For this month only, Ferring Conservation Group held their June meeting at the pleasant St Andrews Church Centre in the village, and were treated to an excellent informative illustrated talk by Jacob Everitt on the topical subject for Ferring of Coastal and Estuarine Birds.
Jacob is the Head Warden at the Warnham Local Nature Reserve near Horsham, and as well being a very effective communicator, he is a very talented photographer and in his spare time is also a bird ringer for the British Trust for Ornithology.
He took us through a journey of many of the birds that we are likely to see on the Sussex coast, as well as our nearby estuaries. He also highlighted the best places to see these birds in the county, but did include the special RSPB reserve of Snettisham in Norfolk, where it is possible to witness the amazing sight of up to 50,000 knot flying close overhead when a high tide forces them on to the reserve lagoons.
Back in Sussex, he described some of the more interesting birds to be seen, such as Kittiwakes, Fulmars, Brent Geese, and Purple Sandpipers, and also why they spend at least some of their lives here. One of the more interesting facts for the wading birds was that each square metre of estuarine mud contains up to 200,000 Kcal – the equivalent of some 77 Mars bars!
Finally, he recommended the best sites to visit to see the birds in their natural environments, and these from east to west were – Rye Harbour, Cuckmere Haven, Seaford Head, and Pagham Harbour, not forgetting the coast off Ferring and the nearby Rife, where we do see a decent selection of these birds on our door step.
In the second half of the meeting, amongst other features, Tricia Hall in her regular Nature Notes, updated members with photographs on the wonderful sight of many Early Marsh Orchids in the Rife lagoon areas, as well as a crop of Flax now flowering on the East Preston Gap, giving it a light blue hue.