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Grey Squirrel





Wood pidgeon

Tutsan St. John's Wort berries

Herb Robert

Red campion

Winter twilight in the park

Nature Observations: Eastcliff(Mules)Park – November 2020

by Catherine Locke

Sunday 3rd November

The grey Squirrels have a lot of autumnal brown in their fur now, except in the feathering tails and in their faces. I saw so many squirrels today in the park. I

heard a lot of Robins too, mostly 'titting' sounds to warn other Robins away from

their patch.


I saw lots of Goldfinches in the branches of the tall trees and heard them twittering

loudly. In the Dell, near a peanut feeder hanging over a garden fence I saw Great

tits, Dunnocks, Blackbirds, Wood pidgeons plus more grey squirrels and Robins.

Around the back of the high wall of the Walled Garden I found King Alfred Cakes

fungus on rotting logs. In Finch Copse below the Six Sister oaks I saw a flock of

Blue tits and Golfinches flitting across the path of the natural tree tunnel. I saw

flocks of Wood pidgeons flying over the park. Safety in numbers when the trees are

bare of leaves.


6th November

An overcast, drizzly day. Juvenile grey squirrels played chase in the Monterey

pines near the park steps. Swarms of gnats under the trees. I saw Wood pidgeons,

Blackbirds, Wrens, a pair of Bullfinches plus a lone male. A lot of families of

crows, usually in groups of four, around the park. A lot of orange/red Stinking iris

berries spilling from their split green pods under the trees of Overdell Path. A family

of four Dunnocks hopping around in a pile of cut Beech branches in the Dell. A pair

of Coal tits on the peanut feeder there. A slim Beech tree near the Trip-Trap Bridge

in the Dell is a fountain of gold. On the wooded path around the Rowdens lawn I

found a Candle Snuff fungus on a rotting log under some Holm Oak trees. Pretty

pink rabbits ears of Cyclamen flowering by the path also, but in a spot where more

light filtered through. They looked such a lovely bright splash of colour against their

dark spider web variagated leaves.


16th November

Some Tree Mallow plants growing near the park steps are now around 6ft tall. The

ivy is still providing shelter for many birds and insects, and nest sites for

Wrens and Wood pidgeons. It provides winter berries for thrushes and now I can

see there is a swarm of tiny flies taking nectar from some late ivy flowers on a large

clump growing over a wire fence. Today in the park I saw Blackbirds, families of

Magpies, pairs of Blue tits and Great tits. There were Blue tits and a pair of Coal

tits on the peanut feeder in the Dell. A lot of Wood pidgeons. I was lucky to see a

pair of Great Spotted woodpeckers flying over tall trees in undulating quick bursts of

flight. The male landed on the very top of a tall Ash tree and made noisy 'chip chip'

calls. In a smaller young Ash tree there was a Jay with a Wood pidgeon, and

another Jay further on. A pair of twittering Goldfinches flew over the park near

'Finch Copse' . There were several old Wood pidgeon nests in the trees there. Also in

the copse I saw Blue tits, a pair of Great tits, and a lovely striking male Bullfinch.


30th November

Overcast with a very strong Easterly wind blowing. Crows heading into the blast

closed their wings and almost dived into it to make some headway. Robins tried to

be heard by singing loudly above the roar of the wind and waves below. Tree-tops

swaying madly, adding to the symphony. The holly bushes were dotted with red

berries, food for Blackbird, Song thrushes, Fieldfares, Redwings and Mistle

thrushes. I can see berries of Tutsan a pale pinkish red, some have now shrivelled to

black. Herb Robert is flowering. I spotted two large flocks of Goldfinches sheltering

in trees near the Dell. Both flocks took to the skies converging from opposite

directions to make one large flock that settled in a mature Ash tree in the Dell. All

the ponds were full and overflowing one into the other in loud gushing waterfalls. Red

Campion is still flowering. A female Kestral was watching me from the very top of

thin bare tree near The Walled Garden when suddenly a Magpie harrased her, to be

joined by its mate. Outnumbered the kestral flew off. In a mature English oak by the

Overdell Path a family group of 7 Blue tits hopped around. I was pretty sure the

parents had nested in that oak tree as I had seen them going in and out of a hole

there in the summer. In the majestic Monterey pine tree above Trip-Trap Bridge in

the Dell I heard and then saw a Great Spotted woodpecker. Even from there I could

hear the constant rush and roar of the sea pounding against Brunel's sea wall.


Winter Twilight

The sun bedding down

in the West

has the blush of a Bullfinch's breast

and the sky wears the hue

of a Kingfisher's blue

and of all that is true

and is best


Catherine Locke

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