Monday, 6 December 2010

Unexpected immigrants

The day started at Sandwich where the waxwings (13 today) were still down near St George's Golf Club. Thrush numbers on the estate were pretty high with a lot of redwing, fieldfare and black birds around but we also saw both mistle(2) and song thrush.
After that a shopping trip to Dover ended with me taking a look at the western docks from the Prince of Wales pier.
Out in the main harbour was a raft of 15 great crested grebes plus another 2 or 3 fishing and a cormorant. No sign of any divers or shags though - the hoped for target.
As I walked further along the pier I heard a bird call and looking up saw 3 small pale birds flying towards the shore but lost them before they landed. The call was familiar but I couldn't remember what it was, however I was sure it was one of the winter buntings/larks.
My concern was short lived because a few minutes later there was a snow bunting perched on the pier wall - I've now checked and can confirm the calling birds were snow buntings.
Needless to say the bunting flew off before I could get the camera out.
I walked on to the end of the pier but nothing else of note  - only the common gulls (not even a med) and a lone turnstone..
On the return leg (it was now trying to snow) I found another 2 snow buntings, this time on the pier road, but again they flew before I could get close.
As I made my way back I was wondering what snow buntings were doing on the pier but then I found out  - at then landward end of the pier you can look out onto the old hovver pad - there were the 3 buntings feeding amongst the weeds growing there.
I could try to claim there were 6 but I suspect the 3 I saw flying were the same as those I saw a little later on the pier/hovver pad.

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