Sunday, 14 September 2014

Hastings celebrations

This weekend I've been in Hastings to help my father celebrate his 83rd birthday. So a fish and chip supper was in order, and that was very nice. This morning I headed out early to have a look along the seafront. It was sunny and a little breezy. The tide was on its way out, and I headed towards the rocky bit east of Rock-a-nore beach, where there used to be a sign gently discouraging people from going further because of the risk of rockfalls from the sandstone cliffs above. I found that the gentle sign has been replaced by an altogether more robust one, saying (in as many words) 'no, really, don't do it, there have been lots of actual rockfalls in the last few months', so I didn't.

Oh well. There are always Herring Gulls.

Juvenile Herring Gulls...

Adult (scruffy) Herring Gulls...

Flying Herring Gulls...

.... and health and safety inspector Herring Gulls. I like those very graphic warning images. It's just occurred to me that the person falling into the deep water also looks like he's being strangled by a python.

You can usually find a few Turnstones on the beach at Hastings, though they are not super-common and in-your-face the way they are at some other seaside towns. This one was on the wall that marks the edge of the 'sudden drop' warned of in the sign above, so I couldn't nip round the other side and photograph it with better light.

I could, however, photograph it with worse light.

I began to walk towards the fishing boats, but the Great Black-backed Gulls were all taking flight before I got anywhere near them, so I turned back, and made my way to the harbour arm via the non-shoreline route, behind the boats.

Once I got to the harbour arm, I walked along its eastern side and photographed some of the many Acorn Barnacles that live on its walls below the high water mark.

The Remains of the Dogfish. I think it has a certain grim beauty. Or maybe it's just grim.

Further up the beach, a few Carrion Crows were feeding. This one's bizarre shape-throwing as it came in to land was accentuated by the fact that it's moulting its innermost secondaries, turning its wings into feathery ping-pong bats.

Looking back across the fishing-boats bit of the beach at this point, I noticed a man walking down to the shore, escorted by a huge swirling throng of gulls. The reason for their interest became apparent when I saw he was carrying a bucket, the fishy contents of which he chucked out for the gulls to enjoy.

Then I walked around the boating lake, where I have on occasion found Wheatears at this time of year, checking out the little ornamental gardens and grassy patches. Today, no Wheatears, just a skittish flock of House Sparrows including this young male. There were migrants around though - a light passage of Swallows was going through, heading east, perhaps to the lauchpad of Dungeness.

Then I walked up to the top of the East Hill to the start of the Country Park, to have a look over the Old Town and see if anything interesting flew past.

Something interesting promptly did fly past - this juvenile Sparrowhawk which gave me lovely albeit not very close eye-level views until a Jackdaw went for it and sent it diving for cover.

The Swallow passage continued, with probably 100 birds in little groups going through over the half-hour I was there. I didn't manage any photos of them at all, but did get these passing Chaffinches.

Closer at hand, this Red Admiral joined the many bees and wasps making full use of the flowering ivy.

Things were otherwise rather quiet. No sign of any Ravens. Apart from the Swallows, 'vis mig' was limited to half a dozen Meadow Pipits. I decided to see how the D700 liked trying to photograph small, fast-moving subjects against a busy background. It seems to like it quite a lot.

It was starting to look a bit threateningly cloudy, and it was also getting towards mid-morning and time for dad and I to go for a stroll, so I plodded back down the very long stretch of steps, looking over the edge to photograph this fishing boat and attendant gulls on the way.

This is the outside of a house near dad's, which I include just because I think it looks nice. Has mid-September always been this flowery?

1 comment:

Bob Telford said...

Nice report - hope your father enjoyed his birthday. The D700 certainly did an excellent job with those pigeons against the busy background but the Sparrowhawk was exceptionally clear.