What a beautiful morning for a walk. Today at 07.30, I joined a group of seven locals for a guided walk in Crowborough – part of the events programme scheduled for Crowborough Festival month. We were guided by Martin our bird expert, and accompanied by Dan the Ranger, who also looks after the Ghyll and the Bluebell Woods. The Bluebell Woods at this time of year always reminds me of my mum who used to deliberately park further away from Waitrose than she needed, just so she could walk through the woods to admire the bluebells. They are magnificent this year.
We took a stroll through Crowborough Country Park listening and, in my case, attempting to identify bird song. Martin assured us we heard 22 different birds this morning. The most noticeable of these was the Marsh Tit, quite rare nowadays as lots of woodland is not boggy enough, but the right conditions seem to be found at the Country Park.
The Country Park is a protected pocket of land. In bygone years it was a brick quarry and, ironically, it is this very man-made destruction of the land that makes it unsuitable for building new housing.
My personal highlights were spotting a Blue Jay and watching a Tree Creeper as he crept up a tree swaying in the breeze. To my naked eye he looked rather like a mouse scampering up the trunk. But I also enjoyed watching a robin and his family, and listening to the blackbird, whose song reminds me so much of my dad whistling.
Whenever I hear a blackbird, I always think my dad is going to appear just around the corner on his way to one of his building projects. His whistling was such a happy sound – the sound of a man content with his life and his lot.