Friday, 26 March 2010

Raptor in the sky - watcher of all

Opening the curtains on a fine day, I saw a sparrowhawk drifting over the trees towards the sea - this formed the prologue to a day of raptors.
The weather encouraged me to walk the circuit for the first time this year, on paths around the Kingsdown golf course; along the cliffs at first then striking inland to farmland tracks that lead back home. I hoped to see and hear migrants, but the wind reduced these to a minimum, but the skies were far from empty.
Resting at Hope Point, listening to a singing corn bunting and anticipating the arrival of a swallow or two, I saw four buzzards together, two of which moved off out to sea, while two circled the wood, then passed off inland. They were later seen returning to the same area, and some have been reported before, so perhaps they will breed here.
The clifftop resting place was convenient for watching fulmars, and could be rewarding for someone that can control the white balance of his camera.
Another sparrowhawk was seen along the clifftop, scattering the local jackdaws and pigeons, and then quartered the fields looking, presumably, for a grounded skylark, pipit or bunting. Just inland, where I was hoping for a yellowhammer, a peregrine flew north with the wind.
The walk back across the farmland was uneventful until a long-winged bird shot low across the path - dashing to get a better view, I was able to confirm it was a red kite, my first in Kingsdown. Nearby, a tawny owl hooted.
The Kingsdown village book mentions a Wych Elm at Otty Bottom, and I was able to find it from its lovely flowers - then it was back home to rejoin battle with the garden (with one eye on the skies).
But the day's remaining interest was lower down, as first a small tortoiseshell then a couple of cavorting commas revelled in the sunshine.


Adam said...

What a day - not sure what's rarer in Kent now the Red Kite or the Small Tortoiseshell!


Warren Baker said...

Well done on your 1st Red Kite for Kingsdowwn Steve. I like the look of that wych elm, none of them on my patch

Mary said...

Great photos...birds, butterflies! You had a good day!