Luckily the foggy start didn’t deter anyone from coming along to Dungeness on Sunday, as it turned out to be a super day – sunny, very warm and with very little breeze.
19 of us met at the Lighthouse car park, and made our way to the shingle beach and along to the ‘patch’. There were numerous gulls feeding there – mainly herring and some black headed – and a sandwich tern was spotted. Some distant gannets were seen, and we all had good views of porpoise which were easy to spot on the calm sea.
Back at the lighthouse area, we watched about 7 black redstart flying and feeding around the gorse bushes – a highlight of the day for many of us! There were also dunnocks, sparrows, chiffchaff/willow warblers, many starlings, a few swallows flying across the shingle and a wheatear. We then decided to call in at the ARC on our way to the reserve, ignoring the pleas of some of us who were feeling hungry and wanted to go straight to the reserve for lunch. From the Hanson hide we saw many wonderful golden plover on the island, some wigeon, lapwing, tufted duck, gadwall, shoveler, pintail, godwit, a ruff and a black-necked grebe. Some of us saw buzzards, sparrowhawk and kestrel.
On to the reserve, and after a well-deserved lunch at the picnic tables in the sunshine, we went round the reserve, stopping at most of the hides on our way. We saw little and great crested grebes, little and great white egret, heard and then saw two ravens, curlew and marsh harriers, to name but a few. There seemed to be an abundance of hovering kestrels seen that day. Some of us were lucky enough to have sightings of kingfisher darting across the water. We stopped for a while to watch at least 8 chiffchaff/willow warblers flitting around in a small tree, and most had good views of a whinchat. We also heard, and then briefly saw, bearded tit.
Outside the Christmas Dell hide, we found a common lizard – thanks Terry for the photograph.
The butterfly enthusiasts amongst us spotted speckled wood, small copper, large white, clouded yellow and common blue.
The total number of species seen was about 68. It was a marvellous day, and thank you to all who joined us. Thanks also to Terry and Sally for the photographs.
Sue & Ian Griffin