After a four-day family break in Edinburgh - where ancient volcanic rock outcrops loom over the city - I soon found myself back on the shingle ridges of Dungeness. It may well be quiet on the bird front here, but mid-May with blue skies and NE to SE winds (as forecast and lessening in strength) is usually an indicator of a good bird or two. Over the past five years, staying at the bird observatory at this time of year has been very profitable indeed, with my notebook having been populated by Great Reed Warbler, Bonaparte's Gull, Rose-coloured Starling, four Black-winged Stilts, three Bee-eaters, Serin, two Montagu's Harriers, two White-winged Black Terns, Black Kite, Honey Buzzard... all good stuff!
I arrived in a gentle easterly breeze, sunny and warm, the air perfumed with the profuse flowering of plants on the shingle. The ground is stained rusty red by millions of Sheep-sorrel; Gorse and Broom add splashes of yellow, whilst white is supplied by Snow-in-Summer and Sea Campion. It is an understated spectacle, but a spectacle never the less. It is one of the reasons that I keep on coming back.