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2016 Report

Our 2016 Report is now available from the Observatory for £8.00 plus P&P if needed. Please contact the Warden: dungenessobs@vfast.co.uk

14th Dec

Not a great deal to report today. Decent numbers of Gannets, Kittiwakes and auks but very little actually passing through.

13th Dec

There were plenty of Gannets, Kittiwakes and auks offshore and a Great Skua and 21 Mediterranean Gulls were seen offshore. A couple of checks of the bushes produced seven Firecrests and 20 Goldcrests but the windy and cold conditions made observations difficult.

Two Porpoises were also seen.

12th Dec

The obvious highlight of the day was the catching of this superb Long-eared Owl in the Heligoland Trap this afternoon.



Long-eared Owl Asio otus   Dungeness   12th December 2018 (photos by Gill Hollamby)
The only other coverage was of the sea where it was fairly quiet although three Eiders, a Great Skua and a Mediterranean Gull were of note. Two Ravens were seen on the beach - the first in the Observatory area for some time - and a Black Redstart was seen around the Observatory..

Two Porpoises were also feeding offshore.

11th Dec

A nice day after a misty start. Four Firecrests were seen in the trapping area and a Black Redstart was on the wall of the power station. A Great Skua flew west and an adult Mediterranean Gull was seen at the Patch.

10th Dec

A check of the bushes in decent weather conditions produced a Woodcock, four Firecrests, three Chiffchaffs and a Bullfinch in the trapping area and a Kingfisher at the Long Pits.
Plenty of birds were feeding offshore again and a Great Skua flew west.

9th Dec

Lots of birds passing offshore again today but mostly at great distance. At least 3000 Gannets were seen along with large numbers of auks and also two Great Skuas and two Mediterranean Gulls.

The Hume's Warbler was reported again from Lade Pit.

8th Dec

Not a great deal report today. A Great Skua and a Mediterranean Gull were seen offshore.

7th Dec

Another day with most of the coverage looking to the sea but apart from lots of Gannets, Cormorants and auks the only other bits of note were two Teal, 111 Red-throated Divers, a few Kittiwakes and a Great Skua. Two new Caspian Gulls (a first winter and a second-winter) were also seen around the fishing boats.




Caspian Gull Larus cachinnans   first-winter   Dungeness   7th December 2018
A slightly odd-looking individual which may have some hybrid influence in it.




Caspian Gull Larus cachinnans   second-winter   Dungeness   7th December 2018

6th Dec

After the riches of yesterday the sea seemed a bit disappointing this morning but in fact there were actually more birds to be seen but just lacked any rarer ducks and auks. A four- hour watch this morning produced a Red-breasted Merganser, 292 Red-throated Divers, 772 Gannets, a Great Skua flying into the bay, three Mediterranean Gulls, 122 Kittiwakes, 718 Guillemots, 281 Razorbills and 925 auk sp. In addition, on the beach was another colour-ringed first-winter Caspian Gull and two Yellow-legged Gulls


Caspian Gull Larus cachinnans   first-winter   Dungeness   6th December 2018
This will probably turn out to be a Polish-ringed bird. 




Gannets Morus bassana   Dungeness   6th December 2018
For much of the morning there was a huge feeding flock of Cormorants
 and these attracted large numbers of Gannets at times.  
A Common Seal, a Grey Seal and at least one Porpoise was feeding close inshore.

A Satellite was the only moth trapped overnight.

Elsewhere, the Hume's Warbler was seen again at Lade Pit and a Cattle Egret was seen in the fields at Boulderwall.

5th Dec

A return to wet and windy conditions but this time producing a memorable five hour seawatch. There were several highlights with the birds of the day being a Black Guillemot and a remarkable total of  seven Puffins. There was considerable back up in the form of a Long-tailed Duck, two Velvet Scoters, a flock of eight Goosanders, singles of Black-throated and Great Northern Diver and a Grey Phalarope. Numbers were provided by 587 Gannets, 346 Kittiwakes, 673 Guillemots, 160 Razorbills and 266 auk sp. Gulls were also a notable feature with a Little Gull, two Mediterranean Gulls, three Yellow-legged Gulls and two first-winter Caspian Gulls. A late Sandwich Tern was also seen.

Caspian Gull Larus cachinnans   first-winter   Dungeness   5th December 2018
Colour-ringed 365:U from the Czech Republic.
Caspian Gull Larus cachinnans   first-winter   Dungeness   5th December 2018
An unringed bird.
Caspian Gulls Larus cachinnans   first-winters   Dungeness   5th December 2018
Both individuals in this shot.
 A Common Seal and a Porpoise were also feeding offshore.

A Dark Swordgrass moth was trapped overnight.

The Hume's Warbler at Lade was seen again.

4th Dec

After a long spell of wind and rain today dawned clear, calm and frosty. The fine weather resulted in a reasonable overhead movement with 600 Wood Pigeons, 115 Stock Doves, 260 Starlings, two Tree Sparrows, eight Siskins, two Redpolls and 14 Reed Buntings and a nice surprise in the form of eight Pink-footed Geese. There was also a small increase in grounded migrants with a Fieldfare and five Song Thrushes of note along with three Chiffchaffs, five Firecrests and a Bullfinch.
Large numbers of birds were feeding offshore and included 70 Mediterranean Gulls, 1100 Kittiwakes and 20 Razorbills of note.
Mediterranean Gulls Larus melanocephalus   Dungeness   4th December 2018
Singles of Common and Grey Seal and a Porpoise feeding offshore.

Elsewhere, the Hume 's Warbler was showing well at Lade Pit in the fine weather and the Red-necked Grebe was still on the North Pit. The two Whooper Swans were still in the fields at the back of Scotney with two Pink-footed Geese and four White-fronted Geese still present. Two Cattle Egret were feeding in the wet fields at Boulderwall again


Hume's Warbler Phylloscopus humei   Lade Pit   4th December 2018

3rd Dec

More wind and rain and fairly limited coverage again. The only birds of note were a Mediterranean Gull, a first-winter Caspian Gull and 32 Turnstones at the fishing boats and two Firecrests in the trapping area.

A Common Seal and a Grey Seal were feeding offshore.

There was no sign of the Hume's Warbler at Lade today.

2nd Dec

Another fairly miserable day. Six Firecrests were seen in the trapping area and at the Long Pits and two Little Egrets which came in from the east.were about the only birds of note.

Most of the interest elsewhere around the area was at Lade Pits where a Hume's Warbler was found along with a Red-necked Grebe, two Goosanders, two Great White Egrets and two Caspian Gulls. The gull roost on Burrowes this afternoon produced three Caspian Gulls where a party of eight Goosanders were also seen.
Hume's Warbler Phylloscopus humei   Lade Pit   2nd December 2018
A very ropey shot of this bird. Fortunately it was heard calling on several occasions which helped to confirm its identity.
Tthis is only the fourth Dungeness area record.

1st Dec

Not a great deal to report on another breezy day with almost continuous rain and very poor visibility.  A morning seawatch produced 750 Gannets and a second-winter Mediterranean Gull came to the offerings of bread at the fishing boat.

30th Nov

A calmer morning for a change but offshore passage was fairly limited with a flock of 44 Grey Geese (thought most likely to be Pink-feet), a Velvet Scoter, an Eider, a Great Northern Diver and two Mediterranean Gulls of note. A Merlin was also hunting around the fishing boats. Another three Velvet Scoters were seen in the afternoon.

A check of the bushes produced a Woodcock, two Chiffchaffs, three Firecrests and 25 Goldcrests. Overhead passage was very light but included 20 Skylarks and a Siskin.

A Porpoise, two Common Seals, and two Grey Seals were feeding offshore.

Elsewhere, geese and swans continue to provide most of the interest. Two Whooper Swans can still be seen in the fields behind Scotney Pit and up to five Bewick's Swans have been with the Mute Swans at Cockles Bridge. Nine Pink-footed Geese were also seen at Scotney today. The gull roost at Burrowes on the RSPB Reserve has been fairly quiet this week but this evening produced six Caspian Gulls. One Cattle Egret remains with the cattle in the fields alongside the RSPB Entrance Track.

29th Nov

Another very windy day with almost all the coverage being on the seafront. There was a steady westerly passage during the morning and with final totals of 98 Common Scoters, six Velvet Scoters, six Red-breasted Mergansers, seven Fulmars, 313 Gannets, 870 Cormorants and 547 Kittiwakes. Two Caspian Gulls (at least one first-winter and a third-winter) were seen around the fishing boats.


Caspian Gull Larus cachinnans   first-winter   Dungeness   29th November 2018





Caspian Gull Larus cachinnans   third-winter    Dungeness   29th November 2018

Kittiwake Rissa tridactyla   Dungeness    29th November 2018
Two Common Seals and two Grey Seals were feeding offshore.  

28th Nov

Another miserable day with strong to gale force winds and rain. The only meaningful coverage was of the sea where a Velvet Scoter, seven Eiders and two Little Gulls were the only birds of note.

A Grey Seal was seen offshore.

27th Nov

The day began with very thick fog then cleared to bright and sunny for a time before the weather closed in again in the afternoon. A brief check of the trapping area produced a single Firecrest and a Snow Bunting flying over. A check of the gulls at the fishing boats was also worthwhile with two Caspian Gulls and a first-winter Yellow-legged Gull being found. 
Caspian Gull Larus cachinnans   second-winter   Dungeness   27th November 2018

Caspian Gull Larus cachinnans   first-winter   cr XAJK   Dungeness   27th November 2018
This bird was only present for a few minutes and  refused to land in the open. It was seen earlier in the day on the RSPB Reserve. 

26th Nov

A miserable morning and limited coverage. The only birds of note were a flock of seven Eiders flying west, a Merlin in off the sea and a couple of Redpolls overhead. 

A Grey Seal was feeding offshore.

A Winter Moth came to the kitchen window this evening.


25th Nov

Limited coverage today. Three Caspian Gulls were seen at the Point with two first-winters and a Polish colour-ringed third-winter individual. A couple of Firecrests and a Bullfinch were seen in the trapping area.



Caspian Gull Larus cachinnans   third-winter   Dungeness   25th November 2018
Wearing a polish colour-ring 858P.
Photos taken in dismal light.

24th Nov

Not too much to report. A first-winter Yellow-legged Gull and 12 Mediterranean Gull were at the fishing boats and a large flock of Kittiwakes were being harassed by a juvenile Arctic Skua. There was a small arrival of Chiffchaffs with at least 11 seen along with eight Firecrests although these seemed to be mostly regular birds.

23rd Nov

It was very quiet offshore except for five Mediterranean Gulls, an adult Caspian Gull at the Patch and another late Sandwich Tern of note.

There was another little scatter of migrants on the land with a Woodcock in the trapping area, a Grey Wagtail at the Sewage Works, seven Firecrests across the area and a handful of finches on the move including two Crossbills, a Bullfinch and two Brambling. A Little Owl was calling near the Observatory this evening. 

22nd Nov

There was a small arrival of birds this morning with five Firecrests, a Bullfinch, 100 Goldfinches and 12 Siskins along with a Marsh Harrier which flew out to sea and a Dartford Warbler in the Desert. Three Mediterranean Gulls were feeding offshore.

21st Nov

Despite a distinct improvement in the weather conditions it was another very quiet. A Great Skua flew east offshore, a Yellow-legged Gull was seen at the fishing boats and a Woodcock was seen in the trapping area. 

20th Nov

A thoroughly miserable, dull, cold and windy day which produced very little. The best of the mornings' seawatching were a Goldeneye, six Red-breasted Mergansers, a Black-throated Diver, a Purple Sandpiper and four Mediterranean Gulls. The land produced very little although coverage was a bit limited given the conditions. 

A Grey Seal and a Common Seal were feeding offshore.

19th Nov

With very strong and cold easterly winds all the meaningful coverage was at sea. Over 5.5hrs of watching  here produced two Gadwall, nine Wigeon, ten Eider, a Velvet Scoter, a Goldeneye, two Goosander, 16 Red-breasted Mergansers, a Black-throated Diver, a Red-necked Grebe, 2000 Gannets, seven Mediterranean Gulls and a Great Skua were noteworthy.

Singles of Grey Seal, Common Seal and a Porpoise were seen offshore.

18th Nov

Large numbers of birds were feeding offshore again and some birds almost moved east during the morning. Notable among the passage birds were 60 Red-throated Divers, a Black-throated Diver, 961 Gannets, three Knot, two Great Skuas, 220 Kittiwakes, 18 Mediterranean Gulls, two Little Gulls and 250 auk species.

Two Porpoises were also feeding offshore.

17th Nov

A few grounded migrants were around again this morning with a Snipe, 65 Goldcrests. 25 Redwings, 20 Blackbirds and two Bullfinches of note while birds passing overhead included four Golden Plovers, 138 Stock Doves, 200 Wood Pigeons, 28 Skylarks, two Bramblings, 225 Goldfinches and 20 Siskins. A Barn Owl was also seen at the Long Pits.
Although there was little movement offshore other than auks there were still lots of birds feeding with 200 Gannets, 150 Kittiwakes, 12 Mediterranean Gulls, a Little Gull, a Sandwich Tern and a Great Skua of note.

16th Nov

A night of heavy mist and drizzle resulted in excellent numbers of grounded migrants first thing and then further arrivals of thrushes coming out of the murky conditions throughout the day. Redwings dominated with around 1000 birds along with 90 Fieldfares, ten Song Thrushes and 60 Blackbirds and also 60 Goldcrests and five Firecrests. Two Bullfinches were seen in the trapping area and Dartford Warblers were seen - near West Beach and at the north end of the recording area. Waders also featured with two Woodcocks, seven Snipe and 45 Golden Plovers of note.

At New Romney the Pallid Swift was showing well, although in poor light, until around mid-day at least and ventured into the wider Dungeness recording area on several occasions. 

15th Nov

A handful of birds flew over the area this morning including a Wood Lark, a Yellowhammer (first of the year in the Observatory area) and a Corn Bunting along with a few Redpolls and Siskins. Grounded migrants included a Blackcap, 25 Goldcrests, three Firecrests and a Fieldfare and a small increase in Blackbird numbers.
Three Mediterranean Gulls and a few Kittiwakes were seen offshore.

Another White-speck was the best of a small overnight catch of moths.
White-speck Mythimna unipuncta   Dungeness   15th November 2018
Elsewhere, a Pallid Swift was found feeding above housing to the north of New Romney in mid afternoon. 



Pallid Swift Apus pallidus   New Romney  15th November 2018

This bird was showing very well but in heavy cloud and fading light photographing it was very difficult. There has been an exceptional influx of swifts this month with almost all of them identified as Pallids. The slightly damaged appearance to the primary tips of the right wing appear to show that this is the same individual as that seen in Norfolk yesterday. 
.