With conditions looking promising for a decent bit of drift, I decided to head down to Dover for first thing. After missing Dante's Radde's Warbler a couple of weeks back, I've been particularly determined to get down to Langdon Cliffs as much as possible before the autumn is out in the hope of another good bird.
It felt promising around the car park early doors, with lots of birds overhead – predominately Chaffinches and Song Thrushes, but with the odd Redwing and Brambling mixed in. The bushes were alive with the sounds of Robins and Goldcrests, themselves two of the most numerous migrants of the morning (along with Song Thrush and Blackbird). The odd Chiffchaff was calling and occasional flocks of up to 20 Siskins were passing to the east.
Despite much promise there was a lack of genuine quality, with a fly-over Golden Plover the best in the car park area. Langdon Hole produced a similar array of migrants, the best of which was a Black Redstart on the undercliff. Further Bramblings, Siskins and Robins and a single Northern Wheatear enlivened the eastward climb out of 'The Hole', the former among many Skylarks and Meadow Pipits in the clifftop crop fields. Then, just a short way before Fan Bay, I scored the bird of the morning – recognising an unusual call to my right, I turned to see a male Snow Bunting flying from the clifftop with a small group of Meadow Pipits and off inland.
Fan Bay produced little more than a few Blackcaps and a couple of Stonechats and, with the weather becoming increasingly warm and sunny, I decided to call it a morning and head back to London for the Rustic Bunting at Wanstead Flats, present for its second day.
The bunting was showing well to a small crowd on arrival, generally among the burnt areas of scrub, but occasionally sitting up in trees, calling regularly. I stayed with it for a couple of hours, enjoying excellent 'scope views, although it was always that tiny bit too distant for genuinely good SLR shots. Nonetheless the beautiful autumn light ensured a few decent records could be obtained. After August's Red-backed Shrike, this was another cracking bird for Wanstead.
The musings of a wildlife enthusiast, usually armed with his camera.