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Migration Time.

Spring is here. Why not come and stay at the Obs and get up close and personal with the birds as they travel back to Britain.

17th April

There was an unexpected drop of Willow Warblers this morning with at least 70 birds arriving and centred around the Moat. Other migrants included a Buzzard, 15 Chiffchaffs, a Sedge Warbler, a Ring Ouzel, three Fieldfares, two Yellow Wagtails and a Brambling. Three Egyptian Geese also flew around the Point.

Seawatching was also very good although the murky conditions hindered observations with a flock of nine Garganey, a Black-throated Diver, a Manx Shearwater, a Shag, seven Little Gulls, 12 Mediterranean Gulls, ten Great Skuas, 26 Arctic Skuas and another Puffin of note. Numbers were provided by 416 Brent Geese, 914 Common Scoters, 88 Whimbrels, 13 Bar-tailed Godwits, 413 Sandwich Terns and 505 Common Terns

Nocturnal migration recording, nocmig, gives an interesting insight into what birds and animals are moving about at night. We are just starting so our recordings aren't perfect but we are working on it. Putting the recorder outside last night resulted in some interesting night calls among the gulls and crows, including DunlinMediterranean Gull, Redwing, Song Thrush, Fieldfare and Fox. We also recorded a flock of Common Scoter passing overhead, listen here, and Sandwich Terns moving through the night, listen here. You can hear them get closer, pass overhead and move away.

At least twenty Porpoise were feeding offshore.

16th Apr

An increasingly misty day after a bright start with light onshore breezes produced a decent movement of birds offshore and a handful of migrants on the land.
The best of the land migrants were five Buzzards, 18 Willow Warblers, 15 Chiffchaffs and five Whitethroats.
Almost 12 hours of seawatching were completed with three Garganey, four Gadwall, two Velvet Scoters, five Manx Shearwaters, a Shag, 16 Whimbrel, 20 Mediterranean Gulls, seven Little Gulls, 20 Arctic Terns and five Great and 30 Arctic Skuas.of note while numbers were provided by 859 Brent Geese, 1279 Common Scoters, 512 Gannets, 413 Common Gulls, 656 Sandwich Terns and 1740 Common Terns

At least 20 Porpoises and two Grey Seals were feeding offshore.

A Red-eared Terrapin was seen at the Long Pits.

15th Apr

A slight change in the wind direction to ESE resulted in an excellent morning seawatch and nine hours of watching during the day producing a number of highlights including a Barnacle Goose, 12 Gadwall, a Scaup, 11 Velvet Scoters, a Manx Shearwater, two Little Ringed Plovers, 19 Whimbrel, 11 Little Gulls, 22 Arctic Terns, five Great Skuas, ten Arctic Skuas and two Puffins. Numbers were provided by 51 Shoveler, 68 Teal, 2528 Common Scoters, 33 Fulmars, 587 Gannets, 117 Kittiwakes, 682 Sandwich Terns, 118 Common Terns and 152 auks.

Still very little in the way of migrants on the land.

At least ten Porpoise and a Grey Seal were feeding offshore.

A search for solitary bees found a couple of examples of what appears to be the nomad bee Nomada ferruginata. This is a pretty scarce insect across the country and according to recent atlases is restricted in Kent to the Dungeness area.
Nomada ferruginata   Dungeness   15th April 2019

14th Apr

And so it goes on with the continuing cold easterly wind limiting any migration to a trickle of birds east offshore andjust a handful of migrants on the land. Just under seven hours of seawatching produced just ten Shelduck, 22 Shovelers, two Pintail, 24 Teal, three Gadwall, four Red-breasted Mergansers, a Manx Shearwater, 21 Whimbrel, three Arctic Skuas, a Great Skua, 16 Little Gulls and three Little Terns of note.
Very quiet on the land with the arrival of our first two Whitethroat and ten Wheatears being the highlights.

Fifteen Porpoise and a Grey Seal were feeding offshore.

A Comma and a Small Copper were seen at the Long Pits.

The micro-moth Adele cuprella was also seen in small numbers at the Long Pits. This species was only added to the area list in 2017 when larva were reared.and the first adults in the wild were seen last spring.
Adela cuprella   Dungeness   14th April 2019

13th Apr

Another cold and breezy day with just a trickle of birds moving east offshore and in the bushes. The first Lesser Whitethroat of the spring was singing at the Long Pits along with a Firecrest. The highlights from four hours of seawatching were 17 Shoveler, eight Red-breasted Mergansers, a Black-throated Diver, 20 Fulmars, 28 Bar-tailed Godwits, three Great Skuas, an Arctic Skua and four Mediterranean Gull and the bird of the day in the form of a Puffin which flew east at 0750hrs.  

At least 15 Porpoises and a Grey Seal were feeding offshore.

The Crane continues to feed at Dengemarsh and the three Cattle Egrets are still to be seen at Cockles Bridge.

12th Apr

Another day of cold north-easterlies which limited any migration on the land or offshore. The best of several hours seawatching was just 12 Little and six Mediterranean Gulls whilst the only migrants we could muster in the bushes were a mere handful of Willow Warblers and Chiffchaffs and two Firecrests. A Buzzard also flew over. However, in late afternoon a Serin was found among a flock of 40 or so Linnets and was eventually seen well as it fed along the roadside verges.


Serin Serinus serinus   Dungeness   12th April 2019

Four Brown Hares and a Weasel were seen.

11th Apr

The strong and cold NE wind continues and migration was fairly limited. A handful of migrants on the land included a Firecrest, four Willow Warblers, eight Song Thrush and three Bramblings. Over 4.5hrs of seawatching produced nine Red-breasted Mergansers, 25 Grey Plovers, a Whimbrel, 14 Mediterranean Gulls, 318 Sandwich Terns and 75 Common Terns.

At least 12 Porpoises were feeding offshore and a Brown Hare was seen on the land.

10th Apr

Tough going today in strong and cold NE winds. The only birds of note on the land were a male Redstart and a Firecrest in the Old Lighthouse Garden and nine Blackcaps and 16 Redwings scattered around the area.
The sea was very slow with almost five hours of watching producing 329 Common Scoters, 11 Red-breasted Mergansers, two Grey Plovers, two Mediterranean Gulls and 54 Common Terns

Ten Porpoises and a Grey Seal were seen offshore.

9th Apr

A miserable day of more or less continuous rain but calm at first with wind increasing in the afternoon. Although there were fewer birds on the ground and overhead than yesterday there was still some interest with two Egyptian Geese, six Willow Warblers, 15 Blackcaps, seven Fieldfares, 55 Redwings and 20 Song Thrushes, a Yellow Wagtail, a Tree Pipit and three Bramblings.  
Six hours of seawatching produced the first Black and Arctic Terns of the year along with 316 Brent Geese, nine Shelduck, two Pintail, 12 Teal, 556 Common Scoters, 18 Red-breasted Mergansers, a Black-throated Diver, 14 Whimbrel, ten Mediterranean Gulls, an Arctic Skua, a Little Tern and 497 Common Terns.

At least 20 Porpoises were feeding offshore.