Another grotty weekend, but not totally wasted (the weekend, not me) as I passed a morning clearing scrub from the Lynch, probably the only inland chalk downland left in the parish.
The 1930s OS map shows the Lynch as a mile of unwooded slope, where now almost all is scrub and trees.
The good news is that some of the trees are yews, which provide more interest than the ubiquitous sycamores and holm oaks. Ash keys, yew berries and wayfaring tree seeds are enthusiastically populating the last area of grassland while blackthorn and dogwood encroach by suckers. A little clearance is all that's needed to keep the last bit free of scrub, but it would be good to push it back with some heavy machinery.
A party of four goldcrests with six (British) long-tailed tits brightened the gloom, and even in the depths of winter there are still a few plants to lift the spirits, like salad burnet and carline thistle, with its apparently dead seed-head shut tight against the miserable weather.
Little more was encountered on a slippery muddy walk along the Lynch to Oxney Wood, apart from some untrained fighting dogs (don't worry, he won't hurt you).
Bird sighting of the day was a great spotted woodpecker surveying the village from the top of the church cross, while 31 nest-sites were occupied by fulmars along the cliffs over the rifle range - a higher number than in the past when 17-26 sites have been counted.