JAYS have become so accustomed to using the bird-feeders in the Highwoods that they are at risk now of losing their fear of humans.
Nearly 30 people took advantage of Wednesday’s Half Term guided walk, part of Bexhill
Museum’s Stepping Out series and provided by Highwoods Preservation Society.
It was led jointly by preservation society President Alan Malpass and Treasurer and Acting Woodland Warden Alan Dengate.
Each child taking part was given a self-adhesive card and set about with enthusiasm to assemble a collection of leaves and other woodland material and a chart with which to match colours.
The walk party saw where other birds are colonizing Woodpecker holes in a decaying Scots Pine.
They learned how the age of an Oak tree can be gauged by the girth of its trunk and how the woodland’s Site of Special Scientific Interest status had been gained in part by its being one of the finest examples of coppiced Sessile Oak in the South East.
They were shown how a tiny Leaf Miner had chewed a pathway through the thickness of a leaf, learned the Sussex name for ground with exposed tree roots and saw where charcoal burners once toiled to feed the important Sussex gunpowder-making industry and iron foundries.
Their Preservation Society hosts explained the charity’s role since 1980 in caring for the important natural resource under a woodland maintenance agreement with Rother District Council and under the guidance of Natural England.
They learned how a town campaign in 1980 saved this prime example of ancient woodland from being sold by the county council as a touring caravan site.
Right on cue, a Jay appeared at a feeding table only a few feet from the visitors and breakfasted without apparent concern.