At some point during April or May, the grass is cut in the Martello fields in Seaford. Not just grass, in fact the field is a healthy mix of grassland flowers, daisies, clover, mallow, speedwell and more. It’s a fantastic outdoor space, well used by families, groups and dog walkers. The fields are hired out for lots of events including car boot sales, fairs and shows.
Anyway along come those mowers and the contractors leave the field looking tidy again. The clippings are left in the fields, and after a few sunny days they become hay. After a bit of rain, they start to rot down into a damp mulch.
Meanwhile on the cliffs, the kittiwakes have returned, and are noisily swooping and soaring round Splash Point, in between feeding expeditions out at sea. If there ever was a gull that rightly was a ‘seagull’, then it must surely be the kittiwake. You won’t catch one of these scavenging bins or stealing your chips. Neat looking, medium sized birds they spend most of their time out at sea. They only come to shore when they are nesting. At which point they seek out narrow ledges on the most inaccessible cliffs to make their nests.
At some point, the birds make their way into the field, and start to sweep up the precious nesting material. They fly across to the cliffs, and plaster it on their narrow precarious nest sites on the cliffs, held together with mud and droppings.
It’s a spectacular sight, hundreds of these beautiful birds, flying overhead. I’ve been lucky enough to sit in my garden and watch up to thirty a minute, flying overhead. Elegant birds, with their black tipped wings, they take their nest building very seriously!
This year they are also taking grass from the college playing fields. Catch them while you can!