Safari Britain, 3 June 2010

Five of us took a walk under lovely blue skies, in a slight north-easterly breeze.

In trees close to the campsite, a Blackcap was busy outperforming a Robin, with several Chaffinches chipping in nearby.

Out onto the pasture, and another Blackcap and another Robin plus a Blackbird singing, while out on the grass itself a few Jackdaws and Rooks fed amongst the sheep.

As we moved on our only four Goldfinches of the morning gave a brief flypast, with a Pheasant jumping out in a panic and then the first of several scratchy Whitethroats along the hedgerow. A Magpie and several Woodpigeons were added to the list here.

After a brief chat with the Exmoor ponies, a climb to the top produced a smart male Kestrel – totally unfazed as we passed close by – and a few territorial Meadow Pipits chirruping like crickets, ascending and then parachuting down.

A few pale adult Herring Gulls sailed through – now such a familiar sight here throughout the year.

Along the South Downs Way near Firle Beacon, a Skylark sang relentlessly, and a few Swifts were cutting shapes along the lip of the hill. And as we dropped back down the escarpment, a group of Linnets circled around us.

Back at the campsite as we drank lemonade, a Green Woodpecker ‘yaffled’ a couple of times from the copse and a Treecreeper whispered from its usual spot, near the fire – nineteen species in all*.

* Dear Safari Britainers: we forgot to write down the Whitethroat when we got back to the camp, so the total was one higher that we’d thought. But L’s guess of 18 before we set off  was still the closest, so she wins!

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