People and place

Almost time to go home. It is all too easy to compare what we've had here at Dungeness with what they've had at Spurn, or Shetland, or Portland - but that is missing the point. Being at Dungeness is more about people and the place. My time on the shingle is cherished regardless of what is seen. When I take into account that I've recorded 149 species of bird in four weeks, then to suggest that it has been poor can be seen as crass. Admittedly, passerine numbers have been dire, but highlights have included: Great Northern Diver (5), Black-necked Grebe (1), Sooty Shearwater (3), Manx Shearwater (1), Bittern, Great White Egret (peak of 15), Cattle Egret (1), Tundra Bean Goose (5), White-fronted Goose (several), Scaup (2), Hen Harrier (1), Goshawk (1), Osprey (1), a good cross section of waders, Pomarine Skua, Mediterranean Gull (a fine afternoon movement), Caspian Gull (2), Little Auk (3), Short-eared Owl (several), Woodlark (2), Ring Ouzel (in good number), Dartford Warbler (2), Pallas's Warbler (1), Yellow-browned Warbler (1), Firecrest (several) and Common Redpoll (2). No grounds to grumble. Add to that a Bloxworth Snout, Radford's Flame Shoulder and Oak Rustic, then the moth itch was definitely scratched.

My thanks must go to all of the kind people who made my stay all the more enjoyable: Mark H for the constant driving, jokes and companionship; Dave W for the evenings of shared entertainment helped along by the odd snifter; Martin C who joined me on much plodding across the shingle; Owen L for unbridled enthusiasm; Gill H for conversation and food; Tony G, Chris P, Pete B, Pam S, David C, Colin T, Barry B, Barry C; the RSPB staff and Ray O'R for being there - and if I've missed anybody off then sincere apologies!

God willing, I head back to Surrey tomorrow with another treasure trove of memories. I leave with more enthusiasm than with which I arrived, and seeing that it was such a poor Autumn at Dungeness says much about the people and the place...


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