14th May 2016

Wheatears- It is hard to imagine that these lovelyy, robin-sized birds were trapped and eaten in their thousands in this country, for centuries. Migrating from Africa in early March and returning in September, Wheaters (the name derives from the white rump- from ‘white arse’) boosted the meagre income of South Downland shepherds until the early years of the 20th century. In 1842, for example, sixty dozen were sent to




London in one day, on the Eastbourne coach. 1,480 dozen were recorded trapped in the Eastbourne area alone in one year. In 1665 the Rev. Giles Moore records buying two dozen, for one shilling, in Lewes. Highly prized as a delicacy, they were often cooked, wrapped in vine leaves, and roasted. They like open ground- we watched this one on the cliff tops in Suffolk the other day. Conditions: Sun, cloud and cool breeze. Temperature: Max 12- Min 7c.

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