Saturday, 15 January 2011

In search of a late Snowball

With the unexpected visit of the sun after lunch I decided to visit Dymchurch, but not for the candy floss or or even the Railway, but in the hope of seeing a late "snowball".

Long-tailed Tits from the north of Europe have pure white heads and are one of the most attractive of all the scarce visitors that sometimes arrive in the UK in winter, and there have been up to five in Dymchurch often frequenting the churchyard. Looking at Brian Harper's superb picture on "Folkestone and Hythe Birds" and also currently the front page of the KOS website was motivation to leave St Margaret's and have a look for them. When I arrived at the church they had been seen earlier but had temporarily gone missing. The Church of St Peter and St Paul sits by the main road, opposite the historic Ship Inn only about 200 yards from the sea. When it was first built around 1150 there wouldn't have been the sea wall that is now present and the Romney March to the rear must have been very different then.

This small church is built in two parts and I believe they are separated by a Norman arch. Next time I'm in the area I must visit the church properly and see the interior.

The strange tower was moved in 1851 when the church was expanded, before this it stood in the naive, but it's westward shift gave more room inside. The tower is tiled rather that brick built, presumably an economy measure during the rebuild.

White I was looking at the church three of the Long-tailed tits were re-found a couple of hundred yards away next to the school. They were with a group of "British" Long-tailed Tits (Aegithalos caudatus rosaceus).

White this normal birds seemed quite happy to come within camera range the "Northern" birds (A. c. caudatus) stayed out of proper camera range, although they were good to watch through binoculars.

Hopefully another chance to get some pictures will arise, but until then I'll have to make do with the one posted on the KOS website, and turn green with envy!


Phil and Mandy said...

Nice photos of the L T Tits, they are my favourite bird.Phil

steve ashton said...

Excellent info on the church Tony, and you are right, Brian's photo is a corker. The way the birds were flitting about whilst I was there, I think Brian must of super glued that one to the branch to get his photo.