So, summer did arrive after all. I’m writing this as the heavy storms are finally due, but they failed to turn up earlier in the week, and that means it’s approaching a month since we had any significant rainfall.
July is typically quiet in terms of new migrants, but features plenty of new arrivals. In Firle, at least two pairs of Spotted Flycatchers (the pair around The Old Vicarage, and a pair at the bottom of the Dock) appear to have successfully raised some young. What was possibly a third family party was seen down near the entrance to the park too. Given that they’re pretty inconspicuous, presumably there are other territories around – perhaps around Tilton, Wick Street or Littledene? Good to see them hanging on in our neck of the woods.
Martin and Swallow numbers have been good, with knocking on a hundred on the wires at Place Farm at the end of July. Late broods and passage birds mean there should be many hundreds before they peak in late August or early September. It’s a proper spectacle – try walking along Chalky Road early in the morning to catch them all together, and maybe see them explode into the air when a Kestrel, Sparrowhawk or Hobby comes too close.
The paddocks there are also great places to see young Green Woodpeckers foraging, and groups of young Starlings and House Sparrows – the sparrows seem to be doing really well again, all around Firle. Goldfinches and Greenfinches seem to be all over the place too, while the rather rarer Linnets can still be found in small groups along the Chalky Road hedgerow.
The Little Owl nearby at New Elms Barn continues to draw admirers. It went AWOL for a while earlier in the year, but has been reliable again recently, often sitting out on the fenceposts near the stream, and easily seen from the Bostal road.
One evening driving back from Glynde I almost ran over a pair of Yellowhammers on the road coming into Firle – they’re still fairly thinly scattered around Firle, and easier to see along the Reach at Glynde. The (possibly lonely) Sedge Warbler continued to sing on and off from the field underneath Mill Lane, where the stream cuts through.
Finally, Michael Blencowe (Lewes Wildlife Trust) has helped me put together an introduction to the wildlife of Glynde and Beddingham, for use in the village welcome packs for new residents.