Saturday, 12 February 2011

White Cliffs Walk with Peter Wells and Mandy.

Mandy and I left Tonbridge at 08.30 this morning a took a leisurely drive to collect Peter from his house in St Margaret's at Cliff, the weather was overcast this end but was gradually clearing as we neared the A2.

We arrived at Peters and had a coffee and a chat before setting off down to do a bit of sea watching, when we arrived though there was only 2 species to note, the 1st was Black Headed Gull and the 2nd was a Guillemot ( a 1st for Mandy and I ).

From the car park we set of on a short drive to park the car next to the South Foreland Lighthouse, a majestic structure overlooking the Channel with the aim of spotting Ravens and Peregrine Falcons.

We had a few good sightings as we started our walk, Greenfinch,Goldfinch, a Cock Pheasant and Great Tit, these were followed very quickly by Magpie, Meadow Pipit, Skylark and another sight I've not seen before was a Great Crested Grebe on the sea!

Jackdaw were out in force along with Herring Gull and Fulmar and Lesser Black Backed Gull these were followed by another 1st for Mandy and I which was a Shag having its lunch with a Cormorant on the sea.
We walked a bit further along and Peter spotted the Peregrine Falcon on the cliff face (see photos) which is a fantastic bird.

The next birds we seen within the next half a hour or so:

Carrion Crow
Grey Partridge
Song Thrush
Wood Pigeon
Blue Tit

We walked through a wooded area and flushed up a Woodcock which was yet another 1st for us both, what a good day we were having!

Robin could be heard calling within the brush and a few House Sparrows were also seen, this was followed by a Jay and then the 2nd bird we wanted to see, yes, a pair of Ravens collecting nesting material, a really good days birding!

We got back to the car and were standing around eating lunch a having a cup of tea when we spotted a Kestrel.

From the lighthouse we drove down into Dover and parked the car near the marina as we were told about another bird that has been there a few weeks and went to see if it was still about, it was and it was a Scaup which is yet another 1st for Mandy and I, with it were Coot and Moorhen.
From there we drove to Samphire Hoe and whilst there we spotted Common Gulls and Mallards as well as 3 Peregrines displaying nest to the cliffs.

We drove back to Peters after for a cuppa and a slice of cake before heading back home.

What a great day out with great company, hoping Nancy feels better very soon.

Click on photos to enlarge, the beetle photo was taken with my new macro lens and I think it may be a Bloody Nose Beetle but i am not confident in that.

 Thanks Greenie for confirming my ID of the beetle.


 Fulmar, excuse the quality.


 South Foreland Lighthouse

 Peregrine Falcon above and below.

 Raven above and below, again not the best but a good record.

 I think I'm correct in that this is a Lesser Black Backed Gull?

Juv Gull of some sorts?

Above and below are the nacro shots of the Bloody Nose Beetle, I am proud of these as were the 1st pics taken with the lens.

Scaup and Coot in the marina

Peter Wells with whom we went with has a blog if any of you care to follow his also, click the link to reach the site:


  1. Phil & Mandy ,
    Some really good species found today .
    I think you are correct on the LBBG identification .
    I would say that your beetle is Timarcha tenebricosa , aka Bloody-nosed Beetle ,Blood Spewer and Blood-spewing Beetle . It gets these common names from the fact that when it is disturbed or comes under attack , it exudes a bright red , foul tasting fluid from it's mouth and other joints as a defence . Of interest , it has wing cases but they are fused together , meaing that it is a ground living species .
    Hope you weren't eating whilst reading this !

  2. Thanks Greenie, I have just ordered a field guide on Beetles as now I have a macro lens I may find it a useful tool! Phil

  3. Great day out Phil, exciting bird species seen :-)

    Thats no LBB Gull, look at its back, it's pale grey! Herring Gull looks to be a better ID :-)

  4. Never have been any good at Gulls !

  5. Great to get some new species, thats always exciting, as well as a good birding spot to go to. Nice pics too, great stuff :-)

  6. Hi Phil and Mandy, Great photo's of the Beetle, your new lens was well worth the money.
    The 2 gulls are Herring Gulls, the second Gull shot looks like a 1st winter Herring.

  7. Smashing pics, Phil - was a good day, far better than I expected, phew!! Good to see you both