St Mary`s Bay - warm, dry and cloudy, light airs - An early morning Ted walk commenced on the field in front of the golf links in humid, misty conditions, ideal for grounded migrants and to be fair, for a change, there were a few passerines to be had, mostly Meadow Pipits, Linnets, Goldfinches, Skylarks and a few Wheatears. After all this site has got form and in my time has delivered the likes of Shore Lark, Red-backed Shrike, Lapland and Snow Buntings; I always reckon it could be good for a Richard`s Pipit, but not this morning... As the tide was out the sands attracted the usual Curlews, Oystercatchers and several Turnstones, but yet again an absence of small sandpipers.
White Cliffs, Dover - We then drove to Folkestone to pick up our Lucy, and on to the iconic White Cliffs for a birthday walk along to South Foreland lighthouse, a site I`ve not visited for about ten years. The scenery, of course, is spectacular; which was a good job as there was a distinct lack of bird life apart from a few Chiffchaffs in the bushes and Jackdaws along the sea cliffs. After pausing for a packed lunch at the lighthouse we returned along the hinterland route (still bereft of migrants) to view the Chough release site where eight birds nervously perched on the cage and along the adjacent fenceline. It certainly made for a spectacular setting though, with the castle nestling in the background and mist rolling across a deep, grassy valley. I`m a sucker (no pun intended!) for a good tree and during the afternoon we came across a spectacular Common Hawthorn specimen, which somehow had matured into a rather smart tree as opposed to the usual hedgerow bush. It was also a pleasure to bump into Heather Chantler (formerly of Dungeness RSPB) this afternoon for a natter, and thanks again to my lovely daughter Lucy for the company along the way.