Despite the forecast of the arrival of an overdue winter today was a comparatively mild and clear day. I'd just about finished working on tomorrows quiz for the KOS and decided that a walk along the cliffs around Fan Bay was appropriate. With the additional draw of the farm land opposite I had five species in mind to add to my very laggardly year list. The first and second objectives were not forthcoming along the cliff walk and Raven and Peregrine will continue to be blank spaces for a little long.
On the opposite side of Upper Road there is one of the largest remaining stubble fields in the area. At first I saw very little as I walked across the hard stems but there were birds, but never on the ground and never very close. At one stage a flock of about 30 Skylarks fly in and circled, landing about one hundred and fifty yards away. Once on the ground they disappeared and I only saw them once they'd taken off. The "magic" tree, near some of the MOD installations, is always worth looking at. Since the day it held over 100 buntings I've never come close to this figure, but invariably there are birds resting in it. I don't know whether the mild weather and still air makes a difference but every bird I saw was very mobile today and wouldn't allow me to approach anywhere near as close as I have done in the past. At least six Yellowhammers flew off calling just after I took this long range picture.
Almost be accident my camera alighted on a Reed Bunting, although I had been them here before I wasn't expecting one today.
There were a few Corn Buntings around, the "blip" call giving away their presence as they flew over.
The old building out here are ideal for Little Owls, but they are quite wary of cameras, so you'll have to believe me that just before I took this Robin on the roof a Little Owl had been sitting up there. I'm not quite sure how common they are in the area, but I can thing of at least five place that I've seen and heard then within a mile of home.
Stonechats that is normally around the fence were present and correct, but even they seemed reluctant to pose.
There is a nice pile of what could be called manure in the field next to the MOD building, and it is steaming nicely. I'm sure that this brings an increase in the insects around and it should prove attractive to some visitors, although a deterrent to others.