TQ 71 M actually…
When you do a 2-hour Timed Tetrad Visit for the Atlas, you’re supposed to plan an itinerary which will comprise all the habitat elements present within the square: farmland, scrub, wood, any body of water etc. However, since I view the surveys as nice country walks, I too often steer clear of built-up areas and consequently miss out those urban specialists such as Starling, Collared Dove and the disappearing House Sparrow.
I’ve also noticed, more this winter than last, that the provision of garden bird feeders sustains large numbers of birds which are just not apparent out in the woods.
So I made a point of starting in Battle High Street, which is a sort of picturesque canyon in which traffic noise rebounds from the house-fronts, blocking out any bird calls. You can see a few Starlings etc perched on the roofs but the trick is to look across the yards behind, around car-parks and (inconspicuously) into gardens, all of which are busy with birds.
The railway cutting often harbours quite a few species when I’m waiting at the station, but was not so productive from the bridge.
The footpath south towards Telham Lane passes minced-up horse paddocks (Magpie, Pied Wagtail, Woodpigeon, Kestrel), through odd neglected bits of wood (Blue & Great Tit, Jay, Redwing), across stubble fields (Skylark, Mistle Thrush), past a thick hedge (Song Thrush, Dunnock) and down into deep ghylls (Marsh Tit, should be more, but alders are probably the source of frequent lone Goldfinches).
Wet habitats always offer some extra species, and in this tetrad there are some big ponds, but neither was easy to fit into my route, so I’ll have to look in next time (Mallard! Moorhen!) However, in a corner by Powdermills Hotel was a mixed flock of Goldfinches and Siskins.
A grand total of 36 species, the only surprise being a flock of 5 free-lance Guinea Fowl in a hedgerow.