Wide awake at 04.50 this am with the promise of southerlies and some rain. The headland was fairly quiet but a few hours into my morning’s birding (at around 08.15) I heard aGoldenOriole singing from the old windmill garden just East of South Foreland Lighthouse.
Moments before hearing it I was sheltering from a heavy rain, thunder and lightening, evocative stuff and A much anticipated find for the patch. The bird moved closer towards me and the volume increased. A few minutes later Lucy L joined me, she had heard the bird too from her house nearby. I glimpsed it moving through the canopy briefly; a bright male and heard it once again after that, then nothing.
Other birds of note were 5 YellowWagtails over, a Summer Plumage Blackthroateddiver that flew East high above the horizon, c25 Swallows, 10 HouseMartins, a Firecrest was calling in top wood, 2 Wheatear a RedKite East over the castle and 2 LesserRedpolls were flying around together first thing.
Another fairly still start to the day with light NW winds increasing in strength and turning West. Another 5.30 am start with most of the good birding limited to the first part of the day.
A Treepipit was heard calling, and located perched in a hedge at the top of the stairs up the cliff. I watched it in the dawn light untill it flew off North, a GardenWarbler was also singing along the same path. c12 WillowWarblers (below) were scattered around, A single female Wheatear, c50 Swallows flew mostly West, single Sand and Housemartin, Single YellowWagtail North, 2 WhiteWagtail East, 11 Swifts in off the Sea.
5 CommonBuzzards and 3 Sparrowhawks were all counted from a skywatch on the farm however whilst walking just west of Fan Bay; I picked up a MarshHarrier low down out at sea being harassed by a HerringGull, before too long it had gained height and was above the cliffs heading NW inland.
The Bird had what looked like orange Wing tags but the heat hazed photographs do not reveal any colour or codes unfortunately. A 2cy female I think.
I bumped into local birder Lucy L who told me she had a singing Serin in her garden on lighthouse down the previous evening. Sadly there was no sign today.
Light SW winds and abit of a sea fog produced one of the better days for me here so far this spring.
A 5.30 am start up top produced a male RingOuzel (in a similar place to y’day’s female) my first SpottedFlycatcher of the year, which was perched in Langdon hole briefly before vanishing, 2 Male BlackRedstarts, 7 Wheatears, c15 WillowWarblers, GardenWarbler, c30 Swallow mostly East and a LesserRedpoll feeding with Linnets on the deck was nice.
Winds got up and the place was blown out so no Skywatching etc. Im only down on weekends untill the end of the month so might miss some decent weather, it seems to get windy for weekends only at the moment!
The 2nd of May and still temperatures are struggling to get into double figures but a 5.45 am start and a long day out and about was enjoyed. Highlights were a female Ring Ouzel that flew over my head, perhced briefly before carrying on toward Foxhill down first thing, a smart male Common Redstart on Lighthouse down, 2 Tree pipits over N, 3 or 4 YellowWagtails, a Siskin flew East and a GardenWarbler was an added to the year list near the NT Car park.
Many Whitethroats and Lesser whitethroats were in song and perhaps 15-20 Swallows flew East over the day plus a single Housemartin. I also saw a pair of WhiteWagtails on lighthouse down, which could be the pair that bred there last year retuning. A BlackRedstart was also heard singing out on my wanderings in Dover this evening.