Getting to know you

Part of the joy of getting to know an unfamiliar patch is stumbling across areas that look promising. This evening I found myself wandering across a farmland footpath that took me up to the top of the under cliff to the east of the golf course. The rough grassy area had it all - isolated trees, low hedgerow, patches of scrub - with the added bonus of elevation and almost 360 degree views. A place to return to. I also found a number of spots to the east of Charmouth, at the top of the under cliff, where hedge lines and streams meet before seeping over the edge. In each place were birds, with a small pool acting as a bathing place. Again, places to return to.

It wasn't heaving today, but persistence payed off to a point, with Sparrowhawk, Hobby, Peregrine, Swallow (50), House Martin (30), Stonechat (5), Whitethroat (2), Blackcap (2), Chiffchaff (13), Raven (3). A grassy cliff top held at least 50 Autumn Lady's Tresses (pictured).

It is hard to complain about the lack of birds when walking amongst such an arresting landscape. The birds are there, it's just a case of looking. For me, it beats following the crowds to the latest rarity or proven hot-spot.

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