|Posted on December 17, 2017 at 4:35 PM|
This autumn has remained reasonably dry right up to the beginning of december, the reports have been coming in from the Weald much later in the year than usual. As big cats are known to generally avoid swampy ground their movements to winter quarters tend to be dictated by the amount of rain soaking into the soil. In a damp wet autumn sightings of big cats will disappear from the Wealden clay ground sites for them to reappear on drier, heathy, underlating and higher ground like the sandstone ridge from Bolney all the way to Uckfield and beyond also the Surrey hills, Kentish North downs, Midhurst and Petworth those sort of places. The South downs will also hold a big cat or 2 depending on the frequency and ferocity of storms coming off the channel although as a general rule deep winter sightings will come in from the north, far west and far east of the county.. All sightngs reports yet again last autumn showed a general drift of the counties big cats to their winter areas much later than normal or so the reports would suggest.
Historical sightings going back some years are always valued as they can often re-confirm general trends in big cat behaviour as long as a close enough date can be allocated to the data.
The Ashdown forest continued to have reports of a black big cat with 3 seperate reports in october mentioning deer being chased in the half light at the end of the day. These were followed up however the hard ground failed to produce any recognisable paw prints. Interestingly, the Uckfield area at the same time appeared to have a grey tufty eared spaniel sized cat roaming about as a black one both noticeably smaller than the usual leopardish ones seen.
As cats are very evasive, shy creatures what we see off them is really only a tiny snapshot of their activities. Their noctutnal habits are pretty much unknown to us and of course most of them spend most of their lives unseen.