Friday, 11 January 2008
I have applied to the BTO to record birds on my 'patch' for the survey of winters and summers from 2007 to 2011. The tetrad arrowed above must be one of the smallest in the country, although the one just to the north of it is even tinier (basically Kingsdown beach).
My bit comprises the cliff face (but not, I think, the cliff top which is someone else's problem), the rifle range and the beach. One of the problems is that the southern part of the beach is underwater at high tide, so views of the cliffs might have to be from a canoe.
There were few recorded species today, as the continuing fencing work has probably driven some of the usuals like Pipits, Black Redstarts and Stonechats away. The list was 4 Carrion Crows, 8 Jackdaws, about 20 feral pigeons, one each of Robin, Blackbird, Dunnock, and a slow stream of gulls southwards.
The main interest was provided by the Fulmars, and 18 occupied ledges and crevices were noted, with about another 20 birds wheeling around the cliffs. The occupied locations have been recorded, and over the months up to and through the breeding season I'll try to keep these updated. If anybody else is already doing this, however, please tell me.
A welcome sight at the base of the cliffs was the emerging flower stems of Coltsfoot - the leaves from which it gets its name will appear later in the year. The plants flower early here, sheltered from the wind and basking in sunlight reflected from the chalk cliffs.