Newlands Corner is known as an area of ‘outstanding natural beauty’. I was here, perched at the top of one of the most notable views in southern England: The only problem was actually seeing it through the driving hail.
I dashed over to the visitors centre, pushed the door open and shook off the freezing droplets. Maps abounded and information about this beauteous spot. On one wall there was a myriad of pictures of birds which I immediately gravitated towards. I ran my eyes over them – Blue Tit, Robin, Long Tailed Tit, Parakeet to name a few.
A bearded ranger manned the fort sitting behind a rough hewn looking wooden table, taking a bite of his sandwich. “I love the Long Tailed Tit” I said. “They’re so rare: I saw them in my parents garden almost a couple of years ago now. They just appeared one day – about nine of them at once and made light work of the food on the bird table. They’re so cute – I love the way they’ve got no neck, just a head that goes straight into their body.”
The ranger got up and walked over to look at the picture with me. “Yes, they have that attractive soft pink colouring. We get them here too – but you’re right they just travel in flocks – and here one moment then gone the next”. He told me more about the area: “The weather comes in here fairly quickly, this’ll pass soon and we’ll have blue skies in about 10 minutes!”
He returned to his desk. Another furious clap of thunder. I walked over to him, noticing the Collins Gem book of birds on the table. I asked him if I could have a look. “The other bird that’s like the Long Tailed Tit in terms of how they travel – is the Waxwing” he told me. I’d never heard of it and quickly looked it up in the book. “Oh! How cute!” I exclaimed, looking at the picture. “Yeah, I remember at my son’s school last year a flock of them appeared out of the blue – around Autumn time – and within three days they had cleared the Apple tree of all its fruit. Then they were off again!”
“I’d love to have seen that” I said. “Yep, it was quite a sight” he replied.
Outside the hail had stopped and the view was clear across to the South Downs. “Wow” I said. “Quite: Better than the view I used to have from an office” he replied. “I hear you” I said, bidding him farewell and walking back into the golden woods, grinning from ear to ear, revelling in nature and all its glories.