Bobservation No:78 – Bird Watching & Zooming

Badly doctored image of zoom meeting with exotic birds in stead of peopleBird Watching
Fortunately, the restrictions imposed on us by Coronavirus have not interfered totally with the pleasures of bird watching. Be warned! this hobby is very addictive but probably one of the least expensive to enjoy. Whilst birding can be enjoyed just by looking out of the window, the only essential, other than waterproof clothing, is a reasonable pair of binoculars. I find a good bird identification guide is a great help, preferably pocket size. These days a great deal of information can be found on the internet and indeed, there is a good birdsong store on the village website for birds that have been seen or heard in Fulking over the last nearly thirty years. The two principal national organisations covering the hobby are RSPB and BTO. I find the latter (British Trust for Ornithology) good value and, in addition, BTO has a weekly birdwatch count reporting facility where your individual results are stored. Annual sub is £17, you get a free book and their very informative quarterly magazine; their email is gbw@bto.org. In the last 29 years at Furzefield we have seen or heard 81 different species; the prima donna was a Wryneck outside the kitchen window! During this difficult pandemic I do urge you to consider spending a little time investigating birding. You won’t regret it.

Pandemic Zooming
In company with other villagers I am involved in several Zoom meetings. Having got over my initial horror at what it entails, I can understand that while Coronavirus limitations are placed upon us, it enables virtual social gatherings to take place. However, I look forward to the day when we can have live meetings again however long that is going to take. I cannot imagine what it would be like to hold a Zoom Village Fair! Hopefully Sunday 25 July will see the real thing however limited it may be.

Edburton Tithe Map

This website frequently makes use of clips from the Edburton Tithe Map of 1842 to illustrate posts. Not a lot has changed hereabouts in the last 180 years so the map is still both useful and attractive. If you have ever wondered how such a map came to be, then the West Sussex County Record Office has an interesting recent post by Abigail Hartley, their Searchroom Archivist. She uses Edburton as an example of a tithe map that is still in superb condition. The map shows the ecclesiastical parish of Edburton, the area served by St. Andrew’s, and thus shows all of Fulking, together with Edburton proper.

The map is still available from the Record Office (details via the link above). Local walkers are probably best advised to order the JPEG version and copy it to a tablet or mobile phone for consultation in situ. Unlike a large scale OS map, the tithe map does not mark the status of routes as ‘bridleways’, ‘public footpaths’, etc. If you are relatively new to the area, and plan to use the map for walking, then you may want to use an image editor like Photoshop to copy those indications over from OS Explorer 122.

A tithe map, like the Domesday Book, is ultimately about taxation. To that end the Edburton map uses colour to distinguish between the buildings then used for human habitation (red) and all the others (grey), typically agricultural buildings for animal accommodation or feed storage. That distinction alone tells us quite a lot about mid-C19 activity in the central section of The Street (between the pub and the building now known as Yew Tree Cottage).

Another feature of the tithe map, not shared with any of the various iterations of OS maps, is that it records the names of (all!) the fields. These names are often full of information, thus ‘Fulking Mills’ is located just where two of the local spring streams merge, an ideal location for fulling mills; ‘Coneybeare’ and ‘Upper Coney Burrow’ were probably both once sources of rabbit meat, the latter conveniently placed for the Perching Manor dinner table; ‘The Rookery’ and ‘Hog Pasture’ need no translation; and nor does ‘Boggy Lagg’ if you make the mistake of traversing it in mid-February with the wrong shoes on.

Jen Green linocuts now at Etsy

Jen Green linocuts
My linocuts are now available from Etsy. This year has been hard for artists, with almost all exhibitions cancelled, but I am hoping that art available online will prove popular in the run-up to Christmas. My range encompasses wildlife, seascapes, and South Downs landscapes including Fulking and Poynings. If you order through Etsy and live locally, I can hand deliver and refund you the postage or else, possibly, supply a mount for the print.

Jen Green (552) also at instagram

South Downs News, August issue

South Downs Newsletter August 2020
Younger readers may recall Pan’s People. This issue leads with a page and a half on PANN (People and Nature Network). There’s a report, of course (reports are what the SDNPA does), and a plan to extend “green infrastructure” into the seedy urban areas — aka “coastal communities” — that straggle along the Hampshire and Sussex coast. A cute picture of a baby sand lizard advertises a family event in Petersfield. There are a couple of surveys and a couple of reports of institutional beneficiaries of John Major’s cunning plan to transfer resources from the poor to the not-so-poor (the National Lottery). The cultural material includes an interesting biographical item on the writer Eleanor Farjeon; an advert for a set of rather competent-looking wildlife art postcards by children (if you want a set, you’ll just have to drive to the South Downs Centre in Midhurst); notice of a September exhibition by Gordon Rushmer in Petworth; and news of a downloadable audio version of Sara Clifford’s Cherry Soup. Fewer virtual events but altogether too much material about Petersfield.

Bobservation No. 71: Summer At Furzefield

The months of June and July have brought a quite exceptional display of growth in our garden at Furzefield.

We have, over the years, planted with bees and butterflies in mind and so far this summer we have recorded butterflies as follows: Brimstone, Comma, Common Blue, Gatekeeper, Green-veined White, Large White, Marbled White, Meadow Brown, Orange Tip, Painted Lady,  Peacock, Red Admiral, Ringlet, Small Copper, Small Heath, Small Skipper, Small Tort, Small White, Speckled wood, Silver washed Fritillary, and Wall Brown.

As for birds we average about 29 species each week and I expect many of you will have joined us in getting exciting views of the Red Kite which is fast becoming a regular.

We have found that our insect visitors have greatly increased as a result of letting lawn grow longer to encourage clover etc. It has been a great summer in the ‘veg patch’ but it was quite an effort to keep watering adequately. The downside is a very annoying Roe Deer that keeps eating our rose buds!