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2019 Subscriptions

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24th Mar

Fairly quiet on the bird front but not without interest with a Garganey east offshore, a Redshank and a Swallow over the Long Pits and a Willow Warbler in the trapping area all new species for the year. In addition, 18 Chiffchaffs, three Black Redstarts, eight Wheatears, a White Wagtail and a Siskin were also seen.

The highlight of the day for one lucky observer though was a Large Tortoiseshell watched for several minutes in the trapping area just before mid-day. What was presumably a second individual was being watched at more or less the same time at Kerton Road just north of our recording area.
Large Tortoiseshell Aglais polychloros   Dungeness   24th March 2019   (James Dickerson)
Also of great note elsewher, a Kentish Plover was found on the beach at Greatstone. At least three Cattle Egrets were still feeding in the fields between Lydd and Boulderwall.




23rd Mar

Last night produced one of the best movements of nocturnal migrants for a long time with huge numbers of Redwings and Fieldfares providing the bulk of the calling birds but also flocks of Wigeon, Curlew, Bar-tailed Godwits, Snipe, Dunlin, Blackbirds and a few Song Thrush being noted.
As is often the case the numbers of grounded migrants this morning did not really reflect the night movement but a Woodcock and two Snipe, 45 Chiffchaffs, a Blackcap, seven Goldcrests, 40 Redwings, 11 Black Redstarts, three Wheatears, a Brambling, six Siskins and a minor rarity in the form of a Yellowhammer were scattered around the Point or passed overhead. A Pheasant was also seen in the trapping area.
The sea was quiet for the first few hours but from mid-morning a small movement of wildfowl developed with 307 Brent Geese, 26 Shovelers, six Mallard and three Red-breasted Mergansers along with 17 Grey Plovers, six Mediterranean Gulls, a Little Gull, 179 Sandwich Terns and an Arctic Skua of note.

Three Porpoises were also seen. 

22nd Mar

Typical early spring migrants continued to trickle through with 50 Chiffchaffs, two Blackcaps, a Fieldfare, 11 Redwings, seven Black Redstarts and ten Wheatears of note. Overhead, at least 500 Chaffinches passed through (many more heard but unseen as they were above the low cloud) and five Siskins visited the feeding station in the trapping area.
A few Brent Geese and Common Scoters moved up-channel and a Great Skua flew west.

Six Porpoises and a Common Seal were feeding offshore. 

21st Mar

Another decent arrival of migrants in calm and cloudy conditions with 43 Chiffchaffs, the first Blackcap of the spring, five Firecrests, five Black Redstarts, 15 Wheatears and 45 Redwings of note.
Black Redstart Phoenicurus ochrurus   Dungeness   21st March 2019
Offshore passage was almost non-existent although a couple of Great Skuas were seen.

A Mink seen at the Long Pits was a rare but unwelcome sighting and two Porpoises were feeding offshore.

20th Mar

A damp start to the day encouraged a decent arrival of early migrants through the day with a Woodcock, 35 Chiffchaffs, four Firecrests, 75 Redwings and 13 Wheatears on the ground. Great Tits were also very noticeable with several very pale (continental?) birds among them. 
It was pretty quiet offshore although several hours of watching produced 98 Red-throated Divers, a Mediterranean Gull and an Arctic Skua of note.



Great Tit Parus major   Dungeness   20th March 2019
Several migrant birds appeared to be moving through the area this morning. Five birds were trapped in the Moat and
were noticeably paler yellow below than usual and the upperparts were very grey.

Wheatear Oenanthe oenanthe   Dungeness   20th March 2019
 

19th Mar

A bright and sunny day with light SW winds. Not a great deal of change with a Buzzard, 18 Chiffchaffs, six Firecrests, two Wheatears and a Bullfinch of note.

Firecrest Regulus ignicapilla   Dungeness   19th March 2019

Goldfinch Carduelis carduelis   Dungeness   19th March 2019
This is always a scarce visitor to the back garden feeders.
At least 50 Sandwich Terns and a Mediterranean Gull passed eastwards.

The first Small White butterfly of the year was seen. 

A Stoat and a Brown Hare were seen.

18th Mar

A calm morning at last but just a handful of migrants on the land and very little movement offshore.
Eight Firecrests, ten Chiffchaffs, a Wheatear, and a Brambling were of note on the land. A party of four Buzzards also flew over.
A Velvet Scoter, 32 Sandwich Terns and a Great Skua were of note offshore.

Firecrest Regulus ignicapilla   Dungeness   18th March 2019


Two Porpoises were feeding offshore and a Brown Hare was seen near the railway station.

17th Mar

Brighter conditions than of late although still with a cold wind resulted in a small arrival of migrants  with two Woodcock, four Wheatears, 20 Chiffchaffs and eight Firecrests of note. At least three Black Redstarts and ten Stonechats were also present.
Wheatear Oenanthe oenanthe   Dungeness   17th March 2019

Stonechat Saxicola rubicola    Dungeness   17th March 2019
Although not as distinctive as some individuals this bird may well be of the continental subspecies rubicola.
Very quiet offshore other than an early movement of scoters with 176 Commons and three Velvet Scoters and also a Great Skua of note.

Two Porpoises were feeding offshore.

The recording areas only patch of Primrose is now in full flower in the trapping area.
Promrose Primula vulgaris   Dungeness   17th March 2019

16th Mar

Another very windy and occasionally wet day. Seawatching was the main feature again with 4.5hrs of observations producing 612 Brent Geese up-channel and a Shelduck, two Mallard, 164 Fulmars, 305 Gannets and seven Great Skuas. The Czech-ringed Caspian Gull and three Yellow-legged Gulls were among the masses of gulls feeding along the shoreline.


Great Skua Stercorarius skua   Dungeness   16th December 2019
T
The land was barely covered in the poor conditions but a Merlin and a White Wagtail were seen near the Lifeboat Station.

There was an obvious increase in Porpoise numbers with at least ten feeding off the fishing boats. A Common Seal was also present.

I have also just received details of one of our Lesser Redpolls ringed here on 28th October 2017 and seen again at Whitehead, Antrim, Northern Ireland on 20th February 2019. A duration of 480 days and a distance travelled of 619km.

15th Mar

The run of dismal weather continues and induced a bit of offshore movement although it was mostly down-channel with eight Wigeon, 256 Fulmars and 634 Gannets of note while 184 Brent Geese flew up-channel. Large numbers of gulls continue to feed along the shoreline with two Caspian Gulls and two Yellow-legged Gulls of note.
A Snipe, six Chiffchaffs and two Firecrests were of note on the land.
Caspian Gull Larus cachinanns   Dungeness   15th March 2019
The Czech-ringed bird was first seen at Dungeness on 5th December 2018
Two Porpoises were feeding close inshore.