A short break with Laura saw us traveling down to Kent, basing ourselves in Maidstone. A mini-holiday to take in Leeds Castle and DungenessRSPB reserve. Travelling down we detoured via Waldeslade to pick up the Iberian Chiffchaff, a bird i saw at Colney a few years ago, but a life tick for Laura. We hadn't planned to do much on our first day, but a trip to a Butterfly Farm took us close to Dungeness. We drove down to the visitor centre just for a look around, knowing we would visit on Friday. We then had a 30min watch of Denge Marsh, from a road that boarders the reserve and were lucky enough to see a Purple Heron in flight. Thursday was spent at Leeds Castle, no bird watching, but the Avery provided some good photo opportunities. I also saw my first Banded Demoselle of the year while walking in the water gardens. Friday morning was my birdwatching time at Dungeness, but the day was blistering hot not ideal. Seeing the Purple Heron earlier in the week saved us spending to long in the sun (the reserve has little cover), we headed straight for the far end of the site, eventually picking out the 1st summer Red-footed Falcon hawking around with 12 Hobby. Very few little birds seemed to be around and i only saw a single wader, a lonely Redshank! Along with a welcome pint at The Britannia in Dungeness i added Buzzard and Linnet to my 'pub list'.
I recently moved back to North Walsham and needing a new local patch, I soon settled on a few of my old favourite sites, but they were spread around town. All are close to the old railways track beds and my new house sits at the apex of all 5 lines that once radiated out from North Walsham, these form the arteries joining everything up. My 'Birding Alone Old Lines' patch was born, revisiting the old birding sites of youth, via the Old Railway Newtworks.