February 2015

1stFirecrest was seen in the trapping area.
2ndTwo Firecrests and a Chiffchaff were seen in the trapping area.
3rd
Woodcock and a Little Owl were seen in the bushes but the sea was quiet.
4thVery quiet.
5thThree Firecrests were seen in the bushes and three Greylag Geese and three Pintailsflew east.
6thA bitterly cold and windy day with the only interest being amongst the gulls. Thousands were feeding at the Patch with a second-winter Caspian Gull and an adultMediterranean Gull of note there whilst a first-winter Caspian Gull and a second-winter Yellow-legged Gull were in the roost at the fishing boats. An Estonian-ringedCommon Gull was also noteworthy.
7thLimited coverage and nothing reported.
8thThree Firecrests were seen in the trapping area.
9thAn adult Mediterranean Gull was feeding at the fishing boats but very little else was seen despite the distinct improvement in the weather.
10thDartford Warbler seen in one of the gardens was unexpected and was the first Observatory record since October 2012. Very little else was seen other than two first-winter Yellow-legged Gulls at the Patch.
11thThree Teal, three Woodcocks and four Firecrests were seen around the trapping area and Long Pits and a Mistle Thrush was new for the year.
12thWhat was another very quiet day was enlivened in the afternoon by the finding of a flock of about 35 Pink-footed Geese floating east offshore. A Firecrest and a Black Redstart were also seen.
13thA sudden change in the weather with strong southerly winds during the morning resulted in a reasonable easterly passage with 2.5hrs of watching producing 218 Brent Geese, five Wigeon, 129 Red-throated Divers, six Fulmars, 450 Gannets and 102Kittiwakes. Three Mediterranean Gulls were amongst large numbers of gulls feeding at the Patch.
14thA few birds passing offshore included 43 Brent Geese, five Pintail, a Velvet Scoter, 150 Red-throated Divers and 131 Kittiwakes whilst two Mediterranean Gulls and a first-winter Yellow-legged Gull were feeding at the Patch. Also at the Patch was a colour-ringed Great Black-backed Gull which was ringed as nestling in Norway in 2003 and has been seen here previously in 2004-5 and 2012.Two Black Redstarts were feeding inside the power station complex.
Of note from elsewhere was the egret roost at ARC which produced five Cattle Egrets, nine Great White Egrets and 23 Little Egrets this evening. It is worth noting that in the last issue of Dutch Birding which arrived a couple of days ago it is stated that a total of 6320 Great White Egrets were counted at roosts in Holland in October 2014 and it has been annual there since 1976.
15thSiskin and six Chaffinches were new birds in the trapping area where singles ofMarsh HarrierKingfisherFirecrest and Chiffchaff were also seen.A 2.5hrs seawatch this morning produced two Shovelers, 300 Red-throated Diver and 138 Gannets.
16thA calm day with thick fog at first and remaining quite murky all day saw a small passage offshore which included three Pink-footed Geese, 128 Brent Geese and twoPintail. Four Skylarks flew south, three Fieldfares were feeding in the moat this afternoon and two Black Redstarts were on the power station wall again.
17thA bright and sunny day but very quiet for birds with the merest trickle of birds east offshore and a Firecrest and a Chiffchaff seen in the trapping area.
18thAnother fine day but which one which failed to produce very much. A couple ofFirecrests were seen.
19thA windy morning encouraged some easterly offshore passage with a 2.25hr seawatch producing 470 Red-throated Divers of note along with three Red-breasted Mergansers, four Fulmars, 145 Gannets, two Curlews and a few Kittiwakes. In the afternoon a second-winter Mediterranean Gull was seen at the Patch.Quiet on the land again although a Grey Wagtail was new for the year and a Chiffchaffwas seen in the bushes.
20thA thoroughly miserable day with heavy rain overnight and throughout the day. Little coverage but a check of the gull roost in the early afternoon produced second-winter and third-winter Caspian Gulls.
21stRain continued through much of the night and early morning and even turned to heavy snow for a short time.Seawatching produced a few Red-throated Divers and Gannets but very little else whilst the third-winter Caspian Gull first seen yesterday was in the high tide roost at the fishing boats again.


Caspian Gull Larus cachinnans   third-winter   Dungeness   21st February 2015
22ndA first-winter Caspian Gull was seen at the fishing boats and two Firecrests were seen in the trapping area.
23rdVery little to be seen on a cold and windy day with occasional hail showers.
24thStill very quiet with just two adult Mediterranean Gulls feeding at the Patch and sixChaffinches passing overhead of any interest.
25thThere was a notable increase in Brent Goose passage with 588 Dark-bellieds and aPale-bellied Brent passing through during the morning. There was little evidence of anything else moving although there were nearly 300 Red-throated Divers and 1432Great Crested Grebes feeding offshore. An adult Mediterranean Gull was the only gull of interest among the large numbers feeding at the Patch.A party of four Ravens also flew over.
26thA thoroughly hopeless day with thick fog at first turning to heavy rain in the afternoon making any serious observations virtually impossible and paperwork the favoured option.
27thA clear and sunny morning produced a very small movement of Skylarks andChaffinches but not a great deal else.However, in the afternoon a first-winter Pomarine Skua flew in over the Point and landed near the Sanctuary. Sadly it was clearly in poor condition and was easily caught and died a couple of hours later.
The following images may be of interest and instructive. 

Relatively uniform upperparts except for fine white scaling

Large heavy bill with dark tip and no sign of a pale collar

Four white primary shafts in the upperwing and lacking obvious pale tips


Note that although it shows a very large white patch at the base of primaries it does not show an obvious second patch at the base of the primary coverts which might have been expected.


Strongly barred undertailcoverts and central tail feathers only projecting only slightly from the rest of the tail. In fact when the tail was spread there was no projection at all. Arctic Skua would show less distinct barring and more elongated and pointed central feathers.
28thA miserable morning with heavy drizzle and strong winds turning to heavy rain in the afternoon and overnight.The highlight was a juvenile/first-winter Glaucous Gull which was found on the beach at the Patch and then headed off east and was then seen as it passed the Point. There was also a decent bit of passage in the first couple of hours with 415 Brent Geese, 20Pintails, two Red-breasted Mergansers, 600 Red-throated Divers, 22 Fulmars and 163 Gannets.
Glaucous Gull Larus hyperboreus   Dungeness   28th February 2015