9th Dec

A bitterly cold morning and very little to be seen offshore or in the bushes.

Efforts were in part concentrated on the RSPB Reserve where the gull roost continues to provide plenty of interest with several Caspian Gulls seen and including this colour-ringed bird. It was originally ringed at Lviv in Ukraine as a nestling in 2015 and was first seen at Dungeness later in that year. Nice evidence of a returning wintering individual.

Caspian Gull Larus cachinnans   third-winter   RSPB Reserve   9th December 2017
Yellow with black code HCL23  - a Ukranian-ringed bird.

8th Dec

A 1.5hrs seawatch this morning produced 333 Red-throated Divers and three Great Skuas of note and three Merlins also flew through. A check of the Patch saw many thousands of feeding gulls and included three Caspian Gulls and a Yellow-legged Gull. One of the Caspian Gulls, a second-winter bird, was bearing a yellow colour ring, and this bird appeared later on the RSPB Reserve where it could be read.
Very quiet on the land although a Dartford Warbler was seen again at the Point. 

7th Dec

A very wet and windy day making observations almost impossible. The best of a two-hour seawatch were just 12 Fulmars and a Mediterranean Gull. An adult Yellow-legged Gull was in the gull roost.

A Porpoise was seen offshore.

Seven Caspian Gulls and three Yellow-legged Gulls came into the roost on the RSPB Reserve this evening.

6th Dec

There were plenty of birds offshore this morning with three Great Skuas of note along with good numbers of Red-throated Diver, Gannets and Guillemots and a check of the Patch produced a third-winter Caspian Gull.
Two Grey Wagtails made a brief stop at the power station sewage treatment unit and a Firecrest and a Bullfinch were seen in the trapping area.

Two Porpoises were also seen offshore.

There was another excellent roost of gulls on Burrowes Pit this evening with at least ten Caspian Gulls and five Yellow-legged Gulls being seen.

5th Dec

There was a bit of movement offshore this morning with a Velvet Scoter, two Shags, six Great Skuas and a Sandwich Tern of note along with good numbers of Red-throated Divers, Gannets and auks.

Two Porpoises were feeding offshore.

The new islands in front of Firth Hide on the RSPB Reserve are providing plenty of opportunities to study gulls. Today there were at least seven Caspian Gulls, an adult Yellow-legged Gull and a Herring Gull which had been ringed on Hornoya Island in the Varanger Fjord and almost as far north as you can get in Europe. Weather conditions were not great for photography but a selection are shown below.


Caspian Gull Larus cachinnans   adult and first-winter   RSPB Reserve   5th December 2017
Herring Gull Larus argentatus spp argentatus   3rd winter   RSPB Reserve   5th December 2017
This colour-ringed bird (JU651) was ringed at Hornoya Island at the entrance to Varanger Fjord in northern Norway

A Larus League of Nations.   RSPB Reserve   5th December 2017
In this image is a Caspian Gull, a Yellow-legged Gull and the norwegian-ringed Herring Gull amongst Lesser Black-backed Gulls, more typical Herring Gulls and Great Back-backed Gulls.



4th Dec

Very quiet. A Dartford Warbler and a Merlin were seen at the Point again but there was barely any movement offshore and nothing of note in the trapping area.

A Grey Seal was feeding offshore.

Elsewhere, the Cattle Egret was feeding in the fields near Boulderwall Farm and a Long-eared Owl returned to the regular roost site behind the Dipping Pond on the RSPB Reserve. 

3rd Dec

Very quiet. A Dartford Warbler and a Merlin were seen at the Point again but there was barely any movement offshore and nothing of note in the trapping area.

A Grey Seal was feeding offshore again.

The Cattle Egret was still feeding in the fields at Boulderwall and a Long-eared Owl has reappeared in its roost site behind the Dipping Pond.  

2nd Dec

There was a bit of movement offshore this morning which included 72 Wigeon, 105 Teal, two Shovelers and a Red-breasted Merganser and 155 Red-throated Divers whilst a Great Skua, 27 Kittiwakes and a Mediterranean Gull were loitering. In addition, an adult Yellow-legged Gull was in the roost at the Point.
A check of the land was fairly unproductive but 250 Starlings arrived and a Bullfinch was seen again in the trapping area.

3rd Dec

Little to report. A Velvet Scoter and a few Red-throated Divers passed west and a late Sandwich Tern was seen. A Merlin was hunting around the beach again. 

A Grey Seal was also seen.

1st Dec

Another wintry morning with a cold NW wind and frequent heavy, sleety showers passing through. This induced a small movement of birds coming in including 48 Fieldfares, 18 Redwings and a Reed Bunting. A Merlin was also hunting along the beach. There was also a bit of movement offshore with 42 Wigeon, 113 Teal, 14 Shovelers, four Great Skuas and a Mediterranean Gull of note.
The bird of the day though was a Rough-legged Buzzard which flew north over the Long Pits this afternoon and continued on its way past Lade and eventually out of sight. 

Elsewhere, the Cattle Egret was still feeding in the fields south of Boulderwall Farm and a Black-necked Grebe, a Spotted Redshank and an adult Caspian Gull were seen on Burrowes.

30th Nov

A bitterly cold day with light snow during the morning and an increasing, biting wind in the afternoon. The cold weather seemed to induce a few birds to move with a Snipe, 35 Fieldfares, 17 Redwings and 40 Blackbirds arriving. Two Firecrests and four Bullfinches were also seen in the bushes and a Merlin was hunting along the beach.
A check of the Patch in the afternoon produced three Mediterranean Gulls.

Snow at Dungeness this morning.
Not much to be seen in all honesty but even this small amount is fairly significant in comparison to most recent years.