Monday, 22 March 2010

A flash of red

I had a look at the Restharrow Scrape at Sandwich Bay this morning, in the hope that something good might turn up, it's a good site for spring Garganey for instance. I did see a Sand Martin, or two (did the same one come back?) but none of the Swallows that had been seen.

If you ever wondered what Shelducks do instead of the "cigarette afterwards", this is it, they have a good preen. More hygienic I suppose, but not too romantic.

At Kingsdown there was a female Black Redstart on that bl***y fence. It really is an ugly fence, but it must be the most photographed fence, other than Becher's Brook, ever.

It flew down from there and posed for a while with the sea as a background, as good as the fence is bad!

It had a hop down on to the shingle, but I didn't see it catch anything there, I suppose it would quite enjoy some of the tip bit to be found amongst the sea-weed. Steve Ray got a nice photo of it with a large caterpillar, hopefully he'll get it identified.

I stood where I was and I was lucky as it flew towards me and appeared very close on top of a rock.

Later when Steve Ray arrived for seconds it posed very nicely right in front of us, after teasing us by parading on the fence.

While we were watching the Black Redstart this Rock Pipit landed just in front of us. It seemed somewhat less heavily marked and with a much whiter chest and belly than the Rock Pipits I've been seeing in the bay.

I did wonder if it was a Scandinavian (litoralis) bird, that wasn't very far advanced in gaining it's spring plumage, but after consulting with Andrew Lawson and Gerald Segalbacher I think I was getting excited over a "petrosus" at the paler, less heavily marked end of the range.

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