January 2015

1stThe year began with good numbers of GannetsKittiwakes and Guillemots offshore today and several sightings of at least one Great Skua.Elsewhere, the two Cattle Egrets were still at Lydd, there were four Tundra Bean Geese with Bewick's Swans and a Whooper Swan at Horsebones Farm on Walland Marsh, several Great White Egrets were around the RSPB Reserve along with a fewSmews and Goosanders and a Black-necked Grebe and two more Black-necked Grebes and a drake Scaup were at Scotney.
2ndSnipe, three Firecrests and a Chiffchaff were of note in the trapping area. Seawatching produced two Velvet Scoters, a Goldeneye, 316 Red-throated Divers, two Great Skuas, 213 Kittiwakes and 650 auks flying west in 2.5hrs of recording.
3rdA thoroughly miserable day made observation difficult but checking the gulls loafing on the point produced a first-winter Caspian Gull and then a brief sighting of a first-winterGlaucous Gull before it continued west. An adult Yellow-legged Gull was also seen.
Glaucous Gull Larus hyperboreus   first winter   Dungeness   3rd January 2015
4thA new first-winter Caspian Gull spent over an hour in the gull roost at the Point this morning but there was no sign of yesterdays Glaucous Gull. A few Brent Geese flew east.
Caspian Gull Larus cachinnans    first-winter   Dungeness   4th January 2015
The highlight on the land was a Barn Owl which spent a few minutes in a local garden before being flushed by gulls and Carrion Crows and could not be relocated. AFirecrest and two Chiffchaffs were also seen.
5thAnother miserable day with only coverage of the sea and Patch which produced fourRed-breasted Mergansers, a Pomarine Skua, two Great Skuas and threeMediterranean Gulls of note.
6thVery quiet offshore with small numbers of Red-throated DiversKittiwakes and aukspassing in both directions and a Firecrest and a Chiffchaff in the trapping area.
7thThe easterly passage of Brent Geese continues with at least 250 through today. AMarsh Harrier, two Firecrests and a Chiffchaff were seen in the trapping area and aBlack Redstart was at the Patch hide.
8thAn awful morning of strong winds and heavy rain eventually giving way to brighter and dry conditions. The sea was more or less the only coverage but even here there was not a great deal to be seen other than another 100 Brent Geese moving east and the usual Red-throated DiversGannetsKittiwakes and auks moving around. A Black Redstart was seen at the fishing boats.Some time this evening was spent being fairly underwhelmed by the sight of Comet Lovejoy.
9thMore of the same offshore but with the addition of a Great Skua passing west at the fishing boats and stopping briefly at the Patch. A first-winter Caspian Gull was in the roost on the Point in the afternoon.
10thA morning of really awful weather with howling winds and heavy rain making even seawatching difficult. However, three hours of observations produced 29 Fulmars and 78 Kittiwakes heading west and a first-winter Caspian Gull feeding offshore.
11thNot a great deal to report in the continuing strong winds. A Great Skua flew west and a first-winter Yellow-legged Gull was amongst the gulls on the beach and a Firecrestwas seen in the trapping area.
12thYet another in the succession of very wet and windy days. Seawatching continues to be the only sensible option but even here it is pretty hard work with several hours of observation producing just 29 Wigeon, 148 Brent Geese and two Great Skuas of note offshore and a first-winter Caspian Gull in the roost.  
Caspian Gull Larus cachinnans   first-winter   Dungeness   12th January 2015
13thThe first-winter Caspian Gull was in the gull roost again, a flock of 45 Brent Geeseflew east and a Marsh Harrier was hunting over the Long Pits but little else was seen on another pretty miserable day.

Caspian Gull Larus cachinnans   first-winter   Dungeness   13th January 2015
14thLimited coverage in more windy conditions. A check of the Patch revealed plenty of gulls but nothing of real note except for this pale individual. Is it a pale argentatusHerring Gull or a Herring Gull x Glaucous Gull (ie Viking Gull) hybrid. Birds looking like this are not that rare and show up in most winters at Dungeness.
Herring Gull or Herring Gull x Glaucous Gull (aka Viking Gull) hybrid  
first-winter   Dungeness   14th January 2014
Whilst on the subject of "funny" gulls this individual has also been seen around the Point over the last couple of days. It is clearly a large bird and not sure whether it is just an aberrant/pale Great Black-backed Gull or perhaps it has some Glaucous Gull or argentatus Herring Gull in there. Try as I might I cannot turn it into anything more exciting though. 



15thFollowing another torrid night of wind and rain the day did not fare much better. The only birding option was more seawatching but this continues to disappoint with just sixFulmars, 120 Kittiwakes and 220 auks species west in 2.5hrs of watching.
16thTwo Velvet Scoters and three Mediterranean Gulls and a few Kittiwakes and auksflew west this morning.
17thLarge numbers of gulls feeding offshore included a first-winter Caspian Gull, a first-winter Yellow-legged Gull and four Mediterranean Gulls whilst a Great Skua flew west.The bushes held three Firecrests and two Chiffchaffs.
18thA strange seawatch this morning in constant rain with a steady westerly passage of around 500 Kittiwakes and auks in 90 minutes along with a loitering Great Skua and three Mediterranean Gulls. A new first-winter Caspian Gull was seen in the gull roost.
Caspian Gull Larus cachinnans   first-winter   Dungeness   18th January 2015
19thA first-winter Caspian Gull and a Mediterranean Gull were seen on the Point and aFirecrest was seen in the bushes.
20thNothing of note.
21stMediterranean Gull was seen offshore and 80 Brent Geese flew east.
22ndNothing of note.
23rdMerlin was of note.
25thFirecrest and eight Goldcrests were seen in the bushes.
27thTwo Mediterranean Gulls were feeding offshore and a Peregrine Falcon and aMerlin were also seen.
28thNothing of note.
29thPomarine Skua flew west, as did a drake Eider and a Black Redstart was seen at the Lifeboat Station.
30thPomarine Skua was seen offshore again.
31stPomarine Skua and a Great Skua were seen offshore along with 90 Wigeon and aMediterranean Gull.