Monday, 30 July 2012

They think it's all over - it is now

After 29 days of self-indulgent shingle bashing I have returned to family and home. My wife hadn't changed the locks, my daughters seemed to remember who I was and the dog certainly recalled that it is me who repeatedly throws her ball up the garden for her to fetch. There was so little post waiting for me that it made me feel irrelevant... no time for a leisurely merge back into normailty however as it was off to the slopes of Box Hill to roar on the Olympic road race cyclists.

Back on June 29th I arrived at the not unattractive building (pictured above) that houses Dungeness Bird Observatory. It has undergone extensive refurbishment so now has a modern kitchen, new flooring, a comfy lounge that boasts a fine wall-mounted flat-screen TV, and a cleanliness that is not what one used to associate with observatories. It costs just £10 a night to stay, this reducing to £7 if you are a member. For a budget break it comes highly recommended.

I was resident for exactly one month. I had a brilliant time. I had no expectations other than to selfishly relax and enjoy the varied wildlife on offer. I was lucky in that the wet spring and early summer had conspired to produce a late and lush flowering - for more detail on this see a later post. The stubborn position of the jet stream meant three weeks of south-westerlies (although Dungeness was mainly warm and sunny as the rain bands swept past us only a matter of miles to the north) and then a late shift that saw a mini heat wave for the last week. Insect migration was not a feature, although a few did get through, the identity of these will be revealed in a later post. The resident goodies all performed, particularly the moths! Again, good fuel for future posts.

I didn't really chase the pan-species list. In fact I came to the conclusion that it is counter-productive to do so. Interest in my core groups was reignited, particularly moths, so my time was (and is) better spent on these. That doesn't mean to say any interesting looking invertebrate will be ignored - it won't!


Alan Tilmouth said...

No wifi then?

Mark G. Telfer said...

Looking forward to the results from Dunge.
Was a lot of good habitat trampled on Box Hill?

Steve Gale said...

Alan - most frustratingly no wifi. The local pub did have, although couldn't handle image uploads at all. Not yet the 21st century in that corner of Kent.

Mark - I was pleased with the strict crowd control that kept everyone away from most of the sensitive habitat. Talking to Sam Bayley (NT warden and birder) a good deal of habitat creation has gone on, with LOCOG clearing low value scrub to accommodate crowds, thus leaving open chalk downland after the event. Time will tell.