Thursday, 12 March 2009

Immigrants of various statuses

A movement of migrants has been seen this week, with a handful of Chiffchaffs along the coast, the arrival of a female Black Redstart (and the apparent later disappearance of her and the over-wintering male). An influx of Great and Blue Tits seems to have occurred too, while numbers of Skylarks and Meadow Pipits have increased. No Wheatears here yet, or indeed any Sand Martins.
On the way up to London, I called in at the village of Southfleet to see the long-staying Falcated Duck. This species (of only about 80,000) lives in eastern Asia and has widgeon-like habits.
This individual probably hasn't flown in from China, but is more likely from a collection. It happily approaches for bread, but although it has no shame it's still a beautiful bird.
Falcated means sickle-shaped, so the duck is named after its curved tertials. But you knew that already.
Back at home, I noticed that the sails and fantail of Ripple Mill were rotating in the high winds -the first time I'd seen this. Congratulations to the owner who has renovated it over the last few years - getting the sails turning are I suppose the sign of a successful labour-of-love.
On a smock mill, the fantail apparently turns the sails into the wind by means of a ratchet. If the fantail is turning, the wind is coming in from the side (and therefore the sails are not pointing straight into it). So the ratchet wheels turn one way if the wind is coming from one side, or the other way if it's coming from the other side. Ingenious.
Some of the Town Hall Clock flowers have opened in the wood, showing their five faces.

As the Kingsdown Sherpa was taking the top photo, by the way, I contented myself with photographing lichen. How sad is that.


Gerald said...

Hope the Black Redstarts will stick around. It was good to see male and female the other day.

Mary said...

That duck is beautiful! I've never seen one, but love the chest feathers, the pretty head and the curved feathers. What a wonderful find. That windfill is interesting....never seen one with the little fan in back...glad you explained all that. Ah...I get to see the Town Hall Clock faces! Cool!

NW Nature Nut said...

Extra great photos this time. All of them. I love the falcated? duck. He is a flashy little thing. I especially like this facny tail feathers.