Wednesday, 20 March 2013

The Parish of St Margaret's get's a little smaller

As the weather improved this afternoon so did my desire to find some summer migrants, hopefully arriving on the eve of the official start of spring, the vernal equinox. At 7.02 a.m. on the 20th March 2013 we reach the point where the day and night are of equal lengths. From that day forward, in the northern hemisphere we will be getting more day than night and the days lengthen until June 21st, when then days start to shorten again! Well once again I failed in my quest at ST Margaret's but still had an enjoyable walk round.


 It was a delight to watch a Peregrine for the second day running, although a long way below me I was able to watch it preening as it sat quietly.on the cliff.

In the end I managed to force myself to leave this fantastic creature and walk along the Lees in the hope of finding something different.

What I found was a bit of a surprise. A large cliff fall, a few hundred yards towards the Bay from the Monument car park, had taken out a section of the fence and that was being replaced for safety reasons.

The section missing was sizable, nearly a cricket pitch length long by several yards wide. I can start to accurately estimate what weight of falling chalk that equates to, but a cubic metre of solid chalk weighs nearly 2.5 tonnes. The height here is around 80 metres, so if a wedge slid down, there could be around 10,000 Tonnes of chalk ending up at the bottom of the cliff.

From the Bay the startling white of the newly exposed face of the cliff shows the extent of the fallen area. The tide was coming in and Nigel, our host at the Coastguards Pub, told me that at low tide, the fallen chalk reached three times the visible distance into the sea.

I was still looking for new arrivals and decided to try the old landing strip along Upper Road. Over the years this ha been an area favoured by early Wheatears, and being a flat area with a couple of large mounds the habit of Wheatears to perch up makes this a good place to be able to see them. As I arrives a large crow landed just in front of me, and let out the unmistakable deep honking call of a Raven. I was behind the fence and managed a couple of pictures before it became nervous and took off.

 Raven are as magnificent in their own way as Peregrines and like to Peregrine the species has a huge range, over Europe, Asia and North America, but unlike the Peregrine it doesn't get to the southern hemisphere, although it is replaced in most areas by similar, closely related species.


2 comments:

Phil Smith said...

3013?what happened did i miss something?glad to see peregrines and ravens still about is the village still there?

Tony Morris said...

oops!