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2016 Report

Our 2016 Report is now available from the Observatory for £8.00 plus P&P if needed. Please contact the Warden: dungenessobs@vfast.co.uk

18th Nov

Large numbers of birds were feeding offshore again and some birds almost moved east during the morning. Notable among the passage birds were 60 Red-throated Divers, a Black-throated Diver, 961 Gannets, three Knot, two Great Skuas, 220 Kittiwakes, 18 Mediterranean Gulls, two Little Gulls and 250 auk species.

Two Porpoises were also feeding offshore.

17th Nov

A few grounded migrants were around again this morning with a Snipe, 65 Goldcrests. 25 Redwings, 20 Blackbirds and two Bullfinches of note while birds passing overhead included four Golden Plovers, 138 Stock Doves, 200 Wood Pigeons, 28 Skylarks, two Bramblings, 225 Goldfinches and 20 Siskins. A Barn Owl was also seen at the Long Pits.
Although there was little movement offshore other than auks there were still lots of birds feeding with 200 Gannets, 150 Kittiwakes, 12 Mediterranean Gulls, a Little Gull, a Sandwich Tern and a Great Skua of note.

16th Nov

A night of heavy mist and drizzle resulted in excellent numbers of grounded migrants first thing and then further arrivals of thrushes coming out of the murky conditions throughout the day. Redwings dominated with around 1000 birds along with 90 Fieldfares, ten Song Thrushes and 60 Blackbirds and also 60 Goldcrests and five Firecrests. Two Bullfinches were seen in the trapping area and Dartford Warblers were seen - near West Beach and at the north end of the recording area. Waders also featured with two Woodcocks, seven Snipe and 45 Golden Plovers of note.

At New Romney the Pallid Swift was showing well, although in poor light, until around mid-day at least and ventured into the wider Dungeness recording area on several occasions. 

15th Nov

A handful of birds flew over the area this morning including a Wood Lark, a Yellowhammer (first of the year in the Observatory area) and a Corn Bunting along with a few Redpolls and Siskins. Grounded migrants included a Blackcap, 25 Goldcrests, three Firecrests and a Fieldfare and a small increase in Blackbird numbers.
Three Mediterranean Gulls and a few Kittiwakes were seen offshore.

Another White-speck was the best of a small overnight catch of moths.
White-speck Mythimna unipuncta   Dungeness   15th November 2018
Elsewhere, a Pallid Swift was found feeding above housing to the north of New Romney in mid afternoon. 



Pallid Swift Apus pallidus   New Romney  15th November 2018

This bird was showing very well but in heavy cloud and fading light photographing it was very difficult. There has been an exceptional influx of swifts this month with almost all of them identified as Pallids. The slightly damaged appearance to the primary tips of the right wing appear to show that this is the same individual as that seen in Norfolk yesterday. 
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14th Nov

Not a great deal to be seen today despite an obvious improvement in the weather. The best of the birds on the land were a few Goldcrests and two Firecrests and overhead passage included 12 Stock Doves, a late Swallow, 48 Chaffinches, eight Bramblings, 11 Redpolls, 130 Goldfinches and 18 Siskins.
It was very quiet offshore.

A Brown Hare and four Bank Voles were found.

The moth traps were surprisingly productive for migrants overnight with six Dark Swordgrass and a White-speck of note. 
White-speck Mythimna unipuncta   Dungeness   14th November 2018
A fairly scarce migrant and the first at the Observatory since 2006.

13th Nov

A varied movement of birds overhead this morning with 71 Stock Doves, 43 Wood Pigeons, 34 Skylarks, 110 Meadow Pipits, a Rock Pipit, 60 Chaffinches, three Bramblings, six Redpolls, 140 Goldfinches and eight Siskins. Grounded migrants included a late Ring Ouzel at the north end of the Desert, seven Firecrests and 40 Goldcrests while a Snow Bunting spent a few minutes on the beach at the Point before flying off to the west.
The sea was fairly quiet but did produce a Great Skua, three Mediterranean Gulls and 40 Sandwich Terns. Two Yellow-legged Gulls were seen on the beach.

12th Nov

There was a decent passage of finches this morning with 870 Goldfinches, 120 Linnets and 27 Siskins but not much else overhead and just five Firecrests and 25 Goldcrests of note on the land.
Seawatching was reasonable for the first couple of hours with two Gadwall, 590 Gannets, a Great Skua, 126 auks and a surprisingly high count of 71 Sandwich Terns passing through.

Two Porpoises were feeding offshore.

11th Nov

Another windy morning. A first-winter Caspian Gull and an adult Yellow-legged Gull were seen at the fishing boats and a Velvet Scoter, 1400 Gannets and two Great Skuas passed through.
Very quiet on the land with just a Little Egret and a Firecrest at the Long Pits of note.

A Grey Seal was feeding offshore and five Bank Voles were found under the reptile tins placed out in the area.

Elsewhere, it was another excellent afternoon on the RSPB Reserve where at least 17 Caspian Gulls came in to roost and including a Czech Republic ringed adult. 

10th Nov

Another night of violent winds and heavy rain resulted in a decent movement of birds offshore this morning with 1720 Gannets, a Pintail, two Velvet Scoters, 70 Common Scoters, three Great Skuas, two Pomarine Skuas and 15 Sandwich Terns of note. An adult Yellow-legged Gull was seen at the fishing boats and later in the day a party of five Goosander flew west.
Not a great deal going on on the land this morning but a fine male Hen Harrier was hunting over the area and made at least one attempt to go out to sea before returning to the land.

A Common Seal was feeding offshore.

On the RSPB Reserve, at least five Cattle Egrets were feeding with the cattle in the fields alongside the entrance track and a check of the gull roost produced a minimum of 14 Caspian Gulls (seven 1stW, three 2ndW, a 3rdW and three adults) and six Yellow-legged Gulls.

9th Nov

An increasingly windy day which produced a Pomarine Skua and three Mediterranean Gulls among a handful of birds offshore.
There was a surprising arrival of  19 Firecrests and 110 Goldcrests along with 34 Redwings in the bushes while overhead passage was quite heavy with 17 Skylarks, 78 Meadow Pipits, a Grey Wagtail,  ten Bramblings, 27 Redpolls, 65 Siskins, 800 Goldfinches and 18 Crossbills of note.

A Common Seal and a Porpoise were feeding offshore.