An early morning sea-watch was like the curates egg, good and bad in parts. at 07.45 five Pomarine Skuas moved up channel, in their characteristic line astern grouping. To be honest when I first picked them up I though there were more than five, it maybe that a couple of others broke away from the group and I didn't pick them up again. I noticed on the Portland Bill site that they had seven passed late yesterday afternoon, just possibly the same birds? A little later a Bonxie flew by, but that was it apart from two Red-breasted Mergansers and a handful of Gannets. At 9.00 I called it a day and headed back for breakfast.
The sky looked quite ominous as I left, if you looked up channel, with a storm gathering a couple of miles out.
Down channel, towards Dover it still looked perfect and as that was where the weather was coming from it looked hopeful for the rest of the day.
After a brief stop for a cup of coffee and some breakfast I decide to take a look at the under-cliff at Kingsdown. This very confiding Kestrel was sitting on a projecting knob of flint stone and took almost no notice of me.
It dropped from it's perch, hovered a while and then dropped in to the long grass, unfortunately too long to see it properly.
I was surprised when it lifted up from the grass and land on THAT FENCE. This is the fence put there to stop people walking on the MOD firing range, that hasn't been used for decades. Before the fence it was well used. It meant that you didn't have to walk close to the cliff, where the odd rock occasionally falls down. I'm sure that a risk assessment would show that the current arrangement is far more dangerous than the previous one. Actually as soon as the fence is made whole, holes appear in it which means that many, if not most continue as before, but the ugly addition continues to blight the view.
On the sea wall a Rock Pipit was calling, not a good angle as it is against the light, which is a shame as at this time of year they are a bit smarter and "sharper" than in winter. Several pairs breed along the cliffs between Kingsdown and St Margaret's. but I can't manage the walk at low tide now to count the singing birds.
THE FENCE does get used as a perch, I think I featured a few species on it in the past and I've also noticed it in other peoples pictures. Just for completeness I've included this Carrion Crow on it, not the most inspiring picture I know.
A long the Under Cliff I counted at least three singing Common Whitethroats. The first one, quite near to the car parking area lacked any sense of artistic quality and used THE FENCE to sing from.