Here is the latest from RSPB Dungeness:
Reserve News Updates
There’s definitely a chill in the morning air recently which is a sign that summer is over and autumn is here! Like many humans who jet off for some sun in warmer places during the winter, many birds choose to migrate south too. We have already said goodbye to our cuckoos and turtle doves. Hirundines such as sand martins and swallows are gathering in their large numbers over Dungeness to feed before setting off to Africa to spend the winter. Wading birds are also stopping to feed on their passage and we’ve been seeing the likes of black-tailed godwits, little ringed plover and even a pectoral sandpiper.
We’ve had an increase in great white egrets here on the reserve who stay with us every winter. We have also been graced by the presence of cattle egrets this year, of which up to 12 were seen in the fields with the cows! Common and black terns are still about, mostly seen flying and feeding in front of the visitor centre! We’ve also had a few extra birds of prey spotted on the reserve including osprey, short-eared owl and honey buzzard.
The reserve is abundant with blackberries, an absolute buffet for birds feeding up before the winter months come. Now is good time to clean out your bird feeders and check your seed stocks as birds will soon need a helping hand with finding food.
The team have done a fantastic job repairing some of our hides and their doors over the last month. Makepeace hide looks almost as good as new thanks to our skilled volunteers who dedicate their time to do these jobs. Lots of vegetation clearance has been taking place at the moment, particularly in front of the hides and currently out on the islands on Burrowes Pit. Please be patient with the disturbance caused during the time but it will benefit both visitors and wildlife for the winter and next spring. Island vegetation needs to be cleared completely so that the plants do not get a head start in growth next year. If the plants grow too large on the islands, there will be no room for ground nesting birds such as our terns.
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 email@example.com
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 email firstname.lastname@example.org
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, email email@example.com or visit: https://ww2.rspb.org.uk/fun-and-learning/for-teachers/school-trips/
There is plenty to see and do at RSPB Dungeness! See below or check out our website www.rspb.org.uk/dungeness for more details about all our events.
To book contact 01797 320 588 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
Borrow a Birdwatcher
Friday 12 October
10.30am – 1.30pm
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.
Individual – £30
Couple – £50
Family/group 3- 4 people – £70 – £80
Prices include a hot drink and free binocular hire for those without. Please pay in advance. 20% discount for RSPB members & Wildlife Explorers
Autumn Migration Walk
Wednesday 16 October
10.30am – 12.30pm
If you’re a beginner or an expert bird watcher, this walk is for all people fascinated by birds! Come and see which birds visit Dungeness in the autumn time. Autumn is perfect for migrating birds passing through Dungeness as they head to warmer climates. This is the walk for you if you want to learn more about our overseas visitors as well as the birds that stay here all year round. Led by a local guide with expert knowledge on all things feathery!
Adult £7. Child £3.50.
20% discount for RSPB members & Wildlife Explorers.
Wild Things at Halloween
Monday 22 & Wednesday 24 October
11am – 2pm
Come along to Dungeness this half-term to learn about some of the awesome and gruesome wildlife we have here! Delve into our ponds to discover leeches and toads. Mix up concoctions in a cauldron to feed the birds. Search our trail for slimy slugs and unusual fungi. Collect materials to make your own monsters to take home with you! Please wear sensible clothing and bring a packed lunch.
Children £8. Accompanying adults £2.
20% discount for Wildlife Explorers.
Spooky Spider Hunt
Saturday 20 October – Sunday 4 November
Drop in any time between 10am and 3pm
Explore our nature trail and learn about the wonders of spiders on your way round. Can you find the answers to all the questions on our spiders which are hidden round the trail? There’s a prize in it for you if you can find them all! This is a self-led activity, pick up an activity sheet from our visitor centre, open daily from 10am to 4pm, throughout the half-term.
£1 per participant plus usual entry fee to walk the trail (entry free for RSPB members)
Sound Mirror Events
Get up close and personal with the Sound Mirrors. These events are for individuals who wish to view and photograph, sketch or paint the Sound Mirrors. With a limited number of people on the site it is a great opportunity for quiet reflection and a chance to view the mirrors without the busy crowds of the open day.
(Morning) Friday 19th October, 9am-11.30am
(Evening) Monday 19th November, 2.30pm-5pm
£35 per person. Please meet at the entrance to Lade Pits, off Leonard Road, Greatstone, TN28 8RZ
Immerse yourself in war time history as we learn about the fascinating structures known as the Sound Mirrors. The day will start at our Visitor Centre with a presentation on the beginnings of the Sound Mirrors and the lead-up to their development, with photographs of the construction of the Denge Sound Mirrors back in the 1920s and 30s. We will then take you on a minibus from our presentation room to the site itself and let you get close up to the Sound Mirrors where a guide will talk about the more recent history of the Sound Mirrors and the site they are situated on, now known as Lade Pits. Refreshments will be provided throughout the day. Please bring lunch for a picnic under the iconic 200ft Mirror wall (weather permitting). Tours will be limited to a maximum of 15 people.
£60 per person. 20% discount for RSPB members. Please meet at the RSPB Dungeness Visitor Centre, TN29 9PN.