An en­joy­able bird­ing walk on a for­mer ‘is­land’

Bird Watching (UK) - - Go Birding -

THE VIL­LAGE OF Wittersham is sit­u­ated on the Isle of Oxney and sur­rounded by a com­bi­na­tion of the River Rother and Shirley Moor, an ‘arm’ of the Rom­ney Marsh. Be­fore the marshes were drained it would have been an is­land at high tide ac­ces­si­ble only by ferry, and although it is now linked by roads, some­thing of the old is­land feel re­mains to this day. This is a walk of con­trast­ing scenery, from the small fields and hedgerows around the vil­lage with its pad­docks, or­chards and old hop fields, typ­i­cal of the High Weald, through arable farm­land, wood­land and, fi­nally, be­side the Rother wa­ter­course com­plete with lush mar­ginal herba­ceous growth. The river­side sec­tion is best for war­blers such as Reed (above), Sedge and Cetti’s, while Cuckoo and Tur­tle Dove are of­ten noted here. Lis­ten for Nightin­gales in Col­lege Wood and also check the slop­ing scrub­land south of the ‘is­land’, for the likes of a pas­sage Ring Ouzel, Red­start, Whin­chat or Wheatear. Swifts and hirundines will be more ob­vi­ous on cloudy days and there is al­ways the chance of a mi­grant Yel­low Wag­tail or Tree Pipit call­ing over­head. This is one of my favourite spring walks as it of­ten throws up sur­prises. PAUL TRODD

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