Saturday, 8 November 2014

From Leeds Castle to Dungeness

Leeds Castle - 1000hrs - mild, cloudy, sw 2 - Had a change of scene this morning to recce out Leeds Castle for a magazine article. Mrs PT joined us for a circular walk which took in the surrounding woodland and the castle grounds with ornamental lakes and grazing land. There were some impressive trees around the park; of particular note was an avenue of Limes and several ancient Sweet Chestnuts. Typical parkland type birds included Buzzard, Sparrowhawk, Stock Dove, Green and Great peckers, Nuthatch, Bullfinch, Grey Wagtail, Mipit and Kingfisher, plus a variety of dodgy wildfowl such as Mandarin and Black Swan.
As the castle was shut we had the place to ourselves, and very pleasant it was too.

                                Black Swans, Leeds Castle

                                Leeds Castle

                               Sweet Chestnut, Leeds Castle

Dungeness - 1445-1545hrs - Anyhow, it was good to get back on the flatlands (too many trees for my liking up there on the Weald) to a proper birding area, and an hour at the fishing boats in the company of MB, NB et al. A moderate sea was still running but the light was good and we enjoyed a substantial westward passage of Kittiwakes comprising hundreds of birds, plus a steady flow of Gannets. There wasn't much else to report apart from a few distant, auks, scoters, four Bonxies and a Grey Seal, until, just as we were about to leave MB called, "diver, close to shore" and we enjoyed stunning views of a Black-throated Diver as it rounded the point, a typical `black and white` individual with a thick neck, great big paddles sticking out the rear and wings at the mid-point. The perfect way to finish any seawatch.

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