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2019 Subscriptions

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24th Mar

Fairly quiet on the bird front but not without interest with a Garganey east offshore, a Redshank and a Swallow over the Long Pits and a Willow Warbler in the trapping area all new species for the year. In addition, 18 Chiffchaffs, three Black Redstarts, eight Wheatears, a White Wagtail and a Siskin were also seen.

The highlight of the day for one lucky observer though was a Large Tortoiseshell watched for several minutes in the trapping area just before mid-day. What was presumably a second individual was being watched at more or less the same time at Kerton Road just north of our recording area.
Large Tortoiseshell Aglais polychloros   Dungeness   24th March 2019   (James Dickerson)
Also of great note elsewher, a Kentish Plover was found on the beach at Greatstone. At least three Cattle Egrets were still feeding in the fields between Lydd and Boulderwall.




23rd Mar

Last night produced one of the best movements of nocturnal migrants for a long time with huge numbers of Redwings and Fieldfares providing the bulk of the calling birds but also flocks of Wigeon, Curlew, Bar-tailed Godwits, Snipe, Dunlin, Blackbirds and a few Song Thrush being noted.
As is often the case the numbers of grounded migrants this morning did not really reflect the night movement but a Woodcock and two Snipe, 45 Chiffchaffs, a Blackcap, seven Goldcrests, 40 Redwings, 11 Black Redstarts, three Wheatears, a Brambling, six Siskins and a minor rarity in the form of a Yellowhammer were scattered around the Point or passed overhead. A Pheasant was also seen in the trapping area.
The sea was quiet for the first few hours but from mid-morning a small movement of wildfowl developed with 307 Brent Geese, 26 Shovelers, six Mallard and three Red-breasted Mergansers along with 17 Grey Plovers, six Mediterranean Gulls, a Little Gull, 179 Sandwich Terns and an Arctic Skua of note.

Three Porpoises were also seen. 

22nd Mar

Typical early spring migrants continued to trickle through with 50 Chiffchaffs, two Blackcaps, a Fieldfare, 11 Redwings, seven Black Redstarts and ten Wheatears of note. Overhead, at least 500 Chaffinches passed through (many more heard but unseen as they were above the low cloud) and five Siskins visited the feeding station in the trapping area.
A few Brent Geese and Common Scoters moved up-channel and a Great Skua flew west.

Six Porpoises and a Common Seal were feeding offshore. 

21st Mar

Another decent arrival of migrants in calm and cloudy conditions with 43 Chiffchaffs, the first Blackcap of the spring, five Firecrests, five Black Redstarts, 15 Wheatears and 45 Redwings of note.
Black Redstart Phoenicurus ochrurus   Dungeness   21st March 2019
Offshore passage was almost non-existent although a couple of Great Skuas were seen.

A Mink seen at the Long Pits was a rare but unwelcome sighting and two Porpoises were feeding offshore.

20th Mar

A damp start to the day encouraged a decent arrival of early migrants through the day with a Woodcock, 35 Chiffchaffs, four Firecrests, 75 Redwings and 13 Wheatears on the ground. Great Tits were also very noticeable with several very pale (continental?) birds among them. 
It was pretty quiet offshore although several hours of watching produced 98 Red-throated Divers, a Mediterranean Gull and an Arctic Skua of note.



Great Tit Parus major   Dungeness   20th March 2019
Several migrant birds appeared to be moving through the area this morning. Five birds were trapped in the Moat and
were noticeably paler yellow below than usual and the upperparts were very grey.

Wheatear Oenanthe oenanthe   Dungeness   20th March 2019
 

19th Mar

A bright and sunny day with light SW winds. Not a great deal of change with a Buzzard, 18 Chiffchaffs, six Firecrests, two Wheatears and a Bullfinch of note.

Firecrest Regulus ignicapilla   Dungeness   19th March 2019

Goldfinch Carduelis carduelis   Dungeness   19th March 2019
This is always a scarce visitor to the back garden feeders.
At least 50 Sandwich Terns and a Mediterranean Gull passed eastwards.

The first Small White butterfly of the year was seen. 

A Stoat and a Brown Hare were seen.

18th Mar

A calm morning at last but just a handful of migrants on the land and very little movement offshore.
Eight Firecrests, ten Chiffchaffs, a Wheatear, and a Brambling were of note on the land. A party of four Buzzards also flew over.
A Velvet Scoter, 32 Sandwich Terns and a Great Skua were of note offshore.

Firecrest Regulus ignicapilla   Dungeness   18th March 2019


Two Porpoises were feeding offshore and a Brown Hare was seen near the railway station.

17th Mar

Brighter conditions than of late although still with a cold wind resulted in a small arrival of migrants  with two Woodcock, four Wheatears, 20 Chiffchaffs and eight Firecrests of note. At least three Black Redstarts and ten Stonechats were also present.
Wheatear Oenanthe oenanthe   Dungeness   17th March 2019

Stonechat Saxicola rubicola    Dungeness   17th March 2019
Although not as distinctive as some individuals this bird may well be of the continental subspecies rubicola.
Very quiet offshore other than an early movement of scoters with 176 Commons and three Velvet Scoters and also a Great Skua of note.

Two Porpoises were feeding offshore.

The recording areas only patch of Primrose is now in full flower in the trapping area.
Promrose Primula vulgaris   Dungeness   17th March 2019

16th Mar

Another very windy and occasionally wet day. Seawatching was the main feature again with 4.5hrs of observations producing 612 Brent Geese up-channel and a Shelduck, two Mallard, 164 Fulmars, 305 Gannets and seven Great Skuas. The Czech-ringed Caspian Gull and three Yellow-legged Gulls were among the masses of gulls feeding along the shoreline.


Great Skua Stercorarius skua   Dungeness   16th December 2019
T
The land was barely covered in the poor conditions but a Merlin and a White Wagtail were seen near the Lifeboat Station.

There was an obvious increase in Porpoise numbers with at least ten feeding off the fishing boats. A Common Seal was also present.

I have also just received details of one of our Lesser Redpolls ringed here on 28th October 2017 and seen again at Whitehead, Antrim, Northern Ireland on 20th February 2019. A duration of 480 days and a distance travelled of 619km.

15th Mar

The run of dismal weather continues and induced a bit of offshore movement although it was mostly down-channel with eight Wigeon, 256 Fulmars and 634 Gannets of note while 184 Brent Geese flew up-channel. Large numbers of gulls continue to feed along the shoreline with two Caspian Gulls and two Yellow-legged Gulls of note.
A Snipe, six Chiffchaffs and two Firecrests were of note on the land.
Caspian Gull Larus cachinanns   Dungeness   15th March 2019
The Czech-ringed bird was first seen at Dungeness on 5th December 2018
Two Porpoises were feeding close inshore.

14th Mar

A wet and windy start to the day but sunny in the afternoon. Most of the interest was among the large numbers of gulls feeding on the masses of sealife being washed up onto the beach. The highlights were four Caspian Gull (all first-winter and including a Czech colour-ringed individual which had been seen here previously on 5th December last year. Also in the melee were four Mediterranean Gulls and four Yellow-legged Gulls. There was little sign of any movement offshore with just 26 Fulmars of any note.

A Woodcock was seen in the trapping area and six Chiffchaffs, two Firecrests and five Goldcrests were scattered across the area.

Two Porpoises were feeding offshore.

13th Mar

Another very quiet day with fresh to strong, cold NW winds. A Snipe and a Firecrest were the only birds of note.

12th Mar

The wet and very windy weather continues. There was a decent movement of birds offshore this morning with 849 Brent Geese, five Gadwall, seven Pintails, two Mediterranean Gulls and six Great Skuas of note but limited observations on the land to a Firecrest and a Chiffchaff.

One Porpoise was seen offshore.

11th Mar

Another pretty quiet day with the continuing strong and cold NW wind. Two Chiffchaffs were seen at the Long Pits and a Firecrest was seen in the trapping area.

Two Porpoises were feeding offshore.

10th Mar

Very little to be seen on a very windy day. There was a small arrival of thrushes with six Fieldfare and 14 Redwings around the Point. The sea was very quiet.

9th Mar

Very quiet. A Great Skua passing west was probably about the best on offer today. 

8th Mar

Another quiet day. The best of the birds on the land were four Firecrests and three Siskins. There was very little movement offshore but two Eiders and two Mediterranean Gulls passed through and another individual was feeding at the Patch.

Two Porpoises were feeding offshore and two Brown Hares were seen on the land.

Elsewhere, on the RSPB Reserve, the drake Smew continues to be seen on New Excavations and a Black-necked Grebe can be seen from Christmas Dell. The two Whooper Swans are still with the Mute Swans between Cockles Bridge and Lydd and the four Cattle Egret can be seen in the small horse paddock on the north side of the Lydd to Dungeness Road. The occasional Swallow and House Martin have also been on the Reserve. 

7th Mar

The obvious event of the day was the arrival of the first Wheatear of the year - a male around the cottages near the Lifeboat Station. Three Firecrests and seven Stonechats were also seen.

Two Brown Hares were seen.

6th Mar

Almost all the interest was offshore today in fresh to strong SSW winds and frequent heavy showers. Over seven hours of watching produced a mainly easterly movement of 2130 Brent Goose, 13 Teal, two Eiders, a Velvet Scoter, 381 Common Scoters, four Red-breasted Mergansers, 149 Red-throated Divers, 45 Fulmars, 537 Gannets, five Curlews, 108 Kittiwakes and two Mediterranean Gulls. One Great Skua flew west.
Very quiet on the land although a Wood Lark came in off the sea and just a Chiffchaff, a Firecrest and a few Reed Buntings were also of note.

5th Mar

A quiet day. Seawatching produced 400 Brent Geese and an adult Caspian Gull was seen at the fishing boats. Two Firecrests were seen on the land and three Siskins flew over.

A Brown Hare was seen by the railway station and a Porpoise was feeding offshore.

4th Mar

A wet and windy day with not a great deal to be seen. Two Firecrests in the trapping area were about the best of the birds in the bushes. Over 4.5 hrs of seawatching produced 275 Brent Geese, a Mediterranean Gull, 13 Sandwich Terns and a Great Skua of note. Two Merlins also came in.

A Porpoise and a Grey Seal were seen offshore. 

3rd Mar

A wet and windy day which produced a little bit of movement offshore but not a great deal on the land to get excited about. Nearly four hours of seawatching produced 310 Brent Geese, a Great Skua and 26 Sandwich Terns of note. The best the land could offer was two Firecrests.

An unusual find in the trapping area was this Harvest Mouse winter nest.

Harvest Mouse nest   Dungeness   3rd March 2019

2nd Mar

A bit of movement included 270 Brent Geese, 47 Red-throated Diver, a Black-throated Diver and 20 Sandwich Terns. There was also a bit of interest on the land with a Jack Snipe of note along with three Red-legged Partridges, a Marsh Harrier, a Woodcock, a Merlin, four Chiffchaffs (at the Long Pits), two Firecrests and two Siskins.

Three Porpoises and a Common Seal were feeding offshore and a Brown Hare was seen in the Desert.

Also of interest, a Convolvulus Hawkmoth caterpillar found in a garden on the estate last October promptly pupated when put in a pot of compost. It has been kept in the common room since then and today it emerged as a superb moth.

Convolvulus Hawkmoth Agrion convolvuli   ex larva   Dungeness   2nd March 2019

1st Mar

A dank, dreary day with frequent spells of light rain resulted in a bit of passage overhead and a few grounded migrants including four Firecrests, 240 Chaffinches, 11 Siskins and 14 Reed Buntings and also a Woodlark which flew in and landed in the Desert.
The sea was very quiet with just 92 Brent Geese passing through.
Reed Bunting Emberiza schoeniclus   Dungeness   1st March 2019
One of eight birds ringed during the day.
Three Porpoises were feeding offshore.

Elsewhere, the drake Smew can still be found on the RSPB reserve although it seems to be very mobile, the two Whooper Swans are still feeding with the Mute Swans in the fields between Boulderwall and Lydd and the four Cattle Egret continue to feed around the cattle at Boulderwall Farm.

28th Feb

With a bit of drizzle this morning and generally cooler, windier conditions there was a steady offshore passage including 826 Brent Geese, four Red-breasted Mergansers, 13 Fulmars, 900 Gannets, 119 Kittiwakes, a Mediterranean Gull and 59 Sandwich Terns.
There was little to report from the land except for a Chiffchaff at the Long Pits, two Firecrests and 65 Chaffinches.

Three Porpoises were feeding offshore.

We have also received some interesting ringing details from the BTO of two birds which we caught at the Observatory last autumn.

The first of these was a Chiffchaff ringed at Woolston Eyes, Warrington as a juvenile bird on 20th July 2018 and caught here on 27th September 2018.

The second was a Meadow Pipit ringed at Foveran Links, Newburgh, Aberdeenshire on 4th September 2018 as a first-winter bird and caught here on 30th September 2018. 


27th Feb

Despite the foggy conditions the sea provided the bird of the day when a very unseasonal Sooty Shearwater flew east along with 676 Brent Geese. A Firecrest was seen again in the Lighthouse Garden and four Siskins flew over.

26th Feb

The spring-like weather continues. There was barely any movement offshore although nine Sandwich Terns were feeding along the shore. A Merlin was hunting around the fishing boats, six Firecrests  were of note in the bushes and the male Black Redstart was around the Lifeboat Station again.

A Comma and two Small Tortoiseshells were seen.

25th Feb

Another calm, bright and sunny day though not as warm as some of the weather forecasts would have us believe. The obvious highlight of the day was a Hooded Crow which flew in from the west, fed on the beach at the fishing boats for a while before heading north along the coast. It was relocated on the beach at Lade but it then continued to make its way north and was eventually lost from view as it flew towards St.Mary's Bay.
A Buzzard, a Chiffchaff, two Firecrests, 11 Stonechats and a Redpoll were the best of the rest on the land and a Sparrowhawk was caught and ringed.
Sparrowhawk Accipiter nisus   first-winter male   Dungeness   25th February 2019

Seawatching was pretty slow although 574 Brent Geese, eight Shovelers and 13 Sandwich Terns were noteworthy.

Two Small Tortoiseshells and a Peacock butterfly were seen.

A Brown Hare and a Grey Seal were seen.

24th Feb

A lovely, sunny day with a light breeze produced a few early migrants on the land including five Firecrests, a Chiffchaff, 60 Chaffinches, three Siskins and 20 Reed Buntings.
The sea was fairly quiet but 118 Red-throated Divers and nine Sandwich Terns were noteworthy. 

At least five Porpoises were feeding offshore. 

Three Small Tortoiseshell butterflies were seen.

Small Tortoiseshell Aglais urticae   Dungeness   24th February 2019
A second Dotted Border moth was found in the moth trap this morning and a very early Hummingbird Hawkmoth spent a few minutes feeding at the Winter Honeysuckle in the Observatory garden.

A specimen of the Iris Iris reticularis var Katharine Hodgkin was found growing in the rough ground in front of the Observatory and whilst clearly a garden discard possibly qualifies as a new species for the recording area.
Iris reticularis   Dungeness   24th February 2019

23rd Feb

A bright and sunny day with a light SSE breeze. There was a steady trickle of birds east offshore during the day with 33 Wigeon, four Pintail, four Teal, four Red-breasted Mergansers, 357 Gannets, an adult Mediterranean Gull, two Sandwich Terns and a Great Skua.
Three Firecrests were seen in the Trapping Area and six Siskins flew over.

The first Small Tortoiseshell of the year was seen at the front of the Observatory.

A Dotted Border moth came to one of the Observatory windows.
Dotted Border Agriopis marginaria   Dungeness   23rd February 2019

22nd Feb

A frustrating day of almost continuous very thick fog with visibility down to a few metres for most of the time. A Jack Snipe was relocated in the wet flashes to the east of the southern Long Pit and a Firecrest was seen in the trapping area again.

21st Feb

Not a great deal to report again. One Mediterranean Gull flew east, a Firecrest was seen in the trapping area and the male Black Redstart was feeding near the Lifeboat Station.

A Brown Hare was seen in the Desert.

20th Feb

A fine day but with with very little to report. The Black Redstart was seen around the Lifeboat Station again and five Stonechat and 12 Reed Buntings were found. Very little moving offshore with just two Greylag Geese, 13 Wigeon and four Mediterranean Gulls of interest.

A Brown Hare was seen in the Desert and a Porpoise was feeding offshore.

19th Feb

Very quiet. Still a few auks and Gannets feeding offshore but there was very little passage except for the first and early Sandwich Tern of the year. 
A Kingfisher at the Long Pits was also our first of the year.

18th Feb

Not a great deal to report today. An adult Mediterranean Gull was feeding at the Patch but passage was limited to 200 Brent Geese heading east. Good numbers of Red-throated Divers, Gannets and auks continue to feed offshore.
The male Black Redstart was seen around the Lifeboat Station again.

Two Porpoises were feeding offshore.

17th Feb

With the fine, spring-like weather there was a steady movement of birds offshore today with 750 Brent Geese, eight Wigeon, 17 Pintail, 324 Red-throated Divers, 870 Gannets, 294 Kittiwakes, three Great Skuas, 435 Razorbills and 2000 auk sp. A Glaucous Gull also flew east this morning and was presumably the same individual that was seen later in the morning at St.Margaret's.

One Porpoise was also seen.

16th Feb

Despite the lovely conditions with a light southerly breeze there was very little to report. A Great Skua flew west and there were good numbers of Gannets and auks but not much else offshore.

A Common Seal and two Porpoises were feeding offshore.

15th Feb

Bright and sunny conditions with a southerly breeze encouraged a bit more up channel movement today with 318 Brent Geese, 22 Wigeon, two Gadwall and 30 Pintail of note. At least 4000 Cormorants and two Mediterranean Gulls were also seen.
No sign of any movement on the land but a Firecrest was seen in the Trapping Area and a Black Redstart was seen near the Lifeboat Station.

One Porpoise was also seen.

The warm weather of the last few days has encouraged the first Gorse Shieldbugs of the spring to show themselves. 

Gorse Shieldbug Piezodorus lituratus   Dungeness   15th February 2019
Elsewhere, four Cattle Egrets continue to be seen in the small paddocks around Cockles Bridge and two Whooper Swan can still be seen in the fields to the west of Cockles Bridge. A drake Smew remains on Burrowes Pit.

14th Feb

A lovely morning allowed a good search of the area with a Jack Snipe, a Woodcock, five Firecrests, a Dartford Warbler, a Black Redstart and three Stonechats of note being found.
Little change offshore with lots of Great Crested Grebes and auks feeding but very little in the way of movement.

13th Feb

A Jack Snipe was the highlight of several hours watching in the trapping area and where a Woodcock and a Chiffchaff were also noteworthy.
A few Brent Geese, five Shelducks and 360 Red-throated Divers flew east and two Mediterranean Gulls and a first-winter Yellow-legged Gull were seen at the Patch. In the afternoon, 28 Sanderlings (including a colour-ringed bird) and 34 Turnstones were roosting on the beach at the fishing boats.


Sanderlings Calidris alba   Dungeness   13th February 2019
A flock of 28 birds was roosting on the beach and included this colour-ringed individual.
Hopefully we will have the life-history details in due course.





Kittiwake Rissa tridactyla   first-winter and adult   Dungeness   13th February 2019
 A Common Seal, a Grey Seal and two Porpoises were feeding offshore.


12th Feb

Very little change. Quiet in the bushes other than one of the regular Firecrests and 40 Chaffinches.
There were at least 1500 Great Crested Grebes feeding off the fishing boats along with an Eider, 300 Red-throated Divers and several thousand Guillemots.

One each of both Common and Grey Seal and three Porpoises were also feeding offshore.


Gulls   Dungeness   12th February 2019
Huge numbers of gulls were feeding on the tideline at Dungeness

11th Feb

The first nice day in ages produced a handful of birds on the land and more of the same offshore. The best on the land were a Water Rail, a Woodcock, two Firecrests, five Song Thrushes, the first Mistle Thrush of the year and a Brambling.
An adult Mediterranean Gull was feeding at the Patch.

Four Porpoises and Grey Seal were feeding offshore.

10th Feb

More of the same with lots of Gannets, 3000+ Cormorants, Kittiwakes, Guillemots and Razorbills feeding offshore and 260 Dunlins passing through.

Marine mammals were well represented with two Common Seals, two Grey Seals and a Porpoise being seen.

Common Seal Phoca vitulina   Dungeness   10th February 2019

9th Feb

Little change in the weather or the birds with plenty feeding and passing offshore and 200 Red-throated Divers, two Mediterranean Gulls and a first-winter Caspian Gull being about the best on offer.


Gulls en masse at the fishing boats.

8th Feb

A very stormy day with about 400 Brent Geese moving up-channel and big numbers of gulls including an adult Mediterranean Gull and a first-winter Caspian Gull, a Great Skua and a 1000+ Guillemots.
There was no coverage of the bushes.
Caspian Gull Larus cachinnans   first-winter   Dungeness   8th February 2019
A Common Seal and a Grey Seal were also feeding offshore. 

Elsewhere, the two Whooper Swans and three Cattle Egrets continue to feed in the fields at Cockles Bridge and a drake Smew can be seen on Burrowes Pit.

7th Feb

A very windy day and despite large numbers of commoner gulls feeding offshore there was very little else to report other than a single Great Skua.

Two Grey Seals were feeding off the fishing boats.  

6th Feb

A thoroughly miserable, very foggy day with even the sea invisible for much of the time. A few Brent Geese flew east in the odd clearer spell but not much else was seen.

A Common Seal was feeding offshore again.

5th Feb

A dry but dull day with light SW winds resulted in some offshore movement with 496 Brent Geese heading up-channel and 1,018 Red-throated Divers, nine Fulmars, 306 Gannets, 431 Kittiwakes and a Great Skua heading west. Large numbers of Guillemots and Cormorants continue to feed offshore.

Very quiet on the land.

4th Feb

In miserable weather most of the coverage was looking to the sea where a juvenile Glaucous Gull was of note along with 102 Brent Geese, three Great Skuas, a second-winter Caspian Gull and lots of Kittiwakes and Guillemots.

A Common Seal was feeding off the fishing boats.

3rd Feb

Very little to be seen.

2nd Feb

Very little to report on a mostly miserable day.

Elsewhere, a Common Crane was seen on the RSPB Reserve. A drake Smew was also new for the year.

1st Feb

An adult Mediterranean Gull and first-winter Caspian Gull were among the reduced numbers of gulls feeding at the Patch this morning. 
The wintry weather overnight failed to produce much in the way of new on the land with just six Redwings of any interest. A Dartford Warbler was tailing a Stonechat around the Fish Hut area and a Firecrest was seen again in the trapping area.

31st Jan

A very cold day with heavy frost this morning and some snow after dark.
The sea continues to provide most of the interest with five first-winter Caspian Gulls, two Yellow-legged Gulls and five Mediterranean Gulls at the Patch. For sheer numbers the most impressive feature of the day was a minimum of 11,000 Cormorants. Good numbers of auks continue to be seen.
Two Firecrest were seen in the trapping area.

A Porpoise and a Grey Seal were seen offshore.

An Icy Dawn   Dungeness   31st January 2019

30th Jan

A sunny but cold day with a light breeze. Gull numbers were well down on yesterday but a second-winter Caspian Gull and two Mediterranean Gulls were seen again.
A Buzzard flew over the trapping area and a Brambling was also seen.

Two Porpoises and a Grey Seal were seen offshore.

29th Jan

A cold, fairly windy and miserable day which hardly got light. Virtually all day was spent looking offshore where there were huge numbers of gulls feeding mainly on Sprats which were washing up along the shoreline.
The highlights were a juvenile/first-winter Glaucous Gull (probably the bird seen at Newhaven a few days ago), at least six Caspian Gulls, a first-winter Yellow-legged Gull, 22 Mediterranean Gulls, an adult hybrid Mediterranean x Black-headed Gull and three Little Gulls. At least 4000 Cormorants were also seen.

Glaucous Gull Larus hyperboreus   Dungeness    29th January 2019
Caspian Gull Larus cachinnans  first-winter   Dungeness   29th January 2019



Gulls   Dungeness   29th January 2018
It is very hard to convey just how many gulls were feeding offshore but these might give an idea.
 A Grey Seal was also feeding offshore.