31st Oct

Another very quiet day with very little in the way of grounded migrants and the slightest trickle of birds passing overhead. The only birds of note were two Dartford Warblers in the broom and gorse between the Shingle House and the Desert along with four Stonechats this afternoon. A Mediterranean Gull was seen offshore, two Ring Ouzels were seen in the bushes and a few Redpolls passed overhead. 

30th Oct

Another damp and misty morning which failed to produce very much on the land or at sea.
However, 20 Mediterranean Gulls were roosting on the beach and in mid-afternoon a lovely adult Caspian Gull came to the offerings.






Caspian Gull Larus cachinnans   adult   Dungeness   30th October 2016

29th Oct

Despite yet more seemingly good conditions for migrants there was very little to be seen on the land with just a couple each of Firecrest, Ring Ouzel and Rock Pipit and the second Yellowhammer of the autumn of any note.
Seawatching was quite productive despite the flat calm conditions with 356 Brent Geese, six Red-breasted Mergansers, singles of Black-throated and Great Northern Divers, Sooty Shearwater and Pomarine Skua, six Great Skuas and 38 Mediterranean Gulls passing west.

A Gem was the only moth of note from the traps overnight although the first area record of an Oak Rustic was caught at Greatstone.

At least eight Porpoises were seen offshore.

28th Oct

Very quiet on the land with just a Short-eared Owl in the Desert, six Swallows passing through and the long-staying Ring Ouzel in the moat of any note.
However, the sea provided the surprise of the day with at least 892 Mediterranean Gulls feeding offshore and passing west along with 796 Kittwakes and 31 Sandwich Terns. An Arctic Skua was also present.

Two Porpoises, a Common Seal and a Grey Seal were feeding offshore.

27th Oct

The morning began with thick fog and very few birds but as the weather improved a trickle of birds started to appear with a Dartford Warbler in the broom and gorse behind the Shingle House followed by a super Pallas's Warbler caught in the moat. After processing it was released back into the moat and gave some good views during the afternoon. Other bits and pieces included two Little Owls and a Short-eared Owl in the Desert and Trapping Area this evening and a handful of Skylarks, Siskins and Redpolls passing overhead during the day. Three Firecrests and four Black Redstarts were also found and there was "resident" Ring Ouzel in the moat. 



Pallas's Warbler Phylloscopus proregulus   Dungeness   27th October 2016
A Brown Hare was also seen.

26th Oct

Small numbers of migrants were found on the land today with six Firecrests, 27 Goldcrests, six Black Redstarts and a Ring Ouzel of note. Overhead passage picked up slightly with a steady trickle of birds throughout the morning and including 58 Skylarks, a couple of Swallows, 1700 Starlings, two Grey Wagtails, three Rock Pipits, 90 Chaffinches, eight Bramblings, 500 Goldfinches, 32 Siskins, 60 Redpolls, 13 Reed Buntings and (sadly) perhaps the bird of the day in the form of a Yellowhammer
In addition, a party of three "Bean" Geese first seen on the RSPB Reserve departed there and flew out east over the observatory recording area.

A Scarce Bordered Straw was the first reasonable migrant moth to be caught for some time.

25th Oct

Yet another disappointing day in what seemed like good conditions for a few birds to arrive. Two Ring Ouzels were about the best on offer on the land whilst birds passing overhead included 20 Skylarks, four Swallows, three Rock Pipits, three Grey Wagtails, 23 Siskins, 19 Redpolls and a party of six Crossbills.
A couple of Mediterranean Gulls were feeding offshore and 119 Brent Geese and two Eiders flew west.

Two Porpoises and a Grey Seal were feeding offshore.

24th Oct

The strong easterly wind was still blowing this morning and did little to improve the birding although it had dropped away by mid-afternoon.
One of the main features of the day was a large gathering of seabirds feeding offshore which included a first-winter Caspian Gull, at least 30 Mediterranean Gulls and eight Little Gulls, an Arctic Skua and a Great Skua and unusually, a Tufted Duck with a group of three Common Scoters.
Birds were far from plentiful on the land but they did include a Woodcock, seven Firecrests, 14 Chiffchaffs, five Blackcaps, four Ring Ouzels, 15 Song Thrushes, four Black Redstarts and two Mistle Thrushes. A Great White Egret came in and headed inland

At least six Porpoises were feeding close inshore this afternoon.
A Grey Squirrel was also seen in one of the private gardens.This is probably a new mammal species for the Observatory recording area although not a totally unexpected one as there have been several records from nearby in recent months.

23rd Oct

A pretty hard day for watching with a strong and cold easterly wind blasting across the Point and very few birds seemingly present. A first-winter Caspian Gull was found at the fishing boats along with three Mediterranean Gulls.
A few migrants on the land included three Firecrests. 23 Goldcrests and 11 Chiffchaffs whilst and another late Greenshank, a Brambling, 340 Goldfinches, 17 Siskins and 20 Redpolls also flew over.


22nd Oct

Grounded migrants were extremely scarce with just a Firecrest in the trapping area of any note. Overhead passage was also generally slow with just Starlings in any numbers with at least 1400 arriving along with a Hen Harrier, 20 Skylarks, 29 Swallows, two Grey Wagtails, four Bramblings and five Lesser Redpolls.
Eight Mediterranean Gulls were feeding offshore.

A Weasel was also seen.

21st Oct

There was a large increase in passage this morning with a constant stream of Starlings, thrushes and finches arriving from the south-east. There were around 15,000 of the former along with an excellent 210 Skylarks, three Ring Ouzels, 100 Blackbirds, 22 Fieldfares, 40 Song Thrushes, a late Yellow Wagtail, 850 Chaffinches, 18 Bramblings, 250 Goldfinches, 55 Siskins and 40 Reed Buntings.
There were a few less common birds with two Common Buzzards and four Short-eared Owls of particular note whilst the bird of the day was an all too brief Great Grey Shrike which was seen by just two lucky observers before it headed off high in a south westerly direction.
A few Brent Geese were passing through offshore and a Great Skua and eight Mediterranean Gulls flew east in the afternoon.

Great Grey Shrike Lanius excubitor   Dungeness   21st October 2016 (Neil Knight)
A Stoat and a Brown Hare were seen.

20th Oct

Today saw a small improvement in the number of migrants about although most were passing overhead or dropping in only briefly. Some of the more interesting records included 55 Skylarks, 1300 Starlings, two Ring Ouzels, 40 Blackbirds, 17 Fieldfares, 45 Song Thrushes, 80 Redwings, two Grey Wagtails, seven Rock Pipits, 400 Chaffinches, eight Bramblings and 35 Redpolls.
The sea was very quiet with just a trickle of Brent Geese and a Great Skua passing through.
An adult Yellow-legged Gull was roosting at the fishing boats.

Two Porpoises and a Grey Seal were feeding offshore and a Weasel was seen in the trapping area.

19th Oct

A very quiet day with migration seemingly almost at a standstill. The Yellow-browed Warbler showed briefly in the trapping area again and three Mediterranean Gulls were feeding at the Patch but there was nothing else worth mentioning.

Two Porpoises were seen.

18th Oct

The best of the birds in the bushes was a Yellow-browed Warbler in the trapping area along with 15 Chiffchaffs and three Ring Ouzels. An early morning movement overhead involved 160 "alba" Wagtails, three Rock Pipits, 800 Linnets and 470 Goldfinches.
The sea was very quiet.

A Grey Seal was seen offshore.

17th Oct

With some of the regular observers cracking and diverting to Spurn for the day there was less coverage than normal but those that were present still turned up a few bits and pieces. Notable among these were an Osprey feeding at the Long Pits, a summer-plumaged Black-throated Diver flying west and a Short-eared Owl in the Desert.

16th Oct

A very windy day with rough sea and heavy rain during the morning. Several hours of seawatching through the day eventually produced a bit if interest in the form of two Sooty Shearwaters, two Pomarine Skuas and three Great Skuas passing through whilst at least five Mediterranean Gulls and a Common Tern were feeding offshore.
Very quiet on the land with just five Ring Ouzels of note.

A Brown Hare was seen.

15th Oct

A breezy day with heavy rain from late afternoon. Notable birds included two Tundra Bean Goose which circled over the Point, a separate flock of ten White-fronted Geese over the Point, a flock of 55 Pintails flying down-channel and a late Greenshank which flew south-east. A group of three Short-eared Owls were found in the Desert and six Ring Ouzels were seen in the bushes.
Late in the day a Polish-ringed first-winter Caspian Gull was found on the beach at the fishing boats.

A Brown Hare was also seen.

14th Oct

A reasonable morning with plenty of visible migration but not much in the way of grounded migrants other than an excellent total of 40 Ring Ouzels along with 30 Song Thrushes and a Firecrest. Finches were the main component of the visible migration with 170 Chaffinches, 1500 Goldfinches and 700 Linnets along with 12 Skylarks, eight Fieldfares, 16 Tree Sparrows, two Grey Wagtails, a Rock Pipit, 170 Chaffinches and 30 Reed Buntings. Whilst counting the Cormorants leaving the Reserve and going out to sea to feed one flock was seen which also held three Great White Egrets and a Little Egret and which ended up dropping down into the Long Pits.
There was a small movement of mainly wildfowl offshore with 70 Wigeon, three Pintail and the first Red-breasted Merganser of the autumn along with a Sooty Shearwater and a Pomarine Skua of note. 
Four Mediterranean Gulls and 28 Sandwich Terns were feeding offshore. 

Two Porpoises and a Grey Seal were feeding offshore.

13th Oct

Strong easterly winds limited sea passage and made finding birds in the bushes very difficult. Four Ring Ouzels were the best of the few grounded migrants that were present whilst four White-fronted Geese, 320 Fieldfares and 25 Siskins flew over. Around 25 Mediterranean Gulls and a juvenile Arctic Tern were offshore.

Five Porpoises and a Grey Seal were seen offshore.

12th Oct

Another fairly quiet day again despite what seemed like good conditions this morning. There was just a thin scatter of migrants on the ground with 28 Chiffchaffs, three Ring Ouzels and 30 Song Thrushes being the best. Birds passing overhead included 31 Fieldfares, two Mistle Thrushes, seven Grey Wagtails, three Rock Pipits, three Bramblings, 35 Siskins and 19 Reed Buntings.
An Arctic Skua, around 20 Mediterranean Gulls and two Little Gulls were seen offshore.

Two Grey Seals were also feeding offshore.

11th Oct

Despite the seemingly favourable conditions the morning was actually very quiet with just a trickle of birds overhead and small numbers of grounded migrants. Of note overhead were two Wood Larks, four Grey Wagtails, 18 Bramblings, 40 Siskins, 12 Redpolls and 28 Reed Buntings whilst birds on the land included a Short-eared Owl, a Firecrest, 15 Chiffchaffs, three Blackcaps and two Ring Ouzels.
A Great White Egret flew also over the Long Pits but was probably one of the "local" birds regularly seen on the RSPB Reserve.

Three Porpoises were seen offshore.

A Clouded Yellow was also seen.

10th Oct

Two Yellow-browed Warblers heard in the trapping area were the best of the birds on the land with other grounded migrants including 55 Chiffchaffs, 11 Blackcaps, two Ring Ouzels and 40 Robins. There was also a bit of overhead passage with two Fieldfares, a Mistle Thrush, four Grey Wagtails, three Rock Pipits, a Brambling, 18 Siskins and a Crossbill of note
It was very quiet at sea although a Balearic Shearwater and three Mediterranean Gulls were lingering off the fishing boats in the afternoon.

Two Porpoises and a Grey Seal were feeding offshore.

9th Oct


The highlight of the day was the catching of a Yellow-browed Warbler in the moat in the morning with a second bird also present in the trapping area. There were fewer grounded migrants in the area today but they still included two Firecrests, 30 Chiffchaffs, 16 Blackcap, three Ring Ouzels, 17 Redwings, 50 Robins and a Pheasant was an unlikely the first of the year here. There was also a bit of overhead movement with two White-fronted Goose, 22 Skylark, two Fieldfares, five Mistle Thrush, 30 Tree Sparrows, a late Yellow Wagtail, six Bramblings, 50 Siskins. three Redpolls and 50 Reed Buntings.
There was limited watchng of the sea but an Arctic Skua and 12 Mediterranean Gulls were seen.
Yellow-browed Warbler Phylloscopus inornatus    Dungeness   9th October 2016
Two Porpoises were feeding offshore.

Two Pearly Underwings were also trapped overnight.

8th Oct


With the calmest conditions for a few days there were plenty of migrants around today. The highlights were at least three Yellow-browed Warblers, a late, (and our only one of the autumn) Turtle Dove, a Short-eared Owl, three Firecrests and 30 Ring Ouzels whilst numbers were provided by 30 Goldcrests, 50 Chiffchaffs, 20 Blackcaps, 20 Song Thrushes, five Redwings, 60 Robins and six Wheatears. Two Fieldfares were new for the autumn and two White-fronted Geese, 1000 Swallows, four Tree Sparrows, three Rock Pipits, 150 Goldfinches, 35 Siskins, six Redpolls and 80 Reed Buntings.  


Black Redstart Phoenicurus ochrurus   Dungeness    9th October 2016 (Gill Hollamby)
Ring Ouzel Turdus torquatus   Dungeness   8th October 2016
Robin Erithacus rubecula   Dungeness   8th October 2016 (Gill Hollamby)
A striking individual and presumably of reasonable distant eastern origin.


7th Oct

With the wind finally dropping during the day there was a bit more to be seen in the bushes but the sea passage almost came to a halt.
Two Yellow-browed Warblers were found, one in the trapping area and one in the Lighthouse Garden, and so may have been the same individuals as seen a few days ago. Clearly fresh in were 12 Ring Ouzels and numbers of Goldcrests and Chiffchaffs increased along with five Firecrests. Overhead, a Grey Wagtail, a Rock Pipit, a Tree Pipit, 90 Siskins and 18 Reed Bunting were of note.
Around mid-morning a very large, sandy looking falcon flew across the Point with a Peregrine Falcon in hot pursuit. It was thought to be a Saker with the proviso that on the views a hybrid falconers bird could not be totally ruled out.
Five Mediterranean Gulls were feeding offshore and just one Arctic Skua was seen.

Two Porpoises and a Grey Seal were feeding offshore.

Elsewhere, the fields along the access track to the RSPB Reserve still hold the Cattle Egret and two Glossy Ibis and the goose flock contained a few White-fronted Geese. Up to 12 Great White Egrets can be seen in the general area with most of them at the western end of ARC. An Osprey and a female Hen Harrier have also be seen on the Reserve and a Garganey still lingers with the Coot on the first lake just south of Boulderwall. Two Little Stints have been showing all week on Burrowes Pit..

6th Oct

The strong to gale force easterly winds continued and made for more difficult birding conditions. A flock of 25 White-fronted Geese, a Buzzard and three Grey Wagtails passed overhead whilst the highlights among the grounded migrants included two Firecrests, 28 Chiffchaffs, four Blackcaps, three Ring Ouzels, 20 Song Thrushes and a Redstart
Even though there was five hours of seawatching during the day it was also hardwork with just 16 Pintails, a Velvet Scoter, six Arctic Skuas, one Great Skua, 15 Mediterranean Gulls and an Arctic Tern of interest.

Five Porpoises and a Grey Seal were feeding offshore.

5th Oct

A day of strong to gale-force easterly winds made observations on the land very difficult and the sea disappointing.

Migrants on the land included three Firecrests, 50 Chiffchaffs, a Reed Warbler, 20 Song Thrushes, six Redwings, 12 Stonechats and the one of the days highlights in the form of seven Ring Ouzels.
At sea, 265 Brent Geese flew west and four Arctic Skuas flew east and a Puffin was an unexpected sighting.

Six Porpoises were seen offshore.

4th Oct

With fresh easterly winds which backed south-east and strengthened further in the afternoon it was a decent day on both land and sea.
The highlight of the day on the land was a total of three Yellow-browed Warblers with one seen in the trapping area in the morning and two found late in the day in the Lighthouse Garden. Other bits and pieces on the land included 60 Chiffchaffs, 15 Song Thrushes and ten Redwings whilst birds passing overhead included five Mistle Thrushes, two Grey Wagtails, three Rock Pipits, two Bramblings, 15 Siskins and 12 Reed Bunting.
Seawatching was also productive with a Long-tailed Skua, a Pomarine Skua and 14 Great Skuas in the morning and an Eider and a Short-eared Owl going out to sea in mid-afternoon. In addition, 294 Brent Geese, 243 Gannets, eight Little Gulls, six Mediterranean Gulls, 231 Sandwich Terns and an Arctic Tern flew by.   


Yellow-browed Warbler Phylloscopus inornatus   Dungeness   4th October 2016
A couple of poor shots taken just before the light failed competely.

Five Porpoises and two Grey Seals were feeding offshore.

3rd Oct

Chiffchaffs dominated proceedings again today with about 120 being seen whilst other bits and pieces in the way of grounded migrants included five Goldcrests, ten Song Thrushes, five Redwings and 12 Stonechats. There was also a bit of overhead passage with four Grey Wagtails, five Rock Pipits, the first Brambling of the autumn, 40 Goldfinches, seven Siskins and 50 Reed Buntings of note.
Seawatching, mainly in the afternoon, resulted in 1050 Brent Geese passing through along with a Sooty Shearwater, three Arctic Skuas, a Great Skua and three Mediterranean Gulls  

Three Porpoises were feeding offshore and a Weasel was seen in the trapping area.

2nd Oct

The day dawned with fresh west by north-west winds and induced a decent amount of visible migration and a reasonable arrival in the bushes with a Great Spotted Woodpecker, 75 Chiffchaffs, two Lesser Whitethroats, 12 Song Thrushes and 65 Redwings. Of note among the birds passing overhead were a few raptors including five Buzzards, 15 Sparrowhawks, eight Kestrels and two Peregrine Falcons all heading south-east, a Wood Lark, three Grey Wagtails, three Tree Pipits, 17 Siskins, a Redpoll and 14 Reed Buntings.
An afternoon seawatch produced a Pomarine and two Arctic Skuas and an Arctic Tern of note whilst a check of the gulls at the fishing boats found a briefly stopping first-winter Caspian Gull along with a couple of first-winter Yellow-legged Gulls and three Mediterranean Gulls.

Caspian Gull Larus cachinnans    first-winter   Dungeness   2nd October 2016

Five Porpoises and a Grey Seal were feeding offshore and a Brown Hare was seen at the Point.

A fall in the overnight temperatures reduced the numbers of moth trapped but they did include a Delicate

Delicate Mythimna vitellina   Dungeness   2nd October 2016

1st Oct

Rain in the early hours grounded a few migrants in the morning including 40 Chiffchaffs, four Blackcaps, two Whinchats and six Wheatears whilst a decent overhead passage involved 20 Sand Martins, 1000 Swallows, six Tree Sparrows, a Tree Pipit, 20 Goldfinches, four Siskins and 40 Reed Buntings.
Several seawatches during the day eventually produced two Sooty Shearwaters, a Pomarine Skua, two Arctic Skuas, three Great Skuas and large numbers of feeding Gannets and Sandwich Terns.

Five Porpoises were feeding offshore.

A Vestal was the only notable moth trapped overnight.

Elsewhere, two Glossy Ibis and the Cattle Egret were feeding in the fields alongside the entrance track on the RSPB Reserve.

30th Sept

The main feature of the day was another movement of hirundines with 3000 Swallows of note whilst other birds passing over included a Hobby, a Rock Pipit, two Yellow Wagtails, six Grey Wagtails, two Siskins and 25 Reed Buntings. A party of 11 Spoonbills were seen in the distance as they flew west.
Over two hours of seawatching produced eight Arctic Skuas west (with two loitering), a Mediterranean Gull and 374 Sandwich Terns of interest.

Five Porpoises and a Grey Seal were seen offshore. An evening session with members of the Kent Bat Group produced an outstanding total of 32 Nathusius's Pipistrelles caught by the I left at 2330hrs. Surprisingly no other species were heard or trapped.

A Clouded Yellow was seen in the Desert and a Hummingbird Hawkmoth and a Pearly Underwing were caught in the moth trap.

Elsewhere, the most unlikely bird of the day was a Manx Shearwater found on the  ARC Pit. Glossy Ibis increased to two on the RSPB Reserve where the Cattle Egret was seen again and several Great White Egrets were still present. 

Bat update: by the end of the night an incredible total of 53 Nathusius's Pipistrelles had been trapped and ringed.