27th-28th March, Wheatears etc

A blustery weekend with Friday and Sunday being abit too windy for my liking although Saturday was bearable with bright sun and some sheltered spots as the wind was a straight westerly.

A little arrival of Black Redstarts was apparent with 6 or 7 birds seen including a very smart adult male, between the undercliff and south Foreland lighthouse with most present in Langdon Hole itself.

I checked the old airfield strip at Reach road, as the spot is a migrant Wheatear’s heaven and had 4 smart males, my first of the year – an uplifting 20 mins watching them sheltering on the lee side of the mound there.

Skylarks, Corn buntings and Yellow hammers were all in good numbers and good voice though the Tree sparrows seem to have moved on heres a photo of a few from back in Feb.

Peregrines were entertaining to say the least and I’ve managed to figure out where a nest is, the male was mainly patrolling and calling to the female who I think might be on eggs although she made an appearance briefly.

A Black Redstart was heard singing from the bedroom window early Sunday morning, I couldn’t locate it and it appeared to have moved on by 11am. Another exciting house tick came in the form of a Wall lizard! my neighbour says there’s lots of them!

More working in London for me so I wont be around till next weekend but I have some time off from the 10th so looking forward to that.

A new era.

In mid February we got the keys to our new house, a couple of minutes walk from Langdon hole and the cliffs to the east leading to South Foreland. Ive wanted to move to the coast to get more out of birding for a while and we have friends down here so it made sense. The house itself is situated under the ‘East Cliff’ and directly below Dover Castle. It needs alot of work! but theres been some time for birding so far.

Ive been keen to catch up with some interesting birds wintering locally; a pale juv Iceland gull that is very faithful to the east side of Dover Harbour, usually following each ferry out a few hundred metres and then following the next one in, easily picked up with bins from the cliff. Also notable is up to 4 Lapland Buntings that are frequenting the stubble fields and along the main path, One bird approaching summer plumage and was in subsong a week or two ago.

Theres a small flock of Tree Sparrows wintering in Langdon hole also, high counts are around 12/13, I’ve only seen them on passage here before but it seems whatever the national trust are up to its working as theres good numbers of the kind of birds they want to attract (Corn buntings, YellowHammer, Tree Sparrow etc)

The other morning there was a notable passage of Chaffinch, c1,000 east, a few siskin, 3 Golden Plover in off, a Woodcock east that was chased by a patrolling Peregrine (not sure of the outcome) and a ChiffChaff that appeared to be freshly in. Springs not far off.

I also gave the Gulls a quick blast on Sunday evening . Dover harbour itself seems to be a decent roost , 1,000+ small gulls including a few Meds and Kittiwakes, large Gulls where slightly less well represented but this smart 1st winter Caspian Gull made a loud entrance after 20 mins or so. A significant moment for me, with a Casp only seconds away from my new home, feels good.