Some strong winds, plumbing nightmares and family visits have kept me from the headland recently but I’m pleased to report that Autumn’s trickle of migrants continues to trickle with the arrival of WillowWarblers since the 29th for me.
Several Cuckoo seen by others, up to 4 YellowWagtails today and Wheatears in 1s and 2s on each visit. A BBQ with friends near the harbour on the evening of the 24th was punctuated by a GreatWhiteEgret flying in from far out to sea to the south and almost over our heads, continuing towards Aycliffe, no photographs but looked impressive as it defended itself from mobbing gulls with brielfy outstretched neck .
A second trip out during the day today saw a steady stream of gulls coming in along the cliffs from the East, the best of which were 2 juvenile Yellow–LeggedGulls. I’d like to pick up a juvenile CaspianGull in that situation in the coming weeks.
In Butterfly news SmallBlues seem to be making an appearance in good numbers around the cliff top closest to the lighthouse. Im still seeing a DarkGreenfritillary between my garden and the cliff path, Cloudedyellows can be seen in small numbers near the farm, ChalkhillBlues everywhere and a BrownArgus today, some pics below.
Its August tomorrow, and although Im away in France with work for the first 10 days I look very much forward to long warm birdy days.
My first early morning’s birding for a few days. Warm South Easterlies continue and my search for the first ‘real’ southbound migrant passerine was rewarded with an early Juvenile CommonRedstart near the Radar station.
The bird hasn’t completed is post juvenile moult and really looks like juvs you see on breeding grounds of which I was under the impression were non existstent in Kent. 2 ReedWarblers and a GardenWarbler were in bushes nearby, 2 YellowWagtails flew over West as did around 35 Swallows, 18 of which appeared to have roosted in trees near the car park overnight. A juvenile MarshHarrier flew north at great height over the Port of Dover.
The Local YellowHammer population has done well in terms of breeding numbers but Im yet to see a Juvenile CornBunting despite the good numbers of adults and singing birds throughout the year, I may not be looking hard enough at them but I’ve picked them up easily enough here in the past.
A days work up in London gave me a chance to pop in on one of my old Gull spots; Erith pier which held 2 smart Juv Yellow–LeggedGulls among the throng of tatty larids.
Another late start ended well down here; A North Westerly wind met me as I made for the highest point on Foxhill down and not soon after, at 8.38 am, I picked up a large bird coming my way. As soon as it was in the bins I could see it was the BlackStork that has been seen in a few sites recently in East Kent.
Im pretty sure its a browner headed bird than Rich B and I had in early June which was an immaculate adult. Could this be the bird that was in the west country at that time? Some forensics are probably necessary to be sure.
The bird basically flew past me at some distance East to West, I put the news out and Ian R connected with it near Folkestone but not before It spent some time above the port of Dover and the town itself, gaining and loosing height and at one point I thought it was heading out to sea but eventually carried on in a westerly direction.
In other news my first YellowWagtail since may flew west as did c30 Swallows over the course of the morning, Colin J had a Cuckoo at the lighthouse, and i’d forgotten to mention that Mark and Lucy L have had a pair of TurtleDoves visiting their feeders on lighthouse down recently. As I got back to the house, a Whimbrel flew high and west calling.
Also of note; I had a smart DarkGreenFritillary on my walk up the path to the cliffs, possibly the one I saw in my garden a couple of days ago and apparently a good record in this part of Kent.
Things have been quiet lately and I’ve been busy working on the house but a circuit of the headland first thing today resulted in me being at almost the right place at the right time when a HoneyBuzzard flew East over reach road just before 11 am.
Viewed from the track just west of the farm i got these distant and heat hazey shots but clear enough to enjoy through the bins, I lost a little time by sprinting to try and get ahead of it but it changed course and headed inland. An unpaired adult roaming around? or failed breeder heading off early? who knows but if I’d have been stood at the pull-in on reach road at that time you’d be looking at face melting photos of it thats for sure!
Other birds of note have been one or two Juv Yellow–LeggedGulls that have joined the masses at the eastern entrance of the port. Ive seen more than one each time I’ve looked there but unfortunately Ive not been able to coax any in to my gull spot yet so views remain distant so heres a nice Juv YLG that Laurence P and I had on the 4th of July near him at West-rise in Sussex. Their arrival is a much anticipated event for some of us!
Non-avian highlights recently have been local Glowworms, a few moths and butterflies in the garden including DarkGreenFritillary, HummingHawk and PrivetHawk aswell as many Marbledwhites and the ubiquitous Walllizards!