What a difference from last week! We've had some wet and windy weather this week at Dungeness and we are now fully realising that Autumn really is upon us. Anyone else finding it difficult to get up in the mornings now?!

Do not despair! Dungeness still has plenty of wonderful birds and wildlife to offer you! This week has seen a huge increase in the number of swallows and martins swooping over the lakes and filling their bellies with midges and insects before the start of their arduous journey back to southern Africa. We've also seen a small increase in the number of winter birds such as gulls, grebes and geese! A black-necked grebe has been seen regularly on Burrowes Pit this week as well as a goldeneye turning up at ARC and the presence of about a dozen pintail. I was also lucky enough to witness a badger ambling along the track a few days ago!

Black-necked grebes - Graham Parry

Whinchats have been seen fairly frequently. Another migratory bird, these birds usually breed in rough and scrub, moors and heathland and are passing through Dungeness on their route home to Africa for the winter. Whinchats are yet another bird in decline from habitat loss and removal of natural breeding sites. 

Whinchat - Graham Parry

There is likely to be some disturbance on Burrowes Pit over the winter as we strive to clear the islands of vegetation for our breeding seabirds next year. We will also be removing much of our marginal willow trees, opening up view points from the hides and nature trails. Some reed removal will also be happening, which we do every year, to promote fresh growth of reed in the spring. Please be patient whilst the work takes place, if we didn't do this then we wouldn't get the wonderful wildlife! If you are concerned that work might be taking place on the day of your visit, please do not hesitate to give us a call a day or two before and we can advise you of any habitat management that might be happening. Don't forget, we are lucky to be a large reserve with plenty of birdwatching areas so if the birds aren't in one place due to disturbance, they are likely to be elsewhere!

If you are interested in getting yourself a pair of binoculars to watch some of these fabulous birds yourself, then we have a Binocular and Telescope Demonstration happening in our visitor centre this Saturday 28th September. Just pop in any time between 10am and 4pm and our friendly and helpful team will advise you on the best optics for your needs.