Sunday 28 October,weather forecast not promising – heavy rain and a cold wind off the sea. Most of the regular people I knew of weren’t going for various reasons so I said to Wendy we had better go, no one will turn up , we can have a cup of tea and come home. Well the forecast was wrong the sun shone and although cold not unpleasant – we did have a picnic on the cliffs overlooking a very calm Channel! We were joined by John and Pauline so set off to see what was about – some very keen birders had seen all sorts of migrants flying overbut they had been there for hours.
The bushes around the farm yielded little, mainly chaffinches, blue tits and dunnock, so not very promising. A walk round the fields however saw a number of skylarks and meadow pipits actively feeding and squabbling amongst themselves. Bushes by the golf course were covered in berries and a number of fieldfare and blackbirds were taking advantage of these, and overhead others were coming in clearly on migration. A lone song thrush was nice. What was surprising was the numbers of swallows still swirling over the fields in search of insects – surley they should have departed for warmer climes by now? Many usual birds were seen including jay and speaking to a local woman she confirmed that there were unusually high numbers of jays about locally. A real treat was a male yellowhammer looking very striking in the sunlight.
Out at sea was very little, a lone gannet and the usual gulls. There were comorants passing by but not in the numbers Sue had seen recently. What was interesting to see was the amount of ships passing and it was so clear that the clock tower in Calais was easily visible.
As an aside there were lots of ship spotters on the cliffs who appeared also to be monitoring radio traffic – talk about anoraks!
No camera with us so some RSPB images of a yellowhammer (Chris Gomersall) and fieldfare (Mike Langham)
Anyway a very pleasant day out and as the cafe was open a nice cup of tea to round things off – thanks John!