Tuesday, 5 August 2008

On Kingsdown beach

On Kingsdown beach in the morning yesterday and today was a flock of about 200 birds, including 43 Mediterranean Gulls and 58 Sandwich Terns.

That number of Med Gulls is unprecedented (to my uncertain knowledge) and confirms their northward spread. The coast around Folkestone Warren traditionally holds up to around 100 birds each year, while individuals regularly spend the winter at a favoured spot, like the ringed one that likes the Margate lawns. The latter has returned again this year, and been photographed by Dylan for Planet Thanet.

Although the distance and light hampered photography, it was apparent that there was an unusually large number of ringed birds in the flock- perhaps a more acute observer could be more precise? One Med Gull had a green ring on the left leg and a metal one on the right.

It was good to spend time watching the flock preening, without disturbance from dog-walkers. When part of the flock flew, it merely circled and returned, spooked by a Herring Gull presumably. Also on the beach....
a stoic Ragwort


and a lighter-than-usual Greater Knapweed


Mary said...

That's a lot of birds! Nice peaceful place to watch them. Do you live within walking distance of this beach? That knapweed photo is beautiful.

Kingsdowner said...

Mary, thank you for your comment and continued interest!
We live a short and pleasant walk away from the beach, which being stony does not attract too many trippers.
The flock was there again this morning with a similar species profile, plus a juvenile kittiwake.

Mary said...

That would be great to walk somewhere like that. Beaches without people are the best kind :-)

Tony Morris said...

Hi Steve,
there were large numbers of Meds at St Margaret's a few days ago. I don't know if we can count them separately or they're the same lot, moving along the coast.