Dis­tant sight of seabirds

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Countryfile -

It has been a funny old sum­mer, with plenty of windy weather in­ter­spersed with the odd sunny day but noth­ing too hot. On the hot calmer days off Dun­geness, the mack­erel and white­bait ap­pear and they are fol­lowed close in­shore by the por­poises and the nu­mer­ous seabirds. One se­abird which can be seen off the Kent coast in the late sum­mer and au­tumn is the balearic shear­wa­ter. This is a species sim­i­lar to manx shear­wa­ter which breed around the west and north coast of Bri­tain. The manx shear­wa­ter has black wings and white un­der­neath and the wing beats are very stiff. It flies with a flap, flap, glide or soars high up and down through the troughs of the waves. The balearic shear­wa­ter has a smoky brown colour on the un­der­side and above, lack­ing the con­trast of the manx shear­wa­ter. Manx shear­wa­ters nest in rab­bit bur­rows on is­lands around the Bri­tish Isles, while the balearic shear­wa­ter nests in rock crevices on rocky islets in the west­ern Mediter­ranean. They don’t dive for their food, but feed off the sur­face of the wa­ter and are at­tracted to fish boils and fish­ing boats in the Chan­nel. Through Septem­ber a small num­ber of birds has been seen off Dun­geness, but they tend to be dis­tant and fly­ing as fast as they can out to the west.

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