Sunday, 30 July 2017

Big Sleepout

Dungeness RSPB - This weekend together with our six year old grandson I took part in a sleepout event at the bird reserve. The weather on Saturday afternoon as we pitched up was dreadful with heavy rain until early evening. However, undeterred Louise and her band of assistants had a roaring camp fire on the go throughout and the rain eventually relented to allow the pond dipping to go ahead. The mild, damp conditions were perfect for capturing newts, frogs, toads, medicinal leeches and a wide range of fresh water invertebrates. The airspace above Burrowes was thick with Swifts and Sand Martins, while a flock of 25 Blackwits and 12 Dunlins dropped in front of Firth hide. Two Great White Egrets were also noted and a Hobby over.
  We finished off back at camp with baked spuds, hot chocolate and marsh mellows, and a foray for glow worms. During the night despite the wind picking up Greenshank, Whimbrel and Green Sandpiper were heard passing overhead in the early hours. Heavy showers hit the site again just after daybreak followed by welcome sunshine around breakfast time. At Boulderwall the kids enjoyed a decent catch of moths, plus egrets, Kestrel, Marsh Harrier, Tree Sparrows and warblers noted along the way. A reported early morning Stone Curlew at Springfield Bridge was not relocated.
  Thanks again to the RSPB staff for making it a memorable event, despite the trying weather conditions.

                               Smooth Newt and Medicinal Leech

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