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Corona Virus Update

Due to ongoing advice about the Corona Virus we have taken the decision to close the Observatory building to visitors for the foreseeable future. We are still operating our monitoring programme. Please think carefully about Social Distancing before approaching our Wardens. Please forward any Dungeness records to the Warden.
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Thank You for your understanding
The Trustees.

30th Jan

A miserable day with almost constant drizzle and rain. The early morning seawatch produced five Fulmars, 106 Kittiwakes and 334 Razorbills of note.
A short visit to the trapping area to fill the feeders was entertaining with a Water Rail, six Long-tailed Tits (including the pale-headed bird) and a Firecrest.

29th Jan

A Kingfisher at the Long Pits was a new species for the year and six Long-tailed Tits visited the feeding station.
The sea was fairly quiet with just three Wigeon, 145 Kittiwakes and a Mediterranean Gull of note.

A Common Seal and a Porpoise were seen offshore.

There have been up to 12 Long-tailed Tits in the area during the winter but they are generally extremely mobile and combined with lots of miserable weather have been very difficult to get a good luck at. However, in the last few days they have discovered the feeding station and are making brief stops there as they circuit around the area. As can be seen in the images below one of the birds is much less marked around the head than the rest of the them and I wonder if it might be of the europeaus race rather than our own rosaceus.





Long-tailed Tits Aegithalos caudatus   Dungeness   19th and 29th January 2020

28th Jan

A mainly bright and sunny but cold day. A 75 minute seawatch this morning produced six Fulmars and 128 Kittiwakes flying west. Large numbers of gulls feeding offshore this afternoon included an adult Mediterranean Gull.
It was quiet again on the land with a Snipe and five Long-tailed Tits of note.

Two Common Seals were feeding offshore and a Brown Hare was seen at the fishing boats.

27th Jan

Seawatching produced 103 Red-throated Divers, seven Fulmars, 371 Gannets and 165 Kittiwakes. The land was not really covered today. 

A Grey Seal was seen offshore.

26th Jan

A brighter, breezy morning but still not a great deal to report. the best from the sea were eight Wigeon, three Fulmars and three Mediterranean Gulls passing through and 55 Kittiwakes lingering offshore.
A Firecrest was loosely associating with a party of five Long-tailed Tits in the trapping area and a Grey Plover flew over.

A Grey Seal was feeding offshore.

25th Jan

Another quiet day in very murky conditions.

24th Jan

The calm but very dull and dreary weather continues. The highlight of a quiet sea was a Pomarine Skua flying passing west this morning and 230 Red-throated Diver passing east.
Also pretty quiet on the land with just two Snipe and two Firecrests of note. An evening check of the power station produced an impressive count of 290 Pied Wagtails roosting there.

An unusual record from the beach was a dead (a storm or fishing casualty) three foot long Starred Smoothhound.
Starred Smoothhound Mustelus asterias   Dungeness   24th January 2020
Elsewhere, up to five Long-tailed Ducks continue to be seen at Scotney, a drake Smew remains elusive on the RSPB reserve but usually seen on Tanner's Pool. Up to 15 Great White Egret can be seen around the area and roosting at ARC. Further field, 41 Bewick's Swans are still feeding in the fields at Midley.

23rd Jan

Another dreary day with very little to be seen. A Firecrest at the Long Pits was about the best on offer.

A Grey Seal was feeding offshore.

22nd Jan

A calm but dull, dreary day. Not a great deal to be seen with just two Mediterranean Gulls offshore and three Snipe at the Long Pits being about the best on offer.

A Grey Seal was feeding offshore.

21st Jan

Two Black Redstarts and two Firecrests were seen on the land along with a Jack Snipe and six Snipe in the pools just north of the trapping area. Very quiet offshore today with just a Mediterranean Gull and a few hundred auks of interest. 

Three Porpoise were feeding offshore.

20th Jan

A nice day with frost/ice at first. There was very little movement offshore there at least 300 Razorbills and 2000 Guillemots feeding in the Bay and a first-winter Mediterranean Gull flew west.

Various checks of the land were quite productive with five Snipe, at least seven Long-tailed Tits, two Dartford Warblers, two Firecrests and two Black Redstarts of note. There was also a noticeable increase in pigeon numbers with at least 44 in the area. A party of 14 Bewick's Swans also flew over the area in the late afternoon.

Three Porpoises and a Grey Seal were feeding offshore.

19th Jan

Very quiet offshore this morning except for auks with 705 auks passing east in 90 minutes. A first-winter Yellow-legged Gull came to bread at the fishing boats and a Little Egret which dropped into the puddles briefly was a surprise.
Seven Long-tailed Tits were coming to the feeders in the trapping area.

18th Jan

The morning seawatch produced 627 Kittiwakes, a Mediterranean Gull and 840 auks in 90 minutes but it was otherwise very quiet.

17th Jan

Not a great deal to report today except for a significant improvement in the weather. The morning seawatch produced 571 Kittiwakes and over 1200 auks west in 90 minutes. An adult Little Gull and first- and second-winter Yellow-legged Gulls were seen in the afternoon at the fishing boats.  

Two Grey Seals were feeding offshore.

16th Jan

Another breezy day but dry for a change. Plenty of birds offshore again and including 11 Fulmars, 744 Kittiwakes, 20 Mediterranean Gulls, over 1500 Guillemots and 820 auk species.
At least one Firecrest was seen in the trapping area, five Long-tailed Tits visited the feeders and a Snipe was flushed.

A Grey Seal was feeding offshore.

15th Jan

Violent winds overnight and a dark and wet morning restricted most of the coverage to the sea where three Fulmars, two Velvet Scoters, 52 Common Scoters, 340 Kittiwakes, two Mediterranean Gulls and 43 Razorbills of note.
A Firecrest was seen in the Moat. 

14th Jan

Yet another stormy day with high winds and lots of rain making seawatching and paperwork the only viable options. Seawatching during the morning produced four Velvet Scoters, 272 Common Scoters, 182 Red-throated Divers, seven Fulmars, 389 Gannets, 269 Kittiwakes, 1178 Guillemots and 128 Razorbills.

13th Jan

Lots of birds offshore again and an Eider, seven Fulmars and 400 Kittiwakes of note. Two Firecrests were seen on the land.

12th Jan

A very windy morning produced plenty of birds feeding offshore but not a great deal of through passage. Good numbers of gulls were roosting on the beach at times and included an adult Mediterranean Gull, a second-winter Yellow-legged Gull and a third-winter Caspian Gull.




Caspian Gull Larus cachinnans   third-winter   Dungeness   12th January 2020

11th Jan

Dull and breezy again. A three-hour seawatch this morning produced six Shelducks, a Red-breasted Merganser, a Black-throated Diver and a steady westerly stream of auks of note.

On the ringing front I have just had a notification that male Blackcap ringed at the Observatory on 3rd October 2019 was retrapped at Marais-Moisan-Central, Messanges, Landes, FRANCE on 17th October 2019 - a distance of 811km SSW in 14 days.

Elsewhere, the drake Smew, male Hen Harrier and several Great White Egrets were seen on the RSPB Reserve again, at least two Long-tailed Ducks were still present on Scotney and a Black-necked Grebe was on the pit just south of the Lydd Caravan Park. Further afield, 17 Bewick's Swans were still in their usual field at Midley and another two were seen between Snargate and Brenzett.

10th Jan

More of the same with lots of Red-throated Divers, Kittiwakes and Guillemots offshore along with at least 2000 Cormorants and a single Great Skua.
Very quiet on the land other than two Marsh Harriers over the area and a Great Spotted Woodpecker and lots of Blue and Great Tits at the feeders.

A Grey Seal was seen offshore.

Elsewhere, the drake Smew continues to be seen on the Reserve but is elusive and nine Great White Egrets are in the area. Three Long-tailed Ducks remain at the Sussex end of Scotney.

9th Jan

Another miserable day with almost constant drizzle or light rain. Seawatching produced two Mediterranean Gulls, two Great Skuas and a steady westerly movement of Kittiwakes and Guillemots of note.

8th Jan

A miserable day with mostly very poor visibility. A brief spell of clearer weather in mid-morning produced 123 Red-throated Divers, 88 Kittiwakes and 350 auks west in 30 minutes.

7th Jan

More of the same offshore this morning although numbers were much reduced with just six Fulmars, 52 Kittiwakes, a Mediterranean Gull and a few auks this morning and an additional four Mediterranean Gulls this afternoon of note..

Whilst we are still welcoming visitors to the Observatory it should be noted that due to ongoing outside building works parking in the immediate vicinity is likely to be problematic over the next couple of days. Please take great care when you arrive.

6th Jan

Birds continue to be seen in large numbers offshore this morning with 21 Brent Geese, 91 Red-throated Divers, eight Fulmars, a Great Skua, 650 Guillemots, 143 Razorbills, 477 'auks' and a superb total of 2178 Kittiwakes passing west.

Not a great deal was seen in the trapping area other than a Marsh Harrier.

Two Porpoises were feeding offshore.

5th Jan

A bit quieter offshore today but a 2.25hr watch this morning still produced 25 Brent Geese, two Wigeon, 260 Red-throated Divers, 465 Kittiwakes, an adult Mediterranean Gull, two Great Skuas and over 1600 auks (mainly Guillemots).

Two Porpoises and a Brown Hare were also seen.

4th Jan

Lots of birds offshore again this morning with two hours of watching producing a Shelduck, 392 Red-throated Divers, 200 Great Crested Grebes, 2500 Cormorants, 319 Kittiwakes, a Great Skua, about 3000 Guillemots and 36 Razorbills.
Coverage of the land was limited but a party of 11 White-fronted Goose flew over the area and across to the Reserve and a Firecrest appeared in the Observatory garden. 

There was plenty of interest around the greater area. Of note on the Reserve were two Tundra Bean Geese at Dengemarsh, four Bewick's Swans on ARC, two drake Red-crested Pochards and a third-winter Caspian Gull on Burrowes and a drake Smew at Tanner's Pool. A male Hen Harrier was also seen on several occasions and two Short-eared Owls were seen on Lydd Ranges.

3rd Jan

A Water Rail, two Firecrests, seven Long-tailed Tits and a Chiffchaff were the best of the birds on the land. The sea was much quieter today and just two Mediterranean Gulls were of note at the Patch.

2nd Jan

More of the same with lots of Red-throated Divers and Guillemots offshore along with five Fulmars, two Mediterranean Gulls and a Great Skua of note.

A Common Seal was on the beach for a while this morning. 

1st Jan

Firstly, we wish a very Happy New Year to all our Friends and followers.

The year started well enough the catching of a Firecrest in the Heligoland Trap - not a bad bird to get the years ringing off and running. Two Goldcrests were also in the moat and another Firecrest was seen at the Long Pits.

Firecrest Regulus ignicapilla    Dungeness   1st Janauary 2020   (Images by Gill Hollamby)
There were lots of birds feeding offshore again with Guillemots into four figures and good numbers of Red-throated Divers and Gannets. A Great Skua was also seen marauding around the Gannets.

A Grey Seal was feeding offshore.

Elsewhere around Dungeness, a drake Smew, a Bittern and several Great White Egrets were of note on the Reserve; 365 Knot, 120 Turnstone and 12 Mediterranean Gulls were seen on Lade Sands; Long-tailed Ducks at Scotney increased to four and a male Hen Harrier, a Long-eared Owl and two Short-eared Owls were seen on Lydd Ranges.

Slightly further afield, the Bewick's Swan flock at Midley on Walland Marsh had increased to 32 birds with one juvenile among them.