Today I woke to the noise of a very strong wind blowing from the South West. Gusts were getting up to around 55 mph by mid-day and walking around the cliff top was not a pleasant prospect. It occurred to me that Dover Harbour might be sheltering some birds blown off course, but when I got there I found that the entrance to the pier was locked off, presumably it wasn't thought to be safe to walk to the end with the strength of the wind. Instead I went on the Samphire Hoe, and shared a few minutes nattering with Phil Smith over a nice cup of tea. The sea wall was closed due to the weather and I ended up going on to Folkestone. Gulls were in short supply around Wear Bay Road, where Mediterranean Gulls can normally be found on top of the Street Lights.
The sea was looking pretty choppy and along Lower Sandgate Road waves were crashing over the groynes.
Looking back towards the harbour the sea looked very uninviting, certainly not the place for fishermen.
The Harbour had quite a few fishing boats safely in the calmer water, although whether or not they'd have been out with out the blow I don't know.
I did find quite a few gulls resting on the empty car parks. There's no doubt that this Great Black-backed Gull would win a beauty contest.
Herring Gulls in various plumages would have been useful as teaching tools to demonstrate the moults through the years to maturity.
What I was really looking for were some Mediterranean Gulls amongst the Black-headed Gulls. It took a while and I only found two, an adult in amongst a roosting flock of adult Black-headed Gulls and a first winter bird standing alone on the tarmac.
Unfortunately neither of these birds had colour rings so it won't be possible to check their histories. With the growing number of young produced in Kent it would be interesting to know if the birds that winter around Folkestone are just from those that breed in N France, Belgium and Holland, or whether any of the Kent birds join them.