Tuesday 12th. April began as a day of great promise with so many advantages that our day at Dungeness was almost certain to be special. Warm southerly air had been pouring off Europe to make this one of the hottest April's ever. The sun shone almost unbroken for several days and we were right in the middle of the annual spring migrations.
Ed and I set off driving the 30 miles from Hastings to Dungeness in high spirits stopping along the way to take a few snap shots.
Initiallly we stopped at the ARC site, one we had not explored very much before and immediately infront of us, a Sedge Warbler, singing his heart out. We saw many more as we walked listening to the marsh forgs basking in the sun. At the railway crossing in the pines were Chiff-chaffs and Redpolls in the tops of the trees.
And so on to the RSPB site.
We walked counter-clockwise and this being Dungeness took a warm top, theses were completely redundant as there was not the slightest breeze. The temperature had to be 25C, very warm and our caps were a blessing on our bald heads.
It was indeed a special day.
The experience we had at the ARC was magnified here. A whole sensory experience took over, everything was hugely exaggerated and became almost a blur.
The sun had done its work for the insect community. They provided the foundation of all the avian activity, the warm weather had raised them from their slumbers and into the air. The air was alive with them; cloud upon cloud of Hawthorn fly and midges supplied a mass of food for flight starved birds and a background hum and buzz that underlay the foreground noises of all the other animals. The yellow flowered gorse and hawthorn scents filled the still, warm air.
Marsh frogs in their hundreds sang as we walked, Linnets by the dozen perched on gorse and sang their songs basking in the sun, wearing their finest colours. There must have been hundreds of Sedge Warblers; the few we observed at the ARC were multiplied a hundred times here. They danced to a merry song too, raising briefly into the air, snatching an insect on the wing before parachuting to the thicket to continue their courtship. The air was filled with warbler-song.
We walked the whole site immersed in this unique day when Nature was at its spectacular best. There were, of course, other birds to see and hear, the Bittern boomed and the Hobby flew high above us.
It was the overwhelming scale of the day that impressed me so much.
So much scent, so much colour, so much sound.
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