Saturday, 19 March 2016

19th March 2016 Beachy NE3 Cold and overcast

A later than usual start but we still arrived early enough to feel the coldness of the northeasterly wind. Even worse, our arrival coincided with the start of the annual 'Endurance' fiasco. Lack of car parking, incompetent marshalling and Belle Tout wood being rendered the overflow toilet are annual treats the average visitor to the South Downs National Park has to endure whilst this crowd are seemingly allowed complete freedom to behave how they wish - good to see the National Trust weren't making them welcome this year by excluding their vehicles from their property. A quick look out to sea revealed the presence of a tight flock of 27 Black-headed Gulls sat on the sea but no sign of any passage. Despite the disturbance two Black Redstarts were seen up the lane, a Song Thrush was feeding on one of the lawns and a single alba Wagtail flew over. The Belle Tout loop proved extremely quiet and not a single bird was seen in the Old Trapping Area.

Black Redstart 2
Stonechat 5
alba Wagtail 1N
Song Thrush 1

A quiet walk along the South Downs Way - in a National Park

the grassland has the status of a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty... or car park for a commercial event

path recently reopened having been closed due to footpath soil erosion

the farmer was recently telling us that he now receives a subsidy to leave a wide verge to encourage wild flowers, insects and ground nesting species such as Skylark and Corn Bunting - just as well one side of the track is fenced then!
Parking on grass verges tolerated for some - the number of portable toilets has to be set in the context of the number of punters attending (>'000) but clearly the nearby wood is considered to provide adequate facility