It was another gloomy and, at first, foggy morning. I was determined to find something interesting, after all Kent has been having quite a few good birds in the last week or so.
When I got to the Freedown I was pleased to see some sheep grazing there. It's been without any animals for a while and this means that the grass get much longer and the whole habitat becomes less useful. As I walked along side the Freedown I heard the loud call of a Golden Plover Plover overhead. I had a try a whistling its call and to my surprise it circled round and almost landed in the filed in front of me. At the last moment it seemed to realise that I wasn't another Golden Plover and it flew off, again calling loudly.
In the hedge I came across a flock of Long-tailed Tits. Roving flocks are always worth checking, they often attract other birds that join them as they move through the trees, but on this occasion they were alone.
In Farm wood the trees were alive with Crests, and once again I spent some time looking through them. All to no avail, they were all Goldcrests, I didn't even find a Firecrest amongst them. Even so they were fun to watch and try to photograph. May be a Pallas's Warbler with them tomorrow?
All the while I was aware of birds on the move, Redwings and a few Song Thrushes dashed from the trees in the hedge as I walked along, only to land and disappear deep in a tree further on. Seldom did they sit out, in view, for more than a couple of seconds before disappearing. Fiches were in evidence with what seemed like an influx of Chaffinches and small parties of Goldfinches moving through. It's always difficult to know if it the same feeding flocks of finches or new birds genuinely arriving unless you're actually watching visible migration at the cliff top when in the right conditions you can see the flocks of birds arriving.
When I got to the Paddock here were thrushes everywhere. Once again the Redwings and Song Thrushes seemed to vanish into the bushes as soon as they landed. The Filedfares were much more visible, with small flocks sitting in the trees in the central area.
I managed to get closer to some, although others moved on to the next bush or tree. None of them seemed to fly far and they gave the impression of newly arrived migrants.
This bird sat and preened even as I approached far closer than I expected it to let me. While I was watching all the movement in the various groups of thrushes I came across a single female or juvenile Ring Ouzel, but it disappeared into the bottom hedge and I couldn't re-find it.
Blackbirds were also very much in evidence, and I suspect that the majority of them were also newly arrived migrants. (when I got home there were several more than usual in the garden). You can see what the attraction is in the Paddock. I expect that once the berries are gone most of the birds will move on. On the way back to the car park a party of 24 Lapwings flew over. This wouldn't be notable in most places but for some unknown reason we see very few Lapwings here, or on the adjacent farm land.
Back at the monument this Kestrel was imitating one of those models that balance on a "plinth" so that you can spin them round. A good walk round and lots of birds, but the rarity will have to wait until tomorrow.
One last quick thought, are the dogs in St Margaret's deaf or stupid? If not why do so many dog walkers have to shout at the top of their voices to control their pets?