31st Jan

The two regular Iceland Gulls were at the Patch again today along with an adult Mediterranean Gull and the drake Eider but very little else was reported.

30th Jan

The Patch was very productive this morning with both the regular first-winter Iceland Gulls still present along with five Caspian Gulls (3 x 1w, 2w, ad), a second-winter Yellow-legged Gull and an adult Mediterranean Gull among the thousands of gulls present.
There was only limited movement offshore although the Range Safety boat flushed 425 Red-throated Diver out of the bay.
A male Black Redstart was also seen in the power station behind the Patch.

29th Jan

A Pomarine Skua and a Great Skua were marauding offshore and five Caspian Gulls came to the offerings at the fishing boats. Two thousand Guillemots and a few Razorbills passed through during the morning and a Little Gull was also seen.

A Porpoise was also seen.

28th Jan

Gulls continue to provide most of the interest with three Caspian Gulls (two first-winters and a second-winter), one of the regular Iceland Gulls and a first-winter Little Gull being seen. Good numbers of Red-throated Divers and Gannets were also seen offshore along with the drake Eider and a Great Skua.

Two Porpoises and a Grey Seal were also noted.

27th Jan

With a fresh SE wind blowing this morning there was a considerable movement offshore with just under three hours of watching producing 76 Brent Geese, 638 Red-throated Divers, 559 Gannets, a Great Skua, 153 Kittiwakes, a Little Gull and about 1800 auks

Elsewhere, the Ring-necked Duck is still showing on Cooke's Pool near Boulderwall Farm, a Slavonian Grebe on New Diggings and up to five Pink-footed Geese and three Tundra Bean Geese and a Black-necked Grebe can be seen at Scotney.

26th Jan

The two regular Iceland Gulls, four Mediterranean Gulls and a Little Gull were feeding offshore and there was a decent easterly movement of Red-throated Divers during the morning.

A Porpoise was also seen.

25th Jan

Limited coverage but the two Iceland Gulls and the Eider were still feeding at the Patch.

The "tame" Grey Seal was on the beach again.

24th Jan

The fog had more or less cleared by morning and left a cold but very calm day. A 1.5hr seawatch this morning produced a constant down-channel movement of 836 Red-throated Divers along with two Pintail and a couple of surprises in the form of two Egyptian Geese. The regular Great Skua was hunting offshore and check of the Patch in the afternoon found the two juvenile/first-winter Iceland Gulls still present along with two Mediterranean Gulls.

23rd Jan

Very thick freezing fog all day and nothing to report as I took the opportunity to get a lot of office work done.

22nd Jan

The two Iceland Gulls were still feeding at the Patch along with two Mediterranean Gulls and the drake Common Eider. A Great Skua and a first-winter Little Gull were feeding off the fishing boats and a Pochard flew by.
The trapping area was very quiet and the Long Pits were almost frozen over but two small patches of open water held two Little Grebes and two Gadwall.
Of interest, yesterdays colour-ringed Caspian Gull was seen previously at Dungeness on 25th November 2016.

A Porpoise was also seen.

21st Jan

I didn't do much in the Observatory area today but at least one of the Iceland Gulls and a Mediterranean Gull were still at the Patch and a colour-ringed first-winter Caspian Gull was seen at the fishing boats in the afternoon. A Great Skua flew east in the morning and a Grey Wagtail was feeding at the sewage treatment unit inside the power station.

The Bird Observatories Council has just published its third Annual Newsletter with a variety of reports for 2016. It is an excellent read with lots of photographs and other information about the Bird Observatories and the work they carry out. Click here   

Elsewhere around Dungeness the Ring-necked Duck was showing at Cooke's Pool on the RSPB Reserve and Slavonian Grebes were seen on New Diggings and at Lade. Scotney continues to be very productive with six Pink-footed and four Tundra Bean Geese, a Black-necked Grebe and also two Lapland Buntings showing along the track behind the farm. There was also an arrival of Goosanders with up to 11 being seen together on ARC and on other pits at various times during the day.

20th Jan

Limited coverage today but a check of the Patch this afternoon revealed even more gulls feeding there and including the regular two Iceland Gulls, a first-winter Caspian Gull, a second-winter Yellow-legged Gull, a first-winter Little Gull and two adult Mediterranean Gulls.
A short video (click here) of the gull frenzy at the Patch. Finding a Vega Gull is proving impossible! 

19th Jan

There were huge numbers of gulls at the Patch again today but still no real change with the two Iceland Gulls and also two Mediterranean Gulls still present. The first hour of daylight saw over 100 Red-throated Divers, a Great Skua and 500 auks move east.
The most significant records today though involved two flocks of White-fronted Geese totaling 146 birds which flew over the area.
Four Goldcrests were seen in the trapping area.

The Observatory has recently published its Annual Report for 2015. In addition to the usual contents it also contains accounts of the first British record of Acadian Flycatcher and the discovery of breeding populations of Tree Crickets and Sickle-bearing Bush Crickets. It is excellent value at just £8 (£1.25 for postage).


18th Jan

Another calm, bright and cold day with most of the coverage concentrated at the Patch where there were huge numbers of gulls. However, nothing new could be found but the two first-winter Iceland Gulls were still feeding there along with the drake Eider and an adult Mediterranean Gull.
Masses of gulls at the Patch

Iceland Gull Larus glaucoides   juvenile/first-winter   Dungeness   18th January 2017 

17th Jan

The two juvenile/first-winter Iceland Gulls and the drake Eider spent the day at the Patch again. Two Little Grebes and a Great Spotted Woodpecker were seen at the Long Pits and 15 Chaffinches passed overhead. 

16th Jan

The two juv/first-winter Iceland Gulls, an adult Mediterranean Gull and the drake Eider were feeding at the Patch again and good numbers of Red-throated Divers, Great Crested Grebes and auks were also seen. The regular first-winter Caspian Gull was seen at the fishing boats and at least one Great Skua was marauding up and down the beach. Two Mute Swans also arrived from the east.

A Grey Seal was seen.

15th Jan

A cold and wet day with only the sea seriously looked at. The highlights were two juvenile/first-winter Iceland Gulls which arrived at the Patch in the late morning and remained there for the rest of the day. A first-winter Pomarine Skua was also seen on several occasions during the day. A Great Skua and three Mediterranean Gulls were also noted and the drake Eider was offshore again..


Iceland Gull Larus glaucoides    juvenile/first-winter   Dungeness   15th January 2017
One of the two birds feeding at the Patch.
A Porpoise was seen.

14th Jan

The morning seawatch produced 126 Red-throated Divers, 207 Gannets, a Pomarine Skua, two Great Skuas and a Mediterranean Gull in the first 1.5hrs and two Scaup, an Eider and a further two Great Skuas were seen later in the day. The regular first-winter Caspian Gull was seen at the fishing boats and was joined shortly before dark by a first-winter Glaucous Gull.
Nothing to report from the land.

Glaucous Gull Larus hyperboreus   juvenile/first-winter   Dungeness   14th January 2017
Managed to get to see this bird as the light was failing badly.

The tame Grey Seal was also back on the beach

The latest twist in the "grey" Stonechat saga was also announced today. It seems there was confusion over the original test results on the faecal DNA and that this bird is now shown to be of either ssp hibernans or ssp rubicola and not a steynegeri after all. 

13th Jan

The bad weather crossing Britain overnight hardly made it to Dungeness with just a brief spell of snow which barely settled and occasional strong gusts of wind but nothing too serious. There was the occasional sleety flurry during the morning.

There were large numbers of gulls feeding along the shoreline and at the Patch but all that could be found among them was a single adult Mediterranean Gull. Seawatching during the morning produced an up channel movement of Red-throated Divers (88 in an hour) and one, possibly two, Great Skuas.

A Chiffchaff and three Goldcrests were seen at the Long Pits.


12th Jan

Seawatching this morning before the weather really closed in produced at least three Great Skuas and a Pomarine Skua but movement was otherwise limited to a few Gannets and Red-throated Divers moving north. 

11th Jan

The regular first-winter Caspian Gull was present at the Fish Hut again but very little was seen today.

10th Jan

Very quiet. The Great Skua and Little Gull were feeding offshore again and one of the regular first-winter Caspian Gulls was at the Fish Hut with an additional second-winter bird at the Patch. A Mediterranean Gull was also feeding at the Patch.

A Grey Seal was seen offshore.

The Ring-necked Duck and Stejneger's Stonechat were both on their regular stations.

9th Jan

A Great Skua was feeding offshore while 100 Brent Geese and two Red-breasted Mergansers flew up-channel and a drake Eider was seen at the Patch. One of the semi-regular first-winter Caspian Gulls was at the Fish Hut again.

The Stejneger's Stonechat was still at Kerton Road and the Ring-necked Duck was back on Cooke's Pool at Boulderwall.

8th Jan

A Great Skua was lingering offshore and a Velvet Scoter flew south. A couple of Caspian Gulls came to the offerings at the fishing boats. There was a report of a party of five Waxwings seen flying around the Old Lighthouse before heading north sometime around mid-day. A Chiffchaff was present at the Long Pits.
The Stejneger's Stonechat was still present and just about got onto to the day list for the Observatory area. 

A Common Seal and two Porpoises were feeding offshore. I am not sure if the 'sickly' Grey Seal was present but yesterday it was being fed Whiting by the fisherman like a circus act. It now looks as if it may not be ill at all but a rehabilitated animal.

The Ring-necked Duck was still showing on the RSPB Reserve but had moved to the ARC Pit and two Slavonian Grebes were on New Diggings. There are now two Long-eared Owls in the bushes behind the Dipping Pond near the RSPB Visitors Centre. A first-winter Caspian Gull came into roost on Burrowes.
Four Pink-footed Geese and three Tundra Bean Geese were among large numbers of geese at Scotney and the Black-necked Grebe was on the pit behind the Scotney Court Farm.

7th Jan

A Red-necked Grebe and a Great skua were the highlights of the mornings seawatching but there was very little else of interest in the murky conditions.

A Grey Seal was feeding offshore.

The Stejnegers's Stonechat was still showing in the Kerton Road area.

6th Jan

The morning seawatching produced a party of five Velvet Scoters, a Goldeneye, two Red-breasted Mergansers and a Great Skua along with the now regular good numbers of Red-throated Divers, Gannets and Guillemots.

Two Porpoises were feeding off the fishing boats along with a Grey Seal. In addition, the apparently sickly Grey Seal was also on the beach again.The RSPCA were informed and a warden duly came to check it out. As it showed no obvious signs of injury or illness (and was actually quite feisty) it was decided to encourage it back into the sea and see if it reappears on the beach. If it does then an attempt may then be made to take it into care.

Grey Seal Halichoerus grypus   Dungeness   6th January 2017
The Stejneger's Stonechat was still present in the area to the west of Kerton Road Pit and the Ring-necked Duck was still on Cooks Pit at the entrance to the RSPB Reserve.

5th Jan

A party of seven Bewick's Swans arriving from the east was the highlight of the day. The sea produced the now regular good numbers of Red-throated Divers and Guillemots and one of the usual first-winter Caspian Gulls was back at the Fish Hut. A Chiffchaff was seen at the Long Pits.

It was an excellent day around the general area. The Stejneger's Stonechat was still showing at the western side of Kerton Road Pit along with a Dartford Warbler. The Ring-necked Duck continues to show very well on the RSPB Reserve and a Slavonian Grebe was seen on New Diggings. Large numbers of geese were present at Scotney and included a Pink-footed, three Tundra Beans and 16 White-fronts. A Black-necked Grebe was also present here.

4th Jan

Despite large numbers of gulls at the Patch nothing of note could be found among them and seawatching produced just a few Red-throated Divers and auks as usual at the moment.
One Chiffchaff was seen at the Long Pits and a Grey Wagtail around the Power Station Sewage Unit was an unusual record.

A Grey Seal was hauled out on the beach but appeared to be sick.

3rd Jan

A bright, cold day but not a great deal to report from the Observatory area. A Marsh Harrier was hunting over the Long Pits and a few Red-throated Divers and Guillemots were seen offshore.

2nd Jan

A nice, cold and bright winter's day and plenty of birders about.
The "highlight" of the day was the Stejneger's Stonechat which finally entered the Observatory recording area and thus unto the Observatory list. Other small birds of note included a Snow Bunting over the Point and two Chiffchaffs in the bushes. Two Marsh Harriers were also hunting over the Long Pits where four Gadwall were feeding there.
The sea provided similar fare to recent days with large numbers of Red-throated Divers and Guillemots, another two Gadwall, 35 Teal, a Great Skua and a Mediterranean Gull and a minor surprise of a Little Egret coming in from the east. Two of the regular first-winter Caspian Gulls were loafing around the Point.  




Stejneger's Stonechat Saxicola maura (stejnegeri)   Dungeness   2nd January 2017

1st Jan

Firstly, a Happy New Year to all our readers.

A gloomy, very wet day to start the New Year which limited observations to sea- and gull-watching from the shelter of our cars. The sea produced two Velvet Scoters, two Great Skuas, a Mediterranean Gull and what was presumably yesterdays first-winter Glaucous Gull along with good numbers of Gannets and Guillemots, four Fulmars and a handful of Razorbills.
At least three Caspian Gulls (two first-winters and an adult) were seen around the Point during the day. 

A Porpoise was also feeding offshore.