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Corona Virus Update

Due to Coronavirus we will have to remain closed to overnight visitors for the foreseeable future. Day visitors are welcome to call into the garden, as long as Covid-19 protocols are observed. 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 in these difficult times.
The Trustees.

31st Mar

Another day with strong and cold NE winds. A few birds passed overhead including 200 Wood Pigeons and 145 Chaffinches but it was quiet in the bushes with just six Chiffchaffs, three Firecrests, two Song Thrushes and six Redwings of note. It was also quiet offshore where the early morning produced just a Black-throated Diver, three Mediterranean Gulls and 12 Sandwich Terns of note.

The "noc-mig" recorder was deployed last night with a Teal, two Moorhens, a Sandwich Tern, a Skylark and nine Redwings registered.

Two Porpoises were feeding offshore.of note. 

30th Mar

Not a great deal to be seen in the Observatory area. A one hour seawatch this morning produced an Eider, 154 Red-throated Divers and two Sandwich Terns.
Eight Chiffchaffs, four Firecrests, four Black Redstarts and two Wheatears were seen and an interesting looking Great Spotted Woodpecker came to the feeders in the trapping area.



Great Spotted Woodpecker Dendrocopus major   Dungeness   30th March 2020
Note the very white, pinkish washed underparts and white outer tail feathers with very narrow black bars.on
the inner webs. This features suggest ithat this might be a bird of the more northern subspecies. major.
Two Porpoises and a Grey Seal were seen offshore and two Brown Hares were seen on the land.

However, the "big" news today was an immature White-tailed Eagle which flew over the northern end of the greater recording area and was seen by several lucky observers before it headed off in a north-easterly direction and was then seen later over Hythe as it continued its way along the coast. Sadly, we failed to see it from the Observatory.

29th Mar

A very cold gale-force NE wind with frequent hail severely limited observations. The only birds of note were two Sandwich Terns and a Merlin.

28th Mar

The very cold north-east wind was even stronger today and limited observations even more. A Jack Snipe flying along the beach was the surprise of the morning seawatch and the juvenile Glaucous Gull was still around. Two Grey Plovers, two Mediterranean Gulls and 13 Sandwich Terns were also seen. Migrants on the land were very limited but did include two Marsh Harriers, a Short-eared Owl, a Fieldfare, a Firecrest, a Grey Wagtail, 200 Chaffinches and five Siskins.

Four Porpoise were feeding offshore.

27th Mar

The weather remains the same with fresh and cold NE winds and clear skies limiting grounded migrants but encouraging a bit of visible migration. The highlights of this mornings exercise walks were a Serin followed by a Crossbill and a Corn Bunting along with a Buzzard, six Snipe, 85 Wood Pigeons, a Grey Wagtail, 35 Chaffinches and six Siskins. Four Chiffchaffs, two Firecrests and eight Black Redstarts and a White Wagtail were also seen on the land.

The juvenile Glaucous Gull was still on the beach but offshore passage was very slow with just nine Wigeon, three Shovelers and four Sandwich Terns of interest.

The nights "nocmig" recording produced a flock of Common Scoter, five Moorhens, a Snipe and 73 Redwings.

A Porpoise and a Brown Hare were also seen.

Four Peacock butterflies were also seen in the Trapping Area.

26th Mar

Not a great deal in the bushes other than four Chiffchaffs and a Firecrest but a decent movement overhead with a Marsh Harrier, 430 Wood Pigeons and 130 Chaffinches seen. 
The sea was also quiet with just six Teal, seven Fulmars, two Mediterranean Gulls, a Little Gull and seven Sandwich Terns of note.

A 3.33hr "nocmig" session recorded a Grey Heron, two Mallard, two Teal and 38 Redwings.

Two Porpoises were seen offshore.

25th Mar

A day of quality rather than quantity. The highlights on the land were a Red Kite, two Buzzards, a Marsh Harrier, a Wood Lark and a Serin along with five Firecrests in the trapping area and the first Yellow Wagtail of the spring also flew east along the beach. Seawatching produced 401 Brent Goose, a Garganey, 12 Shoveler, six Pintails, six Eider, a Little Gull, two Mediterranean Gulls and 12 Sandwich Terns. The Glaucous Gull also gave brilliant views.

We also ran the "nocmig" recorder last night. The number of registrations was very small but did include a Teal and two Coot of note.



Glaucous Gull Larus hyperboreus   juvenile   Dungeness   25th March 2020
Four Porpoises were feeding offshore.

24th Mar

The first day of full Coronavirus lockdown and the Dungeness estate has been officially closed to visitors by EDF. Needless to say it was very quiet. Hopefully I'll be allowed back in if I have to cross the line.

This means that for the next few weeks coverage is going to be rather different to the level that we have got used to in recent years. Officially we are restricted to one "exercise" walk a day. My walk is therefore quite long but as there are virtually no visitors it is easy to avoid contact with anyone else. Between us we are endeavoring to cover at least an early morning seawatch and a good check of the land.

Another effect of the lockdown is that the building work inside the Observatory has been abandoned for the time being and means that we have no idea when we will be able to offer accommodation again even when the restrictions have been lifted.

Seawatching today produced 1000 Brent Geese, five Shelducks, 20 Shovelers, 567 Common Scoters, five Red-breasted Mergansers, five Little Gulls, 163 Sandwich Terns and the first three Common Terns of the spring. The juvenile Glaucous Gull was also still present. 

The check of the land revealed two Common Snipe, a Redshank, six Chiffchaffs, a Firecrest, six Black Redstarts, six Stonechats and two Wheatears.



Black Redstart Phoenicurus ochrurus   Dungeness   24th March 2020

Stonechat  Saxicola rubicola   Dungeness   24th March 2020
Two Porpoises were feeding offshore.

The "micro-moth" Esperia sulphurella was found in the Observatory garden.
Esperia sulphurella   Dungeness   24th March 2020








23rd Mar

There was a trickle of birds of moving east offshore with four Garganey of particular note and back up provided by 13 Shovelers, 48 Red-throated Divers, four Grey Plovers, six Ringed Plovers, four Mediterranean Gulls and three Sandwich Terns.
There was also a handful of migrants on the land with a Jack Snipe, four Common Snipe, five Chiffchaffs, a Long-tailed Tit, four Firecrests, ten Redwings and a Mistle Thrush of note.

Four Porpoises were feeding offshore. 

The next few weeks look like being fairly difficult times for us. The Dungeness Estate will be effectively locked down and for the most part will only be covered by three or four observers and that limited to "exercise walks". Obviously the Observatory will be completely out of bounds to visitors for the time being.

22nd Mar

A handful of migrants on the land included a Jack Snipe, five Chiffchaffs and ten Redwings. The juvenile Glaucous Gull was still feeding offshore but movement included seven Shoveler, seven Black-tailed Godwit and just two Sandwich Terns.

One Porpoise was seen offshore.

21st Mar

A cold and windy day. The juvenile Glaucous Gull was still present and three Firecrests were seen in the bushes. The sea was very quiet although 18 Shovelers, 13 Red-breasted Mergansers and 293 Gannets did pass east in the morning.

Elsewhere, a Yellow Wagtail and 14 White Wagtails were seen at the dung heap along Dengemarsh Road, several Sand Martins were seen around the area and two Cattle Egrets were seen around Pigwell Farm.

20th Mar

A miserable day of cold, strong NE winds and fairly constant rain. The Short-toed Treecreeper was reportedly seen in the early morning but I am not aware of any sightings later in the day. The Glaucous Gull was also feeding along the surf line again. Commoner migrants included a Firecrest, two Wheatears and a White Wagtail.
The "nocmig" recorder produced 63 Redwings.

Two Porpoises were feeding offshore and two Brown Hares were seen at the fishing boats.

19th Mar

A very elusive Short-toed Treecreeper was found this morning in the Old Lighthouse Garden. It is unclear whether it was a different individual to the bird seen on 17th March but there was plenty of movement overnight and also during the morning so it may well be a new bird. Other migrants included 28 Chiffchaffs, ten Firecrests, two Fieldfares, 85 Redwings, four Song Thrushes, seven Black Redstarts, three Wheatears and 150 Meadow Pipits


Short-toed Treecreeper Certhia brachydactyla   Dungeness   19th March 2020
Two Porpoises were feeding offshore and a Brown Hare was seen in the Desert.


18th Mar

A quiet day on both land and at sea. Eleven Chiffchaffs, four Firecrests and a White Wagtail were about the best to be seen on the land and the juvenile Glaucous Gull was still feeding at the fishing boats.

17th Mar

The highlight of the day was a Short-toed Treecreeper which spent an hour or so in the garden of Southview Cottage before it departed low across the broom in a south westerly direction. Other migrants were generally thinly spread but included seven Chiffchaffs, six Firecrests, four Wheatears, four White Wagtails and a Brambling.

Seawatching was very slow with just four Sandwich Terns of note. The juvenile Glaucous Gull was feeding at the fishing boats again.

Another night of "nocmig" recording was carried out and while fairly quiet did produce two Wigeon, a Little Grebe, two Moorhens, a Dunlin and 17 Redwings.
Short-toed Treecreeper Certhia brachydactyla   Dungeness   17th March 2020
A true "record shot"
A Brown Hare was seen.


16th Mar

A fine morning saw the first arrival of spring migrants of any real significance with 50 Chiffchaffs, three Blackcaps, 12 Firecrests, a Mistle Thrush, four Black Redstarts and seven Wheatears. Two Buzzards and three Siskins also flew over.
Seawatching was fairly quiet but did include two Shelducks, 14 Mediterranean Gulls and 12 Sandwich Terns

Last nights "nocmig" recordings resulted in lots of Redwings (1875 calls) along with three Grey Herons, three Moorhens, an Oystercatcher, a Snipe, a Mediterranean Gull, 25 Blackbirds, eight Fieldfares and a Song Thrush. To give an idea of a busy night on the recorder here is a small sample of some of the Redwings.


There was a surprising increase in the numbers of Porpoise with at least 27 feeding offshore.

A Hummingbird Hawkmoth was seen in a private garden and five Peacocks, two Small Tortoiseshells and two Commas were also seen.











15th Mar

The main feature of the day was an excellent movement of Brent Geese with just under 3500 birds passing east up until early afternoon. Other species were generally scarce but did include three Teal, three Curlew, 49 Red-throated Divers and four Mediterranean Gulls. The juvenile Glaucous Gull was also still feeding offshore.
On the land, the highlight was the arrival of our first Wheatear of the spring but other migrants were very sparse.

The Audiomoth was recording again last night and in ten hours produced two Moorhens, a Golden Plover, a Curlew, a Redshank, six Blackbirds and 415 Redwings

Four Porpoises were feeding offshore.

14th Mar

With the wind blowing from the south and moderate rain this morning there was an excellent up-channel movement of birds. This included 2051 Brent Geese, 62 Shelducks, 18 Shoveler, two Gadwall, 27 Wigeon, 45 Pintail, two Teal, five Pochard, four Red-breasted Mergansers, two Curlews, four Mediterranean Gulls, and three Sandwich Terns. The juvenile Glaucous Gull was seen anywhere between the Patch and the Lifeboat Station and a Great Skua flew west.
There wasn't a great deal to report from the land other than a Merlin, five Chiffchaffs, two Firecrests and a Black Redstart.

The Audiomoth recorded a few birds overnight with two Curlew, two Blackbirds and 31 Redwings counted.

Three Porpoises were also feeding offshore.

13th Mar

A Merlin, eight Chiffchaffs, three Firecrests and a male Black Redstart were seen on the land while the juvenile Glaucous Gull and two first-winter Caspian Gulls were seen at the Patch this morning.

One Porpoise was feeding offshore.

12th Mar

Another hard day with strong cold winds and occasional wintry showers. The juvenile Glaucous Gull was still at the fishing boats, a first-winter Yellow-legged Gull was seen at the Patch and a Firecrest was seen in the trapping area but very little else was noted.

The Audiomoth recorder was deployed again last night with a Water Rail, 14 Blackbirds and 514 Redwings recorded.

A single Porpoise was feeding offshore.

11th Mar

The first movement of Brent Geese for some time occurred this morning with 710 birds moving through although there was little else on the move. The juvenile Glaucous Gull was showing well at the fishing boats and three Mediterranean Gulls were also seen.
A Firecrest and ten Chiffchaffs were seen in the area.

We also played the Audiomoth recorder last night and was full of Redwings with 2136 calls noted along with just seven Blackbirds.

Two Porpoises and a Grey Seal were feeding offshore.



Glaucous Gull Larus hyperboreus   juvenile   Dungeness   11th March 2020

10th Mar

Another miserable day with fog, mist, rain and strong winds throughout. The juvenile Glaucous Gull was at the fishing boats again, two Firecrests were seen in the trapping area and two Long-tailed Tits visited the feeders.

9th Mar

The Glaucous Gull continued to show well at the fishing boats and a first-winter Caspian Gull was seen but any offshore movement was almost non-existent.



Glaucous Gull Larus hyperboreus   juvenile   Dungeness   9th March 2020
A trickle of birds on the land included a Merlin, a Firecrest and four Grey Wagtails.
Firecrest Regulus ignicapilla   Dungeness   9th March 2020
We also played the Audiomoth NocMig recorder last with some interesting results including a Canada Goose, a Grey Heron, a Water Rail and a few Redwings.

One Porpoise was seen offshore.

8th Mar

The juvenile Glaucous Gull was showing well at the fishing boats for most of the day along with a new, tailless first-winter Caspian Gull and three Mediterranean Gulls. A Sandwich Tern and a "spanish-ringed" Lesser Black-backed Gull were also seen.



Glaucous Gull Larus hyperboreus   juvenile   Dungeness   8th March 2020




Caspian Gull Larus cachinnans   first-winter   Dungeness   8th March 2020

Lesser Black-backed Gull Larus fuscus   adult   Dungeness   8th March 2020
A "spanish-ringed" bird - details are awaited.
Still very quiet on the land but with two Chiffchaffs and four Firecrests of note.

Two Porpoises were feeding offshore.

7th Mar

A nice, sunny morning but clouding over and wind freshening from midday. Three Egyptian Geese flew over the area in the morning and even landed for a time in the Desert (this might well be the first record of birds on the ground in the recording area as opposed to simply flying over). A Merlin arrived and five Ravens and a Grey Wagtail also flew over. Grounded migrants were present in very small numbers and included five Chiffchaffs and two Redwings.

Passage offshore remains at a very low level but two Shovelers, two Mediterranean Gulls and a Sandwich Tern were of note. Both the juvenile Iceland and Glaucous Gulls and a first-winter Yellow-legged Gull continue to feed on the shellfish washing up on the beach.

6th Mar

Migrants on the land included a Wood Lark, a few Skylarks, six Chiffchaffs, a Firecrest and the first Grey Wagtail of the spring. A visiting pair of Peregrine Falcons came into the area and were immediately chased off by the resident pair and a Marsh Harrier was hunting in the Desert. It was still very quiet offshore although a Red-necked Grebe passing east was of note along with a Red-breasted Merganser and a Great Skua moved west. The juvenile Glaucous Gull was seen off the fishing boat again and three Mediterranean Gulls were seen at the Patch.

Two Porpoises and a Grey Seal were feeding offshore and a young Brown Hare was also seen.

5th Mar

A thoroughly miserable day with almost continuous heavy rain till dark. An early morning seawatch confirmed that there was very little movement offshore but the juvenile Glaucous Gull made a flypast and a single Mediterranean Gull was also seen. The only migrants on the land were three Chiffchaffs although conditions were very difficult to say the least.

Three Porpoises were seen.

4th Mar

A decent morning but turning wet and breezy from early afternoon. Still very little movement offshore although the Glaucous Gull was seen again off the Lifeboat Station.
There were a few Stonechats and Reed Buntings around, a Rock Pipit was seen on the beach, three Chiffchaffs arrived and a Firecrest was seen in the moat.

Three Porpoises and a Common Seal were seen offshore.

3rd Mar

The juvenile Iceland Gull and three Caspian Gulls were seen at the fishing boats again but there was no sign of any real movement offshore. Movement on the land was limited to a few Jackdaws, Stonechats and Reed Buntings. A pair of Canada Geese came onto the Long Pits and a Marsh Harrier was also hunting there.
Canada Goose Branta canadensis   Dungeness   3rd March 2020
A species which rarely features here but they are surprisingly scarce in the Observatory recording area.



Long-tailed Tit Aegithalos caudatus    Dungeness   3rd March 2020
The local birds appear to be pairing up. 
A Porpoise was seen offshore and a Brown Hare was seen alongside the road this evening.

The first butterfly of the year was seen - a Small Tortoiseshell in the Moat.

2nd Mar

A handful of migrants dropped in during the day including two Firecrests, three Chiffchaffs and two Black Redstarts and the Wood Lark was seen again near the Old School House.
It was quiet for passage offshore but still plenty of gulls present with the highlight being the second calendar year Glaucous Gull again. Three Caspian Gulls and six Mediterranean Gulls were also seen.



Glaucous Gull Larus hyperboreus   2cy   Dungeness   2nd March 2020
Gulls off Dungeness   2nd March 2020
Two Porpoises were feeding offshore.

1st Mar

A Wood Lark and six Chiffchaffs were noteworthy on the land along with two Long-tailed Tits in the trapping area.
Gulls remain the main interest offshore with at least 10000 birds feeding along the surf line. The juvenile Iceland and a juvenile Glaucous Gull were notable as well as eight Mediterranean Gulls, seven Caspian Gulls (all first-winters) and an adult Yellow-legged Gull.
Iceland Gull Larus glaucoides   juvenile   Dungeness    1st March 2020

Caspian Gull Larus cachinnans   first-winter   Dungeness    1st March 2020
A Porpoise and a Common Seal were feeding offshore.

29th Feb

The wind and rain continues but surprisingly there were some significant signs of spring migration with 178 Brent Geese, two Gadwall, a flock of 16 Black-tailed Godwit and a Great Skua moving east.  The juvenile Iceland Gull and three Mediterranean Gulls were feeding offshore. On the land three Chiffchaffs (first migrants of the spring) were seen.

Iceland Gull Larus glaucoides   juvenile   Dungeness    29th February 2020

Chiffchaff Phylloscopus collybita   Dungeness 29th Februry 2020
A Grey Seal was also seen.