It was pretty chilly when I started this morning but at least the sun was shining and the wind was gentle (to start with). Since there was nothing moving on the sea I immediately went up onto Kingsdown Leas.
Over the golf course car park there was a sizable flock of hirundines – swallows, house and sand martins and a few swifts and in the first set of bushes a dunnock was dozing.
Whilst I was looking at the hirundines a sparrow hawk flew down the road but it was too quick to get a picture.
However from there to Hope Bay Cottage it was very quiet with just a few whitethroats, chiffs and willow warblers though I did see a red legged partridge. A pair of these have been around this area for about 2 years but I thought they had gone as I haven’t seen them since early spring.
In the gardens around Hope bay cottage things were decidedly livelier – mainly common whitethroats plus more chiffs, willow warblers, blackcaps, a few robins and 2 bullfinch.
I was watching/listening to a pair of chiffs when this came into view:
However I think this is a willow warbler but it’s very worn if it is – or perhaps I’ve just got too used to looking at juveniles.
Along to Hope Bay itself and more of the above plus 3 sedge warblers, a reed warbler (perhaps 2) and a few lesser whitethroats. Again I failed to get a shot of the lesser.
Whilst sitting there the Bock Hill mob turned up (Jack, Phil, Brendan and Malcolm and Brendan found a gropper (I never saw it) though I did grab a picture of a passing kestrel.
Steve Coates (“Kingsdowner”) also turned up and all of us made our way back towards Kingsdown re-checking the scrub. Nothing new was found though I did spot Steve and Jack behaving strangely – perhaps it’s some sort of initiation for entry into the Bockhill Birding fraternity.
|Steve and Jack - looks a bit dubious to me.|
Over the last few days blackcaps numbers have increased as have chiffs but willow warblers and lesser whitethroats have decreased. Common whitethroats are holding steady. Winter draws near!