SOME LIKE IT HOT!
Dungeness Trip Monday 23rd July
What is it with the bird group and extreme weather?! We bravely faced a trip to Dungeness RSPB on the hottest day of this exceptionally hot summer. But no worries as the gods were watching over us - the car thermometer had dropped to 24 degrees as we climbed out of our cars and the sea breeze was deliciously cool. We were probably in the most comfortable place in the country!
Thus invigorated, we visited all 5 hides on the reserve and managed a three hour walk around. Our rewards were cracking views of screeching common tern nesting on the island pools; ringed plover and little ringed plover in close proximity allowing us to spot the subtle differences and several sightings of a common sandpiper foraging at the water's edge.
Dungeness has the largest shingle bank in the country and boasts a huge range of unique flora and fauna. It is a hotspot for migrating and resident birds. We were not disappointed even though July is one of the quieter months in the birding calendar. The biggest challenge was identification as many young birds do not display their full colours just yet so several robust discussions arose! As we walked on past more pools being patrolled by sand martins - a first for some in the group - cormorants hung rather threateningly in the bare trees decimated by their droppings. Hide number 5 brought the biggest "spot" of the day - a rare sighting of a pair of great white egret --"Egrets - I've had a few - but then again, too few to mention!" These majestic birds are on the brink of regular breeding in the UK following the success of the little egret so hopefully we will see them more frequently in future. But for now we returned to our cars in high spirits and with a sense of achievement.
Birds spotted: blackbird, buzzard, marsh harrier, coot, cormorant, crow, dunlin, dunnock, great white egret, little egret, heron, canada goose, egyptian goose, great crested grebe, jay, kestrel, lapwing, linnet, magpie, sand martin, swallow, mallard, moorhen, ringed plover, little ringed plover, common sandpiper, starling, teal, common tern, sandwich tern, great spotted woodpecker, woodpigeon, mute swans, herring gull, great black backed gull, lesser black backed gull, black headed gull, oystercatcher, blackcap aud.
Butterflies Spotted: Large white, small white, meadow brown, peacock.
This beautiful day was rounded off by chish and fips at the famous Pilot Inn at Dungeness.
We will take August off as birds are exhausted from all that child rearing. Let's put a date in the diary for early September.
Thursday, 6th September - 10.00 am at Sevenoaks Wildfowl Trust, our local patch, followed by a peek at Bough Beech Reservoir on our way back to lunch at the Four Elms cafe.
Thursday, 18th October - all day trip to Shellness on the Isle of Sheppey
Please let me know if you would like to come along.