I have this recurring day-dream of finding a Pied Wheatear along the Undercliff at Kingsdown. I went along there this morning in the hope of this being the day.
No rarities but there were lots of Fulmars. It only seems a few weeks ago that the last birds left this years breeding sites and already there were quite a few zooming around.
Quite often they noisily alighted on ledges and sat for a while ,often being visited by other equally vocal birds. Whether or not these are ready formed pairs or not I don't know, but they are highly gregarious, and even when they are breeding other birds often "pop" in to see the couple in residence.
When I first arrived at the undercliff I saw a small bird disappear amongst the large rocks near the beginning of the cliffs. At first I thought it would be a Stonechat or Black Redstart but when it reappeared it was a first winter Robin. You can tell the age by the small pale dots on the coverts that almost make a wing bar.
When I got back to my car, it was still there, showing no inclination to move to its more normal habitat of bushes and trees.
As I was about to leave I saw a Black Redstart, a regular species here on the wooden "boundary" to the shingle beach. It was a female or young bird, lacking the white wing panel that adult males have.
It moved to the rocks and seemed to be feeding contentedly when suddenly the Robin decided that it wasn't going to tolerate such an intrusion.
Robins tend to be vary aggressive, often chasing other birds that are in their territories. Unlike many species Robins are territorial outside the breeding season and as well as other Robins they also try and exclude other birds, especially it seems, ones that are closely related to them. A couple of weeks ago I went to see the Red-flanked Bluetail at Ramsgate and Robins were giving it a hard time. At this time of year, with the influx from the continent Robins are very numerous and their winter songs can be heard everywhere.
On the way home I went past the grounds of Woolmer Castle and this Green Woodpecker was feeding right near the fence. It hardly looked when I parked as close as possible and to a few pictures. It's an adult male, females lack the red in the "moustache". This is one species that is doing very well and seem to get more and more common around here. More pictures of this one here.