So, after approximately 2 weeks of 'winter' we are now experiencing balmy temperatures of 15 degrees C again! I'm confused and so is nature. Songbirds are starting to sing, magpies have started to gather twigs for nests, trees are in bud and butterflies and bumblebees have been seen around. A report of two swallows seen in the area came in this week and people are witnessing mating displays from great crested grebes and goldeneye! 

Our February half-term holiday has been the busiest I've seen it, with families keen to get outside and explore our countryside! I don't blame them. Who wants to be cooped up indoors when the sun is shining brightly and you might actually survive outside without a coat on!

This beautiful photograph was taken by our regular visitor, Graham Parry, showing two great crested grebes courting in the early morning light.

The male smew has been seen daily on the reserve but is quite flighty between Burrowes Pit and New Excavations (by Christmas Dell hide). Perhaps he's hoping to find a friend as he's the only smew to have arrived on the reserve this year. 

We've also seen whooper swans and white-fronted geese on the reserve. Cattle egrets have been around and about in the area, moving from our reserve to local farms and back again. We've had a small influx of teal, usually seen loitering around the island outside the visitor centre with lots of shoveller and coot. Having only had a really good look at these birds up close recently, I am amazed at how beautiful they are and how they glisten in the sunshine!

The males are particularly beautiful and this photo was taken by volunteer Dave Clarke.

It's a great time of year to visit Dungeness. Wildlife is gearing up for the spring and soon our winter ducks will start to leave us again until next winter.