The Whitehouse is a paddock field managed by our Conservation Team. It is often used by our Ringing Team, along with a smaller fenced area in the adjacent field, called the Oasis. There are many grass species here, such as Quaking Grass, Sweet Vernal Grass, Silver Hair Grass and Heath Grass, of which this is one of only two sites in Kent! It is arguably one of the best botanical sites in the area.
In spring this is a great area to see migrating birds such as warblers arriving or thrushes leaving. This is due to the area being one of the first reprieves of migrating birds, offering food and a place to rest having come in off the sea. Shelducks can often be seen congregating on the grassland whilst Green-winged Orchid and Heath-dog Violet are floral highlights.
Summer in the Whitehouse is colourful with Pyramidal and Southern Marsh Orchids, Fleabane, Marsh Helleborines, and Yellow Rattle. Exciting bird species include the Turtle Dove and Cuckoo, while invertebrates to look out for include Brown-banded and Red-shanked Carder Bees and Marbled White butterflies.
In autumn the area is bustling with activity. Many hundreds of warblers and finches pass through on migration and the area boasts a long list of scarcities, including recently Arctic Warbler, Red-flanked Bluetail, Great Grey Shrike, and Blyth’s Reed Warbler. Siskins and Lesser Redpolls drop into the tops of the Alders and Birches and the bushes are full of migrant Robins. The grassland attracts large numbers of Common Blue and Brown Argus butterflies, and Migrant Hawkers along the edges of the Haven tree line.
Fieldfares and Redwings, as well as other thrushes, can be spotted in winter moving between the Blackthorn bushes and open spaces. Chaffinches are usually heard and seen in good numbers and around the Oasis you may be lucky to find Woodcock or Little Owl.