08/02/22 Snow Bunting

This morning I aimed to look for the Snow Buntings that have on-and -off frequented the old WW2 airstrip at Reach Road before hopefully getting better views of yesterday’s Lapland buntings and thus seeing both species in a day here…I failed at both attempts and the high winds were no help but just as I was driving back from an errand later in the day Rob R reported one of the Snow Buntings to be showing at Reach Road so I diverted and had a look. The bird was perched on the fence right next to the pull in and was very tame, which made me think perhaps it was not one of the two that sometimes put in an appearance here.

A quick trip to Shakey Beach before dusk resulted in a new 1st winter Caspian Gull, weirdly a bird I recognized from photos of it at Dungeness and also Hastings beach in the past month or so. Who needs Darvic rings when your totally obsessed with casps eh?

See Martin C’s pics of it here and m’old pal Larry’s of it here.

07/02/22 Lapland Buntings

With little to post about beyond a few Caspian Gulls and the long staying Great Northern Diver here in Dover this blog has been quiet for the past month. However todays still and bright start with a light NW breeze gave me the motivation to get up the cliff and walk the entire length of the patch and back. The highlight was 2 Lapland Buntings that flew over calling from the lighthouse towards ‘the field with 2 thickets’ late morning.

The birds were not approachable and landed only briefly in stubble fields a couple of times. I lost them towards fan ban only to hear them coming back overhead 25 mins later. Something gave me the impression there may be more than 2 but perhaps that will all become clear if they stick around.

Other things of note were the first singing Corn Buntings I’ve heard this year. Skylarks were also performing and other singers included a Eurasian Treecreeper (a bird ive seen and heard on recent visits to the valley) Firecrest Stock dove and Chaffinch all in the valley.

Ravens appeared frisky and vocal along the cliff tops and a local Peregrine was having none of it as usual, After mobbing a ‘fastbacking’ Raven it went on to dive bomb a displaying Common Buzzard near the Castle all in one movement.

A notable drought of interesting gulls recently has resulted in only 4 Caspian Gulls since my last post in early Jan. 2x 1st winters at Shakey beach, and 2 2nd winters just off the patch at st Margarets, here they are:

Above bird was present on 30th Jan, Bird below Jan 16th.

One of the 2 second winters from st Margarets, this one 17th Jan, the other on the 13th.