22nd Mar

The day dawned clear but with a strong south to south-east blowing which provided the best seawatching conditions for some time. A four-hour stint in the morning followed by nearly three hours in the afternoon produced 638 Brent Geese, 31 Pintails, 13 Shovelers, 394 Common Scoters, a Red-breasted Merganser, 51 Red-throated and two Black-throated Divers, a Great Skua, 251 Gannets, four Little Gulls, seven Mediterranean Gulls and 211 Sandwich Terns moving east. In addition, a Sooty Shearwater passing west was an unusual record and the majority of  the 110 Fulmars seen also moved west. 

The two regular Iceland Gulls and new two Caspian Gulls were feeding at the Patch.

Conditions were not good for finding small birds on the land but there was obviously a small arrival of grounded migrants with seven Firecrests and 19 Chiffchaffs of note.

Five Porpoises were feeding offshore. 

21st Mar

A bright and sunny but still cold and windy day. Very little movement offshore except for the 13 Sandwich Terns and three Mediterranean Gulls moving west (and a further two birds seen during the day) and one of the first-winter Iceland Gulls at the Patch.
A few grounded migrants included three Firecrest, one in the Lighthouse Garden and two in the trapping area, and 25 Chiffchaffs - mostly around the Long Pits. A handful of birds also passed overhead including a few Chaffinches and Linnets and five Siskins.

Three Porpoises were seen.

20th Mar

A thoroughly miserable day of strong, cold winds and almost constant heavy drizzle. The morning seawatch produced 524 Brent Geese east, 22 Fulmars and three Sandwich Terns west whilst three Mediterranean Gulls, a Yellow-legged Gull, two Caspian Gulls and the two regular Iceland Gulls.
A check of the Long Pits produced nine Chiffchaffs and four Wheatears were seen near the Lighthouse Station.

Three Porpoises were also seen.

19th March

A few Fulmars flew west and 287 Brent Geese passed east this morning and the regular two Iceland Gulls and three first-winter Caspian Gulls were seen at the Patch. A first-winter Yellow-legged Gull was seen at the Fishing Boats in the afternoon.
Five Chiffchaffs were seen at the Long Pits.

18th March

An overcast day with a strong cold westerly wind throughout. Three seawatches totalling six hours during the day resulted in just over a thousand Brent Geese and low numbers of common seabirds. This morning's seawatch was slightly curtailed as the Seawatching Hide is being refurbished by local birder and builder Chris Philpot, It was great to see the progress during the day and look forward to trying it out very soon.
A search though the excellent numbers of gulls along the beach produced one Glaucous, one Iceland, three Caspian, two Yellow-legged and one Mediterranean Gull.
Few land migrants were observed with eleven Chiffchaffs and two Wheatears which were presumably birds already present rather than freshly arrived migrants.





Seawatching Hide refurbishment   Dungeness   18th March 2017   (Lee Gregory)

Glaucous Gull Larus hyperboreus   Dungeness   18th March 2017   (Lee Gregory)
Iceland Gull Larus glaucoides   Dungeness   18th March 2017   (Lee Gregory)

Caspian Gull Larus cachinnans   Dungeness   18th March 2017   (Lee Gregory)
Four Porpoise were feeding offshore.


At the RSPB Reserve one Long-eared Owl was roosting by the Dipping Pool, drake Ring-necked Duck and two Smew on Tanner's Pool plus the escaped drake Hooded Merganser was still present on Hooker's Pit.

17th March

A good arrival of Chiffchaff this morning with a minimum of forty-five birds around the Point and trapping area. The only other migrants were three male Wheatears along the beach.
At the Patch one Iceland Gull and this evening by the Fish Hut two new Caspian Gulls a first and second winter. The sea was pretty quiet with a small movement of Brent Geese, Gannet, Red-throated Diver and a single Great Skua.
Clear skies overnight meant the moth trap contained just two species, mid-morning the wind picked up and turned quite cool the only butterflies recorded were four Small Tortoiseshell.


Caspian Gull Larus cachinnans   Dungeness   17th March 2017   (Lee Gregory)


Caspian Gull Larus cachinnans   Dungeness   17th March 2017   (Lee Gregory)
On the RSPB Reserve on Tanner's Pool were a pair of Smew, pair Garganey, drake Ring-necked Duck, four Great White Egret and five Pintail.

16th March

A day of thick fog which tried to clear several times but failed. It did clear for a while at the Long Pits enough to bring a few Insects out but on the bird front very little of note was seen except six Chiffchaff and one of the Iceland Gulls on the beach opposite the Patch late on.

At the Long Pits good numbers of bumblebees were attracted to Sallow blossom mostly Buff-tailed and one White-tailed. Butterflies recorded were the first Red Admiral of the year and six Small Tortoiseshell. The overnight moth trap caught ten Hebrew Character, three Clouded Drab, Common Quaker and two Agonopterix scopariella.

Buff-tailed Bumblebee Bombus terrestris   Dungeness   16th March 2017   (Lee Gregory)


White-tailed Bumblebee Bombus leucorum   Dungeness   16th March 2017   (Lee Gregory)


Clouded Drab Orthosia incerta   Dungeness   15th March 2016   (Lee Gregory)

Common Quaker Orthosia cerasi   Dungeness   15th March 2016   (Lee Gregory)


Agonopterix scopariella   Dungeness   15th March 2016   (Lee Gregory)
Highlights from the RSPB Reserve were the drake Ring-necked Duck, three Smew, two GoosanderYellow-legged Gull and Long-eared Owl.

15th March

Not a breath of wind first thing so not surprising the seawatch this morning was very quiet. At the Patch the two Iceland Gulls were accompanied by another new 1st winter Caspian Gull and a new 2nd winter Yellow-legged Gull.

A male and female Black Redstart were still around the Old Lighthouse garden and a good increase in Chiffchaff numbers with eleven present including eight around the Long Pits.

With the mild overnight temperature the moth trap fared better too with twelve Hebrew Character, two Clouded Drab, three Common Quaker, Early Grey and Common Plume Moth Emmelina monodactyla. During the day fifteen Peacock Butterfly, nine Small Tortoiseshell and feeding offshore were five Porpoise.

On the RSPB Reserve the drake Ring-necked Duck was displaying to a female Tufted Duck on Tanners Pool, One Long-eared Owl by the Dipping Pool, Three Black-necked and a Slavonian Grebe on New Diggings.

14th March

The highlight of the morning was when a Serin flew out of the Old Lighthouse garden calling then headed inland towards the Observatory but sadly could not be re-found. Few land migrants were in evidence with just a female Black Redstart, male Wheatear and three Chiffchaffs. The sea was particularly quiet too with two Sandwich Tern and a few small groups of Brent Geese heading east. At the Patch numbers of gulls had doubled from yesterday subsequently two new 1st winter Caspian Gulls were found also two Mediterranean Gulls and the regular two Iceland Gulls.
Caspian Gull Larus cachinnans   Dungeness   14th March 2017   (Lee Gregory)
Iceland Gull Larus glaucoides   Dungeness   14th March 2017   (Lee Gregory)

Caspian Gull Larus cachinnans   Dungeness   14th March 2017   (Lee Gregory)
Mediterranean Gull Larus melanocephalus   Dungeness   14th March 2017   (Lee Gregory)

Raven Corvus corax   Dungeness   14th March 2017   (Lee Gregory)
Five Porpoise were feeding offshore, on land four Small Tortoiseshell were encountered and the overnight moth trap contained twelve Hebrew Character and a Common Quaker.

On the RSPB Reserve the Two Long-eared Owl were still by the dipping pool, drake Ring-necked Duck on Tanner's Pool, three Black-necked and two Slavonian Grebe on New Diggings.


13th March

A generally slow ninety minute seawatch in a brisk NW breeze produced one Great Skua, Sandwich Tern, Mediterranean Gull plus small numbers of the regular seabird species.
At the Patch yesterday's Caspian Gull was still present keeping the two Iceland Gulls company.
A slight increase in some migrants today with five Black Redstarts, two Wheatears, five Chiffchaffs and three Buzzards in off the sea.
Caspian Gull Larus cachinnans   Dungeness   13th March 2017   (Lee Gregory)

Black Redstart Phoenicuroides ochruros   Dungeness   13th March 2017   (Lee Gregory)



Five Porpoise were feeding offshore and a Stoat was in the Moat! Butterflies put in a good showing in sheltered spots with ten Small Tortoiseshell and an early Small White.

On the RSPB Reserve the first Swallow of the spring was seen, drake Ring-necked Duck Tanners Pool, three Smew Christmas Dell Hide, two Black-necked Grebe on New Diggings and the escaped drake Hooded Merganser was still on Hookers Pit. At Littlestone 6 Buzzard headed NW and at Lade a Red Kite passed north too.


12th March

An hours seawatch just after dawn in almost calm conditions was quiet as expected with just a few wildfowl moving including 25 Brent Geese, 46 Common Scoter and 69 Pintail. Also of note was a Sandwich Tern west and a Caspian Gull east. At the Patch the two Iceland Gulls were still in residence plus an adult Mediterranean Gull and a new Caspian Gull which later relocated to the Fishing Boats and showed well with two Yellow-legged Gulls.
With the very light southerly breeze a small arrival of passerines was witnessed around the Old Lighthouse area including two male Black Redstart, female Wheatear, seven Chiffchaff and in the Trapping/Long Pits area two Firecrests.
After dark a constant stream of Redwing could be heard calling as they migrated north.

Caspian Gull Larus cachinnans   Dungeness   12th March 2017   (Lee Gregory)


 
Caspian Gull Larus cachinnans   Dungeness   12th March 2017   (Lee Gregory)


Yellow-legged Gull Larus michahellis   Dungeness   12th March 2017   (Lee Gregory)
Yellow-legged Gull Larus michahellis   Dungeness   12th March 2017   (Lee Gregory)
With the flat calm sea a good count of seventeen Porpoise was noted, on land a Stoat and Bank Vole were seen, Slow Worm near the Long Pits and surprisingly given the lovely sunny weather a queen White-tailed Bumblebee was the only insect of interest. In the moth trap two Hebrew Character.


On the RSPB Reserve the escaped drake Hooded Merganser was again present on Hookers Pit, three Smew including one drake from Christmas Dell Hide, six Black-necked and two Slavonian Grebe on New Diggings. 









11th March

A misty start to this mornings seawatch, fortunately visibility soon improved and so did the sightings with a good passage east of 1090 Brent Geese, 168 Common Scoter, two Garganey, 30 Pintail, 22 Red-throated Divers, four Mediterranean Gulls, a single Sandwich Tern and just one Iceland Gull at the Patch.
With the southerly breeze land sightings improved too with a Marsh Harrier south along the point then out to sea, the first Wheatear of the spring plus a Black Redstart and two Chiffchaffs.
Sandwich Tern Sterna sandvicensis   Dungeness   11th March 2017   (Lee Gregory)
Wheatear Oenanthe oenanthe   Dungeness   11th March 2017   (Lee Gregory)

Black Redstart Phoenicuroides ochruros   Dungeness   11th March 2017   (Lee Gregory)


Three Porpoise were feeding offshore. Four Hebrew Character and a Agonopterix heracliana in the moth trap other insects of note were; four Small Tortoiseshell, Peacock Butterfly, Queen Red-tailed Bumblebee, Pine Ladybird and ten Gorse Shieldbug noted.


Gorse Shieldbug Piezodorus lituratus   Dungeness   11th March 2017   (Lee Gregory)
An Alpine Swift was seen by four lucky observers flying SW over Cook's Pit at 0930am, other highlights from the RSPB Reserve were; four Garganey, two Smew, drake Ring-necked Duck, five Great White Egret, two Long-eared Owl, two Slavonian and Black-necked Grebe on New Diggings. Lydd Army Camp held a Black Redstart and at Denge Marsh Gully two Chiffchaff.


10th Mar

Another quiet morning with just a few Brent Geese moving east and the two Iceland Gulls still feeding at the Patch. Very few migrants on the land but they did include three Fieldfares and four Siskins.

Three Porpoises were also seen

On the RSPB Reserve a superb-looking drake Hooded Merganser was found at Hookers and caused some excitement until close views revealed that it had a green ring on its right leg and severely reduced its credentials as a genuine wild bird.  




Hooded Merganser Mergus cucullatus   Dungeness RSPB Reserve   10th March 2017
Also on the Reserve, the Ring-necked Duck continues to be seen although now on Tanner's Lake, the two Long-eared Owls are still giving great views behind the Dipping Pond and the two Slavonian Grebes and a Black-necked Grebe remain on New Diggings. Up to five Great White Egrets are still lingering in the general area.

9th Mar

A 90 minute sewatch this morning produced a few flocks of Brent Geese, 15 Pintails and a Great Skua passing east. The two Iceland Gulls and a second-winter Yellow-legged Gull were feeding at the Patch.

Still very few migrants on the ground with just a Snipe, 24 Redwings and a Tree Sparrow of note whilst a trickle of birds passing overhead included a few Chaffinches and two Siskins.

8th Mar

A miserable, damp and foggy day. The surprising highlight was a Sooty Shearwater which flew very close along the beach to the west this morning. The two Iceland Gulls were still at the Patch and the first-winter Caspian Gull was at the Fish Hut again.
The two Grey Wagtails were still around the water treatment works inside the power station with the male even singing at times.

Three Porpoises were also seen.

7th Mar

A bright and sunny day with a light NW wind.

Birds continue to trickle overhead with 30 Chaffinches and seven Siskins and also a party of three Long-tailed Tits which flew high and south over the area.

The best of the seawatching was a Shag, six Mediterranean Gulls and a Sandwich Tern whilst the two Iceland Gulls and the Little Gull were still feeding at the Patch.

Four Porpoises were feeding offshore and a Brown Hare was seen at the top of the recording area this evening. 

6th Mar

A bright  and calmer morning induced a trickle of visible migration but offshore passage was limited.

The two Iceland Gulls were still feeding at the Patch and a first-winter Caspian Gull and seven Mediterranean Gulls were also seen whilst seawatching produced a Great Northern Diver passing west of note.

Overhead passage was dominated by finches with 45 Chaffinchs and ten Goldfinches along with three Reed Bunting. Two Ravens which came into the area where quickly moved on by one of the resident birds. Two Grey Wagtails were feeding inside the power station complex, a Marsh Harrier came in and a Merlin flew north. A Firecrest and a Chiffchaff were also seen at the Long Pits.

One Porpoise was seen offshore and a Small Tortoiseshell was seen in the moat.

5th Mar

Another wet and windy morning prevented much coverage of anything other than the sea although a Black Redstart was seen near the Lifeboat Station and the Grey Wagtail was still feeding around the waste treatment unit in the power station.
Seawatching was fairly uneventful except for 40 Fulmars heading west, two Great Skuas heading east and large numbers of Gannets
The two regular Iceland Gulls were feeding at the Patch again and the regular Caspian Gull at the fishing boats was joined by a new, Polish-ringed first-winter individual. A first-winter and a second-winter Yellow-legged Gull were also seen.




Caspian Gull Larus cachinnans   first-winter    Dungeness  5th March 2017
A new Polish-ringed bird.
Three Porpoises were also feeding offshore and a Peacock butterfly was seen in one of better spells of weather.

4th Mar

A much quieter day offshore but at least 300 Brent Geese flew east, an Eider and 73 Kittiwakes flew west and a total of 21 Mediterranean Gulls were seen during the day. Both of the regular Iceland Gulls and an adult Little Gull were feeding at the Patch in the morning.
The first three migrant Chiffchaffs were seen and a (the) Firecrest was in the Observatory front garden. The Grey Wagtail was still in the power station complex and a trickle of birds passing overhead included two Redwings, a few Chaffinches, two Goldfinches and five Siskins.

Porpoises were very obvious in the calm conditions this morning with a minimum of seven being seen.

3rd Mar

A quiet start to the days seawatching but things improved considerably from mid-morning with an excellent total of 313 Pintails passing through (the fourth best-ever day total) and 2166  Brent Goose. A few other bits and pieces also passed through with three Shovelers, two Eiders, 36 Fulmars, a Great Skua, six Mediterranean Gulls and a Little Gull of note. At least one of the Iceland Gulls was still feeding at the Patch and the regular first-winter Caspian Gull was hanging around the Fish Hut area again.

The land remains pretty quiet but there were some signs of migration with a small increase in Blackbird numbers, three Siskins over and the first Firecrest of the spring in the Observatory garden.



Firecrest Regulus ignicapillus   Dungeness   3rd March 2017  (Lee Gregory)
Four Porpoises were feeding offshore and a dead one was washed up on the beach.

2nd Mar

Little change in the continuing windy conditions.The two Icelands Gulls were feeding at the Patch again and the first-winter Caspian Gull was still hanging around the Fish Hut area.

One Porpoise was seen.

1st March

The two Iceland Gulls and two Mediterranean Gulls were seen at the Patch in the morning and the semi-regular Caspian Gull was joined by a new first-winter bird this afternoon.
A hint of some spring migration on the land was noted this morning with 30 Chaffinches and five Siskins being seen.
Caspian Gull Larus cachinnans   first-winter   Dungeness   1st March 2107
A new individual at the fishing boats.
A Porpoise was feeding offshore and a tidy up of the ringing hut produced a hibernating Peacock butterfly, two Wood Mice and the micro-moth Mompha epilobiella.