29th February

Not much happening birdwise at the Point or round the Observatory and once again there was no sign of the Glaucous or Caspian Gulls at the fishing boats. Offshore only a few Red-throated Diver and Brent Geese made any impression on the notebook. 

On the RSPB Reserve one Great White Egret was on Dengemarsh this morning. 2 Slavonian Grebe were still present on New Diggings and lastly 2 Egyptian Geese were at Boulderwall Farm.

28th February

A bitterly cold wind and very unpleasant birding conditions meant a quiet day around the Point. The main news was that the first-winter Glaucous Gull was not seen today. However the strong north-easterly wind did bring about a Merlin and a single male Stonechat by the Long Pit both of which were probably seeking shelter from the wind.

On the RSPB Reserve no sign of the Long-eared Owls, but 4 Smew by the entrance track. Two each of Black-necked and Slavonian Grebe on the New Diggings and a Great White Egret also noted in the Dengemarsh area.

Subscriptions for 2016

Subscriptions for 2016 are now due. The Trustees have very reluctantly decided to increase the cost of subscriptions to £15.00. This is the first increase for 10 years and we hope that you will continue to support us and our work. If you pay by standing order you will need to inform your bank.

The 2014 Annual Report has just been published. It costs £9.25 inc p&p. To order a copy please send a cheque made payable to "Dungeness Bird Observatory".


27th February

A quiet and bitterly cold day today and the number of birds seen reflected that. The first-winter Glaucous Gull was once again present at the fishing boats and little was noted on the sea.

A Woodcock was flushed from the bushes at the Long Pit and a Cetti's Warbler was also present.

On the RSPB Reserve the 2 Slavonian Grebe were still on the New Diggings but no sign of the Black-necked Grebes today. A single drake Smew was seen on Burrowes Pit too.

26th February

Another pleasant day on the Point with some birds to match. Once again the first-winter Glaucous Gull was seen in the normal area around the fishing boats and puddles. There was once again no sign of the first-winter Caspian Gull which does look to have moved on now.

Pretty quiet out over the sea but 3 Mediterranean Gull flew through eastwards and added a little variation. Once again there were 2 Black Redstart feeding around the Power Station perimeter. 2 Peregrine and a single Raven were also seen over and around the Power Station.

In the trapping area 3 Firecrest, 4 Goldcrest, 16 Long-tailed Tit and 3 Sparrowhawk offered some interest as did 3 Teal on the Long Pit. Also at the Long Pit up to 2 Woodcock have been reported by fishermen over the last few weeks.

Elsewhere the RSPB Reserve once again held some excellent birds today. 2 Black-necked Grebe remain on the New Diggings with 2 Slavonian Grebe for company. The 2 Long-eared Owl's were once again roosting behind the Dipping Pond and as always took some locating in the dense scrub. On Dengemarsh 2 Red-crested Pochard added to the colour. Lastly 5 Great White Egret came in to roost on the ARC Pit with 21 Little Egret for company.

25th February

A lovely sunny day again on the Point with the first-winter Glaucous Gull putting in an appearance but the Caspian Gull was not noted today. Very quiet on the sea except a few Red-throated Divers feeding offshore.

The Long Pits held a single Pochard, 3 Firecrest, a Cetti's Warbler and 2 Chiffchaff. Also of note the first Marsh Frogs of the year were seen. In the Moat 3 Song Thrush, 2 Reed Bunting, 4 Greenfinch and a single Skylark. There were also 2 Black Redstart feeding around the powerstation walls.

On the RSPB Reserve the Glossy Ibis was seen in the morning but is proving elusive and difficult to pin down. Elsewhere 2 Black-necked Grebe were on the New Diggings, and the Slavonian Grebe was again seen from the Dennis Hide. Only one Long-eared Owl was seen behind the dipping ponds and a couple of Great White Egret were seen on Dengemarsh and the access track respectively.


24th February

A beautiful sunny day made for excellent viewing conditions. The main highlight on the Point was the first-winter Caspian Gull which reappeared today. Otherwise a quiet day.

The RSPB Reserve held some nice birds with the Glossy Ibis being seen again on Dengemarsh. Staying on Dengemarsh 6 White-fronted Geese made an appearance. A Little Stint was reported to fly over Burrowes Pit. Black-necked Grebe and Slavonian Grebe were seen in the main Reserve with 2 Long-eared Owl still roosting behind the dipping pond. The usual Great White Egrets were spread across the RSPB land.

23rd February

A much brighter day on the peninsula but very quiet birdwise. Of note the first-winter Glaucous Gull was still present in the usual area around the fishing boats. The sea was very quiet with no particular highlights to report however 250+ Great Crested Grebe are still lingering offshore. Around the Obs itself a single Blackbird was trapped and a Reed Bunting was seen in the Moat.

On the RSPB Reserve the 2 Long-eared Owls were roosting by the dipping ponds. 2 Great White Egrets, 1 Smew and a Slavonian Grebe made up the best the Reserve had to offer.

22nd February

Another thoroughly miserable day weather-wise with constant drizzle for the whole day. On the bird front however there was plenty to see with the first-winter Glaucous Gull still around the fishing boats and being joined by a third-cy Yellow-legged Gull but no sign of the first-winter Caspian Gull today.

On the sea a huge number of Great Crested Grebe which eventually totalled 851 (Well done Martin for doing the count!). Also a decent total of nearly 400 Red-throated Diver past in a westerly direction. Of note there were very small numbers of Guillemot left feeding offshore and very few going past which is in stark contrast to the past few days.

Away from the Point the RSPB Reserve held up to 6 redhead Smew, 1 Slavonian Grebe and the 2 Long-eared Owls were still roosting by the Dipping Pond.

21st February

Nothing new around the peninsula however the regular first-winter Glaucous Gull and two first-winter Caspian Gull were still on the puddles by the fishing boats. Good numbers of Kittiwakes and Guillemots were passing westward and a handful of Brent Geese moving up channel too.

On the RSPB Reserve the at least one Long-eared Owl was still by the dipping pond and the Slavonian Grebe was still on Burrowes Pit.

20th February

More miserable weather on the Point meant birding was uncomfortable to say the least with a strong westerly breeze and drizzle all day. On the bird front the first-winter Glaucous Gull was present again along with the first-winter Caspian Gull around the puddles/lighthouse area. Good numbers of auk still in the area with plenty of Guillemot heading west. Of note there are still huge numbers of gulls still feeding at the patch.

On the RSPB Reserve 2 Long-eared Owl still roosting by the dipping ponds, 3 Smew along the access track, Slavonian Grebe still on Burrowes Pit and 2 Great White Egrets at Boulderwall Farm.

19th February

A cold start followed by chilly wintery showers later in the day. The first-winter Glaucous Gull was still present loafing around the lighthouse, meanwhile 2 Little Gull passed the Point. Still good numbers of Great Crested Grebe and auks on the sea.

On the RSPB Reserve 2 Great White Egret were noted at Boulderwall Farm as well as a redhead Smew. The Slavonian Grebe was still present on Burrowes and the Long-eared Owl was behind the dipping pond between the visitor centre and Firth Hide.

18th February

Large numbers of Great Crested Grebes and Guillemots were feeding in the calm waters offshore and the first-winter Caspian and Glaucous Gulls were still present but there appeared to be nothing actually moving through.

17th February

Very little change today. Two Firecrests were seen at the northern end of the recording area and the first-winter Caspian and Glaucous Gulls were still at the fishing boats.

The Glossy Ibis was seen briefly this morning at Dengemarsh.

16th February

Thick fog at first limited the early morning coverage. After the fog cleared the regular Caspian and Glaucous Gulls were seen and good numbers of Great Crested Grebes and Guillemots were feeding in the calm waters offshore. A check of the bushes failed to produce anything of real interest.

Elsewhere, a Glossy Ibis arrived on the RSPB Reserve and was seen on several occasions but was fairly elusive as it fed out of sight in the various ditches around Dengemarsh and Boulderwall. 

15th February

The first-winter Caspian and Glaucous Gull were showing well as usual around the fishing boats. There was plenty of feeding activity offshore with at least 500 Great Crested Grebes again and good numbers of gulls and auks. A Woodcock and three Snipe were seen at the Long Pits.

14th February

A calm morning did little for the seawatching except for allowing a count of Great Crested Grebes in the bay with a superb total of 2661 birds seen. A Slavonian Grebe was also seen with them but there was very little in the way of genuine movement. 
The regular first-winter Caspian and Glaucous Gulls continued to show well.
Two Woodcocks were flushed from the bushes at the north end of the Long Pits.

A few more clumps of Goose Barnacles were washed up but no more Columbus Crabs were found. This large clump was on the beach at Galloways where the bleached skeleton of a Porpoise was also found. 
Goose Barnacles Lepus anserina    Galloways   14th February 2016



13th February

Very little coverage in the Observatory area due to miserable weather. A check of the beach this morning revealed the usual first winter Glaucous Gull still present.
Click here for some video of the Glaucous Gull

A wet and windy walk along the beach at the end of Dengemarsh Road checking the strandline found four clusters of Goose Barnacles attached to a variety of polystyrene floating objects and large numbers of empty Sand Gaper or Soft-shelled Clam Mya arenaria.
Goose Barnacles, strandline and Sand Gapers at Dengemarsh

However, on returning to the car we spotted a patch of Goose Barnacles which had been scraped off and onto the roadside. Checking through these we were rewarded with finding two Columbus Crabs Planes minutus. Unfortunately they were dead but this meant that we were able to collect them and they can now be seen at the Observatory.


Columbus Crab Planes minutus   Dungeness   13th February 2016

12th February

Despite a change to SExE winds there was no sign of any real passage offshore although eight Mediterranean Gulls did fly past amidst hundreds of gulls feeding on the shellfish washing up on the beach. The first-winter Caspian and Glaucous Gulls were still showing well. 

Massed Gulls this evening   Dungeness   12th February 2016


11th February

Two Firecrests were seen at the causeway between the two Long Pits and the first-winter Caspian and Glaucous Gull were still showing well around the fishing boats. 

10th February

Not a great deal to report other than the usual first-winter Caspian and Glaucous Gulls still present.

9th February

A very wet and much calmer morning but a bit disappointing for seabirds with hardly anything moving offshore other than 357 Kittiwakes and five Mediterranean Gulls in 2.25 hours. The first-winter Caspian Gull and Glaucous Gull were showing well at times.
A Grey Seal was seen and a few more clusters of Goose Barnacles were found on the beach.

8th February

A day of violent winds which restricted observations to the sea where even here it was very difficult - at one stage the large boat we were sheltering behind began to slide over the shingle. The seawatch itself was notable for 153 Fulmars and 218 Kittiwakes moving west during the morning but these were about the only birds moving.
The regular Caspian and Glaucous Gulls were joined by a first-winter Yellow-legged Gull.

With such persistent strong westerly winds it was probably only a matter of time before Goose Barnacles started to wash up on the beach and a couple of large clusters have now been found attached to polystyrene floats.
Goose Barnacles Lepus anatifera   Dungeness   8th February 2016
Also on the beach this afternoon was this fish which I think is a Shad sp., probably a Twaite Shad, - now a rare fish in British waters and classified as Vulnerable.
Twaite Shad Alosa fallax   Dungeness   8th February 2016

7th February

Very little reported today except the usual Caspian and Glaucous Gull still present.

6th February

Large numbers of gulls were feeding offshore again including eight Mediterranean Gulls and a Little Gull along with the regular first-winter Caspian and Glaucous Gulls. A Great Skua was also marauding offshore. 

5th February

Less coverage today but an early morning seawatch produced 160 auks west and the Caspian and Glaucous Gulls were still present. 
Two Firecrests were seen at the Long Pits.
The moth trap was run for the first time this year and produced a Chestnut and a Beautiful Plume and more interestingly one of  the rarer diving beetles, Dytiscus dimidiatus.

Dytiscus dimidiatutus  Dungeness   5th February 2016
Note the lack of a bright orange/yellow border to the wing cases and thorax and the uniform orange-brown underside. 

4th February

The first-winter Caspian and Glaucous Gulls were showing well at the fishing boats as usual. A Velvet Scoter, a few Kittiwakes and around 600 auks flew west in the early morning and a count at low water this afternoon gave a total of 2330 Great Crested Grebes feeding offshore.
Yet more images of the Caspian Gull.

Caspian Gull Larus cachinnans   first-winter   Dungeness   4th February 2016



3rd February

A bright and less windy morning allowed a decent check of the land which produced a Jack Snipe and five Snipe in the flooded area to the east of the Long Pits and a couple of Firecrests in the bushes. There was very little passage at sea but there were at least three Mediterranean Gulls at the Patch and the first-winter Caspian and Glaucous Gulls on the beach at the fishing boats whilst 840 Great Crested Grebes were feeding offshore.

2nd February

Not much movement offshore today. The Caspian and Glaucous Gulls were at the fishing boats and two second-winter Mediterranean Gulls were amongst the hoards of gulls feeding at the Patch.

1st February

Not much change really from recent days both in birds and weather. A two-hour seawatch this morning saw more heavy westerly movement of gulls and auks including a Mediterranean Gull, 492 Kittiwakes, 1500 Common Gulls, 1310 Guillemots and 2613 Razorbills and the first-winter Caspian and Glaucous Gulls still present.

A Brown Hare was also seen.