Wednesday, 18 June 2008

Home on the Range

After much trekking around the county (involving kids, boxes and many stairs), it was good to get back to the home patch - the rifle range.

I couldn't decide whether this noisy Kestrel was a youngster or a nagging female. It flew fine but looks bedraggled, and by the way the male was keeping close to it I'd assume it's a newcomer.

Futher along, a Ringed Plover flew up calling, leaving its mate sitting on a scrape in the sand. I kept away, but as there would have been plenty of walkers and dogs passing by it was no surprise that on my next visit the birds had gone.

The sand shows where the nest-scrape had been. As Ringed Plovers nest three or four times a year, they may be more sucessful elsewhere.

Sea Pea, a rare and declining plant only found on coastal shingle - The unusually extensive native range is explained by the ability of the seeds to remain viable while floating in the sea for up to 5 years, enabling the seeds to drift nearly worldwide. Germination occurs when the hard outer seed coat is abraded by waves on sand and gravel.

We could not resist another night-time trip to see/hear Nightjars and Woodcocks, this time to Clowes Wood north of Canterbury.

The wait for dusk was enlivened by a number of purring Turtle Doves, and other birds were singing their dusk chorus, including Blackbird, Song Thrush, Chiffchaff, Willow Warbler, Pheasant and Tawny Owl.

It was just light enough to enjoy a clump of orchids by the ditch at the side of the track. Various rude comments relating to David Bellamy were made.

As night fell and the birdsong faded, a Woodcock appeared, slowly flying a circuit around its territory.
Two Nightjars were seen flying together by the eagle-eyed Norman, and one took up stations in various trees to chur.


Tony Morris said...

Hi Steve,
I think that Ringed Plovers do make some "dummy" scrapes, its part of the mating game!

Mary said...

I love that Kestrel picture....all fluffed up. Good shot! Your Ringed Plover looks a lot like our Killdeer which nests in the same sort of places. The sea pea is beautiful.

Simon said...

Nice post Steve, and some great great photos.

Warren Baker said...

What a good post Steve. Like the Woodcock.

Kingsdowner said...

Thanks for the info Tony (and it's good to hear you're mobile again)

Mary, I'd noticed your picture of a Killdeer, which looks similar in its choice of netsite.

Thanks Simon & Warren, although credit where it's due....the Woodcock pic was by another Steve, who admitted it could be a fake photo of a black cardboard cut out against a darkening sky. for more photos.

abbey meadows said...

Love the shot of Sea pea. It grows at a couple of localities up here including east chevington but I have been unable to find it.

Steve said...

Really good post Steve and great evocativeiece of video....