Last night we hosted the first scheduled wildlife walk of the year. The walk was organised by Sussex Wildlife Trust and led by Michael Blencowe.
We started the walk with a tour of the campsite looking for snakes, slow worms and toads. Sadly, we didnt find any.
After a thorough exploration of the camping meadow, our group headed off south along the dismantled blubell railway to local woodland. The neighbouring Knowlands Wood is owned and managed by Nick Lear, a local wildlife enthusiast. Nick manages the woodland to create a diverse range of habitats for species drawn to woodland clearings. Knowlands proximity to the campsite helps boost the amount and variety of wildlife venturing into the camping meadow.
Large parts of Knowlands is managed by coppicing. This management regieme requires good access which is enabled along big, wide, open rides which are filled with butterflies during the spring and summer. Other areas of the woodland become dark and mysterious as the canopy closes over. The canopy closes just as the bluebells and wood anenomes finish flowering sometime in May.
All of us were hoping to see, or at least hear, one of the 7 male nightingales that has been heard singing along the railway track. This dismantled section of track bisects the secret campsite and is alive witnall sorts of wildlife. Disappointingly, we heard not a peep from the nightingales. Not one note from their amazing varied song.
If you’d like to know what this song sounds like, have a listen here. Nightingales have a huge range of pitch and melody. It’s not to everyones taste, as Kevin the mechanoc who fixes our machines will testify to.
One of the attendees on the walk slipped in the woods, but despite the injury we all made it back to HQ amainly thanks to one of our excellent Haemmerlin wheelbarrows the evening was a success.
We ended the evening with a successful bat walk around the garden We were treated to a fantstic variety of bats catching each one as they left their roosts in the house walls and eaves.
After the bat walk we reconvened outside the secret campsites reception where we all enjoyed a barbecue and discussed the wildlife around the campsite.
Sadly no one saw or heard a nightingale.