Tuesday, 18 September 2007

Kittiwake on Deal Pier

A booklet of sketches and paintings of Birds from the Pier at Deal, by John Hollyer (foreward by Phil Oliver) landed on my doormat today, which was a coincidence as I had spent an hour there in the afternoon.

John's marvellous pictures capture the essence of each bird, from terns and shearwaters with unfeasibly long wings, to dumpy auks and delicate petrels. I've made a note in the diary for 27th October, when John and Norman McCanch have an art exhibition in Worth.

There were plenty of birds moving (mostly north) today, Sandwich and Common terns and a variety of gulls, but the most endearing was this kittiwake that circled the cafe and then landed on the flag pole.

There were a handful of other kits flying up-channel, mostly youngsters with patterned backs. I watched their early nesting activity on Langdon cliffs in the spring, but (partly due the weather) did not return to see the chicks.

Hopefully they had a successful season. The numbers of breeding kittiwakes at Langdon have fallen to only 7% of those twenty years ago according to a JNCC survey, so they may not nest here for much longer.

Towards the end of visit, a Herring Gull arrived and asserted his authority (or at least, used his weight) to take control of the pole.

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