Thursday, 30 August 2007
The preferred options for the Kingsdown area are:
Walmer Castle, Kingsdown and Oldstairs Bay – Maintain The preferred option has been selected since this option would prevent erosion and loss of property, and is the most cost-effective and environmentally acceptable solution.
MoD Rifle Range – Managed realignment The preferred option is Managed Realignment. This would provide the maximum environmental benefit, restoring the coastline towards a more natural process. This option is dependent on further analysis of the site and the availability of funding and intentions of the land owner, who will be responsible for implementation of this option.
The map below estimates the areas threatened by flooding if sea levels rise to a certain level - clearly Thanet will become an island again, and much of Deal and Sandwich will disappear.
As I live on a hill, I say: 'Let them sink' but that's probably not a broadly-held view. [Oh OK, Deal and Sandwich are lovely towns, and should be protected]
During the quiet times on Deal pier (in between the hectic recording of huge numbers of birds flying past ahem) I have wondered what the piece of equipment on the end of the pier did - I assumed it was probably something to stop shipping colliding with the thing in fog.
...it measures the size of each wave - and the results are used by the Channel Coastal Observatory (http://www.channelcoast.org/) to provide information for development of strategic shoreline management plans, coastal defence strategies and operational management of coastal protection and flood defence.
As previously reported, this August had some rough seas driven by NEasterly gales, and this is shown on their graph:
Perhaps the equipment could double as a bird recorder, to reduce the time spent at the end of the pier in the cold winds of winter? But why should we be deprived of that pleasure?
Wednesday, 29 August 2007
This species does not have a normal song but drums on leaves with a hind foot. It is just about audible to humans at about 1 m. So that's what keeps me awake at night.
The fulmars have now departed for the open sea, and will return in the late winter to choose nesting sites.
These cliffs hold one of only two House Martin cliff nesting sites in Kent, and the later youngsters are still in the nests - it seemed that the rest of the flock was trying to encourage them out today.
There are fewer nests on houses these days, which is a shame as they were considered lucky in the days of my youth(!). Now, in the B&Q age, our houses are expected to be pristine inside and out, so martins' nests are routinely destroyed. Perhaps the lack of muddy puddles (also tidied up) prevents the birds from building in our neat suburbs.
Sunday, 26 August 2007
Grey seals have flatter heads than Common Seals, which look more 'puppy-like'. The Greys tend to be found more around rocky coasts, while the Commons prefer sandy shores, and consequently it is usually the latter that are seen around Kent, especially hauled up on the banks of the Stour estuary or on the Goodwin Sands.
The photos of Common Seals (below) were taken in September last year from a boat on a SBBO trip.
The NBN survey maps show the different sightings of the two species:- first the Grey Seal with a presence in (for example) Cornwall but not the Wash, and second the Common Seal, vice versa.
Saturday, 25 August 2007
Wednesday, 22 August 2007
The grey sea and howling wind looked like winter, but in fact it was about 18 degrees C so trying to watch birds from the end of the pier was not uncomfortable. The shelter below is where birders congregate on days like this (usually in the colder months) protected from all but easterly winds and rain. It is in fact the entrance to the disabled toilet but it makes a great shelter. The pier's buildings are to be demolished in November and a separate cafe and toilet block will be built, so we hope that a similar shelter is provided.
There was a movement of birds northwards into the teeth of the wind this evening, including Common and Sandwich terns (the former singly, the latter in noisy parties), three Curlews, four small indeterminate dark waders, two kittiwakes and a couple of cormorants. A Common Scoter was sitting on the water, the first of the season for me.
This tally is nothing compared with the impressive sightings of gannets, terns, skuas and shearwaters elsewhere in Kent today, but there will hopefully be more tomorrow morning.
The evening was brightened up by the sight of three Turnstones on the pier, including Stumpy, the resident over the last three years, who is well known to the fishermen and trippers.
Sunday, 19 August 2007
Much of the county consists of the Burren, a landscape of limestone pavements that reach from the hilltops to the sea, and with a mild climate this provides a variety of habitats for a huge range of plants (and not a few insects).
The first interesting bird to be seen was a Hooded Crow, in a housing estate in the city of Limerick, but they proved elusive for photographing until a couple were found on the dock of a bay.
The hollows made in the limestone by water over the ages (grykes, I believe) hold small specimens of a huge variety of plants, and even in the rain a clamber over the rock provides endless fascination.
Grayling butterfly, and one flew in front of me near the coast at Doolin, settling on part of the pavement and blending into the mottled rock.
The weather was not condicive to butterfly-finding (nor indeed to surfing, swimming or sunbathing) but I noticed that Green-veined and Wood Whites were far more frequent than the common British whites, and although Meadow Browns were frequent, not a single Gatekeeper was seen.
A cute type of Scabious was common, with flower-heads of about an inch diameter, and with three heards to a stalk.
Visits were made to the top and (by boat) the bottom of the Cliffs of Moher but most of the nesting seabirds had flown, leaving only a few rafts of Kittiwakes and some family parties of Shags [note - what is the collective noun for shags?]
A handful of Choughs patrolled the visitor centre at the cliff-top, looking out-of-place away from the rugged landscape that they normally frequent.
Also out of its normal habitat, a Rock Pipit used this boat as a perch.
Does anyone want to buy some suncream? Unused, honest!
I managed to add two new species to my life list (my life has been long, my list is not). The beautiful Adonis Blue was one, the males showing themselves to be spectacularly different to Chalkhill Blues when they fly.
The other new species was the Silver-Spotted Skipper, fluttering like a moth over the short chalkland plants.
I was expecting (well, hoping) to see these two new species, but the sight of a Great Green Bush Cricket was a surprise.