Well, for those of you who haven’t heard, Karen and I have decided to migrate to Dorset, so this was my last visit to the South Foreland, where I’ve spent much of the last 42 years. For Karen it’s a return to her family home but for this short-distance migrant it will be a big adventure. Still, having spent nearly 70 years in East Kent, nobody can say I didn’t give it a chance. Hopefully, someone locally will pick up the baton and run with a new blog, but whether or not that happens Jamie Partridge’s Perdix Birding is well worth a look.
As for this morning’s fare, highlights were a smart male Redstart on Lighthouse Down, a probable Pomarine Skua ploughing determinedly not too far offshore and a trickle of 21 Swallows.
With the wind having dropped away it was a bright and very pleasant morning. More Whitethroats (23) and Lesser Whitethroats (4) had arrived and there was probably some Sparrowhawk movement, with one N along the cliff and three soaring over the farm. A Wheatear was at Fan Bay and 32 Swallows flew NE.
2 Pomarine Skuas passed by the bay this morning and a Ring Ouzel was calling in the valley.
A Swift batted along the cliff in bright early afternoon sunshine and yesterday a Hobby flew in off the sea, but the cold NE wind persists.
Groundhog Day. Wall-to-wall sunshine and a chilly NE breeze brought a bit of change; principally the first Lesser Whitethroat of spring, singing on the farm, and a Redpoll flying over Langdon Hole. 4 Wheatears and 7 Swallows were pretty much the best of the rest.
The fog of the last two days had thankfully cleared but the NE wind was back again, keeping the chilly feel that has characterised much of the month so far. With all of Europe colder than it should be it is hardly surprising that migrants are struggling and this morning’s haul of 11 Blackcaps, 11 Whitethroats, 4 Swallows and 3 Wheatears was about it. Still, a party of 5 male Blackcaps chasing each other through blackthorn blossom on the farm was a reminder that spring is out there somewhere.
An overcast and calm start soon became sunny and, dare I say it, relatively warm in the absence of much wind. There has been an influx of Blackcaps, at least 8 of which were on the farm with 2 Willow Warblers and 2 Whitethroats, but the bird of the morning was a Rough-legged Buzzard that appeared over the farm at 1035 then the valley at 1100 before gaining height and moving away. Presumably the same individual appeared a couple of hours later over Sandwich, where it was photographed by Martin Sutherland …..
Not much time this morning, so some vis.mig. on Lighthouse Down, in a light but increasing NE breeze and shower clouds heading in from the north. 4 Whimbrels flew by offshore and a couple of handfuls of Linnets and Goldfinches flew NE, accompanied by a lone Siskin. Later, in the afternoon, a Ring Ouzel was discovered at Fox Hill Down.
Despite the continuing N/NE breeze, which was actually very light this morning, there was a reasonable amount of migrant activity, with 6 Willow Warblers and 2 Whitethroats along the cliffs, plus 2 Wheatears at the lighthouse. 2 Buzzards were mating inland of Langdon Hole, suggesting a third territory in the area, and 6 Swallows flew in off the sea or moved north.