Thursday, 29 March 2012

Kites in Kingsdown

I haven’t had a car this last 2 days so my time has been restricted Kingsdown and the cliff top.
Wednesday started well with 2 long tailed tits performing well for the camera in the scrub near just south of the Zetland.

Long-tailed tit
The rifle range had the normal residents, a pair of linnets, a pair of kestrels but little else of interest until I reached the far end.
I was talking to a guy who was the lead singer of a northern band called Protocol 5 (they were recording down here) when a black redstart appeared in the hole. It didn’t hang about but the lead singer was impressed as he’d never even heard of a black redstart let alone see one. Also in the hole was a not so impressive rock pipit.
After that I walked the cliff top to Hope Point seeing a peregrine drift past then disappear out to sea but in reality it was pretty quiet - though I did find a yellow hammer at Hope point and a couple of swallows went past but that was the only viz mig.

Yellow Hammer
Today followed the same routine with pretty much the same birds (amazing or what?). The black redstart dropped into the hole after I’d been standing around for 10 minutes watching 2 rock pipits and I managed some very distant record shots. (I assume it is a young male as the wings are still brownish with no sign of a white pannel and the undertail coverts are poorly coloured.) He then flew up the cliff face and disappeared over the top. I followed.

Black redstart
Amazingly I found the bird on the cliff top but it was in someone’s garden. Pointing the camera into someone else’s property is not the best thing to do at 8 o'clock in the morning but I grabbed a couple of hurried shots before quickly moving on:

Black redstart
I’ll let you decide what the sculpture is.
It was about this time that the wind got up, the temperature dropped  and a haze started descending. I only mention it because all of a sudden some viz mig started with 70-odd chaffinch moving past in the next 30 minutes along with a similar number of un-identified dots (3 of which I think were repolls), oh and another swallow.
At Hope point I amused myself trying to photograph linnets – there were around 20 of them there and they spent their time either singing from the tops of twigs then disappearing as a flock only to return a few minutes later. They would never let me get close though.

Linnet - take off.
On the return leg and as I was by the golf club car park 2 red kites drifted north, circled a few times over the old scout camp and had a skirmish before one flew off SW.

Red Kites
The second went north and circled over the village for a couple of minutes gaining height before it too disappeared off SW (at about 10.30 for anyone interested).
Finally, as I was putting my gear into the car, one of the kestrels drifted overhead and tried to make a deposit on me before disappearing onto the cliff face.

Kestrel - luckily it's aim was off.
I don’t know what is going on with the kestrels but they have been extremely skittish this last week or so disappearing before I get within 60-70 yards of them. Now if only I had some Eau d'Ashton, a unique bird attracting deodorant Steve's had fomulated, then perhaps I'd get close enough for some decent pictures.


  1. Certainly a good Kite day Steve, 11 through Reculver today.

  2. Great stuff Steve, love the Kites wish some would fly NW !