Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Gullfest 2015

Also a Fulmar- and Turnstone-fest. For once my overnight stay at dad's in Hastings coincided with lovely sunny weather so I went down to the beach to take a few photos this morning.

Actually, before that, I went out for a run on the seafront. I set off crazily early (about 5.30am, very much still dark outside) as had a ton of stuff to do before coming home, including a steady five-miler. I was about 20 feet into my five-miler, heading towards Rock-a-Nore, when I spotted a Fox jogging towards me. It showed no fear at all, trotting past me pretty much within touching distance, then stopping and turning to look at me when I stopped and turned to look at it. Lovely start to the day.

With the run done and dusted, I went out again after breakfast, heading for Rock-a-Nore again to look for Fulmars. There seemed to be more pairs than usual, at least 20 between the East Hill lift and the end of Rock-a-Nore - the air was full of their hacking-cough calls as they conversed with their neighbours and significant others.

The birds on their ledges are a bit high up for pics but when they launch off and wheel about they can get quite frame-filling.

In pleasant contrast to the Fulmar cackles was the tuneful voice of this Song Thrush, in a tree at the base of the cliff.

This Woodpigeon was having a relaxed preen on the very heavy-duty fence that is presumably there to protect the road and buildings from cliff-falls.

The Feral Pigeons are very active, doing courtship flights around the cliff face. Also lots of Jackdaw action. But a disappointing lack of Ravens - in fact I've not seen a Raven here for more than a year now. Perhaps they have moved east to the quieter Fairlight cliffs.

A selection of Herring Gulls. They have to do something special to make it into my blog these days, whether that be posing with wings unfurled like an angel; flying in front of some nice buildings on the West Hill; providing safety advice; demonstrating the 'long-call'; posing in a foursome with all four birds showing their lovely profiles; or trying to access some lager dregs in a plastic pint glass.

I walked along the Stade beach for a while, then noticed someone walking the other way, so I stopped and let them coax the many loafing gulls my way, so I could get pics of the young Great Black-backs.

On the beach were several Turnstones, and also several washed-up dogfish. I took some pics of one of the former as it walked along picking at the latter.

A couple of non-avian subjects also caught my eye on the edge of the beach here - a nicely dressed fence post, and a pair of chairs demonstrating some highly atypical chair behaviour.

With time running out, I went up to the top of the East Hill for 15 minutes or so to see if I could find a Raven or Peregrine or something, but no luck. Photographed the Ferals and a shiny Magpie from the top, and the Dunnock was singing from the scrub beside the steps.


Graham Canny said...

Hi M,
Sounds like a great day out! Fab photos! We missed you today at Amwell! And you missed Muntjac and a Yellow-legged Gull! Maybe another time....
Best wishes, Graham

Warren Baker said...

Thats a day well spent Marianne, I will have to get myself out coast bound for some of these Gulls in flight shots :-)