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.