town-hall Clock plant is in flower bud right now in shady woodland.

To see the plant flower in flower in April click here .

Sunday 18 March 2012

Monday 12 March 2012

A solitary Fieldfare in Cuckfield this morning

There was a solitary Fieldfare this morning in the centre of the above shot.
It was too far off for my camera to get a good image but I'll share a couple of digitally zoomed frames.

These are blury yet good enough to confirm the bird as a Fieldfare.  Normally in a flock, this one may be migrating.  They leave in March to May.

Thursday 1 March 2012

Beeding Hill ancient cultivation terraces

Ancient cultivation terraces on Beeding hill can be seen above and below at grid ref. TQ122/205099.

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