Monday, 14 December 2009

Little Drummer Boy

First thing this morning I noticed two Great Spotted Woodpeckers chasing each other with crows raised, I presume competing for a feeding territory.

The "winner" went on to feed on one of the sunflower seed feeders.

When it had had it's fill it went back up into the tree and perched on the stump of a lopped branch.
It then gave several bursts of drumming, a noise that I associate with spring. A quick look at BWP and I discovered that they normally drum from mid January to June, occasionally in September, so this one was a bit previous, perhaps stimulated by the altercation with the other bird and stirred on by the closeness to Christmas and the popularity of the "Little Drummer Boy" by various artists at Christmas over the years.

So nice was the weather that I had a walk to the South Foreland Valley. On the edge of the wood I watched this kestrel as it scanned the ground for it's next meal.

As is usual at this time of year the woodland was very quiet, the silence only being broken by the occasional call of a Great Spotted Woodpecker and the vigorous song of a single Wren. The walk was pleasant but there were few lines filled in my notebook. However from the cliff top I could hear the guttural calls of Fulmars as they prospected nesting sites on the cliff. There was not possibility of seeing then here so I decided to see if any were taking up occupation of their nest "caves" at the undercliff at Kingsdown.

The area was alive with Fulmars flying up to various ledges and at least two holes had noisy birds sitting in them.

The ritual of birds flying up to the cliff face was continuous and their noisy call echoed along with the calls of Jackdaws that also seemed to be taking occupation of different sites.

The tide was low and a single Curlew picked about on the rocks along side various gulls.

One bird I hadn't been expecting down here was a Green Woodpecker. I presume the soft grassy areas offered it some good turf to probe. I flushed it, accidentally, several times as I walked along, each time it had become hidden in the grass and it surprised me as much as I surprised it. Finally it got fed up with this ritual and found the nearest thing to a tree, that is down there, and sat on it to watch my progress along the path. It finally disappeared over the low end of the cliff, probably to feed on the golf course or the lawns of the houses along the Lees.

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