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Corona Virus Update

We are glad to say that the Observatory is now clear and visitors are very welcome. We are very pleased to be accepting bookings at the Observatory. In order to keep staff and visitors as safe as possible, we may request that you take a Lateral Flow Test (provided) before you first come in. The hides will be open for 'Friends of DBOT'. However, we would request that you continue to observe safe practises and sanitiser and spray will continue to be provided to clean down the handles and closures in the hide after you have used it.

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11th Apr

Today was certainly a day of quality rather than quantity. The obvious highlight was a treecreeper which was found in the Lighthouse Garden in mid-morning. It was very elusive and showed itself on about a dozen brief occasions until dusk. Although a confusing individual plumage-wise it would appear to be Short-toed Treecreeper. The large feather of the alula showed a clear white margin, the upperparts were quite dull, greyish-brown, the primaries showed diamond-shaped white tips, the pattern of wingbars and the dull supercilium ending above the eye all support this identification. The call was also much better for Short-toed (quite different to Eurasian Treecreeper), a Dunnock-like or even Siberian Chiffchaff-like, hard, piping monosyllabic "sweee" which to my ear didn't really have the more usual Coal Tit-like quality to it which previous Dungeness birds have had but still very distinctive.  I do have some concerns about the apparent whiteness of the underparts and a slight discrepancy in the wing-tip formula but I think these are probably outweighed by all the pro features. 

Short-toed Treecreeper Certhia brachydactyla   Dungeness   11th April 2018
Despite an overall lack of migrants in any number there was plenty of additional quality with Little Ringed Plover, Yellow Wagtail and Tree Pipit all new for the year, flyover Rock Pipit and Hawfinch, a singing Wood Lark around the Observatory, four Firecrests, a Ring Ouzel, three Bramblings and nine each of both Redpoll and Siskin  

Firecrest Regulus ignicapilla   Dungeness   11th April 2018
At sea, a Manx Shearwater was new for the year and with two Garganeys, an Arctic Skua and four Mediterranean Gulls were the highlights of the days seawatching although the treecreeper and misty conditions combined to limit coverage after mid-morning.

Whilst waiting for the treecreeper to show a Weasel gave some fantastic views as it searched various rabbit burrows for prey.

Weasel Mustla nivalis   Dungeness   11th April 2018
The first Small White butterflies of the year were also seen.