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Ongoing Excavation Works.

Please be aware that there are extensive ongoing excavation works around the Observatory until after Christmas. Please be very careful driving over the moat and note that parking may be difficult. We are, however, open for business and welcome anyone interested in winter birding around Dungeness.

30th Oct

Strong easterly winds and heavy cloud this morning produced another small arrival of birds with 20 Firecrests, six Mistle Thrushes and a few Blackbirds and the highlight of a "lesser whitethroat" which showed all the features of one of the eastern races. At this stage it seems likely to be a 'Central Asian Lesser Whitethroat" Sylvia curruca halimondendri rather than the more expected blythi. Features which support this identification include the sandy brown upperparts extending over the nape and on to the crown, extensive pure white in the outer tail feathers, a short wing measurement of 63mm, a short 2nd primary falling between primaries 7 and 8 and a short primary extension. This subspecies was added to the British list in the latest report of the British Birds Rarities Committee with details of just eight records. A few feathers were dislodged during the handling process and DNA analysis of these will hopefully provide conclusive proof so watch this space. 

 




Central Asian Lesser Whitethroat Sylvia curruca halimondendri   Dungeness   30th October 2019
In addition, the Shore Lark had returned to its feeding site at the fishing boats where it was also trapped and ringed this evening.





Shore Lark Eremophila alpestris   Dungeness   30th October 2019
A few looks atthe sea were generally disappointing but three Sandwich Terns were still lingering offshore.