We are pleased (and a little relieved!) that a beautiful drake smew has decided to grace our presence on the reserve this winter. He's very mobile and has been constantly moving around the different water pits. If you're visiting, please check at the visitor centre to where he has last been seen.
I'd also like to remind our visitors to please stick to the paths when visiting the reserve. Hides and viewpoints allow ample views of all of our pits. The shingle at Dungeness is extremely sensitive and has it's own microhabitat! Rare lichens, moss and insects live on and within it. Any disturbance to this, including walking on it, destroys this habitat beyond repair. Please respect the habitat when looking for birds - after all, if the habitat wasn't here, the birds wouldn't be either!
Graham Parry took this photo last year of the smew hanging out with a coot. It's very likely that the same male visits each year.
Other more unusual sightings this week was a crane that turned up last weekend but hasn't been seen since. We've had goosander, goldeneye, curlew, golden plover, merlin, sparrowhawk, bearded tit and cattle egret too.
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