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Migration Time.

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. 
.

14th Nov

Not a great deal to be seen today despite an obvious improvement in the weather. The best of the birds on the land were a few Goldcrests and two Firecrests and overhead passage included 12 Stock Doves, a late Swallow, 48 Chaffinches, eight Bramblings, 11 Redpolls, 130 Goldfinches and 18 Siskins.
It was very quiet offshore.

A Brown Hare and four Bank Voles were found.

The moth traps were surprisingly productive for migrants overnight with six Dark Swordgrass and a White-speck of note. 
White-speck Mythimna unipuncta   Dungeness   14th November 2018
A fairly scarce migrant and the first at the Observatory since 2006.

13th Nov

A varied movement of birds overhead this morning with 71 Stock Doves, 43 Wood Pigeons, 34 Skylarks, 110 Meadow Pipits, a Rock Pipit, 60 Chaffinches, three Bramblings, six Redpolls, 140 Goldfinches and eight Siskins. Grounded migrants included a late Ring Ouzel at the north end of the Desert, seven Firecrests and 40 Goldcrests while a Snow Bunting spent a few minutes on the beach at the Point before flying off to the west.
The sea was fairly quiet but did produce a Great Skua, three Mediterranean Gulls and 40 Sandwich Terns. Two Yellow-legged Gulls were seen on the beach.

12th Nov

There was a decent passage of finches this morning with 870 Goldfinches, 120 Linnets and 27 Siskins but not much else overhead and just five Firecrests and 25 Goldcrests of note on the land.
Seawatching was reasonable for the first couple of hours with two Gadwall, 590 Gannets, a Great Skua, 126 auks and a surprisingly high count of 71 Sandwich Terns passing through.

Two Porpoises were feeding offshore.

11th Nov

Another windy morning. A first-winter Caspian Gull and an adult Yellow-legged Gull were seen at the fishing boats and a Velvet Scoter, 1400 Gannets and two Great Skuas passed through.
Very quiet on the land with just a Little Egret and a Firecrest at the Long Pits of note.

A Grey Seal was feeding offshore and five Bank Voles were found under the reptile tins placed out in the area.

Elsewhere, it was another excellent afternoon on the RSPB Reserve where at least 17 Caspian Gulls came in to roost and including a Czech Republic ringed adult. 

10th Nov

Another night of violent winds and heavy rain resulted in a decent movement of birds offshore this morning with 1720 Gannets, a Pintail, two Velvet Scoters, 70 Common Scoters, three Great Skuas, two Pomarine Skuas and 15 Sandwich Terns of note. An adult Yellow-legged Gull was seen at the fishing boats and later in the day a party of five Goosander flew west.
Not a great deal going on on the land this morning but a fine male Hen Harrier was hunting over the area and made at least one attempt to go out to sea before returning to the land.

A Common Seal was feeding offshore.

On the RSPB Reserve, at least five Cattle Egrets were feeding with the cattle in the fields alongside the entrance track and a check of the gull roost produced a minimum of 14 Caspian Gulls (seven 1stW, three 2ndW, a 3rdW and three adults) and six Yellow-legged Gulls.

9th Nov

An increasingly windy day which produced a Pomarine Skua and three Mediterranean Gulls among a handful of birds offshore.
There was a surprising arrival of  19 Firecrests and 110 Goldcrests along with 34 Redwings in the bushes while overhead passage was quite heavy with 17 Skylarks, 78 Meadow Pipits, a Grey Wagtail,  ten Bramblings, 27 Redpolls, 65 Siskins, 800 Goldfinches and 18 Crossbills of note.

A Common Seal and a Porpoise were feeding offshore.

8th Oct

Two first-winter Caspian Gulls including a Polish colour-ringed bird made visits to the fishing boats this morning and 350 Kittiwakes, three Mediterranean Gulls and 14 Sandwich Terns were also seen offshore.
Fairly quiet on the land with just four Chiffchaffs and four Firecrest in the bushes and a few finches passing overhead included 200 Goldfinches, 23 Siskins and 35 Redpolls.



Caspian Gull Larus cchinnans   Dungeness   8th November 2018
The Polish-ringed P:U65 bird 



Caspian Gull Larus cachinnans   first-winter   Dungeness   8th November 2018
The second, unringed bird
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A Porpoise and a Common Seal were feeding offshore.

A Sprawler moth came to the lit kitchen window last night - only the second Observatory and 11th Dungeness area record.
The Sprawler Asteroscopus sphinx   Dungeness   8th November 2018

7th Nov

A very windy day with frequent heavy rain during the morning and again in the evening. What little interest there was, was mainly birds offshore with two Great Skuas, a Pomarine Skua, 18 Mediterranean Gulls and 44 Sandwich Terns of note.
A Firecrest was seen in the trapping area.

A Porpoise and a Grey Seal were feeding offshore.

6th Nov

There was a bit of an arrival 'crests this morning with seven Firecrests and 60 Goldcrests seen but not a great deal else in the way of grounded migrants. There were plenty of finches on the move with 13 Bramblings, 850 Goldfinches, 70 Siskins and 70 Redpolls among them and also the first two Bullfinches of the autumn and a Grey Wagtail.
Very quiet offshore with a lingering Great Skua and 400 Kittiwakes being the only birds of note.

5th Nov

A few late migrants in the bushes included a Woodcock, a Snipe, five Firecrests, 40 Goldcrests and eight Chiffchaffs. Birds passing overhead were mostly finches with 11 Crossbills, 450 Goldficnhes, 40 Redpolls and 110 Siskin of note and with other bits and pieces including a Swallow, 30 Skylarks and a Corn Bunting. Bird of the day was a Bittern which was flushed from the Pumphouse Reeds.  

4th Nov

With so much on offer elsewhere in the county coverage was a bit reduced today but those that were here found two Caspian Gulls at the fishing boats and a Ring Ouzel, three Firecrests and six Bramblings were seen in the trapping area.

The Lesser Yellowlegs was still feeding at the Midrips on the Lydd Ranges.

3rd Nov

Two Caspian Gulls (including a colour-ringed bird) were found at the fishing boats this afternoon along with eight Mediterranean Gulls.
Not a great deal was reported from the land but finches passing overhead included 15 Bramblings, 20 Redpolls and 30 Siskins. A Swallow was seen at the Long Pits and a Woodcock and two Firecrests were found in the trapping area.

Late in the day, a Lesser Yellowlegs was found at the Midrips.

2nd Nov

A bright and sunny but very frosty morning with a trickle of birds passing overhead and little in the way of grounded migrants. A Woodlark, 33 Skylarks, six Bramblings, nine Crossbills, 35 Redpolls and 30 Siskins overhead were noteworthy as was a Woodcock and a Ring Ouzel seen in the trapping area. A flock of 560 Kittiwakes feeding offshore was also of note.

One Porpoise was seen offshore.

1st Nov

A miserable morning with frequent heavy rain. Very little signs of any passage on the land except for a Hen Harrier and 620 Starlings coming in from the east. The sea was also very disappointing with just 21 Mediterranean Gulls and five Little Gulls passing through and 20 Sandwich Terns still lingering offshore.

One Porpoise was seen.