East-south-easterly wind? Check
Cloud cover? Check
Calm by mid-morning? Check
Loads of birds? In all honesty, no...

The conditions should have seen an interesting day here, but we had to accept a modest - and I mean modest - arrival of crests and thrushes. Numbers that in any other year would not even raise a hyperactive eyebrow. It is churlish to consider Ring Ouzels, Black Redstarts and Firecrests as not worthy of appreciation, but late October at Dungeness should be better than this. Still we plod on, still I put on a brave face, still I think that I should not be so dismissive of the birding. This is what happens when you try to be positive about a situation that is clearly not positive. Sometimes you need to admit that positivity is severely overrated. Why not admit to the birding being poor? There is no shame in doing so, although, to some people, it seems to be a sin to do so. On the flip side, I stood by the lighthouse garden for an hour this afternoon and awaited a tame Firecrest. It was on a feeding circuit and briefly appeared just feet in front of me on three occasions. I managed a few pictures with the bridge camera, but could obtain better. That hour flew by. It was enjoyable birding. As the Americans say, "Go figure..."


Derek Faulkner said…
Personally, I think some of you guys are going to have to accept that times, or at least, the seasons, have changed and that because of it birdwatching is changing as well. We don't seem to have the comfortable four seasons any more that we can set our migrant clocks by, many of the birds seem as confused as us about what time of year it is. Last early winter was a mild as early Spring and this year could go the same way and if not it will certainly be very dry. Here on Sheppey, which must be the dryest place in England at the moment, it is the dryest it has been for around twenty years and consequently bird types and numbers are the lowest they've been for years as well.
Steve Gale said…
Yes Derek, everything (birds, weather, moths, plants) appears to be marching to a different and ever-changing drum beat!
Stewart said…
Sibes have been a bit early in the North East this year Steve. We usually dont get Pallas's, Black Reds, LEOs etc until this week but they and rarer species have all gone through already. I think the very specific wetaher conditions have been responsible, blowing these vagrants through much earlier than normal. But, people are still looking for them as if we had not had any birds at all. We have a finite number of birds that can pass our shores, and I think we have mostly had them already! Maybe one of the northern accentors will move south as the weeks progress? Dunge looks to have ideal habitat for them with sparsely vegetated stony areas aplenty...Good Luck.
Steve Gale said…
Thanks Stewart, we need that luck, as so far all the combined effort has produced but a very few Yellow-broweds.

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