Migrants have been almost totally absent from the Kingsdown patch with only a couple of chiffs showing in the last 2 weeks. The main interest has been provided by my pet linnets who are now feathering their nest:
|Little ringed plover|
The Elms and Gullies have been a little better in that there have been a couple of chiffs and several blackcaps present reminding you that spring has sprung but thus far these have eluded the camera.
Yesterday (Wednesday) when I arrived I was told of a common whitethroat (the first of the year) and this surrendered to the camera after about 15 minutes.
I parked on Reach Road and the first bird I saw was a corn bunting, and must have seen half a dozen along the top there and all around was the song of skylarks. Walking down into Langdon hole there were quite a few linnets (30-ish?), a few yellow hammers plus a few chaffinch but that was it. No chiffs chiffing. Lots of jackdaws and a few blackbirds but overall it was looking pretty grim.....very Kingsdowny in fact.
I took quite a long time in the Hole looking for the ring ouzel reported there the previous 2 days but I couldn't find it.
I left the Hole and was walking up the hill towards St Margs watching and photographing some of the mippits (why do they only pose on fence posts?) when I spotted a black redstart....yippee. But that was as good as it got as try as I might it wouldn't let me get withing 50 yards.
I followed it up to the top of the fence line where it upped and flew past me back down towards the Hole. I followed but as I went through the kissing gate into the Hole I spotted the ring ouzel.
It was on an open patch of short grass feeding but disappeared into a bush. I decided to wait and see if it would come out. I would have liked a closer hiding point but there was nothing on offer so I sat in amongst some short scrub watching the grass where it had been feeding which was between me and it's bush. Whilst waiting I saw 2 chiffs who were both silent and a yellow hammer landed pretty close.
Out it flew and landed 40-50 yards away atop another bush then flew down to it's original grassy patch. It was still too far away for good shots but it was feeding nicely and slowly getting closer.........that is until some more dog walkers, then 2 joggers and finally a family came walking past.
|Ring Ouzel (male)|
I new my luck was out when the family decided to stand just behind me, right out in the open, to watch what I was doing sitting in brambles. I did what any sensible person would do under the circumstances I gave up and walked away.
I walked up the hill towards St Margs again and spotted a peregrine distantly clinging to some flints on the cliff face. Eventually he/she let go and flew past but it was pretty distant and I was looking straight into the sun .....well that was my excuse.
|Peregrine - another quite brown bird|