Archive | February 2018

East-nor-East

The bitter easterly continues.  This evening checking weather data for the Southeast temperatures recorded are about 2.4 C lower at 7 pm than for the same time yesterday.

The days have been sunny and above freezing out of the wind, at Combe Haven yesterday Blue and Great tits were in song along a sheltered stretch. On exposed areas several Stonechats as well as a big feeding mass of Fieldfares and Starlings on unimproved pasture. Pintails, Wigeons and Shovelers floated between reedmace thickets and a Mute Swan tested the strength of a sheet of ice.

A few Common Gulls passed offshore this morning, otherwise no passage recorded recently.

 

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Note

The cold dry Easterly wind flowing through with scattered cloud. This evening there were many larger gulls passing northeast low over the rooftops, as during the previous cold spell of Continental air it seems that they have decided to roost away from the exposed Channel coast.

A couple of sea watches recently, yesterday 9 Common gulls and 3 Black-headed gulls east off the Marina. A party of three ducks east off the Pier at noon were a bit distant – perhaps Shovelers, although not seen well.

In the fields today the Reed buntings and larks continue in numbers, spring-like activity diminished. Snipe frequent.

 

 

Dispersal

The forecast tells that winter is preparing a final throw of the dice, but already winter flocks in the fields are melting away under the influence of warm and longer sunshine, especially the Skylarks some of which have been singing for the last couple of weeks, today one or two in continuous full song. The larks have become especially apparent as pairs and singletons in those fields which are very grassy but which have fewer arable plants. In the more arable fields there have also been singles and pairs but also larger parties. In any event, the arable wild plants have been growing despite the frosts. Sheep are grazing the easternmost field now.

Reed Buntings were over a hundred last week and remain in good numbers although some appear to have left their wintering ground here. Snipe too are still in the fields though in smaller numbers. Yellowhammers are visiting nesting areas in ditched hedgerows. Rooks have had a marvellous winter here with up to a hundred.

Barnacle and bunting

A walk around Scotney yesterday. The grey geese seemed to be  moving away out of the cold north wind but the Barnacle flock, now 130 strong, was in residence close to the path. A delightful and vocal small goose happily grazing the close sward. West of the waters the former good grazing seems deserted and ploughed up, and now with shingle extraction continuing and widening nearby. A look over the Kentpen Wall gives a view of the exposed surface geology layering, a complex pattern of alluvial brown earth, greyer silts and bands of flint.

There are some fields of sprouts or kale with an understory of field plants and a look at one section revealed 30 Reed Buntings and five Skylarks. These smaller fallow crops provide more forage, shelter and cover to small seed-eating birds than do some of the extensive weed-free fields of greens. Small parties of Skylarks and occasional Reed buntings were to be found more widely. Other birds included a Green Sandpiper and two Marsh Harriers, one an immature male.

Duck were more in evidence, perhaps some early spring stacking up with Pintail, Teal and Gadwall more evident.