Posted 1 June 2013 by Andrew Gardner
If your Sussex holiday includes a spot of birding, I do hope you'll like this: Chichester Cathedral's rooftop nesting box has once more provided a safe haven for peregrine chicks. Three females were born there last month, bringing the total number raised since the box was installed 18 years ago to about 45. They're all ringed and some are known to be breeding in Sussex - one, for instance, has been seen with a brood on the same building in Brighton every year since 2009 - while others are nesting in neighbouring counties. The female we understand returns to Pagham Harbour Nature Reserve ever year while the male remains at the cathedral.
Sorry about all the Bs in that sentence. But it brings me beautifully to another buzzword - bees. The link with peregrines is that both have really suffered from the use of pesticides, so it's not entirely left field. When you visit Sussex you'll see many of the wildflowers in fields and hedgerows that are so important for bees and many gardeners will be sowing them around now. Some of the local councils in Sussex actively plant wildflower patches in parks, greens and other public spaces instead of more formal blooms, and many of our lovely country cottages have gardens that are perfect for attracting beneficial insects. Fellow vegetable-growers will no doubt forgive the odd patch of netting to keep less beneficial visitors like cabbage whites off the brassicas, though.
The other B on my mind right now is my back - not to mention the word I used when it went into spasm for no apparent reason over the last bank holiday weekend (why do these things always happen at weekends?). When I try to stand up from the desk where I'm writing this, I'll look something like Quasimodo for the first few minutes. Think of me and laugh. I looked up 'Sussex' and 'hunchback' to see if there was a famous local character I could refer to instead of Mr Q, but all it turned up was a beautiful photo of a robber fly - which is actually a rather aggressive little three-eyed bug but, as with most bugs, vital to the ecosystem - on Wolstonbury Hill, one of our local SSSIs. See our fantastic holiday let, Warenne Barn just below it! No idea what the connection is, but I felt like I was in good company.