Sunday, 7 February 2016

You don’t need a weatherman To know which way the wind blows

A bright and beautiful looking morning saw me off for a walk along the cliff top and round Bockhill Farm before the important business of watching a bit of cherry picking on the TV.

It may have looked idyllic for a walk but he gusts of wind blowing at about 45-50 mph from the wsw certainly deterred me from getting too close to the cliff edge. Looking inland at the copse known to local birders as the "empty wood" there's no impressing of the strength of the wind.

Although there were quite a few Gulls to be watched, including a stream of Kittiwakes a few hundred yards off shore and a few Fulmars surveying the cliffs the only land bird I saw along the top were Jackdaws, Carrion Crows and a couple of Magpies.

The edge between the agricultural field and the recently reclaimed wild cliff top, that will hopefully return to being some interesting chalk grassland  in years to come, does sometime provide some shelter for small birds,but not to day.

Looking back towards the Walmer  & Kingsdown golf course you can see the 8th hole running up hill from right to left. I've never played the course, but this 497 yard par five looks daunting at the best of times, but in today's conditions it was more like a par 10. I didn't see anyone playing, perhaps common sense had prevailed.

My foot path ran slightly up hill, but directly into the wind every step took some effort, I'm glad I was in no hurry.

Looking across the farm I could see the tops of the trees in my garden,and at that moment I would have relished being there, with the kettle on and a cup of tea as a prospect. 

In one area I was pleased to see the evidence of recent activity by one of my favourite animals, badgers.Badgers have unusual breeding patterns since mating can take place at any time of the year. After mating, badgers exhibit what is known as delayed implantation.

They keep the fertilised eggs, in the womb in a state of suspended development until they implant at the end of December. Cubs are usually born during the first fortnight in February. After this they spend most of the next three months underground. Hopefully later in the summer they will appear in the garden. They are welcome in my garden, although others have greater reservations about them doing the lawn maintenance for them.

Along one side of the Freedown (the open area not the road!) this thick hedge is an important feature, both as a shelter for birds and small mammals and for breeding. Sadly there are fewer and fewer dense hedges around as fields are enlarged.

One of the bids that  often makes use of the hedges is the Long-tailed Tit.

 Not actually a member of the true Titmice family but in a related family, Aegithalidae, which has a total of 13 species, one of which occurs in North America. The rest are mainly Asian, with the Long-tailed Tits as the only one that spreads into Europe.

This is a diminutive bird with a long-tail, but body wise it is smaller than a Blue Tit. In total there are 17 sub-species of the Long-tailed Tit, the northern European race has an all white head and occasionally occurs here and is always worth checking for in winter,

1 comment:

Derek Faulkner said...

Good old Bob D.

It was nice to stroll round your patch with you, good photos and good to have you back regularly.