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Corona Virus Update

Due to ongoing advice about the Corona Virus we have taken the decision to close the Observatory building to visitors for the foreseeable future. We are still operating our monitoring programme. Please think carefully about Social Distancing before approaching our Wardens. Please forward any Dungeness records to the Warden.
You can still support the Obs by using Give as you Live or Google Smile when shopping online.
Thank You for your understanding
The Trustees.

31st Mar

Another day with strong and cold NE winds. A few birds passed overhead including 200 Wood Pigeons and 145 Chaffinches but it was quiet in the bushes with just six Chiffchaffs, three Firecrests, two Song Thrushes and six Redwings of note. It was also quiet offshore where the early morning produced just a Black-throated Diver, three Mediterranean Gulls and 12 Sandwich Terns of note.

The "noc-mig" recorder was deployed last night with a Teal, two Moorhens, a Sandwich Tern, a Skylark and nine Redwings registered.

Two Porpoises were feeding offshore.of note. 

30th Mar

Not a great deal to be seen in the Observatory area. A one hour seawatch this morning produced an Eider, 154 Red-throated Divers and two Sandwich Terns.
Eight Chiffchaffs, four Firecrests, four Black Redstarts and two Wheatears were seen and an interesting looking Great Spotted Woodpecker came to the feeders in the trapping area.



Great Spotted Woodpecker Dendrocopus major   Dungeness   30th March 2020
Note the very white, pinkish washed underparts and white outer tail feathers with very narrow black bars.on
the inner webs. This features suggest ithat this might be a bird of the more northern subspecies. major.
Two Porpoises and a Grey Seal were seen offshore and two Brown Hares were seen on the land.

However, the "big" news today was an immature White-tailed Eagle which flew over the northern end of the greater recording area and was seen by several lucky observers before it headed off in a north-easterly direction and was then seen later over Hythe as it continued its way along the coast. Sadly, we failed to see it from the Observatory.

29th Mar

A very cold gale-force NE wind with frequent hail severely limited observations. The only birds of note were two Sandwich Terns and a Merlin.

28th Mar

The very cold north-east wind was even stronger today and limited observations even more. A Jack Snipe flying along the beach was the surprise of the morning seawatch and the juvenile Glaucous Gull was still around. Two Grey Plovers, two Mediterranean Gulls and 13 Sandwich Terns were also seen. Migrants on the land were very limited but did include two Marsh Harriers, a Short-eared Owl, a Fieldfare, a Firecrest, a Grey Wagtail, 200 Chaffinches and five Siskins.

Four Porpoise were feeding offshore.

27th Mar

The weather remains the same with fresh and cold NE winds and clear skies limiting grounded migrants but encouraging a bit of visible migration. The highlights of this mornings exercise walks were a Serin followed by a Crossbill and a Corn Bunting along with a Buzzard, six Snipe, 85 Wood Pigeons, a Grey Wagtail, 35 Chaffinches and six Siskins. Four Chiffchaffs, two Firecrests and eight Black Redstarts and a White Wagtail were also seen on the land.

The juvenile Glaucous Gull was still on the beach but offshore passage was very slow with just nine Wigeon, three Shovelers and four Sandwich Terns of interest.

The nights "nocmig" recording produced a flock of Common Scoter, five Moorhens, a Snipe and 73 Redwings.

A Porpoise and a Brown Hare were also seen.

Four Peacock butterflies were also seen in the Trapping Area.

26th Mar

Not a great deal in the bushes other than four Chiffchaffs and a Firecrest but a decent movement overhead with a Marsh Harrier, 430 Wood Pigeons and 130 Chaffinches seen. 
The sea was also quiet with just six Teal, seven Fulmars, two Mediterranean Gulls, a Little Gull and seven Sandwich Terns of note.

A 3.33hr "nocmig" session recorded a Grey Heron, two Mallard, two Teal and 38 Redwings.

Two Porpoises were seen offshore.

25th Mar

A day of quality rather than quantity. The highlights on the land were a Red Kite, two Buzzards, a Marsh Harrier, a Wood Lark and a Serin along with five Firecrests in the trapping area and the first Yellow Wagtail of the spring also flew east along the beach. Seawatching produced 401 Brent Goose, a Garganey, 12 Shoveler, six Pintails, six Eider, a Little Gull, two Mediterranean Gulls and 12 Sandwich Terns. The Glaucous Gull also gave brilliant views.

We also ran the "nocmig" recorder last night. The number of registrations was very small but did include a Teal and two Coot of note.



Glaucous Gull Larus hyperboreus   juvenile   Dungeness   25th March 2020
Four Porpoises were feeding offshore.

24th Mar

The first day of full Coronavirus lockdown and the Dungeness estate has been officially closed to visitors by EDF. Needless to say it was very quiet. Hopefully I'll be allowed back in if I have to cross the line.

This means that for the next few weeks coverage is going to be rather different to the level that we have got used to in recent years. Officially we are restricted to one "exercise" walk a day. My walk is therefore quite long but as there are virtually no visitors it is easy to avoid contact with anyone else. Between us we are endeavoring to cover at least an early morning seawatch and a good check of the land.

Another effect of the lockdown is that the building work inside the Observatory has been abandoned for the time being and means that we have no idea when we will be able to offer accommodation again even when the restrictions have been lifted.

Seawatching today produced 1000 Brent Geese, five Shelducks, 20 Shovelers, 567 Common Scoters, five Red-breasted Mergansers, five Little Gulls, 163 Sandwich Terns and the first three Common Terns of the spring. The juvenile Glaucous Gull was also still present. 

The check of the land revealed two Common Snipe, a Redshank, six Chiffchaffs, a Firecrest, six Black Redstarts, six Stonechats and two Wheatears.



Black Redstart Phoenicurus ochrurus   Dungeness   24th March 2020

Stonechat  Saxicola rubicola   Dungeness   24th March 2020
Two Porpoises were feeding offshore.

The "micro-moth" Esperia sulphurella was found in the Observatory garden.
Esperia sulphurella   Dungeness   24th March 2020








23rd Mar

There was a trickle of birds of moving east offshore with four Garganey of particular note and back up provided by 13 Shovelers, 48 Red-throated Divers, four Grey Plovers, six Ringed Plovers, four Mediterranean Gulls and three Sandwich Terns.
There was also a handful of migrants on the land with a Jack Snipe, four Common Snipe, five Chiffchaffs, a Long-tailed Tit, four Firecrests, ten Redwings and a Mistle Thrush of note.

Four Porpoises were feeding offshore. 

The next few weeks look like being fairly difficult times for us. The Dungeness Estate will be effectively locked down and for the most part will only be covered by three or four observers and that limited to "exercise walks". Obviously the Observatory will be completely out of bounds to visitors for the time being.

22nd Mar

A handful of migrants on the land included a Jack Snipe, five Chiffchaffs and ten Redwings. The juvenile Glaucous Gull was still feeding offshore but movement included seven Shoveler, seven Black-tailed Godwit and just two Sandwich Terns.

One Porpoise was seen offshore.