Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Purple Haze

I decided to have a look at the groynes at Hythe. where in previous years I've seen Purple Sandpipers. I hadn't heard of any this year so far, but there was a fair chance that some would have returned. I stared at the rocks opposite the Stade Court Hotel.

I should have consulted the tide tables, with a very low tide there were lots of rocks extending into the sea and the tops were too slippery for me. It's a shame when you get old and doddery! At first I could only see a couple of  Turnstones feeding around the rocks.

I wasn't long before a Purple Sandpiper came into view and joined the Turnstone as they fed on the small items among the weed on the rocks.
I was both surprised and pleased when one came closer as I stood higher up the beach to get a view into the crevices nearer the sea.
I don't know what it is about Purple Sandpipers, but they are a very attractive wader, and not unlike one of my favourites from my visit to California in spring, the Surfbird. The next groyne along, going towards Sandgate had two more feeding Purple Sandpipers sneaking round the end rocks, this despite the activities of lorries and diggers on the beach.

Further along the beach an adult Mediterranean Gull caught my attention. It didn't stay in view long, walking down the beach as a lorry fully of shingle approached.

Of course when you get back to Folkestone all the lamp-posts along  West Bay Road have a Mediterranean Gull sitting on top!

This one, another adult has far less of the "headphone" marking left than the previous bird. I didn't manage to find any with numbered rings today, but they are worth looking out for.

Yesterday evening at the Restharrow Scrape I sat and pondered the possibility of a Barn Owl coming through, as was it's habit last year. It didn't happen but at least the Water Rail put on a good display for my and two other people in the hide.

It looked as it was posing here, but it managed to chose a place with a piece of grass getting in the way of the beak!
Crakes and Rails have a mysterious way of moving through small gaps in the reeds, so it was rather good to see it walking about in the open.

Just as I was about to leave twpo Curlews dropped in the have a quick drink and bathe. They are big chaps and make the Teal look diminutive.

They weren't there long before one started calling and they both looked fidgety.A few calls and then they were away.

 I watched them go and decided to do the same myself. A wander across Worth Marshes failed to produce an owl, but there is still time for both Barn and Short-eared to get into a routine as they did last year.

Back at St Margaret's the activity in the fields has brought quite a lot of gulls in and a Mediterranean circled over the Dover Road at its junction with the A258.

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