Wednesday, 7 November 2007


On Friday, strong winds are expected to hit the north Kent coast. It may be that birds displaced by the sea gales may be blown south, and may turn up on Friday morning, flying along the coast into the wind.

There are currently stiff northwesterlies in the North Sea, with the promise of gales later [in fact, some are predicting a storm surge down the North Sea coast with the high spring tides possibly bringing some flooding - see here]

Living (and birding) by the coast means that we have to be especially aware of tides and winds, and I use the websites below to help me. The first is which shows current wind speeds and direction, and forecasts them for the next few days.

The second useful site is which shows the expected tide heights for particular ports (for example Ramsgate, below).

While less important for seabird movements, it is very useful for birding around the coasts, firstly to predict when roosting or feeding birds will be visible, rather than distant dots on a mudflat.
As we are considering seawatching on Friday, we can see that it will be low tide in the early morning (so no good for beaches) and high tide at lunchtime. The plan, therefore, will be to seawatch at daybreak at a point exposed to the wind but close to the sea; then check high tide roosts and for grounded land birds at lunchtime.

It is also useful to find a general weather site, to advise on the right clothing to wear!
The lovely Kaddy

The covergence of tide, wind and light was forecast to be favourable for yesterday and this morning with a north-westerly wind, rising tide and a bright sunrise......
Yesterday early morning
: this proved to be the case, but unfortunately the onshore wind meant that the tide rose quicker than expected, so that the rocks where waders congregate were already covered by day-break. Moving to the high tide roost, a dog walker had scattered the waders around the coast - so a wasted journey.

This early morning : the tide is right, but the wind is an unhelpful westerly, and the sun didn't shine, hence the poor photos of the rocks and the high tide roost.

Curlews & gull

Redshanks (an impressionist view)

Sanderlings, Ringed Plovers and a Purple Sandpiper

Friday? - we'll see, but.....
I did a little research into last year's displacement of Little Auks, and found it was in the beginning of November.

A report on the Birdguides site describes a similar event in the second week of November 2001. The weather conditions were clearly similar to those anticipated at the end of this current week.

Watch this space (or, more likely, other spaces) for another possible arrival. Dylan, of course, has already seen his.....three yesterday (Tuesday) off Ramsgate.

1 comment:

Sandpiper said...

It's interesting to read about your area. Kaddy is beautiful! What a great composition, too. Love the umbrella.

Beautiful sea birds. Great work on the impressionist painting, too. I think you should do more of it. It's fun, relaxing, and you're good at it!

Thank you for the link to this page, and for visiting my blog, too. I'll be watching for more of your work!