Thursday, 29 October 2009
Thursday 29th October
A foggy start to the morning, with only 3x Pied Wagtails sitting out on the fencing around Gallagher's Gallop nr Kiln Barn Farm. The Little Owl was also still present in the barn. The day inproved and at lunchtime I went out in search of winter thrushes, but despite kicking through the orchards on the research site I failed to find either a Redwing or Fieldfare, amazing when numbers have been reasonably high around the county. I decided to check the area south of the research station and did a circular walk through The Rocks back to Kiln Barn Road. A Kestrel aborted landing on a post after catching sight of me nearby (!), 30+ House Sparrows washed in a newly-created puddle and another couple of Pied Wagtails sat out on a barn roof. There is a large area of horse paddocks in this area, lying slightly elevated and directly south of the Medway gap and full of posts, fences and short turf that ought to make it ideal for migrants, but have I ever seen any here?! Of course not. I was hoping a Ring Ouzel might be loitering as quite a few have been dropping in and around London today - no chance!
The picture above is looking north towards the Downs (Upper Halling by exposed chalk face and Snodland/Holborough by chimneys). The large shed-like buildings are Aylesford Newsprint (adjacent to M20). The railway line is the Maidstone west - London mainline, between East Malling and Barming mainline. The area immediately north (just the other side) of the railway is research station land. The tower of St Peter's Church, Ditton can be see just above the first train carriage on the right. From where I took this picture I could just make out the M2 Medway bridge near Rochester. I can't understand why this area isn't more productive for migrants - it's right opposite the Medway gap which must surely funnel birds between the downs in a strong N-NE. Oh well, I'll keep watching!