This morning I had my first opportunity for a while to walk over West High Down…and a glorious morning it was – is it really November??!
There were 2 Black Redstarts at The Needles Battery, including this male perched on one of the interpretation boards. I hadn’t realised that it was only following the devastation of the Second World War that this, originally rocky mountain inhabitant, continued its expansion through north-western Europe and began nesting in London’s new rocky habitat, conveniently sculpted by the Luftwaffe! The first nesting record for Britain was in 1845 but it was as a ‘bomb-site bird’ that the population really began to flourish, giving it the impetus that has led to the establishment of some hundred pairs or so in the south-east today.
West High Down itself was quite quiet apart from a few Wheatears and the odd Stonechat, so I was really pleased to come across my first island Short-eared Owl in the eastern –gorse-dominated – area.
Magic!! Owls always are!