With the weather forecast looking a bit better than yesterday I decided to do a species list on a potential new patch for next year. To the west of Reculver is Bishopstone Glen and then Herne Bay Downs which is popular with dog walkers but not many people seem to bird the area apart from the odd person. The fact that not many people bird the area is quite attractive and with grassy slopes with bushes and trees and the woods in Bishopstone Glen and the sea to look at, it has in the past turned up some excellent species. I have managed to see on site Yellow browed, Pallas's and Dusky Warbler, Red breasted Flycatcher, Red backed and Great Grey Shrike, Dartford Warbler and Black Redstart to name a few good birds, not to mention some Skuas and other seabirds that may fly by. I decided to walk from Bishopstone Lane Car park as far as the Kings Hall in Herne Bay and managed to see or hear 45 species. There were plenty of species I would expect to see but didn't but I did manage a few nice species including 4 Tree Sparrow which were in the hedges at Bishopstone and after waiting for a while in the cloudy conditions, I managed a few records shots of them. Its a good day in my book when you have seen Tree Sparrow in North Kent.
I also found 1 Firecrest, 6 Brambling flew west with Chaffinch which were on the move all morning in small flocks and 1 Short eared Owl was watched coming in off the sea at Bishopstone. Add a few Redpoll, small flocks of Siskin, 4 Stonechat and good numbers of Dark bellied Brent Geese offshore, this site definitely has a lot of potential. On the downside is the amount of dog walkers, cyclists and joggers. They were everywhere but you can't have everything and they have just as right as me to be out enjoying themselves. On one hand, they might flush the odd bird from the long grass on the slopes but on the other, they might scare off some birds. Either way, I will have to get used to them if this is my chosen location for next year. Being on the coast, I can imagine many visits where it will be quiet but I can also see certain parts of the year having lots of birds in the area. I will make a few more exploratory visits in the next few weeks but it seems to have everything that I would like and at only one and three quarter miles long and one hundred and fifty metres wide excluding the sea, all the area can be covered well on visits.
Herne Bay Downs (looking east towards Reculver)
Herne Bay Downs (Reculver Towers in the distance on the left)