On a beautiful clear and sunny day members of the group met on the white cliffs at St Margaret’s near Dover. Within minutes John had us all looking out to sea – as he assured us that we could tell the time by looking at the Town Hall clock in Calais. We couldn’t! Back to birds, a peregrine came so close that the photographers with long lenses almost had to back up. I am not good on juvenile peregrine plumage but several times the bird wobbled on its perch – so I think it must have only recently left the nest.
We soon found corn bunting, yellowhammer and fulmar but then the birds rather deserted us but fortunately the coastal grassland was full of flowers – knapweeds, field scabious, wild carrot, wild parsnip and wild marjoram. Almost good enough for a wild box lunch – although I am with John on this one, except that I would have taken the lettuce out of his beefburger bap.
With the sunshine and the flowers lots of butterflies were on the wing – something that hasn’t been that common this summer. We saw about 10 species of butterfly and two day flying moths (6 spot burnet and silver y). For me our best find was a female great green bush cricket. The cliffs around Dover are a known hot spot for this species and it wouldn’t have been right to have left without seeing one.