Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Nothing Special

Once the wind had dropped a little this afternoon became quite warm and pleasant. I decided to leave the lawn-mower where it stood, in the middle of the rough grass that passes for our lawn and have a walk round Bockhill Farm.

  By the Freedown, I was stood listening to the rattle of a Lesser Whitethroat (the only bird on view was the Chaffinch above), when a couple came by and asked me if I was looking at anything special. I replied no, I'm just listening to a Lesser Whitethroat, hoping it will appear for a photo. After they'd gone I pondered on that statement. How could a bird that weighs about 12 grammes and makes a journey of over 3000 miles to its wintering quarters not be special. Even if it was one of last years birds, probably fledged not far from here, it would already have covered getting on towards 7000 miles on its travels. Much of it would be over hazardous desert and seas. I felt quite guilty that I had been so dismissive about it.

There wasn't much in the way of bird song, the Lesser Whitethroat's single note rattle, delivered from a hidden spot is not very tuneful. Even the Chaffinch is rather monotonous and if you add to it the Greenfinch in the same tree that made a rather dull sounding trio. It didn't approve just down the track, where a Corn Bunting was "singing". A song often described as sounding like some one shaking a bunch of trees sounds as it it would be uninspiring, and it is.

  I'm not sure what's going on in the "big field. There's a large strip in the middle with something distinctly different growing there, any ideas?

Peering over the cliff, where a Fulmar has nested in the past, I found myself in a staring contest with a sharp eyed Herring Gull. It certainly looks as though they've got a nest there, I wonder if the chicks will survive with such a large drop below them.

The Fulmars are still around this bit of the cliff, but seemed to be landing just round a bend in the cliff, out of sight.

This Lesser Black-backed Gull was cruising around the cliff, although I've not seen then nesting here.I know they will nest on building, although I've mainly seen them in colonies on moorland and in isolated rough grass and sand dunes.
Watching this gull drift by some slowly and calmly made me wish that the seabirds I'd tried to photograph in the Pacific had been so cooperative. A petrel travelling erratically at twice the speed is so much more difficult to get pictures of.


Derek Faulkner said...

I totaly agree re. the "nothing special" comment Tony, and I think it's something that too many of us are guilty of saying, especially when you consider what the birds has endured to get here and be "nothing special".
As for Chaffinch, well I think it has a great song and love to hear it.

Susan said...

I imagine the strip in the crop is a ground nesting bird refuge to improve their feeding. There was an article in BW a few issues ago. I'm hazy on the details now though.

Olly Hitchen said...

I wish I had your knowledge of birds, I love listening to them early in the morning and getting photos of them on Sheppey, but most of the time I need to ask someone. You're right though, there is something special even about the smallest common birds. Thanks for the blog, really enjoy reading it!

Derek Faulkner said...

Tony, the strip in the middle of the field could of been sown with a cover crop that will grow up and be left for gamebirds during the autumn/winter.