Despite the cold wind and frosty nights, the day times at Dungeness recently have been beautiful! We've had lots of dry weather, perfect for those brisk walks we have all come to know so well. We are pretty much fully open for visitors now, the only things that remain closed for the time being are our hides (due to following government guidelines). However, don't let that put you off coming. If you haven't visited Dungeness for a while, it is well worth coming now. The wardening team have done a fantastic job creating a better experience around the nature trail. There are now more viewing points and benches than ever!
Photo: Dungeness on a sunny day - Craig Edwards
Burrowes pit is now viewable in different places without the use of the hides to see our fantastic wildlife and experience our far reaching views.
Photo: The new Scott lookout which has replaced the broken hide - Craig Edwards
It won't be long before the amazing common terns reach our shores and gather to breed on the islands and rafts on Burrowes pit. Sedge warblers are singing in the scrub and reed, small numbers of swallows and sand martins have been swooping over the reserve.
The biggest highlight so far though is the fact we have six - yes, 6 - booming male bitterns on the reserve!! This might not mean we will have six pairs, or nests, but it is a record for us to have so many booming birds on our site. Perhaps they are optimistic for a good breeding year. We hope so!
Photo: Bittern - Robin Elliott
Our famous grey-backed mining bees are out in full force on the sandy bank by Dennis' hide. We've created a few more sandy banks around the reserve due to the removal of the invasive sea buckthorn, so we hope to encourage this colony to spread in years to come.
Photo: Andrena vaga - Dave Clarke
The first lambs have been born on site. It's always a joy to see these leaping in the fields on the nature reserve. We've also had a few sightings of chicks; moorhens and coots have hatched their eggs, so do look out for them and their little chicks on the water as you walk around the trail.
Linnets have been gathering in small flocks, they usually hang around by the edge of the entrance track, so look out for those as you drive down to the visitor centre. Green woodpeckers have been sighted frequently and are very vocal.
Photo: Green woodpecker - Graham Parry
Some more unusual avian visitors have been the glossy ibis (although not that unusual for us, as it has been hanging around the reserve since last autumn!), avocet, green sandpiper, black swan, yellow wagtail and garganey. We've also had lots of good sightings of whitethroats and wheatears on the reserve which are both spring migrants to the UK. Whitethroats will breed here, but the wheatears are just passing through and will nest in the uplands of Scotland. We've had Mediterranean gulls, another summer visitor, passing through, they have a very distinctive call so make sure to keep an ear out for them.
Photo: Male wheatear - Graham Parry
As the days get warmer and the wildlife multiplies, please do come down for a visit. You'll be greeted by a friendly team of staff. We are so happy to be back on the reserve again and greeting all of our visitors, old and new! It really is a beautiful and tranquil place to be.
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