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March 30th

Yesterday had been really rather disappointing and a morning walk down to Cart Gap, up Doggetts Lane and along the cliffs to the village was unproductive. All I noted was a 26 strong party of Linnets feeding in some rank grasses along a field edge. The weather has turned somewhat cooler and this has had an effect on bird movement. I carried on to the Coast Watch, following the track inland to Blacksmiths Lane then walked the churchyard, onto Whimpwell Street and Lighthouse Lane before tracking across the fields and home. South of the lighthouse were six more Linnets but not a single summer migrant was to be found. Even Sunday's Sand Martins appeared to have deserted. Taking a different tack this morning, I decided to stick to walking Ossie along our home lane, as far as the paddocks to see if the cover here was sheltering anything interesting. Birds that stop actively migrating because of poor weather, tiredness and hunger, or because they find themselves confronted by a natural barrier such as the North Sea, will seek out cover to provide shelter and a source of nourishment - somewhere to rest. From the air, the paddocks and surrounds must appear as a small oasis on the edge of the rather barren looking fields with no more than grassy banks separating them, and this morning I soon chanced upon a cracking male Firecrest busily feeding in a Hawthorn hedge, occasionally giving out short snatches of it's high pitched song. A real jewel of a bird, I missed out on seeing one last year, so was pleased to once again catch up with what is often a favourite amongst birders. If you don't know what a Firecrest looks like, Google Image search it and you'll soon see why!

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