Dungeness is an odd, beautiful, bleak and fascinating place. The fact that there is a nature reserve there makes it all the more appealing from a photographic perspective, yet, for some unfathomable reason, I’d not actually visited the reserve before. I guess the lack of long lens has always put me off which is silly because just being there, taking it all in and, of course, watching birds is so pleasurable.
The RSPB describe the place nicely on their own website:
If you haven’t been to Dungeness, nothing can quite prepare you for the landscape – mile after mile of shingle, which is wild and a little weird! On a cold winter’s day, it is a delight to sit snug in the visitor centre and look out through a huge picture window at all the waterbirds on the large gravel pit just outside.
I had no preconceptions and went with a totally open mind as to what I might see. Having had some early pleasing results with my Sigma 150-600 and, more specifically with garden birds, I was hopeful that I might manage to capture a few species that a) I’d never seen before or b) I’d only seen in a book or squinting as they were miles off in the distance. I had a handy guide – my Dad – who had been numerous times prior to this visit and he took great delight in telling me a story about seeing a Bearded Tit up close, as we drove across Kent early on a Sunday morning. I hadn’t even seen a picture of a Bearded Tit at that point, let alone for real, so I didn’t hold out much hope of seeing one for myself. However, the bird gods were clearly smiling as I managed to not only see one, but a pair *and* get a couple of shots I like.
In total, I got photos of thirteen different species. That, to me, is a morning well spent.
Great Crested Grebe
Even if you just take a pair of binoculars, go and visit Dungeness – both the reserve and the by the power station.
I promise you won’t regret it.