Cooksbridge, Offham & Hamsey

CHURCH SERVICE: Sunday at St Peter’s Church, 10.15am Sunday School in the church hall, 10.30am Family Communion followed by coffee in the hall.

ANNUAL THEATRE TRIP: Judith reports that there are 25 of us going to see Me and My Girl at Chichester Festival Theatre on Thursday July 19, with tickets priced £17. We meet at Offham Church Hall at 10.30am for coffee before joining the coach. Then it is picnics, a great show, super at the Toby Carvery and return coach travel, arriving in Offham around 8.30pm. It’s always a very happy, fun day out. If you haven’t booked your seat, and would like to join us please call Judith on 07889 281214, she should be able to get one or two more tickets.

NEIGHBOURHOOD ALERT: Is the new information we get weekly, which is very welcome for those of us who have been involved with n Watch for many years. Recently there have been a couple of incidents in the area, the first was a burglary on Friday April 12 which was at The Street, Offham. This was a distraction burglary in which three males said they were from the water board, once inside the property one of the males left the room and was found looking through the victims property. On Wednesday April 18, a house in Barcombe was broken into and jewellery was stolen. If you saw or have any information about the two incidents you can go online to Sussex Police at 101@sussex.pnn.police.uk or call 101, the reference numbers, for the Offham burglary Ref: 47180052710 and for the Barcombe burglary Ref: 1199 18/04. For many years residents, especially the elderly in our area, have been advised to look to see who is there before opening the door and letting someone into their property. If they say they are form the Water Board or Electricity etc and ask to come in, ask them to put their identification through the letter box and if suspicious either ring 101 or 999 in an emergency. There seems to be a lot going on in Lewes District according to all the information I am receiving weekly. As I know that there are quite a lot of people that don’t go online, getting the information is important so that those of us who do N Watch can keep in touch with one another and those that are vulnerable in our area.

BIG FARMLAND BIRD COUNT: I have just received my copy of the South East Farmer which reports that the Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust and the NFU have been quick to trumpet the success of this year’s big farmland bird count. The results look impressive with more than 1000 farmers taking part and covering almost a million acres of land over which 121 species were identified. All sorts of farms and farmers took part and more than half were in stewardship schemes of some sort, so it can be reasonably assumed that the effort and results came from the more environmentally enthusiastic farmers. It was encouraging that so many took part and the GWCT are to be congratulated for inspiring and garnering support. But congratulations should not be too quick to say that all is in fact well with farming wildlife. A quick analysis of the results paints a gloomier picture that corroborates the more rigorous studies from the British Trust for Ornithology. It was the larger birds that dominated the scene both in numbers of birds and farms, such as corvids and pigeons, starlings were also commonly seen and in large numbers, doubtless swelled by many migrants from the continent. The same for fieldfares and redwings which are also winter migrants. The smaller farmland specialists were seen less frequently and in smaller numbers with the exception of the chaffinch, which was fond on more than half of the farms and is mixed farmland/woodland species. Iconic skylarks and yellowhammers were only seen on a third of farms while tree sparrows, reed bunting and linnets were seen on many fewer. Even the house sparrow was only seen on about 58 percent. Grey partridge were a rarity. Turning to numbers seen, again the bigger pest species dominated while the small farmland specialists numbers were well down. The enthusiasm may be there to do better, supported by sound government measures. The birds are hanging on and could multiply to fill a more congenial ecosystem. It does show how important the Big Farmland Count is in this ever changing world and climate.

CCTV CAMERAS: Legislation to make CCTV cameras mandatory in slaughterhouses in England to safeguard animal welfare has been laid by DEFRA Secretary of State Michael Gove. The legislation comes into effect this month, once it passes through parliament, at which point businesses will have six months to comply. The DEFRA secretary says, ‘We have some of the highest animal welfare standards in the world and want to cement our status as a global leader by continuing to raise the bar. Hopefully having the cameras will also deter animal rights activists who have been known to arrive at some slaughterhouses and cause trouble.

EARLY ARRIVALS: During the fist lot of snow and icy weather, the two mallard ducks arrived here for their yearly visit, only t be followed by another pair. Then about a fortnight ago another two flew in. Love must be in the air as all three pairs are nesting and I will then have the pleasure of watching as they bring their offspring down to the pond by the patio. Unfortunately there are foxes about and other predators which I will have to watch out for.