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Local weather


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28th Feb

Another miserable day with heavy rain and gale force southerly winds giving more or less unbirdable conditions. All the meaningful observations came from the sea where the juvenile Iceland Gull made another appearance along with six Caspian Gulls, a Yellow-legged Gull and an Mediterranean Gull. Nine hundred Great Crested Grebes were also feeding offshore. Three Ringed Plover were seen around the puddles at the fishing boats.

Iceland Gull Larus glaucoides   juvenile   Dungeness 28th February 2020 
Two Porpoises and two Common Seals were also seen.

27th Feb

A party of five Wood Larks was flushed from the scrubby area just south of the trapping area whilst I was going out to fill the feeders and where three Long-tailed Tits were seen.
The masses of gulls remain offshore and included at least four Caspian Gulls, a Yellow-legged Gull and a Mediterranean Gulls.

A Common Seal was feeding offshore.

26th Feb

A bright, sunny day but quite cold. Huge numbers of gulls remain offshore but only three Mediterranean Gulls were found among them.
Five Long-tailed Tits were seen in the trapping area.

A Brown Hare was near the fishing boats.

Elsewhere, a Red-necked Grebe was found at the western end of the ARC Pit, a Whooper Swan was seen at Scotney and Water Pipits increased to a remarkable 17 birds in the Hayfields at Dengemarsh.

25th Feb

A brighter and less windy day for a change but very little change in the birds. Three Caspian Gulls (two first-winters and a second-winter), two Yellow-legged Gulls and six Mediterranean Gulls were feeding offshore.
Three Long-tailed Tits were seen at the feeders and a Rock Pipit flew over the Point. 

A Grey Seal was also seen.

24th Feb

And so it goes on, gale force westerly winds and almost continuous drizzle and rain. Lots of gulls feeding offshore again including seven Mediterranean Gulls, a first- and a second-winter Caspian Gull and three Yellow-legged Gulls. The feeders were very busy but with just one Long-tailed Tit of note.

A Porpoise was feeding offshore.

23rd Feb

Yet another miserable day with constant drizzle/light rain and gale force winds for much of the day. Huge numbers continue to feed offshore and roost on the beach and today included the juvenile Iceland Gull, an adult Caspian Gull and two Yellow-legged Gulls

Iceland Gull Larus glaucoides   juvenile   Dungeness   23rd February 2020
At least three Common Seals were also feeding offshore.

Common Seal Phoca vitulina   Dungeness   23rd February 2020

22nd Feb

All the interest was again along the shore line in the continuing damp and windy conditions. An excellent variety of gulls were seen with an adult Mediterranean Gull, an Iceland Gull, six Yellow-legged Gulls, five Caspian Gulls and a leucistic Herring Gull of note among thousands of individuals present. 

Caspian Gull Larus cachinnans   second-winter   Dungeness   22nd February 2020

Caspian Gull Larus cachinnans   second-winter   Dungeness   22nd February 2020
A second individual.

21st Feb

A decent morning allowed for a check of the trapping area which produced the now usual four Long-tailed Tits at the feeders but not a great deal else. There was very little movement offshore but there are still thousands of gulls feeding along the tide and strand lines and which included 12 Mediterranean Gulls and two Yellow-legged Gulls.

20th Feb

Other than the continuing large numbers of gulls which included a few Mediterranean Gulls and 51 Wigeon east there wasn't a great deal else to be seen.

19th Feb

A nice, bright and relatively calm morning reduced passage offshore although huge numbers of gulls are still in the area and included  at least 20 Mediterranean Gulls feeding offshore.
Checks of the trapping area revealed four Long-tailed Tits, a Chiffchaffa Firecrest and two Redwings while a male Black Redstart was also seen in a private garden.

Two Grey Seals were feeding offshore.

18th Feb

The juvenile Glaucous Gull was seen on the morning seawatch and again from 1650hrs when it flew in and landed on the sea at the fishing boats and then drifted on the wind and tide into Lade Bay. Nine Mediterranean Gulls and two Yellow-legged Gulls were also seen and a flock of 55 Brent Geese flew east. A flock of 45 Turnstones were feeding on the beach.
A check of the feeders produced five Long-tailed Tits.
Long-tailed Tit Aegithalos caudatus   Dungeness   18th February 2020

Busy feeders at Dungeness   18th February 2020
A Grey Seal was feeding offshore.

There are literally tens of thousands (quite possibly into six figures) of gulls feeding on the dead shellfish washed up on the exposed sand and mud at Lade. These are then displaced as the tide comes in and gather off the Point to continue feeding.

A very small part of the gulls feeding on Lsde Sands.
Note the white line across the middle of the lower image is made up of gulls.

17th Feb

Another breezy day with frequent heavy downpours with thunder and lightning at times. A visit to the feeding station produced two Long-tailed Tits. There was very little passage offshore but in the afternoon huge numbers of gulls were feeding along the shoreline and included a juvenile Glaucous Gull, three Caspian Gulls, six Yellow-legged Gulls and three Mediterranean Gulls. There were also 57 Turnstones on the beach.

Just a small part of the huge flock of gulls feeding offshore

Glaucous Gull Larus hyperboreus   juvenile   Dungeness    17th February 2020

Caspian GulLarus cachinnans   first-winter   Dungeness   17th February 2020

Yellow-legged Gull Larus michahellis   second-winter   Dungeness   17th February 2020 

16th Feb

Another thoroughly miserable day with Storm Dennis arriving with a vengeance in the early hours and then heavy rain all day. The only bird of note was a single adult Mediterranean Gull among the large numbers of birds feeding along the tideline.
Thankfully the Seawatch and Patch hides survived the storm but another tile came of the Observatory roof.

15th Feb

The wind was blowing again and increased to gale force by late evening. The only birds of note were offshore with 260 Brent Geese, four Mediterranean Gulls and a Great Skua of note.

14th Feb

A quiet day both bird- and weatherwise. Two Snipe, two Water Rails, six Long-tailed Tits and a Goldfinch were about the best on the land and not much offshore other than a few auks.

Two Porpoises were feeding offshore.

Elsewhere, the drake Smew remains on the RSPB Reserve and at least two Water Pipits were of note in the hayfields.

13th Feb

Still windy and thousands of gulls offshore including a first-winter Caspian Gull, three Yellow-legged Gulls and six Mediterranean Gulls but no sign of the Iceland Gull. Four Gadwall, 13 Fulmars, 600 Kittiwakes and 400 Guillemots also flew west.
Five Long-tailed Tits were seen at the feeding station.

Two Porpoises were feeding offshore.

12th Feb

Still breezy but not nearly as bad as the last few days and mainly bright and sunny. Gulls remain the main interest with large numbers feeding on the shellfish washing up onto the beach. The juvenile Iceland Gull reappeared this afternoon and seven Mediterranean Gulls were also seen.
Quiet on the land with just a couple of Long-tailed Tits at the feeders of note.

Iceland Gull Larus glaucoides   juvenile   Dungeness   12th February 2020
A Porpoise was feeding offshore.

11th Feb

Despite plenty of effort in the tough conditions there was not a great deal for it. The Iceland Gull saved the day late in the afternoon and six Long-tailed Tits were once again visiting the feeding station.

10th Feb

Although the worst of the storm has now passed through it is still extremely windy and was decidedly unpleasant for most of the day. There was very little movement offshore with a Velvet Scoter and a Great Skua being about the best but there was a considerable increase in gull numbers feeding along the shore and roosting on the beach. These eventually produced the obvious highlight of the day in the form of a juvenile Iceland Gull this afternoon. Conditions were such that getting good images of the bird proved impossible so below are a few very definite record shots of it. 

Iceland Gull Larus glaucoides    juvenile   Dungeness    10th February 2020
Yesterdays measures to save the seawatch hide were successful and a check of the Observatory roof for lost tiles first thing this morning was reassuring so it was disappointing to discover a couple of tiles dislodged and on the ground as the wind increased again just before midday. 

9th Feb

A day which started with near unbirdable conditions and then got progressively worst as Storm Ciara arrived bringing 70+ mph winds and heavy rain with it. A couple of hardy souls saw the best birds of the day in the form of a Pochard and a drake Goosander passing offshore but there was little else to be seen other than a westerly trickle of Kittiwakes and a a Great Skua.
The seawatch hide looked to be in serious danger of being blown away but hopefully some hastily concocted measures will have saved it.

8th Feb

Seawatching this morning produced four Teal, a party of four Scaup passing west, four Fulmars, 231 Gannets, a second-winter Mediterranean Gull and an early (or wintering?) Sandwich Tern lingering offshore.
Six Long-tailed Tits were around the feeding station again but there was little else to be seen on the land.

Elsewhere, 41 Bewick's Swans were still feeding near Midley and four Long-tailed Ducks were seen at Scotney again. Six Great White Egrets came in to roost at ARC this evening.

By late evening the wind was strengthening rapidly and tomorrow looks set to be a pretty horrendous day of severe winds and heavy rain.

7th Feb

With a fresh south by south-east wind blowing there was a decent bit of movement offshore with 350 Brent Geese, 15 Wigeon, 102 Common Scoters, a Velvet Scoter (west), 146 Red-throated Divers, eight Fulmars, 343 Gannets, 184 Kittiwakes and 3900 auks.
Very quiet in the bushes.

A Porpoise was feeding offshore.

6th Feb

A Jack Snipe was seen again at the Long Pits along with a female Pheasant and six Long-tailed Tits were visiting the feeders. Quiet offshore.

A Common Seal and a Porpoise were feeding offshore.

5th Feb

A Firecrest was seen in the Moat and eight Long-tailed Tits were seen in the trapping area. At least 70 Pied Wagtails came in to roost on the power station this evening..

A Common Seal and a Porpoise were feeding offshore.

4th Feb

A bright, sunny morning. A visit to the feeding station produced six Long-tailed Tits. It was quiet offshore except for 393 Kittiwakes passing west in an hour this morning.

Three Brown Hares were seen. 

3rd Feb

Good numbers of auks offshore again with 1051 birds in 1.75 hours but mostly too distant for a positive identification. A flock of Knot also flew west along with 106 Red-throated Divers, 149 Gannets, 348 Kittiwakes and 400 Common Gulls

2nd Feb

Even quieter offshore today with a 90 minute watch this morning producing just four Fulmars, 218 Gannets, 56 Kittiwakes and 123 Razorbills of note.

1st Feb

More limited coverage with just 114 Kittiwakes, a Mediterranean Gull and 254 Razorbills of note from a one hour seawatch this morning.

A Porpoise and a Grey Seal were also feeding offshore.

31st Jan

Limited coverage today 3.5hrs of seawatching during the day produced 27 Brent Geese, 23 Wigeon, 13 Fulmars and 1375 Razorbills of note.