23rd Apr

It was very quiet offshore and on the land although the Wryneck was seen again briefly this morning and a Ring Ouzel was seen in the power station complex. Swallow passage increased with 40 seen and a Swift and several Reed Warblers were new for the year.
Three Great Skuas were the best of a two-hour seawatch this morning.

The undoubted highlight of the day for three observers was a Large Tortoiseshell Aglais polychloros at the north end of the Long Pits.

Large Tortoiseshell Aglais polychloros   Dungeness   23rd April 2018 (Jacques Turner-Moss)
The Early Purple Orchids Orchis mascula are also putting on a decent showing alongside the Observatory access road.

Early Purple Orchid Orchis mascula   Dungeness   23rd April 2018

22nd Apr

There were very few birds on the land again so a Wryneck found at the Long Pits this morning and relocated again this afternoon was a nice surprise. A Serin also flew over the trapping area and five Bramblings were seen around the feeders again. The male Pheasant was also noted again.
The sea was surprisingly productive with a steady easterly movement of birds and the main highlight of seven relatively early Pomarine Skuas along with 33 Great Skuas and 45 Arctic Skuas. Other bits and pieces included a Velvet Scoter, two Black-throated Divers, 170 Whimbrel, 32 Little Gulls and six Little Terns.

Wryneck Jynx torquilla   Dungeness   22nd April 2018
Brambling Fringilla montifringilla   Dungeness   22nd April 2018
At least 12 Porpoises were feeding offshore again.

A Blossom Underwing was the best of a very small catch of moths overnight.

21st Apr

After the minor riches of yesterday it was a return to few migrants on the land and just a slow trickle of birds passing east on the land. Over six hours of seawatching produced just 16 Red-breasted Mergansers, five Manx Shearwaters, 147 Whimbrel. 15 Great Skuas, 12 Arctic Skuas and 20 Little Gulls of note. The best the land could offer was just nine Lesser Whitethroats, three Bramblings and five Siskins.

At least 20 Porpoise were feeding offshore.

The first Small Coppers of the year were also seen.

20th Apr

There was a small arrival of migrants today with 40 Willow Warbler, 16 Chiffchaffs and 25 Lesser Whitethroats making up the bulk of the numbers whilst the first Sedge and Garden Warblers of the year were seen along with a singing Nightingale and four Firecrests. A Tree Pipit and a Yellow Wagtail also flew over and two Bramblings were also feeding at the seed feeders but the main event of the day occurred in late morning when a flock of 17 Red Kites, a Buzzard and two Sparrowhawks  flew down to the Point before turning and eventually headed off in a northerly direction.

Red Kite Milvis milvus   Dungeness   20th April 2018
Part of a remarkable flock of 17 birds which circled over the Point for a time this morning.
The first few hours also produced a bit of sea passage with 32 Little Gulls and five Great Skuas before it petered out.

Porpoises continue to entertain in the flat calm conditions with at least 40 feeding offshore.

A good range of butterflies were seen today including the first Large White, Painted Lady and Speckled Woods of the year.

The warm weather is encouraging the flowers of the Point to blossom with Common Dog Violet and Blackthorn looking particularly attractive at the moment.
Blackthorn Prunus spinosa    Dungeness   20th April 2018 (Gill Hollamby)

Common Dog Violet Viola riviniana   Dungeness   20th April 2018 (Gill Hollamby)
Of note elsewhere was a Cattle Egret with the cattle at Dengemarsh on the RSPB Reserve.

19th Apr

With clear skies, no wind and very warm it was a day of quality rather than quantity with our first House Martin, four "Continental "Coal Tits, four Firecrests, a Ring Ouzel and two Bramblings being the best on offer on the land whilst a Red Kite and six Buzzards flew over. The sea was watched for most of the day for relatively few birds but they did include four Garganey, 16 Manx Shearwaters,  a Black-throated Diver, five Black-necked Grebes, 66 Whimbrel, four Great and 15 Arctic Skuas, 122 Little Gulls and 32 Arctic Terns. Three Marsh Harriers also came in from the south.

The flat sea provided excellent conditions for watching the Porpoises with a new record of a minimum of 88 being counted.

Harbour Porpoise Pochoena phocena   Dungeness   19th April 2018

A Red-eared Terrapin was seen at the Long Pits were an example of the very rare mining bee Andrena vaga was also found.

18th Apr

A bright and sunny, increasingly warm, day with a light SSE to SW breeze. Seawatching was reasonable for the first couple of hours but passage soon petered out whilst migrants were generally few and far between on the land.
The highlight on the land was a typically brief and flighty Serin and a handful of Willow Warblers were about the only other passage birds.
Nearly eight hours of seawatching produced one Eider, 26 Whimbrel, a Black-throated Diver, a Knot, six Great and ten Arctic Skuas, four Little Gulls, five Little Terns and nine Arctic Terns of note along with a trickle of Sandwich and Common Terns.

At least 20 Porpoise were feeding offshore.

Two Red-eared Terrapins were seen in the Long Pits.

A female Brimstone flew through the Observatory garden. Two Light Orange Underwing moths were seen in the trapping area.

17th Apr

With a light SSE wind which veered to the SSW during the day the beach was the place to be. A mammoth 13 hour seawatching session produced 168 Brent Geese, four Garganey, 15 Eiders, 711 Common and eight Velvet Scoters, seven Red-breasted Mergansers, 80 Red-throated and four Black-throated Divers, 38 Manx Shearwaters, 229 Gannets, 141 Whimbrels, 65 Bar-tailed Godwits, an excellent total of 82 Great Skuas, 28 Arctic Skuas, 125 Little Gulls, 891 Sandwich Terns, 831 "Commic" Terns and 62 identified Arctic Terns
A Merlin was also seen over the sea.

The land was almost totally lacking in any migrants.
Eider Somateria mollissima   Dungeness   17th April 2018
At least ten Porpoise were also feeding offshore and a party of four unidentified dolphins was also seen.


16th Apr

A clearer morning at last but it remains fairly slow on the land but with a steady trickle of birds east offshore throughout the day.
A few migrants in the bushes included just two Firecrests, ten Willow Warblers and three Lesser Whitethroats of note and ten Swallows and two Yellow Wagtails passed overhead. A Cetti's Warbler also trapped.
Cetti's Warbler Cettia cetti   Dungeness   16th April 2018
A spring capture is quite unusua herel.
Jackdaw Corvus monedula   Dungeness   16th April 2018
Last year this species bred in the area for the first time since 1966 and this pair are breeding in the same chimney.. 
Over eight hours of seawatching produced five Eiders, 540 Common Scoters, a Manx Shearwater, 22 Great Skuas, nine Arctic Skuas and nine Little Gulls of note but overall numbers were fairly low.

At least 20 Porpoises were feeding offshore.

15th Apr

The place to be this morning (and in fact for most of the day) was on the beach were there was a strong easterly movement of birds. The most significant in terms of numbers were 1273 Brent Geese, 4432 Common Scoters, 110 Red-throated Divers, 481 Gannets, 109 Little Gulls, 449 Sandwich Terns and 407 Common/ic Terns whilst less usual records included two Eiders, 21 Red-breasted Mergansers, three Black-throated Divers, a Black Tern, five Great Skuas and 39 Arctic Skuas. Two Avocets also flew west.
It remains very quiet on the land with just four Willow Warblers, 20 Chiffchaffs, 15 Blackcaps, four Lesser Whitethroats, a Ring Ouzel, a Fieldfare and two Bramblings of interest.

At least 15 Porpoises were feeding offshore and a Brown Hare was seen along the road.

14th Apr

Yet another morning of thick fog and very few birds. Five Whitethroats, a Yellow Wagtail and a Brambling were about the only highlights on the land. A brief spell of clearer weather this afternoon produced a Great Northern Diver sat on the sea and two Great Skuas and three Arctic Skuas passing east of note.
Collared Dove Streptopelia decaocto   Dungeness   14th April 2018
Not sure this species has been shown on our web pages before. Has bred in recent years so nothing too surprising about this
record except that it was in the Observatory Back Garden and I think the first time I have seen one in here.
Porpoises were very much in evidence this afternoon and with a fair amount of mating behaviour being seen.

Porpoise Phocoena phocena   Dungeness   14th April 2018
Two Light Orange Underwing moths were seen at the Long Pits.