Monday, 8 April 2013

South Foreland

It was a pleasant spring morning so we went looking for spring gentians on the St Margarets cliff-top. We didn't find any (they are probably now consigned to the sea after one of the cliff falls) but there was consolation in a sudden arrival of raptors around 11am.
Firstly a red kite was seen being mobbed by the local jackdaws and crows, and this might have been the same bird seen by the Bockhill birders who were probably gazing skywards by the monument in the picture at the time.

Then my sharp-eyed companion saw a spiral of raptors riding a thermal overhead, with more joining to benefit from the lift. We counted three more red kites and eleven common buzzards.

But even this number was small compared to the numbers counted by the Bockhillers across the bay.

The Bockhill website compliments Robert Sonnen of the National Trust on the good work he has done on the clifftops between Dover and Kingsdown, and we would echo the praise as much of the scrub has been cut back and the sward has been improved by the Dexters and Koniks over the winter. We look forward to recording the butterflies on these areas this year.

Then..... refreshments at Mrs Miggins pie shop (aka Mrs Knott's tearoom) where tea and scones are served in bone china crockery, and an air of refinement is all around. And where I have been known to don a pinny to help out in the busy times.
From the top there is a marvellous view, and eye-level views were had of kestrel, sparrowhawk and peregrine, with ravens flying along the cliff-edge.

This brought to mind a most enjoyable book by local birder (ringer and taxidermist) Norman McCanch, who describes the enviable lifestyle of lighthouse-keeping as a birder. Each page is fascinating as the changing seasons bring different species to the safety (or danger) of lighthouses.

And finally an autumnal photo (since we've given up on spring and summer) taken this week at St Margarets.


Nichoid said...

So pleased that you are back

abbey meadows said...

I borrowed the Norman McCanch book from Stewart (from the notebook) many years ago and it was an inspiration when I was a trainee ringer in the early nineties. Nice post.

Kingsdowner said...

Thanks for the comments Nichoid and Nigel!

Michele said...

Tea and scones and birding. You Brits are so civilized :) Looks perfect!