Natural History Courses

Natural History Courses

Broaden your knowledge of the natural world with SBBOT’s friendly and knowledgeable team.

The Sandwich Bay area bears the following national and international nature conservation designations: SSSI, SAC, SPA and RAMSAR.

The Bird Observatory is the perfect place to get up close and personal to the area’s fauna and flora, whilst also offering comfortable accommodation.

Please note that the Field Centre is currently closed due to COVID-19.


Dainty Damselfly Walk

On Saturday 5th June the Warden will be leading a free members-only walk to see the Dainty Damselfly colony at Sandwich Bay.

Dainty Damselfly (Dainty Bluet) Coenagrion scitulum is a species rather local throughout its range, occurring in France, northern Iberia and eastwards to Iran. It is slowly expanding northwards and has colonised Belgium and the Netherlands.

In the UK it was present only in Essex during 1946-1952 but then lost due to coastal flooding and thought nationally extinct until rediscovered in 2010 in northern Kent. It was thought to be restricted to four small pools on the Isle of Sheppey with no general access.

However, to everyone’s surprise, it was discovered at Sandwich Bay in small numbers in 2019. These were the first sightings from mainland Britain in almost 70 years. Subsequent surveys in 2020 revealed at least 180 individuals, thought to represent approx. 80% of the UK population.

Interest in the discovery has been high since the news was released to the public last year. As members of SBBOT you will have the first chance to see this extremely rare species. The Warden will guide you to the site and walk through the identification process of the Dainty Damselfly (and other species present on the day).

The session will last approximately two hours.

Full details will be given closer to the time.

We will be operating a booking system for the event. Due to COVID-19 restrictions numbers will be limited to 30 places (though if it proves exceptionally popular an additional date may be provided).

Please email to book a place.

Rare Dragonflies & Damselflies of Sandwich Bay, Kent (Day Trip) with Naturetrek


A day walking around the excellent Sandwich Bay area searching for some of Britain’s rare and scarce dragonflies and damselflies as well as the local birdlife.

  • Rare dragonflies may include Southern Migrant Hawker and Red-veined Darter
  • Rare damselflies may include Southern Emerald and Scarce Emerald Damselflies
  • Commoner species including Ruddy Darter, Small Red-eyed Damselfly and Four-spotted Chaser
  • Led by an Odonata expert and a local warden
  • Sandwich Bay is an excellent birdwatching area too

Join Odonata enthusiast and birder, Marc Heath, at Sandwich Bay where we will spend a day searching for some of Britain’s rarest dragonflies and damselflies, which can be found at this excellent site. Sandwich Bay hosts more species of Odonata than anywhere else in the country. Highlights could include Southern Migrant Hawker, Southern Emerald Damselfly, Scarce Emerald Damselfly, Small Red-eyed Damselfly and Red-veined Darter along with a whole host of other common species. We will be joined on the tour by Steffan Walton (warden at Sandwich Bay Bird Observatory) whose expert local knowledge of the area will be most beneficial.

Walking around Sandwich Bay is generally flat and we anticipate to be walking for about four miles (approx 1 hour to the furthest site, so a good level of fitness required).

£50 and as we will be on private land for the day, a donation fee of £10 has to be paid on the day.