The National Trust have done a lot of management work on the grassland at the top of cliffs. By cutting selected areas they are encouraging a lot more of the chalk grassland plants to flourish. One unexpected consequence has been the provision of both extra nesting material and good feeding areas for the cliff nesting Jackdaws. Earlier in the season it was quite amusing to watch Jackdaws collecting massive beakfuls of the the grass cuttings just behind the Monument. If only we could get more of the grassland I wonder what the odds of the Chough returning to Kent would be? The last known breeding was in 1845, and as they've now returned to Cornwall with the right conditions it might be possible.
I know I've featured Whitethroats before, but every time one pops up and sings I can't resist another picture. They may not have the most melodic of songs, nor be the most colourful of our birds but if ever there was a true representative of the interaction between man's activities in the countryside and the our bird populations this is it. Known by many country names such as "Nettle Creeper" it is a bird of those un-kept corners where bramble and nettles and it can flourish. We need to keep hedgerows and edges for this and other farmland birds, big prairie like fields mean an impoverished wildlife.
Over the last few days I've noticed these two Chipmunks paying us several visits, both look very smart and I think are now in private hands. The de Havilland Canada DHC-1 Chipmunk was designed to succeed De Havilland's classic Tiger Moth biplane trainer. About 735 were built for the RAF in the UK from 1950 onwards and other were manufactured in Canada and Portugal.
Today the Chipmunk remains a very popular sport and private aircraft, while a small number are still used for pilot training and tailwheel endorsements. Some have also been extensively modified with the installation of Lycoming or Continental engines.
In total 1291 Chipmunks were built, including 217 in Canada, 60 under licence in Portugal and 1014 in Britain. Most of these were built originally for military customers, but many now fly with private operators.
Mothing A few more moths last night including my first Brimstome Moths for the year and also the first Waved Umber of 2008.
Birding. The Bockhill boys were rewarded today with a Red-rumped Swallow along the clifftop and in addition, four Firecrests and three Hobbys. In the Valley Chris Cox heard a Golden Oriole but it moved through, with out being seen. For such a brightly coloured bird they are extremely allusive.