Aug 152018

Here is the latest news from the Dungeness RSPB reserve:


Reserve News Updates

Summer Work Programme

After almost two months of no rainfall here at Dungeness, the recent wet weather has been welcomed by our wildlife and livestock! Although water levels in our pits are low, we have had a brilliant year for seabird nests on our new islands. The data is not yet collated and we still have common terns with young chicks so as soon as we know the results from our hard work during the autumn we will share them with you. We are currently surveying our specialist plants around the reserve and we hope to get an indication of how well they are doing too.

Ragwort pulling continues and is a job that most volunteers aren’t that keen on but it is an essential task to remove it from livestock fields as quickly as possible. Ragwort can be poisonous to cows and horses when digested but the flowers themselves have benefits for a whole host of wildlife. Bees and butterflies adore it and the caterpillars of the cinnabar moth enjoy munching on its leaves. Look out for cinnabar moth caterpillars on ragwort you find, they are fairly small but have bright yellow-orange and black stripes. The moths themselves are black and red. We leave ragwort to grow outside of our fenced areas for the wildlife to enjoy.

Wildlife Highlights

Many chicks have now fledged although we recently witnessed a juvenile cuckoo still being fed by its adoptive reed warbler parents. Cuckoos are fantastic birds and are brood parasites, journeying all the way here from Africa so the females can lay an egg in another bird’s nest; especially meadow pipits, dunnocks and reed warblers. Once hatched, the cuckoo chick ejects all other eggs from the nest so its adoptive parents focus their sole attention on the one chick. Cuckoos feast on hairy caterpillars and they particularly love the brown-tailed moth caterpillar which we have in abundance here.

We are slowly starting to creep into early – dare I say it? – Autumn migration. Many wading birds will pass through Dungeness back to their winter pastures and we’ve seen a few stop here to feed. Some wader species we have had on the reserve recently include, but are not limited to; wood and green sandpiper which have been seen both on Burrowes Pit and at the ARC, avocet, spotted redshank, turnstone, ruff and black-tailed godwit.

Today we had approximately 2,000 sand martins pass over our reserve to feed whilst the cloud cover was low, then as soon as the sun came out they headed off south. Sand martins are one of the first birds to migrate back to Africa with the swifts following shortly afterwards.

Lade Pits and the Sound Mirrors

You may or may not know but we were given the old CEMEX quarry site, known as Lade Pits, back in 2015. This site as well as having great potential for wildlife is home to three historic monuments known as the Sound Mirrors or Listening Ears. After a few years of work we now have an events programme for the Sound Mirrors which gives people the opportunity to get up close to these structures more than once a year. The Sound Mirrors are situated on an island which is only accessible during these events to provide a safe and peaceful place for wildlife during the rest of the time. I have attached our events programme for the year as a PDF to this email so please do take a look and distribute and advertise our events at your will. We are running bookable guided tours and photography sessions and our next open day (non-bookable) is on Saturday 1st September. We also take bookings for groups of 20 people upwards, please email for more information on these.

Volunteering opportunity!

Want to try something different? Then volunteer for RSPB Dungeness! We need people who are willing to help our reserve team of staff and volunteers with important conservation tasks around the reserve. Get up close to nature and see a different side of our spectacular reserve by undertaking a variety of habitat management and site maintenance tasks. Opportunities available every Tuesday, Thursday and every first Sunday of the month, 9am-4pm. Please contact the reserve on 01797 320588 and ask for Craig or

If you don’t fancy all that manual work, the visitor centre is also looking for friendly and chatty volunteers to help manage our counter and reception area. Volunteer for a full day or half a day based on a rota that is flexible around you. If you love talking to people, particularly about wildlife and are happy to serve people in our shop then please call the reserve on 01797 320588 and ask for Mary or

Education programme

We are taking school visit bookings for the first half of the autumn term. We will be exploring the reserves pond habitats, seeing what minibeasts live under the water and also trying to identify birds that live on top of it! For more information, please contact Louise on 01797 320588, or visit:


There is plenty to see and do at RSPB Dungeness! See below or check out our website for more details about all our events.

Upcoming Events!

To book contact 01797 320 588 or

Booking is essential for all events apart from free ‘drop-in’ events.

RSPB members benefit from 20% discount on event prices where stated.

Children attending events must be accompanied by adults.



Wild Families – Ponds, pellets and potions

Wednesday 22 August

11am – 3pm

Do you want to learn more about the creepy crawlies that hide under the surface of a pond? Want to learn what our resident barn owls like to eat for dinner? How about creating potions and paint out of plants and petals? Then join us on one of these events to be amazed and excited by what we can find and create on our nature reserve. Be prepared to get mucky! Please wear sensible clothing and bring a packed lunch with you.

Child £8. Accompanying adult £2.

20% discount for Wildlife Explorers.


Birdwatching for Beginners

Monday 27 August

10.30am – 12.30pm

Love birds but want to know more about them? Then come on a summer-time walk around our reserve with a friendly guide who will help you identify the birds and their calls along the way. And don’t worry if you don’t own a pair of binoculars, they are available to hire from the visitor centre for a small fee.

Adult £7. Child £3.50.

20% discount for RSPB members & Wildlife Explorers.


Wild Families – Brilliant Bees

Tuesday 28 August

11am – 3pm

Do you want to learn more about our wonderful bees? Want to learn how to identify them, find out about how they live and how important they are? If the answers is yes, join us on an exploration around our reserve to see how many bees we can find buzzing around the flowers. Afterwards, we will be making bee houses allowing you to help give bees a home! Please wear sensible clothing and bring a packed lunch with you.

Child £8. Accompanying adults £2.

20% discount for Wildlife Explorers.


Wild Families – Bird art and craft

Wednesday 29 August

11am – 3pm

Learn all about our birds! Identify some of our most common birds and also some you may not have seen before. Afterwards, we’ll create works of art using what we’ve seen and learnt as inspiration. This event is for all children who love being creative! Please wear sensible clothing and bring a packed lunch with you.

Child £8. Accompanying adults £2.

20% discount for Wildlife Explorers.


Borrow a Birdwatcher

Whether you’re a keen bird watcher or only just beginning, if it’s your first visit to RSPB Dungeness or you are a regular, this event caters for all!

With one-on-one guidance from an RSPB volunteer and expert birdwatcher, you’ll be taught some of the basics of bird identification and taken to the best spots around our reserve to watch many different species of birds.


7 & 21 September


Individual – £30

Couple – £50

Family/group 3 – 4 people – £70 – £80

Prices include a hot drink and free binocular hire for those without.
20% discount for RSPB members & Wildlife Explorers. Please pay in advance by calling 01797 699047.


Bird Watching for Beginners

Sunday 16 September

10.30am – 12.30pm

Adult £7. Child £3.50

20% discount for RSPB members & Wildlife Explorers.


Wader Walk

Wednesday 19 September

10.30am – 12.30pm

Now is the time where wading birds of all kinds stop and feed at Dungeness on passage to their wintering grounds. Waders migrate earlier than other birds and during this time we see a huge variety from godwits to plovers. Join a friendly and knowledgeable guide on a walk around the reserve to see these fascinating birds (and many others of course!).

Adult £7. Child £3.50.

20% discount for RSPB members & Wildlife Explorers.

 Posted by on 15 August 2018 at 11:19 pm

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