Sunday, 11 November 2012

Getting waxed

I'm sorry to post yet more waxwing photos after all the excellent ones that have appeared on the social media recently, but these birds were self-found and unexpected, on Barrow Mount above Kingsdown. There were 22, perching in a tree sending out sentries to look for food, and looking like they might have just arrived from the continent.
Gradually we managed to approach to sensible photography distance, when they all flew off leaving us cursing our poor bushcraft.... until we looked directly above us to see a circling sparrowhawk. Darn. They flew towards the village, so hopefully someone will find the flock feasting on suburban berries.

The sighting enabled me to contribute to the Twitter network that seems to be spreading rapidly after the Bockhill Birders advertised their involvement, so thanks to them for speeding up the pace of life even more.

Is it me or do there seem to be more reports of arrivals of waxwings into Kent from across the channel, rather than the usual slow spread down from northern Britain?

A fascinating site illustrating bird migration is available from the Belgian airforce (presumably to try to reduce bird-strikes) showing the past and forecast future volumes of birds flying per hour. Notably, it illustrates that  migration occurs mostly at night with much smaller numbers moving during the day, and of these most are early in the morning.

In the afternoon we checked out the two Sandwich Bay short-eared owls, and sure enough they were patrolling in the usual area, giving occasional close views.
A tamer bird (although it doesn't look it) was a goshawk being flown across the downs. Surprisingly brown, it is apparently a juvenile male.

And finally a flower - there's not many around now, but plenty of berries - I think we're going to need them.

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