We arrived at the campsite called Rivergate Cottage and parked up between the chickens and cockrills and a bereft and distraught goose called Harrold whose other half had sadly been taken by a fox the night before. The owner told us they were off to get him a new mate (or two) the next day so we knew he’d be ok.We were surrounded by trees full of the sound of birdsong, it was beautiful and surprisingly calming.
With our morning coffee we were treated to the antics of some Blue Tits, a Dunnock and a closer inspection by a Longtailed Tit, who was bobbing up and down in search of his breakfast in the mud.
We tore ourselves away from the tranquility and set the sat nav for Dungeness and set off, stopping only for a full English breakfast in a delightful farm café that we found along the way.
Even while driving, Roger was constantly searching for potential shots and spotting birds. Unfortunately, he seems to be more knowledgeable than myself when it comes to identifying birds, going beyond my “oh look a Sparrow/Magpie/Pigeon” limitations, but we are both keen to learn more and fortunately Rogers stunning photos of our sightings helps us do just that.
We arrived at the RSPB site in Dungeness, it seemed vast and , with very few trees, mainly hedgerows and bushes. The road to the Visitor Centre was a mile long and we began spotting birds immediately – The seat belts received a successful test after the brakes were slammed on upon Roger spotting a bird!!
We got kitted up, the weather wasn’t brilliant but it all adds to the experience, and headed off to the Visitor Centre to get a map and as it turns out, a new pair of binoculars for Gadget Man!
We began to follow the trail and our first sighting was a Long Eared Owl, thanks to another couple that told us where to look, luckily, as he was very well comouflaged, but I’m sure he could see us very well, even more so when Roger tried to get a little closer to get a better shot only to be politely told by a ranger to not get too close – oops!
We continued along the trail, popping in and out of the various hides where we identified birds that we were becoming more familiar with – Cormorants, Coots, Mallards, Lapwings, Pochards, to name but a few.
We were very excited to spot a Marsh Harrier, well, Roger spotted it first but insisted it didn’t count unless we both saw it, but I eventually did. It was amazing to see it soaring over the water and marshes. It’s one thing to see these species in a book, but when you actually see them for real it changes everything.
The Marsh Harrier stayed busy and visible as we continued our way round. On the homeward stretch we spotted a couple of Stonechats (one of my favourites) perched on the fence posts having a rest, before flying off and diving into the hedgerows.
After the long walk we were ready for some good food. We had been told about some fish and chips that were the best in the area so we went in search of them. We found them in the only pub in Dungeness that overlooks the beach, and oh boy were they good!
They were the perfect end to a truly wonderful Mini Adventure! Here’s to the next one. Can’t wait!