Bird Watching (UK) - - Go Birding - PAUL TRODD

THE FIRST SEC­TION of this walk fol­lows an es­tab­lished foot­path along one of the most scenic and bird-rich sec­tions of the Royal Mil­i­tary Canal, a broad, de­fen­sive ditch and relic from the Napoleonic era. Be­tween Ken­nard­ing­ton and Ware­horne bridges the wooded, hilly coun­try of the Low Weald to the north con­trasts markedly with the flat, re­claimed farm­land of the Rom­ney Marsh. The Dow­els is the low­est point on the Marsh and heav­ily sheep-grazed to­wards Ap­ple­dore, with more arable land to be found at the east end. The marginal strip of land ei­ther side of the canal with its tangle of hedgerows, scrub and marshy patches, is a noted mi­grant hot spot as birds fol­low the line of hills. From mid-morn­ing keep a watch­ful eye for ther­malling Red Kites and Buz­zards. Com­mon war­blers, hirundines and the like should be on the move and there is al­ways a chance of a pas­sage Red­start, Whin­chat, Wheatear or Ring Ouzel. A few Cuck­oos and Tur­tle Doves still breed, while Hob­bies are of­ten seen hunt­ing fly­ing in­sects over the canal. On the farm­land, Lit­tle Owls favour old wil­low trees and Lesser Whitethroats sing from hedgerow cover. Small par­ties of mi­grant Yel­low Wag­tails can be grounded amongst the sheep, while you may see Mediter­ranean Gulls. Stonechat. A good spot for rap­tors, such as Buz­zard, Marsh Har­rier, Spar­rowhawk and Kestrel.

Spend some time scan­ning ei­ther side of the bridge along the canal where wild­fowl, King­fisher and egrets are likely.

3Open arable farm­land sup­ports Kestrel, Buz­zard, par­tridges, Stock Dove, corvids, wag­tails, buntings, spar­rows and finches.

4Visit on a crisp, still mid­week morn­ing for best re­sults

Cetti’s War­bler Yel­low Wag­tail

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