Nature Corner

Below are some of the memories – and the learning – I have collected on my recent adventures close to home.

“Every day is a school day”

Walter s. young

Grey Wagtail

A graceful bird that, once you watch this short video clip, has an obvious name. I saw a number of these birds for the first time on a short walk in Hastings, through Old Roar Gill in Alexandra Park.

Visits lowland streams, rivers etc. (including in urban areas) in winter, and then typically moves to upland areas in summer, near fast flowing water and rocks, bordered by trees.

This male is distinguishable by his black throat. You can just hear its song towards the end of the clip, along with some furious tail-wagging!


The often elusive Nuthatch is (in my opinion) a striking bird with distinctive blue/grey, white and chestnut colours. It is the only British bird that can walk head first down tree trunks in search of food.

Found in woodland, this beauty was after the suet pellets I put out in the local woods to provide much needed energy during the snow. It ended up having to share with quite a few Robins!

Ruddy Turnstone

My local beach was my office this day, to try and get some pictures of the autumn sunrise. This little Turnstone then joined me for breakfast; watch the way it picks through the stones for food.

In its winter plumage – during spring and summer the head is black and white – it was happy just a few feet away from me. The Turnstone is seen along the UK and Irish coastlines. It is usually seen in small groups, looking for mussels, barnacles, insects, crabs, etc.

They do not normally breed here so this little chap (or chapess) may well have arrived from northern Europe, Greenland, or Canada.

Step Outside and enjoy what’s on your own doorstep.

Fly Agaric

Autumn magic in the Ashdown Forest recently….. the fairy tale mushroom, the ‘Fly Agaric’. Look for it on your autumn walks in the leaf litter around the base of trees, particularly birch trees. Beautiful but toxic!

For more information on this and other magical looking fungi, visit the Woodland Trust.

Common Starling

The beautiful colours of the Common Starling. Although numbers in the UK appear strong, the population has fallen by 80% in the last 50 years and is on the UK endangered list… you wouldn’t think so sometimes when they gather in numbers making their unique ‘electrical’ sounds! Picture taken outside the De La Warr Pavilion, Bexhill, East Sussex.

Want to learn how to recognise the bird songs on your walk? Try this great site..

Beautiful Damoiselle

A wonderful name for a wonderful creature! This one seen near the Ashdown Forest in East Sussex. A large metallic damselfly with fluttering, butterfly-like wings. This is the male, with his metallic blue body with dark wings. The female has a metallic green-bronze body with translucent pale brown wings.

Black Headed Gull

….or is it?! The black headed gull actually has a dark brown head, which just looks black from a distance, hence the name. However, during the autumn, this bird loses its brown feathers and is then distinguishable by the ‘ink blots’ around its eyes and head. It also has a red/ orange beak and legs all year round. This little chap(ess) was seen on the River Thames at Eton.

Six Spot Burnet Moth

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