Tuesday, April 20, 2010

It was a stunning day at Scrag yesterday; up to 18 degrees. There was also no aircraft noise due to the closure of Gatwick; I fully sympathise with anyone stranded or with ruined holiday plans but it is lovely to hear the migrant birds singing undisturbed. There is now willow warbler, another sub-Saharan migrant, joining the chiff chaffs and black caps singing from the scrubby edges. Top bird yesterday, though, would have to be the song thrush that sang solidly all afternoon; I cannot, however, find the nest site. Although you may see them regularly in gardens, at Scrag they are an ever present but elusive species!
As well as more slow worms under the refuges, I found the first grass-snake of the year; a young one from last year. Over the weekend I found several adders, not, I'm afraid at Scrag but at Ebernoe Common; I even found a freshly sloughed skin.
Last night, I carried out a solo badger shoot. It was a waste of time; I was a little too complacent and think I was too close to an entrance. Despite the wind in my face, I feel my scent was travelling down into the sett and as a result I got a brief view of a head nervously scenting the air before retreating back under ground. Must try harder!
Scrag is beautiful at any time of year but we really are entering 'special time' now!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Clear but with a bitterly cold east wind. Lots of spring flowers out including some early bluebells. Blackcaps and chiff chaffs singing along with song thrushes and robins. Several parties of swallows overhead through the afternoon yesterday.
The 2nd Sussex Wildlife Trust badger watch of the year yesterday evening. After a 30 minute wait, Vincent, the dominant boar with 1 ear was out and scratching away. Over the next hour and a half we had up to 5 adult badgers back and forth around the sett. There was also, and this is the second time in a week, a fox that I actually suspect of denning in a quiet part of the sett. The group I took in were lucky enough to have views of fox and badger together, not common at Scrag. Indeed, this is the most fox presence I've witnessed at Scrag in 3 years; is this perhaps because I prevented the Hunt's activity twice over the winter?