Friday, 5 October 2012

29th Wryneck at Hope Point

I wrote this blog update on the 29th and have been trying ever since to upload some of the photographs I took. I still haven't managed it. Whenever I try, and it's half a dozen times a day at all times of the day and night, I get  "Server returned unvalid response", and that's that.
This may therefore spell the end of the blog.
I started the blog as somewhere to post what I'd seen and photographed during my wanders around Greater Kent when the pictures weren't good enough to put on my Flickr site and I had something to say outside what appears on the "Official" local birdng websites. It was never because of my literary powers or my knowldge of birds/local natural history. So if  I can't post the pictures there's little value to the blog. I'm not sure what I will do but I may just revert to putting a few more images of dubious quality on Flickr and expand the accomanying commentary. If this does turns out to be the last post many thanks for taking an interest.

Today I did my normal Saturday walk along the cliff tops, it just so happened that a wryneck was found yesterday at Hope Point so hopes were high.
A slow stroll up past the golf club car park was enough to reveal yesterday’s migration was still ongoing with groups of 20-30 goldfinch going past (north) at regular intervals, with odd groups of chaffinch, mippit, pied wagtail and siskin also going north. The bushes had a good head of chiffs flitting around with the odd blackcap thrown in for good measure.
Steve Raynaert caught up with me by Hope Bay studio where we started to look in earnest for the wryneck. Whilst looking we found singles of wheatear, whinchat, stonechat and tree sparrow. Eventually the wryneck was spotted low in a bear bush below 2 mippits. The bird then flew back to the far bushes and we tried to get close enough for some pictures. We hadn’t got very far when it flew off south into Hope Point bushes where we lost it.
Another half hour of searching was finally rewarded when the bird was spotted coming south from Hope Bay Studio again (though how it got up there heaven only knows). 2 things then worked in our favour. The bird began to preen – always a good opportunity to get closer than normal- and we could approach using a bush for cover:

Eventually it flew but only down towards the footpath and was atop one of the bushes. Here was where we got the closest and the best shots.
Eventually it flew tired of our attentions and we lost track of where it went. This seemed a good time to call it a day and get off home.   Walking back to Kingsdown the goldfinch were still going north with a few swallows going south.
A very pleasant morning on the local patch.