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An individual, of no great importance, who is unable to the see the natural world as a place for competition. I catch fish, watch birds, derive immense pleasure from simply looking at butterflies, moths, bumble-bees, etc - without the need for rules! I am Dylan and this is my blog - if my opinions offend? Don't bother logging on again - simple!

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Sunday, 7 January 2018

Harbour recollections

I'd been back down to Ramsgate Harbour, for a quick wander before lunch, on the look out for C-R gulls. Over the years, this site has been the most reliable place to encounter these bangle wearing individuals and I've found Norwegian ringed Great Black-backs, Finnish Black-heads,  Dutch Cormorants, Lesser Black-backs from Suffolk, as well as plenty of Herring Gulls from the North Thames Gull Group program plus others from the RSPCA Malydams wildlife rescue centre. I'm in no doubt that it's because Ramsgate remains a viable fishing port, which keeps the high turnover of birds visiting the facility purely due to feeding opportunities it offers. Unlike the venue I came to know when I first moved to Thanet in June 2000, Ramsgate Harbour is now a hugely busy complex due to the massive industrial development of the wind-farms out in The Thames Gateway,  plus the venue is also the base for the pilot boats which assist the safe passage of commercial shipping in and out of the Thames Estuary and London Docklands. Birds and people sharing a very busy environment has the effect that birds show a higher tolerance to human presence, thus tend to be more confiding than in usual situations - great for any camera/binocular wielding, ring reading, birder.

A Norwegian C-R Great Black-backed Gull
Over the past couple of decades I have been privileged to discover some fantastic birds within the boundaries of this working harbour. Obviously, not every bird comes with plastic ornaments, but is every bird a candidate for such jewelry laden study?




I would like to think that my memories are based upon good experiences, good times, when the encounters helped enhance the time I spent wandering around this semi-industrial environment.
I've seen divers, auks, multitude gulls and even a flock of seven Sooty Shearwaters whilst stood on the fabric which is Ramsgate Harbour. Looking back is on a very pleasurable period of my life. I don't keep a Ramsgate Harbour list, but know it would be quite impressive - Osprey, Shore Lark, Snow Bunting, Little Auk, Iceland, Caspian & Western Yellow - legged Gulls, Black Redstart, Scandinavian Rock Pipit, Arctic Tern (in December), Kingfisher and Moorhen all being "Harbour Ticks!" over the years.


It is a fantastic place to visit, Ramsgate making great efforts to shake the "kiss me quick" stigma of yesteryear! The harbour is now focal to the whole vibe of regeneration and optimism. Natural history continues to be part of this process and I will do my best to remain positive about the future as the harbour evolves to encompass the requirements of the businesses that use it and keep it viable.

1st winter Iceland Gull with a 1st winter Great Black-back - not a C-R in sight!
This morning in Ramsgate Harbour.



3 comments:

  1. I've seen Sabine's Gull and Grey Phalarope in the harbour Dyl - my only two visits!

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    1. Bloody twitcher! - I've seen neither species in the harbour but am also aware of records of Black-necked Grebe and Glaucous Gull within the harbour walls since my move to Kent - didn't see them either! It's on my doorstep and has played a major part in my Thanet birding experience. With this new wave of enthusiasm I am hoping that the venue will continue to attract unusual avian visitors and, therefore, keep me on my toes! Did you "twitch" the female King Eider about a mile north along the coast, below King George VI Park, mid-90's?
      All the best - Dyl

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