It's been a good few weeks for waders! We've had 2 great white egrets hanging out on our reserve for a while, with them being spotted every day for about 2 weeks. A cattle egret (below) was seen in the cow field on the 15th of August which was a delight to see as you drove down the track.
Bitterns have been about, being spotted at various hides, one was last seen at Denge Marsh hide on the 18th. An avocet was seen at Firth Hide on the 15th and a spoonbill was seen over the reserve that day too! Green, common and wood sandpipers have been spotted every day around the reserve.
The ARC has come up trumps, being home to a large variety of waders this week including:
bar-tailed and black-tailed godwits
little ringed plovers,
temmincks and little stints,
redshanks and spotted redshanks.
As well as the waders we have seen black-necked grebes, garganeys and a red-crested pochard on Burrowes pit. Bearded tits have been seen at Denge Marsh, black terns were sighted on Burrowes pit on the 18th. Cuckoos, kingfishers, turtle doves and sandmartins have been seen on the reserve this week as well.
Wheaters and common redstarts were seen on the entrance track on the 18th. Whitethroats and lesser whitethroats were seen at Denge Marsh yesterday. Yellow wagtails, pied and spotted flycatchers, willow warblers and winchats were seen in the hayfields and on the veiwing point this week too.
Birds of prey have also been a common site this week with hobbys over Burrowes pit and Denge Marsh on the 17th, a sparrowhawk flying over the reserve on the 19th, a kestrel hovering over the sheep field on the 16th, a peregrine falcon was seen over Denge Marsh on the 17th and a merlin was spotted on the ARC on the 18th.
What a beautiful night we had on Saturday 8th August! It was warm and windless on the reserve and the stars shone brightly in the cloudless sky. On arriving at the centre, everyone who brought a torch with them covered the light in red cellophane – this was to try and prevent scaring the night time wildlife as they are unable to see red light. Children created candle bags with their wishes for nature and guessed the names of the stunning moths we had caught the night before.
We went out on the walk just as the sun was setting and enjoyed watching the reserve become bathed in light as the sun dipped below the horizon. Along our walk we heard the crickets chirping and spotted slugs, newts, spiders, moths and rabbits. We had baited an area for badger but none were to be seen – they are very shy so it would have been a rare treat.
We headed up to the highest point on our reserve for some star gazing, as the sky was now fully dark and the stars were out. The reserve was incredibly silent that night as we sat and listened for noises, not many were heard except the faint rustle of things in the bushes and the occasional quack of a duck.
Back in the visitor centre, we released the moths and enjoyed a hot chocolate topped with gooey marshmallows to end a wonderful evening out on the reserve. I think everyone really enjoyed the rare opportunity to see Dungeness in the dark!
Checking out the moths from the moth traps
Releasing the moths
A garden tiger moth and an elephant hawk moth
Thinking of buying binoculars or a telescope?
Whether you know a bit or don't know where to start, come to the RSPB Dungeness Visitor Centre and get some hands on advice from our friendly team and have the chance to try them out.
Our friendly and knowledgeable volunteers and staff will be available to assist you.
If you cannot make these dates, do not worry as the visitor centre is open every day from 10am to 5pm if you should wish to drop by and take a look.
Wednesday 26th August 2pm to 4pm
Friday 4th September 10.30am to 12.30pm
Wednesday 9th September 2pm to 4pm
Friday 18th September 10.30am to 12.30pm
Wednesday 23rd September 2pm to 4pm