Wednesday, 18 August 2010

Here today,still there tomorrow

I had leafleted an area recently known as Barlavington Heath,a place privately owned but kindly open to the public and is very pretty at this time of year with it,s purple heather.A local lady then called me with a very valuable sighting she had last year just outside the village of Sutton,south of Petworth,which is one of those peaceful downland villages tucked away from the main drag of the buzy main roads.It was an extremely important sighting and seemed perfectly genuine and also goes to prove that just because we haven,t been getting info coming in from that part of the world doesn,t mean that cats don,t pass through.I asked why she hadn,t reported it sooner and her reply was that not being on the web or knowing even if anyone deals with this sort of thing,she hadn,t.I know the feeling,in the days before the internet countless research has been lost,like my own photos of pawprints from that area ,which is one of the reasons i,m doing this blog.Well some years ago that whole stretch of country was host to multiple sightings,so much so that talk in the local pub when i visited back then was of little else.It makes me wonder why some areas account for far more sightings year on year and then go mysteriously quiet only for other places to take over the baton and feature their bigcats in the sightings news.It may be because certain cats make themselves more visible,another is that more people have seen paticular cats,word spreads and so the local populace have kept their eyes more peeled.Other reasons could be that the weather which affects all wildlife like the big bouts of snow we had last winter which forced cats to look for food more openly and so more reports come in.However i think it,s generally more to do with people are still seeing the animals in these "quiet"places but we are just not getting the reports in.Currently,the most active cats are the Bexhill,Midhurst and Offham ones with the Balcombe cat only getting mentions in the Crawley news.The Eastbourne cat decided to stalk geese in front of a packed train but apart from that little else.The Horsham cat i,ve had to investigate with barely any sightings but can report that it,s alive,kicking and stopped killing foxes for now,with it,s neighbour on the downs ,the brown one,only popping up now and then.The areas that are very quiet but previously been very buzy are the Ashdown forest and the Surrey borders but we are just not getting the sightings in from these at the moment.The Sutton sighting of a very large black cat only just disapearing into a july cornfield just goes to show that there are people out there who have very interesting information about bigcat movements but they just haven,t been reached yet.Thus the importance of comprehensive files,i have a compilation from my own sources,Big Cats in Britain,also other researchers like Bryan Hale and just because an area has gone quiet this evidence tells me that a place that was once kind to cats,could still be now....

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