Friday, 15 October 2010

Why oh why did it have to be sunny!

Last Sunday was a day in East Kent with high hopes and a 'hoped for list of special birds'. Sadly, despite the rest of Britain being bathed in rares, with Red flanked Bluetails literally popping up all over the place later on, East Kent was very hard going.
Despite living in North Kent, I've always enjoyed birding the outer reaches of East Kent around North Foreland and more recently got to know more about the birding sites nearer to Ramsgate
and Pegwell village. Saturday was dreary, strong E'ly winds and very overcast you could almost smell those rares flying overhead. A call to Nigel Jarman Sat pm revealed that bad news...........starlit sky, Sunday was going to be hard work. East Kent deserves more attention from birders, geographically well paced for migrants with lots of nooks and crannies to look at and always that possibility of something special amongst the migrants. First stop for JET and myself was Margate Cmy where bird of the day appeared almost immediately..........DCG (Dave Gilbert) a real rarity in the field beyond the Margate triangle and great to see him again and looking well. I'd spent a lot of time in the past birding with Dave and have fond memories of travels to Anglesey, Norfolk, South Wales, on the Scillies and even in Ecuador for three weeks !! Still in characteristic migrant plumage we spent a short while birding the area also bumping into Simon Fogg, Jeremy, Bob, Alan and Brenda Like the grand daddy of Kent birding Dave was as keen as ever and his repertoire of jokes as fluent as ever. I've had to alter the exposure on the pictures due to the clash of autumn colours from Jeremy in camouflage mode
Below Courtstairs north of Pegwell village an excellent looking area for migrants and worthy of coverage. The area South of here, Milton ranges, and Solly moth garden a great piece of coastline that allows for great birding and an opportunity to see migration as it happens on a good day with some truly great counts from Phil and Craig in the past week.
Elmwood and the lighthouse, another hotspot for migrants with Bramblings overhead, a Black Redstart, a distant Grey Heron and good numbers of Mipits. Back in the late 80's early 90's I used to bird this area quite a lot with the are adjacent to the old St Stephens college particularly productive. A hard days birding some good migrants with Chiffs, Siskin, Redpoll, a Tree Pipit and a few Swallows but still no star bird despite visiting Northdown Park and King George V park full of sun seekers and ice creams. A last ditch attempt at something rarer at North Foreland revealed a couple of Wheatear and then finally Steve Blaskett informed us of a Shore Lark at the pumping station nearby. Off we shot and there it was very very tame and almost run over a few times by cyclists.

So there you have it, a superb area for birding and a very enjoyable day. Good luck to Dylan, Francis, DCG, Steve, Phil and Craig and monitor the years events with some great photos not just avian on Planet Thanet, Margate Cmy blog and the Dumpton Non Conformist.
Anyone lucky enough to live in this part of Kent enjoy it, as despite rampant development and loss of habitat the birds common and rare will still be there just a bit trickier at times to find, good luck to you

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