Thursday, 21 January 2010

Under the Cliff

As promised by the Met Office the sun made an appearance this afternoon, but not until nearly three p.m. I popped down for a quick look in the bay and then had a walk along the under-cliff at Kingsdown.

It was high tide and there were several Rock Pipits in the Bay car park, but the visibility was poor and my plans for a sea watch were shelved and I drove round to Kingsdown.

At first I thought that I was going to be unlucky as I couldn't see a Black Redstart in it's normal favoured area around the rocks at the start of the walk. However at the for end this stunning male was flitting around on the sea wall. It didn't stay in view long and disappeared over the wall and presumably carried on feeding along the base of the cliff.
Although the views of Rock Pipits can be much closer in the car park, using the car as a hide there's something more satisfying watching one feeding and calling along the cliff. This one is sitting out on one of the large protruding flints. Later I hope that it will be singing from this spot proclaiming it's territory.

It was a noisy walk, there were a good number of Fulmars establishing their nest sites. The are very vocal and once a pair has settled down they are often visited by an intruder and this starts the noisy cackling off again.

There are a couple of other species in the cliff community. Lots of pigeons, normally described rather disparagingly as Feral Pigeons these cliff dwellers are being true to their genetic heritage and behave very much like Rock Dove would have done before the species became domesticated. Their loud cooing echoes from the sheltered crevices and caves that they inhabit.

Also noisily occupying any vacant sites are Jackdaws, their calls of "Chack" ring out and occasionally the longer drawn out "Chaaiirr" is slightly reminiscent of a Chough. Now that would be a dream come true, Choughs on the Kent cliffs. Perhaps not so fanciful, the last breeding was in 1845, and given that Ravens have returned to breed in Kent after 130 years and Choughs are back in Cornwall it may yet happen.

On the way back to the car I noticed this Black-headed Gull, it must have an early dose of hormones as it is far more advanced in it's summer look that all the others around.

Just off shore this head kept pooping up. There been a Seal in the news lately, after a young Common Seal turned up in a garden in Benenden on Monday morning. It had swum 18 miles up the River Rother to get there. This Common Seal it where it should be and presumably it is an indication that there are some fish out there now.

1 comment:

Mike Watson said...

Hi Tony, great to see you out and about a lot so far this year. Lovely Black Red! Take care and good birding! Br, Mike