Wednesday 24 November 2021

Romney Salts

New Romney - overcast, mild, light airs - Spent this afternoon slogging around the hinterland to the south (between the village and the coastal strip at Greatstone) in an area known as Romney Salts. For the most part here the landscape is arable in nature comprising the usual mix of corn and rape-seed fields, drainage sewers, stunted bushes and grass farm tracks, plus a large dung heap which is a magnet for finches, sparrows and buntings; particularly the fast declining Tree Sparrow and Corn Bunting. For the moment, at least, the majority of the cropped fields are unploughed and stubbled with plenty of spilled grain and in places full of weed-seeds making them very attractive to farmland birds. Steadily quartering the `best looking` weedy stubble fields I eventually counted c2,000 Starlings, 300 black crows, 160 Skylarks, 30 Corn Buntings, 15 Tree Sparrows, 10 Meadow Pipits, 11 Common Snipes, two Golden Plovers, a Redshank and a Pheasant, while a drilled field held 175 Curlews. Loitering around the margins were 20 Magpies, 10 Blackbirds, two song Thrushes, three Common Buzzards and a Stonechat. The Salts look spot on for Ortolan Bunting and Short-eared Owl this winter, providing the rough stuff remains, and I fully intend to return to check when the weather conditions are suitable, as they were today. Walking back along Church Lane the building site adjacent to the council tip held 35 Meadow Pipits, 10 Goldfinches and 10 Pied Wagtails, while a Siskin flew over calling. Yet again, winter thrushes were noticeable by a complete absence. 

                                  Corn Bunting and Buzzard, Romney Salts

                                 Stonechat, Romney Salts

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