Trip reports

Samphire Hoe (Leaders Sue Carter & Richard Hanman)

Samphire Hoe (Leaders Sue Carter & Richard Hanman)
Rock Pipit (Richard Hanman)

Sunday, 26 June 2016

Samphire Hoe is a pleasing place to visit and today we received a warm welcome from warden Paul Trodd who advised us that ravens had bred on Shakespeare cliffs this year for the first time in one hundred years. Great news! These cliffs are becoming increasingly green with vegetation, no longer the white cliffs of legend.

Early arrivals saw four gannets flying determinedly west and then when the rest of our party of eight turned up Richard found a fox loafing about on the top of the cliff and being mobbed by carrion crows.

We then set off east and before long we had excellent views of rock pipits, meadow pipits, fulmars, swifts, linnets, a juvenile black redstart and house martins. Some of the latter were busily collecting mud at the base of the cliffs for their nests on the rock face. Then we were fortunate to find a single adonis blue butterfly nectaring on birds foot trefoil, followed in quick succession by an adder and a slow worm, both sheltering under sheets of corrugated iron.

Before leaving the eastern end we were delighted to see a peregrine perched on an outcrop with Dover docks in the background. Walking back to the cafeteria, a couple of great black-backed gulls alighted on the sea as a passing black cloud splattered us with raindrops.

The rain became heavier for a while, but fortunately by then we were sheltering under the roof of the education centre enjoying our sandwiches.

Lunch over; we set off for the western end of the Hoe, stopping to watch some whitethroats and stonechats on the way. We then found a moorhen and the family of little grebes which Paul told us had amazingly nested in the reeds edging the small pool.

We marvelled at the mass of orchids, vipers bugloss and the samphire which gave the Hoe its name and is much prized by top chefs. Before we set off back to the centre we added lesser black-backed gulls, jackdaws, a cormorant and little egret to our list, along with a fast-flying painted lady butterfly which didn't hang around.

A fulfilling meeting in good company.

Sue Carter & Richard Hanman