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New Year 2019

We wish all our Friends and visitors a Happy and bird filled New Year and hope to see you in 2019.

15th Jan

Another increase in auks numbers offshore and with a much higher proportion of Razorbills than of late. Three Great Skuas flew east and two Velvet Scoters flew west. There were also decent numbers of gulls feeding at the Patch with two first-winter Caspian Gulls and an adult Mediterranean Gull of note.
Two Chiffchaffs were found in the trapping area.

Two Porpoises and a Grey Seal were feeding offshore.

14th Jan

A first-winter Caspian Gull and a Mediterranean Gull were feeding at the Patch and the male Black Redstart was on the wall behind the seawatch hide this morning. A Woodcock, a Firecrest and five Long-tailed Tits were seen in the trapping area.

13th Jan

A Dartford Warbler was found near the New Lighthouse, a Black Redstart was on the Power Station wall and three Long-tailed Tits were seen at the Long Pits.
Large numbers of birds continue to feed offshore with 300 Gannets and two Great Skuas in attendance and around 2000 Guillemots this morning and also a second-winter Caspian Gull at the Patch.. 

A Grey Seal was also seen.

12th Jan

A fairly quiet day in very dull conditions. Four Great Skuas heading east and a Velvet Scoter heading west were about the best the sea had to offer and just five Long-tailed Tits of interest on the land.

Two Porpoises were feeding offshore and a Brown Hare was seen in the Desert. 

11th Jan

A first-winter Caspian Gull and an odd-looking Great Black-backed Gull were seen at the fishing boats and Guillemots continue to feed offshore in good numbers. There were also at least 90 Kittiwakes and two Great Skuas seen. Cormorants continue to be seen in huge numbers with over 3,500 seen today.
Caspian Gull Larus cachinnans   first-winter   Dungeness   11th January 2019 
 (Image by James Dickerson)
Great Black-backed Gull Larus marinus   Dungeness   11th January 2019
An odd-looking individual.
A search of the Trapping Area and Long Pits was fairly unproductive but a party of five Long-tailed Tits were found.

Two Grey Seals were also seen.

10th Jan

A Firecrest and five Redwings were of note in the trapping area whilst Guillemots continue to feed offshore in good numbers. A count of the Cormorants going into roost across the area this morning produced a new record total for the Observatory of 7550 birds. 

A Grey Seal was feeding offshore.

9th Jan

Very little change on recent days. Still lots of Guillemots offshore and good numbers of Red-throated Divers and Gannets present. A total of 3,600 Cormorants were counted coming into the roost on Burrowes as the tide rose.
A Brambling was seen at the feeding station in the trapping area and a Firecrest and a Chiffchaff were also seen.

A Brown Hare was seen in the Desert and two Grey Seals were feeding offshore.

8th Jan

More of the same with 5000 each of Cormorants and Guillemots and 190 Red-throated Divers this morning and a Firecrest in the trapping area.

7th Jan

The sea continues to provide most of the interest in a variety of forms today. The outstanding count this morning was of 7,305 Cormorants flying inland from Lade Bay and into the roost on Burrowes Pit. Guillemots were still present in large numbers but other seabird numbers were well down on recent mornings.
Whilst watching at the fishing boats a Great Black-backed Gull managed to fly into an anglers fishing line. It was quickly caught, disentangled and brought back to the Observatory where it was ringed and released none the worse for its minor ordeal.


Great Black-backed Gull Larus marinus   first-winter   Dungeness   7th January 2019
Two Firecrests and two Stonechats were the best of the birds seen in the trapping area.

Having ended 2018 with a new moth species for the Observatory it was a surprise to catch another Spring Usher overnight

For the second time in the last week a group of immigrants made landfall at the Point. On this occasion they left their brand new boat and engine high and dry before they headed for Lydd where they were later apprehended by Immigration and Police Officers.
Immigrant's boat and officials looking on.

6th Jan

Several thousand Guillemots were feeding offshore again but there are now very few Razorbills. Red-throated Divers and Gannets continue to be feed in good numbers and at least three Great Skuas were also seen. A Marsh Harrier came in from the south.
Three Firecrests were seen in the trapping area.

A Grey Seal and a Porpoise were feeding offshore.

5th Jan

Fewer birds offshore this morning than of late but still entertaining enough and with two Great Skuas and a Mediterranean Gull were also seen. Later in the day two Caspian Gulls (a first-winter and a second-winter).
Single Firecrest and Chiffchaff were seen in the trapping area.

A Grey Seal and a Porpoise were feeding offshore.

4th Jan

A Firecrest, seven Long-tailed Tits, a Black Redstart and two Stonechats were of note on the land.
There were still large numbers of auks feeding offshore and a Great Skua also flew west.



Winter Heliotrope Petasites hybridus   Dungeness   4th January 2019
A new stand of this plant growing at the Lifeboat Station.

3rd Jan

The huge numbers of Guillemot and Razorbills feeding offshore remain and three Great Skuas flew east this morning. A first-winter Caspian Gull was feeding at the Patch this afternoon.
A Firecrest was about the best of a very quiet trapping area.

Two Grey Seals were also seen.

2nd Jan

Huge numbers of Guillemots and Razorbills offshore again this morning along with 800 Red-throated Divers moving east, 400 Gannets, a Great Skua and three Goosanders of note. A second-winter Caspian Gull was also seen.
Checks of the trapping area produced a Woodcock, two Snipe, a Chiffchaff and a Firecrest of note.

A Porpoise was feeding offshore.

1st Jan

There were literally thousands of seabirds feeding offshore again this morning with at least 1600 Cormorants, 600 Gannets, 20,000 Guillemots and 2,000 Razorbills along with four Great Skuas. A few duck also passed through including five Shoveler and 29 Wigeon and gulls also increased with five Caspian Gulls of note.


Gannets Morus bassana    Dungeness   1st January 2019
Just a small part of the flock feeding close inshore this morning


Cormorants Phalacrocorx carbo   Dungeness   1st January 2019

Caspian Gull Larus cachinnans   first-winter   cr P:842   Dungeness   1st January 2019
The same bird as yesterday

Caspian Gull Larus cachinnans   first-winter    cr P:E62   Dungeness   1st January 2019
A new bird

Caspian Gull Larus cachinnans   second-winter   Dungeness 1st January 2019 

Great Black-backed Gull Larus marinus   JWM42    first-winter   Dungeness   1st January 2019
This bird was ringed at Anholt in Denmark on 23rd June 2018


A check of the Trapping Area and Desert produced 14 Snipe, five Firecrests and two Chiffchaffs of note.

A Porpoise was feeding offshore.

Running the moth trap proved well worth it with the catching of a Spring Usher - a new species for the Observatory.
Spring Usher Agriopis leucophaearia   Dungenness    1st January 2019
An unexpected  new species for the Observatory.


31st Dec

Flat calm and murky conditions and thousands of birds feeding offshore with at least 117 Red-throated Divers, 400 Gannets, 2,500 Cormorants, 22,000 Guillemots, 1,200 Razorbills and a Great Skua. A colour-ringed first-winter Caspian Gull reappeared on the beach having been last seen on 6th December along with a first-winter Yellow-legged Gull.

Caspian Gull Larus cachinnans   first-winter   colour-ringed P:842   Dungeness   31st December 2018
This bird was also seen on 6th December and was originally ringed as a nestling in Poland on 29th May 2018.
Cormorants Phalacrocorax carbo   Dungeness   31st December 2018
Just a small part of the huge numbers feeding offshore.

Guillemots Uria aalge and Razorbllls Alca torda   Dungeness   31st december 2018
Huge numbers were feeding offshore and passing through. Despite plenty of searching a Brunnich's Guillemot could not be found!!
A Common Seal was also feeding offshore.

With the warm and calm conditions overnight a moth trap was put out and attracted a single Winter Moth.