Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Wallfowers on the Cliff

Another beautiful morning and I decided on a gentle walk from the house to Bockhill and the cliffs. 

Wallflowers, a long naturalised plant, decorate the cliff top and nooks and crannies on the cliff face.

Fulmars are a favourite of mine that nests along the cliffs. Today in the gentle breeze and quiet conditions their calls rang out as they established their territories on the cliff.

Looking along the cliff from a good vantage point I was struck by the different colours that section of the chalk face showed. The freshest white areas are where the lastest falls occurred and the darkest, the areas longest exposed to the elements. Look carefully and there is a perched Peregrine almost dead centre.

One of the most uplifting sounds of the day came from a Corn Bunting singing from the fence running along the side of the big field.

I remember reading some research several years (perhaps decades) ago, that postulated that the removal of hedgerows also removed song posts for Corn Buntings and although they didn't use the hedges for nesting this loss of song posts had exacerbated their decline. Since then I have seen and heard them singing from near the ground in growing crops, but now it seems this rather functional fence will have a second purpose for the the Buntings.

At one place i found a position where I could watch a pair of Fulmars billing and cooing.

Other birds were still patrolling the cliffs, wheeling round on their stiff wings.

The pair I was watching were not too pleased when these flying birds approached too close.

A large throat for some nice large fish bits.

The large flock of Linnets is still around and feeding on the rough ground near the cliff. I estimated that there were close to 200 today. Guess at the number above and then count them, you will be surprised how many there are.

As I was watching over the cliff I became aware of a second pair, almost below me, but seemingly oblivious to my presence.
Here you can the two pairs, one low down at the bottom and one at the top of the cliff.

Walking back I watched two Corn Bunting chasing each other, round in circles, for a couple of minutes. When they finally settled down in one of the cliff top bushes they joined others already there and I was pleased to see a group of five together.

Perhaps even more pleasing was the group of Yellowhammers feeding along the cliff top. I was surprised to eventually manage to count twenty birds. I think that this is the highest count I've had a Bockhill, although I have seen a bigger flock a few years ago, near the "three sisters (now two) on the Dover side of the village.

1 comment:

Derek Faulkner said...

Once again a posting that has an interesting variation about it. Lovely to see wallflowers living up to their name and growing in such wild places.
The song of Corn Buntings is a lovely countryside sound and like the song of many other birds, is so often overlooked because people can't see past the likes of Nightingales and Blackcaps.