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Local weather


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29th Nov

A very cold morning produced a few birds on the land with two Fieldfares, seven Redwings, five Bramblings and the first Snow Bunting of the autumn/winter passing overhead. The Bullfinch was seen in the trapping area again.
There was very little movement offshore but a Great Skua and a Mediterranean Gull were lingering. Three Merlins were also seen hunting around the beach.  

28th Nov

A quiet day. Seawatching produced a Little Egret, three Great Skuas and a Mediterranean Gull of note whilst a Chiffchaff and a Bullfinch were seen in the trapping area.

The Cattle Egret continues to be seen on the RSPB Reserve.

27th Nov

A miserable day of wind and rain and not much to be seen although coverage was very limited. The only bird of note was a Great Skua which flew west this morning.

The Cattle Egret was still showing well along the access road to the RSPB Reserve and at least seven Caspian Gulls were seen on Burrowes Pit this 

26th Nov

Over 1200 Gannets passed west this morning and this afternoon there were 200 Kittiwakes, two Caspian Gulls and singles of Mediterranean and Yellow-legged Gulls feeding at the fishing boats.
Quiet on the land with just a Chiffchaff and a Bullfinch in the trapping area and 37 Goldfinches passing overhead of note. 

A late Red Admiral was also seen.

Elsewhere, the Cattle Egret was still being seen around Boulderwall Farm on the RSPB Reserve..

25th Nov

Another day with a few bits and pieces to be seen. Seawatching produced a Great Northern Diver, a party of three Goosanders, a Shag, a Great Skua and two Mediterranean Gulls of note. There was also a bit of movement overhead with 550 Starlings, four Bramblings, 70 Chaffinches and 12 Siskin counted whilst a Woodcock and two Firecrests were seen in the trapping area. A Dartford Warbler was seen in the broom and gorse near the Fish Hut.

Common Darters continue to be seen.

24th Nov

A few bits and pieces were seen including a Velvet Scoter, two Merlins, a Great Skua offshore, the two regular Dartford Warblers around the Point and a Brambling overhead.

The Cattle Egret was still showing very well around the cattle at Boulderwall Farm.

23rd Nov

Very quiet in stormy conditions. A first-winter Caspian Gull among the throng at the Patch was the only bird of note.

The Cattle Egret was showing very well in the field just south of Boulderwall Farm on the RSPB Reserve and four Caspian Gulls were found in the evening roost on Burrowes Pit.

22nd Nov

An increasingly windy day making observations difficult. Seawatching produced a Velvet Scoter, 400 Gannets and nine Great Northern Divers (one flock) whilst three Caspian Gulls, an adult and two first-winters, were feeding at the Patch. Land birds were few and far between but a Rock Pipit was feeding among the rocks behind the Patch Hide.

A Grey Seal was feeding offshore and there were still good numbers of Common Darters on the wing in the sheltered sunny spots.

The rough conditions brought huge numbers of gulls on to Burrowes Pit to roost this evening and included eight Caspian Gulls and seven Yellow-legged Gulls and a remarkable total of at least 5000 Great Black-backed Gulls.

21st Nov

A Pomarine Skua, three Great Skuas and a late Sandwich Tern flew west this morning and a Little Gull was feeding at the Patch.
Dartford Warblers were seen at the north end of the recording area and near the Britannia Pub and a Bullfinch was seen in the trapping area. A Grey Wagtail and five Siskins also flew over.

20th Nov

The only bird of note that I have heard of was a Blackcap in the garden of Southview Cottage.

19th Nov

The best bird of the day was a Great White Egret which came in from the east this morning. Two Firecrests were also seen on otherwise quiet day but also with reduced coverage.

18th Nov

A very quiet morning on the land although two Common Redpolls flew over and a Bullfinch was seen in the trapping area.
The sea was also very quiet this morning but two Caspian Gulls were seen at the fishing boats in the afternoon.

Elsewhere, two Cattle Egrets were seen with the cattle at Dengemarsh.

17th Nov

The two Dartford Warblers were still showing around the Point and a Bullfinch was in the trapping area but there was very little else to be seen today. Birds passing overhead included four Skylarks, ten Fieldfares, a Rock Pipit, seven Bramblings, eight Redpolls and three Siskins.
The sea was very quiet except for good numbers of feeding Gannets.

Dartford Warbler Sylvia undata   Dungeness   17th November 2017
Sparrowhawk Accipiter nisus   Dungeness   17th November 2017
This was also hunting around the Point but seemed more interested in Starlings than Dartford Warblers.

There were only five moths in the trap but did they did include the pyralid Palpita vitrealis and a Common Darter dragonfly was still on the wing.

A Brown Hare was also seen.

Elsewhere, the Cattle Egret and 18 Great White Egrets came in to roost at the ARC Pit this evening.

16th Nov

Not a great deal in the way of migrants in the bushes with just ten Fieldfares, four Redwings, a Brambling and a few Redpolls and Siskins passing overhead. Two Merlins were also hunting in the area and five Ravens were also seen.
There was also very little movement offshore with just a Great Skua in the morning of note. In the afternoon there were plenty of birds feeding offshore including 200 Kittiwakes and seven Mediterranean Gulls.

The moth-trap produced an interesting diving beetle - Dytiscus semisulcatus. This is quite a rare beetle on the marsh although it is described as common nationally but perhaps preferring more acidic habitats.

Dytiscus semisulcatus   Dungeness   16th November 2017

15th Nov

A pretty quiet day with just six Bullfinches in the trapping area, 12 Siskins overhead and the two regular Dartford Warblers of note on the land.
Seawatching produced just a Great Skua and four Mediterranean Gulls of interest.

A Scarce Umber was caught overnight in the moth trap and is only the third Observatory record along with a Udea ferrugalis and a ridiculously late Dark Arches.
A Small Copper was also seen.
Scarce Umber Agriopis aurantiarina   Dungeness   15th November 2017

14th Nov

Most of the days interest was offshore. Nearly five hours of watching (mostly from first light) produced 18 Shelduck, two Velvet Scoters, an Eider, six Red-breasted Mergansers, 11 Great Skuas, three Sandwich Terns and seven Mediterranean Gulls while passerines coming in included two Skylarks, 3220 Starlings and 193 Chaffinches. A Bullfinch was seen in the trapping area and a Grey Wagtail also flew over.

Velvet Scoter Melanitta fusca and Red-breasted Merganser Mergus serrator
Dungeness   14th November 2017

A Grey Seal was also seen.

13th Nov

Another decent November day. There was a fair bit offshore (although mostly lingering) with 200 Gannets, three Sandwich Terns, 68 Mediterranean Gulls and 350 Kittiwakes but with a Velvet Scoter,  an Eider and two Great Skuas passing through. A Purple Sandpiper also flew west but this was presumably the bird found on the groyne at Dengemarsh Gully later in the day.
There were at least two Dartford Warblers in the broom and gorse around the Point along with five Stonechats, one of which looked odd but was presumably a spp rubicola. Other bits passing through included a Grey Plover, two Lapwings, 1500 Starlings, 28 Fieldfares, two Grey Wagtails and two Bramblings. A Woodcock was also flushed from the moat and two Buzzards were hunting at the north end of the Long Pits.

A Common Seal was also feeding offshore and two Red Admirals were seen despite the cold conditions. 

Dartford Warbler Sylvia undata   Dungeness   13th November 2017
This bird was even singing at times this afternoon

Stonechat Saxicola rubicola rubicola   first-winter male  Dungeness   13th November 2017
Another odd-looking Stonechat. At times the rump looked unstreaked but photos clearly show otherwise and therefore presumably eliminates Siberian Stonechat as does the pattern of the underwing coverts.

12th Nov

A quieter morning on the sea but still with a few duck including 16 Red-breasted Mergansers, singles of Arctic and Great Skuas, three Sandwich Terns, two Little Gulls and two Mediterranean Gulls and the Grey Phalarope still present. 
Five Bullfinches were of note in the trapping area and over 1000 Starlings and four Fieldfares also came in.

Three Porpoises and a Grey Seal were seen again. 

11th Nov

A dank, dreary day but with a fair bit of activity offshore and a few birds on the land. 
The Grey Phalarope was still present and other notable birds at sea included two Sooty Shearwaters east, two Great Northern Divers (both together on the sea), two Shags, 1000+ Gannets, a Great Skua, a Little Gull and ten Mediterranean Gulls.
At least two Dartford Warblers were found around the Point whilst a Firecrest was seen at the north end of the Long Pits along with a Blackcap, eight Redwings and a Bullfinch.

Two Porpoises and a Grey Seal were also seen offshore.

Elsewhere, a Cattle Egret reappeared in the fields at Boulderwall Farm on the RSPB Reserve.

10th Nov

A much quieter day today with just a trickle of birds passing overhead, very few birds in the bushes and barely any movement offshore.
The Grey Phalarope was still feeding offshore between the two hides and five Mediterranean Gulls were also lingering around the Patch. Two Bullfinches in the bushes and seven Brambling overhead were about the best on the land.

Several Red Admirals and plenty of Common Darter dragonflies were still on the wing.

9th Nov

Yesterday afternoon a single call was heard on seven occasions at various locations between the Pumphouse and the middle of the trapping area which was thought to be that of a Hume's Warbler and eventually the briefest of views of a dull-looking "yellow-browed warbler" was had. Despite three of us then searching the trapping area until dark there were no further calls or sightings and it looked like it would be one that got away. 
However, after opening the last of the regular nets this morning the same distinctive call was heard and a brief but reasonable view of the bird was had. A few minutes later the bird found its way into a net when it was now possible to confirm its identity as a Humes's Warbler.

Hume's Warbler Phylloscopus humei   Dungeness   9th November 2017
After ringing, taking notes and photographing the bird it was released back into the trapping area. It was heard calling at 1130 but was not seen again This is the third Observatory (and the first to be caught) and ninth Kent record.

Other migrants on the ground and overhead were very scarce with just two Firecrests, 25 Goldcrests, two Chiffchaffs, two Bramblings, a Bullfinch and 35 Redpolls of any interest.

The Grey Phalarope was feeding offshore between the Patch and the Point this afternoon but the sea was otherwise very quiet with just a Velvet Scoter, two Red-breasted Mergansers, a Sandwich Tern and nine Mediterranean Gulls west and four more lingering of note.

8th Nov

A Yellow-browed Warbler in the trapping area and the Grey Phalarope still present offshore were the highlights of the day. There was also a small arrival of migrants on the land with six Firecrests, a Ring Ouzel, 40 Blackbirds and three Bullfinches of note. A seawatch in the morning produced three Eider, four Sandwich Terns, a late Common Tern, a Little Gull and seven Mediterranean Gulls.

7th Nov

A very interesting day with a sizable and varied movement offshore and a scatter of migrants arriving on the land.

A Yellow-browed Warbler was found in the afternoon in the garden of Southview Cottage and a Woodcock was caught in the moat. A few thrushes also arrived, two Firecrests and a Bullfinch were seen in the trapping area and 5930 Starlings passed through.

Coverage of the sea for most of the day produced a decent movement of ducks and waders and several unusual birds. The highlight was a Grey Phalarope but also of note were a very late Black Tern along with 12 Sandwich Terns and 20 Mediterranean Gulls. Ducks seen included 156 Wigeon, two Gadwall, 152 Teal, 92 Pintail and eight Red-breasted Mergansers and a Grey Plover, 110 Dunlins, a Redshank, a Snipe and a Great Skua were also seen. Two Yellow-legged Gulls were also lingering offshore. 

Grey Phalarope Phalaropus fulicarius   Dungeness  7th November 2017
Mediterranean Gulls Larus melanocephalus   Dungeness   7th November 2017

Sandwich Tern Sterna sandvicensis   Dungeness   7th November 2017
Teal Anas crecca   Dungeness   7th November 2017
A Grey Seal was feeding offshore and a Brown Hare was seen on the beach.

6th Nov

The coldest morning of the autumn so far with clear skies and a heavy frost overnight resulted in a light passage of birds overhead including 15 Skylarks, 36 Fieldfares, five Song Thrushes, a Grey Wagtail, a Rock Pipit, ten Bramblings and a few Chaffinches, Siskins and Redpolls. A Woodcock and three Snipe also arrived.
At least two Dartford Warblers were still present and following Stonechats around, a Bullfinch was seen in the trapping area and a party of 12 Long-tailed Tits (migrants?) dropped into the moat.
The local pair of Ravens were around again and appear to be re-establishing their breeding territory. 
Very quiet offshore with a just a single Eider of interest. 

Long-tailed Tit Aegithalos caudatus   Dungeness   6th November 2017 (Gill Hollamby) 

Dartford Warbler Sylvia undata   Dungeness   6th November 2017
Three Red Admirals and a Small Copper were still on the wing.

Elsewhere, the Dotterel was seen again at both Scotney and at ARC and at least 17 Great White Egrets came into the evening roost at ARC.

5th Nov

There was a bit of passage this morning with a Swallow, a Ring Ouzel, five Bramblings and at least five Bullfinches of note whilst a minimum of four Dartford Warblers were seen among the broom and gorse around the Point.
The highlight of a very quiet seawatch was a Black-throated Diver whilst the regular first-winter Caspian Gull, four Mediterranean Gulls and six Sandwich Terns were seen at the fishing boats in the afternoon.

A bull Grey Seal was also feeding offshore.

Despite the cold conditions a Hummingbird Hawkmoth was seen in the Lighthouse garden.

4th Nov

Most of the interest was offshore where a Sooty Shearwater flew east and 796 Gannets, 19 Sandwich Terns and 358 Kittiwakes flew west in 2.75 hrs of watching in the morning. The gull watchers were also well rewarded with a Slovakian-ringed third-winter Caspian Gull joining the more regular first-winter bird in the roost at the Point.
The best on offer on the land were a Firecrest and a Ring Ouzel in the trapping area and a Grey Wagtail and three Bramblings overhead. 

Meanwhile I spent the day at the excellent KOS Conference held in Canterbury and presented a short talk on "Dungeness - Past, present and future - a brief review".

3rd Nov

Apart from a steady westward flow of Gannets and Kittiwakes it was fairly quiet offshore with just eight Great Skuas, an Arctic Skua, 14 Sandwich Terns, two Little Gulls and 20 Mediterranean Gulls of note in over three hours of watching.
Also pretty quiet on the land with just a Fieldfare, a Grey Wagtail, 13 Bramblings and 13 Lesser Redpolls of note passing overhead and two Dartford Warblers still present on the ground.

Four Porpoise were seen offshore.

The Dotterel was still being present with Golden Plovers at ARC. 

2nd Nov

A misty morning developed into a warm and sunny day with a bit of visible migration and some passage offshore. The best of the seawatching was a party of six Goosanders but two Great Skuas flew east and an Arctic Skua, a Sandwich Tern and 1000 Kittiwakes also flew west.
A Short-eared Owl came in from the east along with 30 Skylarks and 3070 Starlings whilst other bits passing overhead included two Grey Wagtails, two Rock Pipits, 31 Bramblings, 25 Redpolls and 13 Siskins.
A Firecrest, a Ring Ouzel and a Bullfinch were seen in the bushes and two Dartford Warblers were still present.

Four Porpoises and a Grey Seal were seen offshore.

Four species of butterfly were seen including a Clouded Yellow at the fishing boats.

Elsewhere, a first-winter Dotterel was found at ARC and viewable from the Hanson Hide. The egret roost at the eastern end of ARC had 16 Great Whites, 16 Little and a Cattle in it tonight.

Dotterel Charadrius morinellus   ARC Pit, Dungeness   2nd November 2017
Today was also Lee Gregory's final day as Assistant Warden at the Observatory. Thanks for all your help over the season and best wishes from us all for you and your future with Cathy in pastures new.

1st Nov

A day with relatively little movement but still a few bits and pieces around. Perhaps the most surprising bird of the day was a very late Yellow Wagtail which spent a few minutes around the Observatory before flying off northwards but an increase in the number of Dartford Warblers to four was more noteworthy and a Bullfinch was also noted. 
Birds seemed to be mostly feeding offshore today with a couple of Arctic Skuas and ten Great Skuas but two Little Gulls, 827 Kittiwakes, 43 Mediterranean Gulls and 15 Sandwich Terns did fly west during three hours of watching.. 

Two Porpoises were feeding offshore.

A Small Copper and several Common Darters made it into the new month.