This is my 'patch', the area around and about my home and my town where I like to observe nature, from birds to butterflies, and watch how the grand old sussex oaks mark the passing of the seasons. I've been walking here for nearly 14 years and watching what goes on, but until now I have never been as conscientious as I mean to about keeping notes and records of the things I see. It's all been kept in my head however; that morning I saw the kingfisher on New Pond, and the time when the barn owl used to hunt over the flood meadows in front of Cowdray Ruins, and where I always stop to look for the whitethroats that nest in the overgrown old farm pond in the barn yard. But I am getting ahead of myself and carried away, those are past sightings (although in the whitethroats case, a future sighting too, if they survive the return migration this spring), and we want to see what is around now and over the next weeks and months to come. Watch the grey heron stalk the silted-shallows of South Pond, the jackdaws already chattering and inspecting the hollows of the broken sweet chestnuts on St Anns Hill, and wonder how long the fieldfares will stay.
Over the next few blog posts I will introduce you to the various places and walks, within my overall patch, in the hope that from the Winter Solstice when the year turns and starts afresh, you will accompany me on regular wanderings and nature watchings. This place has been my personal patch for many years and it is now time to share it with you in the hope that it may help you connect with nature and see your own local patch with fresh eyes.