Thursday, 2 February 2012

Black Redstart & Chiffchaff

Dungeness - 1000hrs - v cold, sunny, ne4 - I doubt whether it got much above 1C today, but felt more like -10C in the biting north-easterly. Plenty of grebe and auk activity from the boats this morning, on a choppy sea, plus a few Kitts, Red-throated divers and a single Bonxie.
ARC - 1115hrs - Eventually located the wintering Long-tailed duck along the far shore from the causeway road; also a host of wildfowl including 12 Goldeneyes, the drakes displaying despite the conditions. From Hanson, 3 redhead Smew and 2 Pintail.
Lydd Aiport - 1215hrs - Checked out the `Dotterel field` which held a small flock of plovers, plus decent numbers of Rooks, Jackdaws, Stock Doves, Red-legged Partridges, 2 Mistle Thrushes, a Blackbird and Robin. Most of `em were loitering in the sun-drenched lee of a hedgerow, sheltering from the wind and taking advantage of invertebrates in the frost-free turf.
Down by the aircraft hangars a Black Redstart was also feeding in a sun-trap; it is amazing how such a frail insectivorous bird can survive in this weather, but it seemed to be finding morsels of food.
Plovers - Continuing on with the, hard-as-nails-passerine theme, was working in the garden this afternoon when a Chiffchaff paid me a visit. While they`re regular here on passage I rarely see a wintering bird, but it too seemed to be finding plenty to eat amongst the ivy and conifers, particularly in one small sun-trap. Once the Chiffy had move off I got the step ladder out and thrust my head into the ivy-clad tree to see what I could find. Incredibly, I soon found a couple of small spiders and a few other creepy crawlies, so it seems that if you know where to look there`s prey to be had, even in weather such as this.

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