Sunday 16 April 2023

A great day out.

 At the start of the year, John and I decided we needed to plan more 'us' days. A while back I booked tickets to join a guided bird watching day to Knepp rewilding project and RSPB Pulborough and yesterday was the day. We needed to be up early so we could meet the coach at 8 a.m. I tend to do a lot of the driving when we are travelling and so it was a treat to be able to sit and watch the scenery go by. Whilst still in London we drove past this old building. Although I've driven past it before I didn't realise it was a hospital. It explains the long verandas on the three floors 

The hospital was one of the earliest buildings on Waterloo road and the hospital had a long and sometimes dark history. The building is now owned by the University of Notre Dame (US) and is used as dormitories for students. The building is a grade-11 listed building which means it is subject to regulations that protects it historical and architectural significance. The façade can not be changed unless special permission is given. The dark history relates to the times between 1948 and 1973 when Dr William Sargent used it for psychiatric inpatients. He actively treated patients using sedation, electroconvulsive therapy and modified insulin treatment together and at the time was widely respected however now his ideas have been discredited.
The weather was cool at the start of the trip and it did look like it might rain but over the day the weather got sunnier and it was very enjoyable to be outside. Our visit to Knepp rewilding project was to see what the project was about and to hopefully see the white storks that had been reintroduced. The white stork was common in the Middle Ages in Britain but had died out. Other successful reintroductions have been undertaken in several areas of Europe. In 2016 white storks were introduced in Sussex UK. They used captive birds to seed the programme and establish a breeding colony. During our visit we saw a good number of storks in flight, on the ground and in their nests. As with all birds you can't get up close to them so my photos were taken with a 300mm lens which was the biggest size I had with me.

They are a large bird. The paths at Knepp were very muddy and in places flooded from all the rain. Here the little stream has overflowed its banks .

There was a small shop on site and I purchased some locally made gingerbread to take home for Lucy and Richard. There were a lot of birds flying round and several butterflies. It was fun watching them. Then back on the coach for the short journey to Pulborough.  Here the spot of the day was a white tailed eagle. Two have recently been reintroduced and appear to have settled and claimed an area as their territory. I saw one through a scope but it was a distance away, too far to take a photo. Here is a copyright free picture from Google. The ones at Pulborough haven't got their white tails yet as they are youngsters. They get their adult plumage at 5 to 6 years and their tails turn white at about 8years.

John and I did a full walk around the site stopping at viewing points and hides to watch the birds. We saw a good variety of birds and other wildlife including newts, water beetles and water boatmen, butterflies and we heard even more, especially nightingales. Towards the end of the afternoon we visited the feeders where there are a couple of benches. We enjoyed watching the small birds and squirrels on the feeders. I love the colours on the goldfinches

a Great Tit

and a pesky squirrel doing acrobatics to have dinner.

Having enjoyed his meal he rested on the frame supporting the feeder.

I had been hoping to get photos of the chaffinches and others that were flitting between the trees but I think their places at the feeders were reserved for a later time!

I took some final photos of the reserve before we needed to return to the coach.

A beautiful day out in the countryside enjoying nature and covering nine miles in the process.
The journey home was good and we arrive back in London at 7:30.  A quick journey on the tube meant we were home just after 8 p.m.

Today has been a rest day and a getting ready to go back to work day. A little later I will settle to do some slow stitching. I have the binding to stitch down on the Christmas mini and I also have a cross stitch bookmark I'm trying to complete. I think I'll work on the bookmark today and work alternate days on the two until they are finished. I'm not sure when the little book mark was started but it had been incorrectly or inadvertently packed away with some papers that needed to be stored for some years. I need to get it finished as one of my book marks fell apart from old age recently.

I'm linking this post with Kathy from Kathy's Quilts for her Slow Sunday Stitching.  

Take care




  1. You had a wonderful Saturday... all day outside in nature, that's nice. I'm looking forward to seeing the storks here with us.
    Your cross stitch is great.
    I was at the fabric market yesterday :-))) Guess what I'm doing :-) Viola wishes you a happy evening

  2. What a lovely day out & seeing some very pretty coloured birds & also the eagle. I'm a huge bird of prey fan & when we see our wedge tail eagles nearby I just stand and stare. Can never believe that they get hassled so much by smaller birds. Enjoy finishing your bookmark, take care & hugs.