31st March

With clear skies and light winds there was a general clear out of the grounded migrants but even so there were still 30 Firecrests, 12 Chiffchaffs and a Blackcap in the area. A Bullfinch at the Long Pits was of note (no records in 2015) as was a small passage of finches which included a Brambling and 14 Siskins. Two Buzzards were also seen during the morning.
The sea was very quiet with just two Mediterranean Gulls of interest.

Six Porpoises were feeding offshore and a Badger and a Brown Hare were seen on the land.

30th March

The remarkable Firecrest bonanza continues with a staggering 120 birds being seen today. The first three Willow Warblers of the spring were also seen at the Long Pits along with another 80 Chiffchaffs and two Blackcaps. A new 'Continental' Coal Tit was seen near the Britannia Pub, a Woodcock was flushed from the bushes and five Black Redstarts and four Wheatears were also seen around the Point. Four Swallows and two Siskins flew through.

The sea was very quiet with just a Great Skua and two Mediterranean Gulls of any note.  

A Brimstone was seen in the moat - a surprisingly scarce butterfly in the Observatory recording area. 
Brimstone Gonepteryx rhamni   Dungeness   30th March 2016

29th March

With a slight drop in the wind there was a decent arrival of Chiffchaffs with at least 95 birds in the area (mostly around the Long Pits) and 52 Firecrests were still present. A Blackcap was seen at the Long Pits and there was an obvious increase in the numbers of Meadow Pipit, Linnet and Reed Bunting. There was also the first arrival of any size of Wheatears with 12 being seen and three Swallows flew through.

The mornings seawatch was not brilliant but still produced 566 Brent Geese, eight Mediterranean Gulls and eight Sandwich Terns of interest whilst 13 Little Gulls were seen in the afternoon. A second-winter Yellow-legged Gull was in the roost by the fishing boats this afternoon.

Three Porpoises were feeding offshore and a dead individual was found on the beach and two Brown Hares were seen near the fishing boats.

Brown Hare Lepus europeaus   Dungeness    29th March 2016

The Grey-backed Mining Bee Andrena vaga colony on the RSPB Reserve was very active with lots of males present and two queens being seen.


Grey-backed Mining Bee Andrena vaga queens    Dungeness RSPB Reserve   29th March 2016



28th March

A night of violent winds, causing some damage around the Point, which although they decreased still continued all day and made observations difficult but it was clear that there was very little moving offshore with just five Common Terns of note.
On the land, two Blackcaps were new for the year and two new Wheatears arrived and 50 Firecrests and 20 Chiffchaffs remained in the area. 

27th March

There were still lots of Firecrest around the Point with at least 70 seen although it seems likely that most of these birds were part of yesterdays arrival rather than new birds freshly arriving. Other grounded migrants included 11 Goldcrests and 33 Chiffchaffs but other species remain scarce with just two Woodcocks and three Wheatears of note.
Seawatching saw another decent movement of Brent Geese with 1200 passing through as well as the first Manx Shearwater of the year, 167 Common Scoters, two Great Skuas and four Mediterranean Gulls

A Porpoise and two Brown Hares were seen.

26th March

A day of increasing SWxS winds and heavy cloud brought an excellent movement of birds at sea and an arrival of grounded migrants dominated by a record spring total of at least 101 Firecrests and 50 Chiffchaffs along with 25 Goldcrests, three Wheatears, three Black Redstarts, a Rock Pipit and a Brambling and the first Swallow of the year.







Firecrest Regulus ignicapilla   Dungeness   March 26th 2016 
The highlight of the seawatching was a first-winter Iceland Gull which was seen several times during the morning amongst the thousands of gull feeding along the tideline, Other notable birds included the first four Arctic Skuas and two Common Terns of the year whilst numbers were provided 680 Brent Geese and 450 Common Scoters whilst other interesting sightings included six Shovelers, three Eiders, a Velvet Scoter, a drake Goldeneye, 400 Gannets, a Little Gull, 12 Mediterranean Gulls, three Yellow-legged Gulls and 31 Sandwich Terns.

Also of interest was a leucistic Brent Goose which flew past the Point with a flock about 80 others at 1130hrs. This was almost certainly the same bird that  passed Selsey Bill.at 0902hrs this morning.

Three Porpoises were also seen.

26th March

Another decent arrival of migrants occurred this morning dominated by 35 Firecrests along with three Woodcocks, 25 Goldcrests, two 'Continental' Coal Tits, 18 Chiffchaffs (including a Paris-ringed bird) nine Redwings, eight Black Redstarts, a Wheatear and two Grey Wagtails.

Seawatching was fairly unproductive in the near calm conditions but by the end of the day a total of 670 Brent Geese and 22 Wigeon had passed through and four Mediterranean Gulls and a second-winter Yellow-legged Gull were feeding offshore, 
Firecrest Regulus ignicapilla   Dungeness   25th March 2016
A Paris-ringed Chiffchaff Phylloscopus collybita  Dungeness 25th March 2016
A Stoat was seen today.

During the week around the rest of Dungeness - uo to six Black-necked Grebes were showing on New Diggings and two Spoonbills and two drake Smews were feeding in the pools along the entrance track to the RSPB today. A Red Kite flew over Hammonds Corner, New Romney this morning. Little Ringed Plover, Swallow and Sand Martin have all been seen on the Reserve.

24th March

The spring finally seemed to get properly underway today in a light south-westerly wind and heavy cloud. There were plenty of migrants on the land and a steady movement of wildfowl offshore for most of the day. 

Most of the grounded migrants were concentrated between the Observatory and Point with excellent totals of ten Woodcocks and 25 Firecrests of note along with 20 Goldcrests, a "Continental" Coal Tit, 20 Chiffchaffs, 90 Redwings, nine Fieldfares, a Stonechat and a Wheatear at the fishing boat whilst a trickle of finches passing overhead included five Siskins.

Firecrest Regulus ignicapilla    Dungeness   24th March 2016
Brent Geese moved east all day long with a final total of 3550 birds with 16 Pintails, two Gadwalls, a drake Eider and two Red-breasted Mergansers of note among the other wildfowl seen. Two Mediterranean Gull also flew east and a Sandwich Tern flew west.

Since my posting yesterday I have been told that a Wheatear was seen on 17th. However, it remains the case that they have been extremely late to arrive with only two individuals in the recording area so far this spring, 

Three Porpoises were seen offshore.


23rd March


Another disappointing day with very few migrants to be seen. A Jack Snipe was flushed at the Long Pits where four Firecrests were also seen and with a fifth individual in the moat, seven Chiffchaffs scattered across the area and a few finches over including 12 Siskins.
The sea was very quiet with just a trickle of Brent Geese, two Red-breasted Mergansers and a single Sandwich Tern of interest.

Seven Porpoises were feeding offshore and a Brown Hare was seen in the Desert.

A visit to the RSPB revealed the continued presence of the extremely rare Grey-backed Mining Bee Andrena vaga. It would appear that this is quite an early date and typically only males were seen at this stage of the season. Females should become more frequent as the spring progresses.




Grey-backed Mining Bee Andrena vaga   RSPB Reserve   23rd March 2016

22nd March

After an icy start it soon became a very nice day but migrant birds remain few and far between. The best on offer from the land were two Buzzards, four Woodcocks, two 'Continental" Coal Tits, two Firecrests, seven Chiffchaffs and a few finches overhead including a Brambling and ten Siskins.

But where are the Wheatears! This will be the latest first date for over 25 years. 

Seawatching was also very quiet in the flat calm conditions with seven Mediterranean Gulls of note.



CoalTits Periparus ater ater   Dungeness   22nd March 2015
The bird in the upper image was already bearing a BTO ring Z218903

Six Porpoises were seen feeding off the Point this afternoon.

21st March

A calm day for a change but still very little to get excited about. The highlight on the land was a short-staying 'Continental' Coal Tit with just a Woodcock, six Chiffchaffs and two Firecrests as back up. 
Brent Geese moved through in good numbers again with 1200 seen along with 159 Red-throated Divers and a handful of duck which included a Tufted Duck. Four Sandwich Terns were also seen.

Five Porpoises and a Common Seal were offshore.

20th March

Plenty of coverage today but still no sign of any Wheatears or very much else on the land for that matter with just two Woodcocks, three Firecrests and six Chiffchaffs of note. A Hen Harrier also flew out to sea in the morning.

The sea was very quiet except for large numbers of feeding gulls which included two Mediterranean Gulls and a steady trickle of Red-throated Divers and Gannets.

A Grey Seal, a Common Seal and seven Porpoises were feeding offshore and two Brown Hares were seen on the land.

19th March

The cold north-east wind continues and with occasional cold drizzle this morning hardly felt like spring.
Migrants on the land remain scarce with just three Firecrests, two Chiffchaffs and a Grey Wagtail of interest.
The first few hours of the day saw some easterly passage with 385 Brent Geese, 204 Red-throated Divers, 20 Fulmars, three Grey Plovers, 14 Black-tailed Godwits (a scarce bird at sea here), a Mediterranean Gull and 12 Sandwich Terns. In the afternoon, a second-winter Caspian Gull was seen in the roost behind the Fish Hut.

Caspian Gull Larus cachinnans   second-winter   Dungeness  19th March 2016 (David Campbell)
Four Porpoises and a Grey Seal were feeding offshore.

18th March

A calmer, but still cold day resulted in a reasonable increase in the number of birds on the land and a decent movement of birds offshore.

Grounded migrants included a Long-eared Owl in the trapping area, eight Firecrests, eight Chiffchaffs, 19 Redwings, 45 Blackbirds, four Woodcocks and five Snipe whilst 60 Chaffinches and a Brambling passed overhead.

Five and a half hours of seawatching through the day produced 1105 Brent Geese, 11 Shelducks, 14 Wigeon, five Shovelers, 190 Common Scoters, three Red-breasted Mergansers, 224 Red-throated Divers, four Grey Plovers, 41 Dunlins, three Mediterranean Gulls and six Sandwich Terns.

The number of Porpoises of feeding offshore appears to be increasing with at least six seen today and a Grey Seal was also seen.

Elsewhere around Dungeness, Slavonian and Black-necked Grebes continue to be seen on both New Diggings and at Scotney and Great White Egrets are scattered across the area with eight coming in to roost at ARC on 16th. A pair of Garganey were seen at Dengemarsh on 15th and a pair of Smew remain on Burrowes Pit.

17th March

A few birds moved east offshore with a Velvet Scoter, a drake Goosander, an adult Mediterranean Gull and four Sandwich Terns of interest. 
Still very quiet on the land. A Kingfisher on the Long Pits, three Firecrests and a Black Redstart were of note.

Four Porpoises and a Grey Seal were feeding offshore.

16th March

The cold and strong north-easterly wind continues and more or less limited any observations to the sea. The unlikely highlight of the day was a party of three Mandarin Ducks which flew east shortly after dawn. Other bits and pieces of interest included four Pintails, six Grey Plovers, two Snipe and three Mediterranean Gulls
A Firecrest was seen in the trapping area. 

Three Porpoises were seen offshore.

15th March

Yesterdays strong wind had dropped this morning and resulted in a good easterly movement of Brent Geese along with a few ducks and waders. The final Brent Goose total was 1400 as well as nine Pintails, 11 Teal, 18 Shovelers, four Grey Plovers, seven Sanderlings, seven Bar-tailed Godwits and three Mediterranean Gulls.
It remains quiet on the land with just three Firecrests scattered across the Point and a Grey Wagtail and two Siskins flying over of note.

A Grey Seal and at least three Porpoises were feeding offshore.

14th March

Another cold and very windy day which, not surprisingly, produced almost nothing in the way of migration. A two-hour seawatch this morning produced just 16 Pintail of note whilst a second-winter Yellow-legged Gull was amongst the mass of gulls feeding at the Patch.

13th March

Strong and cold NE winds made observations quiet difficult. Several seawatches during the day produced ten Shelducks, four Pintails, nine Teal, five Shovelers, five Tufted Ducks, four Avocets and 15 Dunlins of note. 

A Black Redstart was seen near the Pilot Inn and a Siskin also flew over.

Two Porpoises and a Brown Hare were also seen.

12th March

Another foggy morning followed by very hazy conditions and clear skies produced very little today. A Fieldfare flew over and a Chiffchaff was seen at the Long Pits but very little else in the way of obvious migrants could be found.

11th March

Thick fog and calm seas resulted in almost no movement offshore and just a very small arrival of migrants on the land including a few Blackbirds, Song Thrushes and Meadow Pipits and three Firecrests. A Little Grebe on the sea was an unusual sighting.


The Dungeness peninsula is also important for its lichen populations. These images show one of the more heavily laden Blackthorn bushes at the Long Pits.



Other birds seen around the peninsula during the week include one of the Long-eared Owls still in the bushes behind the Dipping Pond on the Reserve, Black-necked Grebes on New Diggings and at Scotney and two Slavonian Grebes also on New Diggings. A couple of Great White Egrets remain in the general area.. 

10th March

After yesterdays quality seawatching today was totally the opposite with hardly a bird moving through although producing the questionable "bird of the day" in the form of a Black Swan which was seen swimming on the sea on several occasions. An adult Mediterranean Gull was feeding at the Patch.
There were a few early migrants on the land including a Chiffchaff, a new Firecrest, a Fieldfare, 40 Redwings, 15 Meadow Pipits, 16 Chaffinches and four Siskins

Two Porpoises were also seen.

9th March

Dreadful weather this morning produced an excellent seawatch. The most exceptional record was of 415 Fulmars (including 17 blue-phase birds) along with 12 Pintails, 11 Eiders, six Avocets, three Great Skuas, and a Sandwich Tern of note. Other notable counts included 718 Kittiwakes, 246 Brent Geese, 307 Common Scoters, 878 Gannets and five Mediterranean Gulls.

A Porpoise and a Grey Seal were also seen.

8th March

A few birds moved east offshore including five Canada Geese, two Shelducks, three Eiders, three Velvet Scoters and a few Brent Geese and Red-throated Divers and three Mediterranean Gulls flew west. Two Firecrests were seen in the bushes, two Black Redstarts were seen around the power station and a Grey Wagtail flew over. A Jack Snipe and four Common Snipe were flushed from the damp areas east of the Long Pits.

I have just received details of an interesting Chiffchaff recovery. It was ringed at Dungeness on 18th October 2015 and flew into a house and then released at Sete, Beja, Portugal on 14th January 2016. A distance of 1637km SSW. 

7th March

Having returned last night from a superb two-week break in Costa Rica it was hard to get very motivated today! The best of the birds reported were three Black Redstarts and a party of five Long-tailed Tits (possibly migrants) at Westbeach Cottage. The sea was quiet.

The most significant arrival of the day was David Campbell to take up his position as Assistant Warden for the next eight months. We hope he enjoys his time here.

Finally, thanks to Jake Everitt for maintaining the website in my absence.

6th March

Very quiet bird wise again on the Point. A few Guillemot and Gannet were moving around but little else of note.

On the RSPB Reserve 2 Great White Egret were seen. The Long-eared Owl was still by the dipping pond. 4 Smew were on Burrowes Pit including the drake. And the grebe combo was still in evidence in the New Diggings with 2 Slavonian and 2 Black-necked present.

5th March

Once again the wind stayed from the north west which made for a chilly feel around the peninsula. Very little moving on the sea but a single Black Redstart and Peregrine were seen around the power station compound.

In the trapping area a Firecrest was the only bird of note this morning. 

On the RSPB Reserve the minute of Grebes was still on New Diggings with 2 Slavonian Grebe and 1 Black-necked Grebe still persisting. One of the Long-eared Owls was seen roosting by the dipping ponds and there was also a drake Smew on Dengemarsh.

4th March

A pleasant sunny day on the Point as long as you could keep out of the biting cold wind. The sunshine brought about a Small Tortoiseshell in the trapping area. Birdwise the trapping area also held the pick of the birds with 4 Firecrest, 9 Goldcrest abd 4 Snipe. Whilst 2 Siskin went north.

On the Long Pit a single Great Crested Grebe appeared signalling a start to the breeding season for them. A Kingfisher also put in a performance too. Another Firecrest was also noted on West Beach.

On the RSPB Reserve only a single Long-eared Owl was the only bird of note reported.

3rd March

A lovely sunny day today which sadly did nothing for the birding. Very little going past at sea but still good numbers of Cormorant and Great Crested Grebe offshore.

On the RSPB Reserve a single Jack Snipe was noteworthy. 2 Great White Egret, 2 Long-eared Owl, 2 Black-necked Grebe and plenty of Smew still dotted around.

2nd March

A very quiet day birdwise on the peninsula with a bitterly cold wind and rough sea producing very little. Only birds of note were 4 Raven in off the sea which then headed towards Lade. Again no sign of the Glaucous Gull today.

On the RSPB Reserve 1 Long-eared Owl was noted roosting by the dipping pond. 2 Great White Egret were seen at  Dengemarsh and 2 Smew were on Burrowes Pit.

1st March

A new month begins but not much change on the bird front. Highlights were few and far between though 120 Brent Goose and 94 Red-throated Diver were noted heading east. A single Harbour Porpoise was also noted during the seawatch.

A single Firecrest was seen again alongside the Long Pits/Trapping Area as well as another Woodcock.

On the RSPB Reserve the only bird of note reported was a single Great White Egret.