Places to see birds

Sandwich Bay Bird Observatory

http://www.sbbot.co.uk

Sandwich Bay Bird Observatory

The surrounding coast comprises one of the largest Sites of Special Scientific Interest in the county with a wide variety of flora, a few of which are restricted to the area.

In spring the area around the Obs and the estate is attractive to migrant northern wheatears, ring ouzels, whinchats, yellow wagtails, skylarks, common and black redstarts, spotted and pied flycatchers.

To the south is a small woodland, known as The Elms, which attracts migrant species and it is here that one finds autumn goldcrests and firecrests, occasional yellow-browed and Pallas's warblers. Short-toed treecreepers have occassionally made the channel crossing and have been seen here.

Emerging from the wood on the seaward site you enter rough grassland with orchids, small heath and common blue butterflies amongst others; grass snakes, slow worms and viviparous lizards also occur. This area is known as the Restharrow Dunes because of the abundant restharrow flower which is accompanied by lady's bedstraw, saltmarsh rush and sand sedge. Grey partridge, common stonechat and corn buntings breed here.

Further south is The Scrape a relatively new pool with islands and an overlooking hide. One can sit here and enjoy occasional garganey, little grebes and hobby's hunting dragonflies in the spring. Little ringed plover has attempted breeding on one of the islands.

Continuing along the road towards Deal you will over look the Worth marshes and in the distance the new RSPB Reserve of Lydden Valley; at present undergoing improvement and access is only by public footpath. This is an attempt to return the area to its former wetland glory and recover former breeding species such as little bittern, spotted and Baillon's crakes.

Sandwich Bay Bird Observatory Map Ref: TR 355575 is on Guildford Road, Sandwich, Kent, CT13 9PF. Tel: 01394 617341 . Check it out on www.sbbot.co.uk. From Sandwich follow the signs to the golf courses and if you are not already a SBBOT member you will be asked to pay £1 at the Estate toll booth for access to the Observatory. The observatory is sign posted about 400m along the access road, turn right.