Sunday, 18 March 2012

More Fallen Chalk - and the culprits

Another week, another cliff fall - a large one this time, between St Margaret's Bay and Dover docks. It's not quite taken out the promontory from where I watch nesting Kittiwakes, but it's close and some scary cracks have appeared across the turf which indicate that the viewpoint is now even less safe than previously.
I know what (or rather, who) caused this avalanche...... it was the Greater Kent Birder with his enormous equipment, who has spent much of the last fortnight sitting on precisely this bit of chalk watching for Peregrines. And by doing so he got some great photos, see here.
Presumably the weight of his lens was too much for the cliff, which gave way after after ninety million years in existence.

A pair of Peregrines flew across the white chalk scar today, and seem to have taken a liking for a nearby chasm despite the fall and despite the many onlookers on the cliff-tops.

The pair of Ravens that have taken up residence further around the South Foreland were vocal, and were seen flying back to their usual feeding area around Lydden.
John Wooley (in his book on birds' eggs Ootheca Wooleyana) wrote that "In the year 1841 there were three nests on the South Foreland. All the young birds were caught on the sands before they could fly well. I purchased one of them at St Margarets for eighteen pence - a fine well-grown bird".

Ticehurst, writing in 1909, reported that "the Raven, like the Chough, is another of our vanished Kent birds" although pairs bred at the South Foreland and between Dover and Folkestone until the late 1800s.
He ends by stating that "if only protection were given to this fine bird, it might once more re-establish itself as a breeding species in the county". Exactly 100 years later, this has indeed occurred.

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