Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Harbour Seals

After watching all the sea-birds out from the Bay yesterday I popped down to Dover Harbour in the hope there might be something worth seeing within range of a camera. I was disappointed to find that there were very few birds in the harbour, and no ducks, auks or divers on view.

There were a least three Common Seals in the inner harbour, but none came close to the pier. Two seemed to be cruising backwards and forwards along the old Hover-port apron, but neither pull up out of the water to give a good view. Common Seals have the alternative and appropriate name of Harbour Seal.

One was out in the middle and spent most of the time in what I would call a spy-hopping mode. At least I would if it was a dolphin or whale. It hardly ever put it head up in the normal position.

It's a while since I visited Paul, down at Samphire Hoo and since the kettle is seldom cold and a cup of tea seemed like a good idea I paid him a visit. The first thing that struck me was how little snow there was there compared to St Margaret's, in fact as soon as you get a mile or so from here in any direction there seems to be less snow. After a refreshing cuppa and a bit of catching up with Paul and Phil I had a quick walk round. A Fieldfare was hopping away from me in the car park, showing the black tail that was one of the easy questions in My KOS quiz a week or so ago. I saw several others as I walked round as well as a group of Redwings feeding on the grass.

It's always good to see a Stonechat, they're really smart. What struck me about this one was how much it resembled a Lars Jonsson painting of one. Being Swedish he's used seeing birds fluffed up in cold weather and some of the illustrations in his field guide to the Birds of Europe attracted a certain amount of criticism because the birds were rather plump. This Stonechat shows why!

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