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Where to watch Med Gulls with colour rings (by Raymond Henson) Copt Point, Folkestone, England 51 05N 01 12E

Best spots in Folkestone

How to get there

Copt Point is about 1 km north-east of the Harbour.

Approach by road :
From LONDON - leave the M20 at its end, junction 13
From DOVER - leave the B2011 at its end,
then in both cases take the A259 then A260 due east (under the hill slope), but do not take the right-angle turn on the A260 - go straight ahead into Wear Bay road and continue along that for 1.25 km until the East Cliff Café (Pavilion) is reached, where there is plenty of parking.

The Med collection

Folkestone has a resident Med collection throughout the year apart from the breeding season, which means from mid-July to end-March. The collection is best seen in the last three hours before sundown; at other times many of birds may be absent, particularly at the time of high tide.

During the day, birds appear to feed mainly in the fields on the high ground north of the town or inland.

There is a dense night-roost accumulation of birds at, or on the water off, the tidal rocks marked by ** on the map, and nothing in the area - or in Kent - remotely equals this accumulation. Birds are usually on the rocks, if not disturbed (they are surprisingly tolerant of bird-watchers); but in very cold weather may find the sea warmer. Numbers are present (January 2001) are about 200-250. Birds reach a plateau-level around mid-August, and start to leave after (roughly) 20 February.

Colour-ringed birds form, perhaps, 12.5 % of the population.

In hard weather, i.e. periods of high winds or frozen grounds, more birds may remain at the Point during the day. This can also happen when there are special feeding opportunities on the shore or when the birds have already fed well. While some individuals visit the East Cliff Café area, birds almost never visit the Harbour itself.

Note particularly that certain individuals fly in straight to the tidal rocks, from inland or the sea, and will be missed if the tidal rocks are not given attention. It is advisable to be in wellington boots.

It should also be noted that not all colour-ringed individuals are present every day; to pick up 50 % of them is reasonably good!

Raymond Henson 20.01.2001

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