30th Dec

Several thousand Guillemots and hundreds of Red-throated Divers and Gannets along with smaller numbers of Kittiwakes and 12 Fulmars flew west this morning. 
The regular first-winter Caspian Gull was also showing very well.

Caspian Gull Larus cachinnans   first-winter   Dungeness   30th December 2017
Elsewhere, a third-winter Iceland Gull came in to roost on Burrowes Pit just before dark and the Long-eared Owl was showing behind the Dipping Pond.

29th Dec

A 90 minute seawatch this morning produced two Red-breasted Mergansers and 2265 Guillemots flying west. The first-winter Caspian Gull was still present.

28th Dec

A Woodcock was seen in the trapping area and another individual was seen coming in off the sea.

27th Dec

The first-winter Caspian Gull was still present.

26th Dec

The first-winter Glaucous Gull was seen again.

25th Dec

Five Great Skuas were seen offshore and 17 Fulmars and 322 Gannets flew west. The first-winter Caspian Gull and first-winter Glaucous Gull were seen again.

24th Dec

The first-winter Caspian and Glaucous Gulls were still present. A White-fronted Goose also came in from the east over the fishing boats.

23rd Dec

Most of the interest was offshore or on the beach where the Glaucous Gull was showing very well through the day. The first-winter Caspian Gull was seen again and was joined by two second-winter birds at the fishing boats and also two Yellow-legged Gulls. Further offshore, five Great Skuas passed through and over 300 Guillemots were lingering.


Glaucous Gull Larus hyperboreus   Dungeness   23rd December 2017

Caspian Gull Larus cachinnans   first-winter   Dungeness   23rd December 2017
Caspian Gull Larus cachinnans  (1)   first-winter   Dungeness   23rd December 2017

Caspian Gull Larus cachinnans   second-winter (2)   Dungeness    23rd December 2017

Whilst filling up the bird feeders in the trapping area yesterday we came across this attractive fungi. It is Chondrostereum purpureum and appears to be a new species for the recording area. 



Chondrostereum purpureum   Dungeness   23rd December 2017
I went out again today to take photographs of the above and then also found this small fungus growing out of the same tree stump. I think this is Xylaria hypoxylum and this also appears to be a new species for the Observatory recording area.

Xylaria hypoxylum   Dungeness   23rd December 2017

22nd Dec

A juvenile/first-year Glaucous Gull was found among the gulls roosting at the Point this afternoon and was joined for a time by the semi-regular first-winter Caspian Gull and a first-winter Yellow-legged Gull. The morning seawatch produced a Great Skua and a second-winter Mediterranean Gull along with large numbers of Great Crested Grebes and Guillemots.
A Dartford Warbler was seen in the broom between the Old Lighthouse and the red-and-white gate, a Firecrest was heard calling in the moat and a Bullfinch was seen in the trapping area.


Glaucous Gull Larus hyperboreus   juvenile   Dungeness   22nd December 2017
A Porpoise was also seen.

21st Dec

Thick fog for most of the morning and limited coverage again. A first-winter Caspian Gull was just about discernible through the murk at the Patch in the morning and this was then seen again at the fishing boats in the afternoon and was joined by a third-winter bird.
A Firecrest was seen in the moat and a Fieldfare flew over.

20th Dec

A miserable, damp day with very limited visibility and virtually no coverage. A Firecrest was seen in the Moat.

19th Dec

Another bright and freezing morning with very little to be seen other than one of the regular Dartford Warblers at the Point.

A Brown Hare was also seen.

18th Dec

Another bright and very cold morning. Very little to be seen in the way of new birds but the first-winter Caspian Gull was around the fishing boats and the two Dartford Warblers were in the Broom near the New Lighthouse again.

17th Dec

A very cold morning with a heavy frost and no wind produced very little in the way of new birds with just a Little Gull feeding offshore, a Bullfinch in the trapping area and a Redpoll flying overhead of interest.
The first-winter Caspian Gull was seen again around the Point.





Caspian Gull Larus cachinnans   first-winter   Dungeness   17th December 2017

16th Dec

A first-winter Caspian Gull was seen at the fishing boats and a Goosander flew west in the afternoon.
A Snipe and six Bullfinch were seen on the land.

15th Dec

A couple of seawatches during the day produced four Great Skuas and good numbers of Red-throated Divers and Guillemots and two Mediterranean Gulls and a Yellow-legged Gull were lingering offshore.
One of the Dartford Warblers was around the New Lighthouse again whilst a Chiffchaff and a Bullfinch were seen in the trapping area.

A Porpoise was seen offshore.

14th Dec

Two Caspian Gulls (an adult and a first-winter) and two Yellow-legged Gulls were feeding at the fishing boats whilst seawatching produced a Velvet Scoter, 169 Red-throated Divers and a Great Skua of note.
Very quiet on the land with just a Bullfinch in the trapping area and a Raven overhead.

13th Dec

There was a decent movement of Red-throated Divers this morning with 517 passing west in 90 minutes along with a Red-breasted Merganser, a Great Skua and 734 Guillemots. A check of the Patch at low tide produced an adult Caspian Gull, a second-winter Yellow-legged Gull and an adult Mediterranean Gull.
A Firecrest and a Bullfinch were seen in the trapping area. 

12th Dec

A nice but still very cold morning resulted in a bit of movement offshore with five Pintail, 74 Wigeon, 32 Shoveler, 139 Teal, a Black-throated Diver, 245 Red-throated Divers and two Avocets of note.
The two Dartford Warblers were seen again around the New Lighthouse (with three Stonechats) and two Woodcock were flushed from bushes at the Long Pits. Three Bullfinches were in the trapping area.

11th Dec

Another day of awful weather and very little birding with a Great Skua being the only bird of interest.

10th Dec

A day of awful weather with Force 8-9 winds at times and frequent heavy rain through the morning (although no snow). Coverage was mostly limited to a brief seawatch which produced a single Great Skua. A first-winter Caspian Gull was also seen on the beach.

More gull-watching on the RSPB Reserve eventually produced a total of seven Caspian Gulls.

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.