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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.

20th May

Another day with very few birds on the land or at sea but with some surprises. The most unlikely bird of the day was a stunning male Brambling caught in the trapping area whilst other bits included four Grey Herons, a Buzzard, a Spotted Flycatcher, two Yellow Wagtails and a Siskin. Mediterranean Gulls were also seen at the Patch and flying over the Long Pits.
Spotted Flycatcher Muscicapa striata   Dungeness   20th May 2019
Brambling Fringilla montoifringilla   20th May 2019   

A Grey Seal was feeding offshore and two Brown Hares were seen in the Desert..

A couple of plants of the nationally scarce Crimson Clover were found growing in the rough ground in front of the Observatory and is a new species for the area.
Crimson Clover Trifolium incarnatum   Dungeness   20th May 2019
Elsewhere in the area the clear highlight was an adult Whiskered Tern which spent most of the day flying around Burrowes Pit on the RSPB Reserve. This was then joined later in the day by a Roseate Tern. At times it was possible to photograph birds in the same view. (Photos to follow).










19th May

Very quiet on the land with just a single Spotted Flycatcher in the moat, a late Fieldfare and five Corn Buntings of note.
The sea wasn't much better with several hours of watching producing just 523 Common Scoters, four Eider, seven Mediterranean Gulls, seven Little Terns and an Arctic Skua of note.

Three Grey Seals and ten Porpoises were feeding offshore.
Grey Seal Halichoerus grypus   Dungeness   19th May 2019
Brown Argus and Grizzled Skippers continue to be seen in good numbers.
Grizzled Skipper Pyrgus malvae   Dungeness   19th May 2019
The Serin was still singing and showing well at times at Littlestone.


 with the fo

18th May

A Spotted Flycatcher in the trapping area and a flock of 19 Corn Buntings in the Sanctuary area were about the best on offer on the land.
Seawatching was also fairly slow going but over nine hours of watching eventually produced 13 Manx Shearwaters, three Mediterranean Gulls, 209 Sandwich Terns, 15 Little Terns, 11 Black Terns, a Great Skua, a Pomarine Skua and two Arctic Skuas of note.

At least ten Porpoises were feeding offshore along with a Grey Seal.

A Holly Blue was seen in the trapping area.

The Serin continues to show very well at Littlestone.





Serin Serinus serinus   Littlestone   18th May 2019



17th May

The north-easterly breeze continues and with short spells of heavy drizzle in the morning.
There was no sign of any grounded migrants but a party of eight Corn Buntings were feeding in the Broom at the Point again and a singing Red-legged Partridge was only the second record of the year.
The morning seawatch produced another 17 Pomarine Skua (with another bird in the evening) along with 60 Sanderling, a Little Tern, over 1200 "Commic" Terns, 136 Arctic Terns and 61 Black Terns.

Eight Porpoise and singles of both Grey and Common Seals were feeding offshore.

Elsewhere, the Serin was still showing well at times at Littlestone.

16th May

Another quiet day on the land but even so a Tree Pipit was an unusual capture and 20 Corn Buntings were feeding in the Broom bushes around the Britannia and Sanctuary area.
Seawatching was fairly uneventful in the morning with just a single Pomarine Skua of note but passage increased notably from mid-afternoon with another 25 Pomarine Skuas along with 16 Arctic Skuas, three Mediterranean Gulls, 1500 "commic" Terns, four Little Terns, 21 Knot and 38 Sanderling.
Pomarine Skua Stercorarius pomarinus   Dungeness   16th May 2019
And click here for a short video of one of the flocks at it passes by.

Ten Porpoise were feeding offshore and two Brown Hares were seen on the land.

Not so long ago the Brown Argus was a fairly scarce butterfly at Dungeness but numbers have increased considerably in recent years. Today, in less than perfect conditions, at least 25 individuals were seen. A Holly Blue was seen at the Sycamore in the trapping area again.
Brown Argus Aricia agestis   Dungeness    16th May 2019

15th May

Another quiet day with the only bird of note on the land being a male Redstart. The best the sea could offer were four Grey Plover, 15 Sanderling and a single Arctic Skua.
Redstart Phoenicurus phoenicurus   male   Dungeness   15th May 2019
The first Common Blues of the year were seen along with eight Grizzled Skippers, a Holly Blue and five Brown Argus

The uncommon Slender Leather Bug Ceraleptus lividus was also found in the sycamore in the trapping area.
Slender Leatherbug Sehirus lividus   Dungeness   15th May 2019
In addition a couple of scarce birds were seen in the area with a Purple Heron on the RSPB Reserve and a smart Serin seen singing at Littlestone.


Serin Serinus serinus)  Littlestone   15th May 2019



14th May

Another slow day with over three hours pf seawatching producing just two Eider, 36 Grey Plover, a Mediterranean Gull, 409 "Commic" Tern, a Black Tern, two Great Skuas and an Arctic Skua of note.

13th May

Another cold and clear day which produced a trickle of birds offshore but very little on the land.
The best from over five hours of seawatching were two Velvet Scoters, singles of Black-throated and Great Northern Divers, 75 Grey Plover, ten Whimbrel, 46 Knot, four Little Gulls, 775 Common Terns and two Great Skuas

12th May

Migrants were few and far between again but there was a notable highlight in the form of a Honey Buzzard which came in from the sea this morning, flew over the Observatory and eventually headed off westwards. A flock of 36 Corn Buntings on the Point was also noteworthy.
There was barely any movement offshore but a Black-throated Diver flew east. 

Butterflies seen today included nine Grizzled Skippers and two Brown Argus.