With its geographical position, its three coastlines and the diversity of its habitats, Kent is one of the best counties for birdwatching in the UK. Much of the famous Garden of England is orchards and fields, and despite all the building that goes on, it’s still surprisingly well wooded. There are also some significant locations which provide truly unique habitats. The shingle peninsula of Dungeness, supports countless rare flora and fauna and the North Kent Marshes represent a large proportion of the entire country’s remaining inter-tidal grazing marshes. Because of this the RSPB has no less than five reserves in the county and there are two dedicated bird observatories.
Rolf Williams from the RSPB says: “The nature reserves in North Kent and on the Dungeness peninsula fall within a landscape protected under national and international environment laws for the birds that live there. RSPB Dungeness is one of the best places in the country to see the elusive Bittern and the beautiful Smew.”
The Dungeness peninsula, at the right time of the year, also offers impressive seabird passage, rare migrants whilst its gravel pits are a magnet for waterfowl and wading birds.
Another internationally important reserve is the Elmley National Nature Reserve on the Isle of Sheppey. For years an RSPB reserve but now privately run, Elmley has attracted rare species in every month of the year.
Smew, copyright Glyn Sellors
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