31st Dec

The year ended with a fly-by first-winter Glaucous Gull this afternoon along with three first-winter Caspian Gulls visiting the puddles and offerings at the fishing boats. Seawatching earlier in the day produced a few Red-throated Divers, at least two Great Skuas, a Mediterranean Gull and a few Kittiwakes.  

Birding around the general area continues to be very good. The Stonechat identified as a Stejneger's from DNA was showing around the Kerton Road area but was occasionally wandering into private areas of land so please take care when looking for this interesting bird. The drake Ring-necked Duck continues to show very well on Cooke's Pit as does the Long-eared Owl behind the Dipping Pond, The occasional Great White Egret can be seen around the RSPB Reserve but higher numbers come into the evening roost at ARC. Two Bewick's Swans came onto New Diggings in the early afternoon in addition to the 29 birds feeding at Horse Bones Farm on Romney Marsh.  

30th Dec

Thick fog made observations virtually impossible with just the regular first-winter Caspian Gull reported.

29th Dec

The early upchannel passage of Brent Geese resumed again today with a remarkable total of at least 4500 birds moving through. A Black-throated Diver and six Great Skuas were also noteworthy.
The first-winter Caspian Gull was feeding at the Fish Hut again.

28th Dec

Two Scaup and 124 Red-throated Divers flew east and two Velvet Scoters flew west.

A Red-eared Terrapin was caught at the Long Pits and taken back into captivity.

27th Dec

A Porpoise was the only thing seen worth mentioning.

26th Dec

A Marsh Harrier flew out to sea and a Great Skua was lingering offshore. Four Caspian Gulls were feeding around the Point.

A Grey Seal was offshore.

25th Dec

A two hour seawatch this morning produced a Velvet Scoter, two Great Skuas and a Mediterranean Gull. The first-winter Caspian Gull was at the Fish Hut again.

24th Dec

A 1.75hr seawatch this morning produced a Velvet Scoter and 201 Red-throated Divers passing west. The regular first-winter Caspian Gull was feeding around the Fish Hut.

23rd Dec

Nearly four hours of seawatching during the day produced large numbers of Gannets and Guillemots, a Great Skua, a Mediterranean Gull and a few Razorbills.
Three first-winter Caspian Gulls were feeding at the fish scraps offered at the Fish Hut.

The huge surprise today though relates to the "grey" Stonechat which resided at Kerton Road (just north of the Observatory recording area) between 8th November and 5th December. DNA analysis of its faeces apparently confirms that it was a Stejneger's Stonechat. It would appear that the field guides need a complete rewrite!!

Some images of the bird taken on 10th and 16th November 2016 are shown below but please don't ask me to explain or justify the identification as I am completely baffled by it.






22nd Dec

A nice and sunny day with very light winds. The early morning seawatch was very quiet except for 300 Guillemots offshore. Three first-winter Caspian Gulls were seen - the regular bird at the Fish Hut and two at the Patch.

21st Dec

A damp and breezy day. The only coverage was offshore where 1120 Gannets, two Great Skuas, 25 Kittiwakes and 2800 auks.The regular first-winter Caspian Gull was around the Fish Hut for much of the day.

20th Dec

Coverage was limited to seawatching and the Patch today. Other than large numbers of Guillemots it was very quiet offshore with just a 103 Red-throated Divers, a Great Skua and two Mediterranean Gulls of note while the regular first-winter Caspian Gull was at the fishing boats again and two additional birds were on the beach at the Patch.

19th Dec

A miserable day of rain, mist and fog. The only observations were from the beach where a Long-tailed Duck flew east and a Great Skua and 200 Guillemots flew west. A Merlin was hunting offshore and one of the "regular" first-winter Caspian Gulls came to bread at the Point. 

18th Dec

Seawatching during the morning and early afternoon produced 390 Red-throated Divers, six Tufted Ducks, two Scaup, a Long-tailed Duck and three Great Skuas of note. The regular two first-winter Caspian Gulls were still present.

17th Dec

Seawatching this morning in misty conditions produced 40 Brent Geese, a flock of 110 Wigeon and a group of three Long-tailed Ducks moving up-channel whilst two Great Skuas moved down-channel and three first-winter Caspian Gulls spent the afternoon around the Point.
A check of the trapping area and Long Pits produced a Woodcock and four Chiffchaffs of note and a Snipe was also flushed from the beach.

Caspian Gull Larus cachinnans   first-winters   Dungeness   17th December 2016
For a short video of the second bird calling click here and here



16th Dec

Limited coverage today but a check of the gulls roosting at the Point was very productive with a total of five first-winter Caspian Gulls (four new individuals) being found. There did not appear to be a great deal of movement offshore although there were plenty of feeding Gannets and auks and a Pomarine Skua made a brief appearance as it harried Kittiwakes.

15th Dec

The very early upchannel movement of Brent Geese gathered strength today with at least 840 birds passing through. Other birds seen offshore included three Velvet Scoters and a Black-throated Diver whilst a first-winter Caspian Gull was on the beach.
Two Chiffchaffs, five Goldcrests and a Siskin were of note in the bushes and three Gadwall were on the Long Pits again.

14th Dec

A nice, clear morning meant a walk around the Trapping Area and Long Pits which produced a Marsh Harrier, four Gadwall and two Pochards on the pits, a Kingfisher and four Chiffchaffs of note. It is a sad sign of the times that a Greenfinch flying over the Observatory was an unusual winter record - not so long ago there was a regular wintering flock of up to 800 birds on the beach.
The fine weather saw an early upchannel movement of at least 300 Brent Geese whilst the two first-winter Caspian Gulls were loitering around the beach and Fish Hut.


Caspian Gull Larus cachinnans   first-winter   ind 1   Dungeness   14th December 2016 
 




Caspian Gull Larus cachinnans   first-winter   ind 2   Dungeness   14th December 2016 

13th Dec

Another miserable day with poor visibility in almost continuous drizzle and light rain. Coverage was limited to a few looks at the sea where the highlight was a party of Velvet Scoter passing west close inshore. The two first-winter Caspian Gulls from yesterday were still around and were joined by a new second-winter bird in the afternoon.

12th Dec

Another quiet and increasingly murky day. The best on offer was two first-winter Caspian Gulls at the Point. Two Velvet Scoters flew east in the morning.

11th Dec

Despite a fine, bright day there was not a great deal to report. A Marsh Harrier, three Chiffchaffs and a Fieldfare were of note in the trapping area. No Caspian Gulls came to the offerings at the fishing boats this afternoon.

10th Dec

A first-winter Caspian Gull and a Yellow-legged Gull were found at the fishing boats this afternoon but there was very little else to report.

9th Dec

The Patch was the place to be this morning with at least six Caspian Gulls (two adults, a third-winter, a second-winter and two first-winters) present and a Great Skua flew west off the fishing boats.

Elsewhere, the Ring-necked Duck remains on the pool near Boulderwall Farm and the Long-eared Owl was showing again in the bushes behind the Dipping Pool on the RSPB Reserve. A Caspian Gull was also roosting on Burrowes. The Black-throated Diver was still present on the pool to the west of Lydd Caravan Park and two Dartford Warblers were showing in the Kerton Road Triangle. Further afield, a small flock of Bewick's Swans are feeding in fields near Newlands Farm which are coming into ARC to roost.

Ring-necked Duck Aythya collaris   male   RSPB Reserve   9th December 2016
Black-throated Diver Gavia arctic   Scotney   9th December 2016



8th Dec

Large numbers of gulls were feeding at the Patch this morning and included two Caspian Gulls (a first-winter and an adult) and five Mediterranean Gulls.

The Ring-necked Duck was still present near Boulderwall Farm.

7th Dec

Not a great deal report today with just a Velvet Scoter and an adult Mediterranean Gull offshore and Chiffchaff in the bushes of note.

On the RSPB Reserve, the Ring-necked Duck was still showing well near Boulderwall Farm and two Caspian Gulls (adult and first-winter) were amongst the thousands of gulls which came into roost in the evening.

The day ended with this spectacular sunset.


6th Dec

Undoubted highlight of the mornings seawatch was a Red-necked Grebe heading west. A scarce bird in recent times. Otherwise it was pretty quiet with 38 Red-throated Divers (13E,25W), six Shelduck west and a Merlin hunting over the sea.

On the RSPB Reserve the drake Ring-necked Duck and a Great White Egret were still at Boulderwall Farm. There was no sign of the Long-eared Owl but there was a single Smew from Makepeace Hide. The ARC Pit held 13 Bewick's Swans, a Bittern and two more redhead Smew.

5th Dec

A very quiet hour from the fishing boats produced little of interest. A few Common Scoter east were joined by several Red-throated Divers but it was hard going.

The first-winter Caspian Gull was also noted in the gull roost.

A Grey Seal was seen offshore.

On the RSPB Reserve the drake Ring-necked Duck and the Cattle Egret were still present at Boulderwall farm. 14 Bewick's Swans roosted on ARC Pit and two Avocet were also noted.



4th Dec

A quiet day on the Point with only a first-winter Caspian Gull of note.

On the RSPB Reserve the drake Ring-necked Duck was still at Boulderwall Farm. There were also three Great White Egrets and a single Smew on Burrowes Pit , 2+ Goosanders were also seen on various pits throughout the day.


3rd Dec

First thing this morning the Patch held three Caspian Gulls (2x 1st winter and an adult) and two Mediterranean Gulls

Also of note was a Peacock seen by the New Lighthouse.

On the RSPB Reserve the three Smew were still on Burrowes Pit. The Long-eared Owl was roosting behind the Dipping Pond. The drake Ring-necked Duck was still at Boulderwall Farm and nine Great White Egrets were on the ARC Pit.

2nd Dec

A morning seawatch was quiet in terms of species but some good numbers which included 55 Red-throated Divers, (51E,4W), 24 Common Scoters and a Black-throated Diver was also noted.

A Grey Seal was also seen once again from the fishing boats.

On the RSPB Reserve the birds of note were the Ring-necked Duck and three redhead Smew. The Long-eared Owl was roosting once again at the Dipping Pond and 12 Bewick's Swans roosted on ARC Pit this evening. 


1st Dec

A quiet day on the Point with no seawatching birds of note. A Grey Wagtail was seen by the seawatch hide.

In the trapping area there was a small movement of Stock Dove with 45 passing overhead. Also singles of Woodcock and Chiffchaff.

On the RSPB Reserve the drake Ring-necked Duck reappeared and two Smew were still on Burrowes Pit. A Brambling was seen at the feeders by the toilet block which made for a nice surprise. Lastly, a Dartford Warbler was seen  at Galloways.