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Corona Virus Update

Following discussions with other Observatories and taking advice from the RSPB we are not allowed to open the hides yet to visitors as we cannot put in place the necessary protocols to keep staff and visitors safe. 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 dificult times.
The Trustees.

25th Oct

A wild, wet and windy night which continued into the morning and meant that seawatching was the main order of the day. Over six hours of coverage produced a Manx Shearwater, 2116 Gannets, 263 Kittiwakes, 17 Mediterranean Gulls, 311 Sandwich Terns, three Great Skuas, six Arctic Skuas and 195 Razorbills of note. A second-winter Caspian Gull was also seen briefly at the fishing boats in the afternoon while an adult Yellow-legged Gull was also seen.

Black-headed Gull Chroicocephalus ridibundus  Dungeness   25th October 2020
This bird has been present since 15th October and was originally
 ringed at Sominskie, Pomorskia, POLAND on 6th June 2020.

There was a bit of visible migration during the morning which included 800 Goldfinches and 35 Siskins and two Merlins were hunting around the Point.

Four Porpoises and single of Grey and Common Seal were feeding offshore.

   

24th Oct

An inceasing windy and gloomy day with most of the birding today involving seawatching and passing overhead. The highlights from the sea were four Sooty Shearwaters, 1953 Gannets, 50 Kittiwakes, 18 Mediterranean Gulls, 152 Sandwich Terns, four Great Skuas, six Arctic Skuas and 330 auks sp. Very quiet on the land with just a Grey Wagtail, four Redpolls and 780 Goldfinches of interest. 

Three Porpoises and a Grey Seal were seen.

23rd Oct

A day of mainly visible migration with notable birds including a flock of six Woodlarks, 38 Skylarks, 56 Swallows, seven House Martins, a Bearded Tit, three Tree Sparrows, 142 Meadow Pipits, four Rock Pipits, seven Bramblings, 119 Redpolls with four out of the five birds caught being Commons, 17 Crossbills, 750 Goldfinches and 31 Siskins. In addition the Robin shown below was trapped and found to be bearing a German ring.


Seawatching was fairly slow going but did include a Red-breasted Merganser, 386 Gannets, three Knot, 18 Kittiwakes, an excellent t otal of112 Mediterranean Gulls, 307 Sandwich Terns, two Great Skuas, five Arctic Skuas and 603 auks in four hours of watching.

Three Porpoises and two Grey Seals were feeding offshore.

22nd Oct

Calmer weather once again ensued with a modest south westerly breeze, some cloud cover rolling in but very little in the way of rain. Three hours watching from the fishing boats revealed a modest diversity of seabird passage, notably one Brent Goose, one Velvet Scoter, three Common Scoter, four Red-throated Divers, 517 Gannets, two Oystercatchers, 18 Turnstones, four Mediterranean Gulls, 199 Great Black-backed Gulls, 201 Sandwich Terns, one Great Skua, four Arctic Skuas, two Guillemots and nine Razorbills. A further surprise came in the form of a Sparrowhawk which arrived in off the sea from the east, alighting briefly on the beach, before continuing inland.

Much of the overhead passage was also concentrated along the coast by the fishing boats and due to the fair weather was also rather high in altitude. Nevertheless, visible migration was in strong evidence today (as should be the case for this time of year) with a steady passage amounting to 35 Skylarks, two House Martins, 150 Starlings (including 50 in off from the east), one Grey Wagtail, six Pied Wagtails, 75 Meadow Pipits, three Rock Pipits, 18 Chaffinches, two Bramblings, two Greenfinches, 212 Linnets, 65 Lesser Redpolls, 13 Crossbills, 1500 Goldfinches, 22 Siskins and three Reed Buntings.

Sedentary birds were represented by three Tufted Ducks on the Long Pits, eleven Great Crested Grebes lingering offshore, a high count of 680 Cormorants flushed by the range boat just offshore at the fishing boats, three Kestrels, four Merlins hunting around the point (the highest day count of the year so far), one Peregrine, 17 Goldcrests spread across the recording area and two Black Redstarts.

Mammals sightings included one Grey Seal, two Harbour Porpoise, one Stoat and two Nathusius's Pipistrelles hunting around the observatory.

A single Migrant Hawker was present at the north end of the Long Pits.

21st Oct

Strong southerly winds dominated the day with some accompanying rain showers. As a result much of the focus was on seawatching. A total of 4.5hrs watching from the fishing boats yielded a trickle of 169 Gannets, 165 Sandwich Terns (still a modest number given the time of year), 27 auk sp., 16 Razorbill, four Common Scoter, three Little Gull and two Red-throated Divers. Three Arctic Skuas remain offshore and continue to kleptoparasitize the lingering Sandwich Terns. Waders were represented by two Turnstone feeding on the beach, one Curlew west and a Snipe flying in off the sea.

Two Grey Seals were also offshore.

20th Oct

The southerly wind had strengthened overnight but the sea remains fairly slow with 4.5hrs of watching producing just two Pintails, a Black-throated Divers, two Great Northern Divers and a Mediterranean Gull of note. There were very few birds on the ground with just a Firecrest and a Wheatear of interest and visible migration was reduced but still produced a Yellow Wagtail, a Rock Pipit, 30 Redpolls, 30 Siskins and another 25 Crossbills.

One Porpoise was seen.


19th Oct

A cloudy day with a brisk southerly wind. There were a few grounded migrants and birds passing overhead including 220 Swallows, five Firecrests, 490 Starlings, two Wheatears, a Grey Wagtail, a Rock Pipit, three Bramblings, 30 Redpolls, 390 Goldfinches, 36 Siskins and an excellent total of 54 Crossbills. A Little Owl was calling in the early hours and two Dartford Warblers were also seen.

The sea continues to disappoint with just a Black-throated Diver, a Little Gull, two Mediterranean Gulls and four Arctic Skuas of note.

A Nathusius's Piistrelle bat was flying around the moth trap and a Grey Seal and a Brown Hare were also noted.



18th Oc

Another morning with plenty of birds on the land but still very quiet offshore. Two Pink-footed Geese over the area, a Long-eared Owl in the Moat and a Lapland Bunting over were of particular note while more typical birds included 25 Chiffchaffs, three Firecrests, 30 Goldcrests, a Ring Ouzel, a Wheatear, five Grey Wagtails, three Rock Pipits, four Bramblings, 50 Redpolls, four Crossbills, 27 Siskins and 15 Reed Buntings. There was also a late flurry of hirundine passage with a Sand Martin, 350 Swallows and 200 House Martins moving through. The Dartford Warbler was seen in the Desert again.

A couple of watches of the sea produced 12 Teal, 130 Sandwich Terns and three Arctic Skuas but not much else.

A Brown Hare was seen.

The population of Mottled Shieldbugs continues to increase with 48 individuals counted today. 

17th Oct

Another calm morning resulted in good numbers of grounded migrants and birds passing overhead again. Of note were a Short-eared Owl, a Dartford Warbler, two Firecrests, 50 Goldcrests, four Ring Ouzels, a Mistle Thrush, four Grey Wagtails, four Rock Pipits, 70 Redpolls, one Common Redpoll, nine Crossbills and 40 Siskins


Mistle Thrush Turdus viscivorus   Dungeness   17th October 2020
This species has become quite scarce at the Observatory in recent years and are only rarely ringed.

A Porpoise and a Brown Hare were seen.

At least 19 Mottled Shieldbugs were seen.

Another decent arrival of migrants on the land and plenty of ringing which produced the highlight of the day in the form of a Pallas's Warbler. Other grounded migrants included three Short-eared Owls, 20 Chiffchaffs, a Yellow-browed Warbler in the trapping area and a Dartford Warbler in the Desert, four Firecrests, 100 Goldcrests, two Ring Ouzels, 40 Blackbirds, 14 Fieldfares, 34 Redwings, 16 Song Thrushes and a Wheatear.



Pallas's Warbler Phylloscopus proregulus   Dungeness   16th October 2020

There was also a considerable movement of birds overhead with a flock of eight Great White Egrets appearing to go out to sea but then apparently returning in dribs and drabs during the rest of the morning. Also of note were six Rock Pipits, six Bramblings, an excellent total of 34 Crossbills, 40 Redpolls and 15 Siskins.

The sea remains fairly quiet with 501 Brent Geese, 36 Shelduck, 76 Wigeon, a flock of ten Velvet Scoters, a Mediterranean Gull and two Great Skuas of note in three hours of watching.


15th Oct

After the riches of yesterday it was always likely to be a quieter day which turned out to be the case. Having said that there were still plenty of birds to be seen. Grounded migrants included another brief Yellow-browed Warbler, three Blackcaps, two Firecrests, 25 Goldcrests, seven Ring Ouzels, 40 Blackbirds, 12 Redwings, 20 Song Thrush, ten Black Redstarts and a Wheatear while migrants passing over included two Buzzards, a Woodlark, 15 Swallows, four Grey Wagtails, eight Rock Pipits, 500 Chaffinches, a Brambling, 345 Redpolls, seven Crossbills, 3400 Goldfinches and 64 Siskins. The sea was fairly slow but 330 Brent Geese, 18 Shelduck, 47 Wigeon, 11 Teal, an Eider, seven Mediterranean Gulls, 60 Sandwich Terns and six Arctic Skuas were of note from three hours of watching.

Singles of Grey Seal and Porpoise were feeding offshore.

14th Oct

What a day!!. It began with a few grounded migrants around the Point and a decent enough early morning seawatch but really came to life from late morning when a treecreeper seen earlier in the day was relocated at the Old Lighthouse. It then gave decent views and plumage details along with several calls allowed it to be identified as a Short-toed Treecreeper. Remarkably this was our fourth individual of the year following on from three different birds during the spring. However, this was then relegated to almost an also ran when a superb Red-flanked Bluetail was found in a small line of gorse bushes between the railway station car park and the Polish War Memorial. There have already been 21 individuals recorded in Britain this autumn so it is an exceptional year for this species but despite being dropped as a "BB Rarity" it is still a major and very exiting find. It is in fact a new species for the Observatory with the only previous Dungeness record being at Dengemarsh Road on 6th November 2010.

Other migrants of note during the day included a Woodcock, a Merlin, two late Sand Martins, 20 Chiffchaffs, five Firecrests, 60 Goldcrests, nine Ring Ouzels, 35 Fieldfares, 25 Song Thrushes, five Grey Wagtails, six Rock Pipits, 80 Redpolls, 1600 Goldfinches and ten Siskins. The morning seawatch produced 128 Wigeon, a Pintail, a Pochard, two Red-breasted Mergansers, a Great White Egret, six Little Gulls, 94 Sandwich Terns and four Arctic Skua. A first-winter Caspian Gull was also roosting with the other gulls at the Point until it was flushed by day visitors.



Short-toed Treecreeper Certhia brachydactyla   Dungeness   14t October 2020
This bird never showed out in the open but between them these images show all the salient features 





Red-flanked Bluetail Tarsiger cyanurus   Dungeness   14th October 2020

Three Porpoises and three Grey Seals were feeding offshore.

13th Oct

Most of the days interest was offshore where the highlight was a Grey Phalarope seen off the fishing boats on a couple of occasions. Other decent totals and species included 1283 Brent Geese, five Wigeon, a Pochard, two Velvet Scoters, a Little Egret, three Mediterranean Gulls, six Great Skuas, five Arctic Skuas and 88 Razorbills.

Weather conditions also looked good for a few land birds but it was actually fairly slow going with just 36 Chiffchaffs, four Fieldfares, 20 Song Thrushes, 36 Redwings, a Wheatear and ten Siskin of note.

The Nocmig recorder was deployed last night with the period between 2200hrs and 0400hrs producing 796 Redwing calls along with 13 Fieldfares, 87 Song Thrushes and 13 Blackbirds. A lone Dunlin was the only other call noted.

At least eight Porpoises and two Grey Seals were feeding offshore and a Brown Hare was seen alongside the road this evening.

12th Oct

A quiet day for grounded migrants but with a decent number of birds passing overhead and much better seawatching than of late. 

Migrants on the land included two Snipe, a Woodlark, 150 Swallows, 17 Chiffchaffs, two Ring Ouzels, 45 Redwings, three Grey Wagtails, three Rock Pipits, four Bramblings, 62 Redpolls, 25 Crossbills, 16 Siskins and 26 Reed Buntings.

Six hours of seawatching produced 569 Brent Geese and one Pale-bellied Brent Goose, 309 Wigeon, 12 Pintail, a Sooty Shearwater, three Mediterranean Gulls and three Arctic Skuas.

Two Porpoises were feeding offshore.

Elsewhere, the American Golden Plover first seen on 6th October was refound in the afternoon on one of the islands on Burrowes Pit on the RSPB Reserve

11th Oct

The day started fairly quietly but from mid-morning large numbers of thrushes began to arrive and head NW through and over the area. Redwings dominated proceedings with at least 2200 birds counted along with six Sparrowhawks, a Buzzard, five Great Spotted Woodpeckers, a Merlin, 25 Blackbirds, ten Fieldfares, 35 Song Thrushes, a Mistle Thrush, four Grey Wagtails, two Rock Pipits, 250 Chaffinches, three Bramblings, 70 Redpolls, five Crossbills, 170 Goldfinches, 30 Siskins and 20 Reed Buntings.

Brambling Fringilla montifringilla    Dungeness   11th October 2020

Grounded migrants included 40 Chiffchaffs and another Dartford Warbler in the Desert.

The sea remained quiet with just 80 Kittiwakes, two Mediterranean Gulls, a Great Skua, four Arctic Skuas and 57 Razorbills (plus 318 unidentified auks).

Eight Porpoises and two Grey Seals were seen in the calm conditions.

After finding a large colony of Mottled Shieldbugs on the Point the species was finally added to the Observatory garden list and a Clouded Yellow was seen in the Moat.

10th Oct

Although numbers were not high there was a decent variety of migrants passing overhead which included 500 Swallows, two Grey Wagtails, 40 Pied Wagtails, seven Rock Pipits, a Brambling, 40 Redpolls, 150 Goldfinch and 25 Siskins. A Yellow Wagtail also dropped in and was caught in the Crow Trap.

Yellow Wagtail Motacilla flava flavissima   Dungeness   10th October 2020

It was very quite for grounded migrants though with just 15 Chiffchaffs and six Blackcaps of note along with a Dartford Warbler seen near the Britannia Inn.

Two Mediterranean Gulls, a Great Skua and five Arctic Skuas were the best the sea could offer.

Three Porpoises and two Grey Seals were feeding offshore. 

Thirty Mottled Shieldbugs were found.


9th Oct

Another decent morning with clear skies inducing  a large visible migration and good numbers of birds on the land. Highlights of the birds passing overhead included two Egyptian Geese, two Woodlarks, 57 Skylarks, 4500 Swallows, 28 Tree Sparrows, five Yellow Wagtails, nine Grey Wagtails, a Tree and five Rock Pipits, 270 Redpolls, nine Crossbills, 126 Siskins and 34 Reed Buntings. The best of the grounded migrants were 115 Chiffchaffs, a late Reed Warbler, 12 Blackcaps, 12 Song Thrushes, singles of Redstart and Whinchat and eight Wheatears. A couple of watches of the sea during the afternoon produced four Mediterranean Gulls and eight Arctic Skuas

Two Porpoises and a Grey Seal were feeding offshore and a Brown Hare was seen on the land.

Three Clouded Yellows were seen during the day and the best of a reasonable catch of moths was a Palpita vitrealis.

8th Oct

A wet and windy day meant plenty of seawatching where the two main highlights of the day were noted in the form of a Leach's Petrel and a Pale-bellied Brent Goose. Two Gadwall, a Mediterranean Gull, a Yellow-legged Gull, 385 Sandwich Terns, a Great Skua and 32 Arctic Skuas were also of note.

Hard going on the land with just a Short-eared Owl, 37 Chiffchaffs and a Firecrest of note along with 500 Swallows and a Grey Wagtail passing through.

Seven Porpoises and a Grey Seal were feeding offshore. 

7th Oct

Most of the days interest was in birds passing overhead although the highlight was another brief Yellow-browed Warbler at the Long Pits. A Short-eared Owl was seen at the Lifeboat Station and a Wood Lark also flew over. Other visible migrants included 37 Skylarks, 305 Swallows, 327 House Martins, two Mistle Thrushes, four Tree Sparrows, 12 Grey Wagtails, 375 Meadow Pipits, a Tree Pipit, three Rock Pipits, seven Bramblings, 250 Redpolls, 1390 Goldfinches, 256 Siskins and 14 Reed Buntings. Grounded migrants included 65 Chiffchaffs, 15 Blackcaps, five Firecrests, a Whinchat and three Wheatears.


Black Redstart Phoenicurus ochruros   Dungeness   7th October 2020
This bird was originally ringed here as a locally-bred juvenile in August 2019.

The best of the seawatching were just two Mediterranean Gulls and five Arctic Skuas.

A Grey Seal was seen offshore.

6th Oct

Another decent morning for visible migration but numbers of ground migrants were fairly low and the sea remains very quiet. Highlights of the day included a Little Tern, three Arctic Skuas, a Kingfisher, 36 Chiffchaffs, three Firecrests, a Redstart, a Whinchat, 160 Pied/alba Wagtails, 350 Meadow Pipits, two Rock Pipits, a Brambling, 75 Redpolls, 700 Goldfinches and 100 Siskins

A Grey Seal was feeding offshore.


5th Oct

An overcast and fairly calm morning resulted in a big movement of finches and good numbers of grounded migrants. Of note on the land were a Yellow-browed Warbler along with 50 Chiffchaffs, 35 Blackcaps, seven Firecrests, 27 Song Thrushes, 25 Robins and 17 Wheatears. Highlights of the visible migration were a Mistle Thrush, three Tree Pipits, a Rock Pipit, 55 Chaffinches, two Bramblings, nine Crossbills, 260 Siskins and at least 1000 Redpolls (with five of 33 birds trapped being Common Redpolls).

The sea remains quiet with just 169 Sandwich Terns, a Little Tern, two Great Skuas and nine Arctic Skuas of note.

A Clouded Yellow was seen and 21 adult Mottled Shieldbugs were found.

4th Oct

The highlights of the day were three Yellow-browed Warblers along with 22 Chiffchaffs, ten Blackcaps, five Firecrests, a Spotted Flycatcher, 45 Robins, eight Grey Wagtails, a Tree Pipit, two Rock Pipits and 120 Siskins

The sea was fairly quiet although six hours of observations eventually produced 658 Sandwich Terns, a Little Tern, three Great Skuas and 24 Arctic Skuas.

Two Porpoises were also seen.

3rd Oct

A good day on both the land and at sea. Grounded migrants included 50 Chiffchaffs, a Yellow-browed Warbler, 50 Blackcaps, two Garden Warblers, four Firecrests, two Ring Ouzels, 50 Song Thrushes, a Spotted Flycatcher, an excellent 120 Robins, two Redstarts, four Whinchats and ten Wheatears. Overhead passage produced a remarkable 24 Grey Herons, two late Swifts, 12 Skylarks, a Yellow Wagtail, 1000 Meadow Pipits, two Tree Pipits, a Rock Pipit, a Brambling, 300 Lesser and one (trapped) Common Redpoll and 90 Siskins.

Nearly seven hours of seawatching produced 13 Shelducks, 21 Shovelers, two Gadwall, 60 Wigeon, 11 Pintail, 422 Common Scoters, six Knot, 54 Dunlin, six Snipe, 461 Sandwich Terns, two Little Terns, a Great Skua and ten Arctic Skuas.

Two Porpoises and a Grey Seal were feeding offshore.

The "new" ground in front of the Observatory revealed another new species for the area in the form of Tuberous Verbena Verbena rigida.


2nd Oct

Heavy rain and strong easterly winds overnight and for much of the day produced our first Yellow-browed Warbler of the year with one seen briefly in the trapping area. Other grounded migrants were few and far between and overhead passage was also very slow. Some seven hours of seawatching produced 15 Gadwall, a Sooty Shearwater, six Little Gulls and a few Arctic Skuas of note.

Three Porpoises and a Grey Seal were seen offshore. 


1st Oct

After strong winds and rain overnight followed by a calm and cloudy morning hopes were high but in the end it was a fairly quiet morning. Highlights included a very distant White Stork, a Dartford Warbler in the Desert and the first Firecrest of the autumn. Grounded migrants were fairly thinly spread with 60 Chiffchaffs, 11 Blackcaps and three Wheatears while birds passing overhead included 600 House Martins, a Tree Pipit, 130 Siskins and six Reed Buntings. The sea remains very quiet with five Great Skuas and seven Arctic Skuas being about the best on offer.

A Porpoise and a Grey Seal were feeding offshore and three Brown Hares were seen on the land.

The weather was not great for insects but two Mottled Shieldbugs were found.

30th Sep

A reasonably calm morning saw a decent movement of birds overhead and in the bushes. Grounded migrants included 100 Chiffchaffs, ten Blackcaps, a Lesser Whitethroat and three Wheatears. Birds passing overhead included a late Swift, 3600 Swallows, 360 Meadow Pipits, 200 Lesser Redpolls, five Crossbills and 200 Siskins. A few redpolls were caught and two were considered to be Common Redpolls Acanthis flammea. It remains quiet offshore with eight hours of watching producing nine Mediterranean Gulls, 825 Sandwich Terns and six Arctic Skuas.



Common Redpoll Acanthis flammea   first-winter   Dungeness   30th September 2020


Common Redpoll Acanthis flammea    ad.male   Dungeness  30th September 2020

The Nocmig recorder was also operated last night with a Snipe, two Sandwich Terns, 19 Redwings, 21 Song Thrushes, a Tree Pipit and two Meadow Pipits.

A Badger came into the garden during the night and ravaged the seed feeders. Two Porpoises and a Grey Seal were noted offshore and a Brown Hare was also seen.

29th Sep

A calm morning saw a reasonable arrival of commoner migrants with a Willow Warbler, 70 Chiffchaffs, ten Blackcaps, four Goldcrests while passage overhead included four Grey Wagtails, 420 Meadow Pipits, a Tree Pipit, 95 Lesser Redpolls, six Crossbills, 40 Siskins and 17 Reed Buntings.

A Badger was seen around the Observatory in the evening.

The moth traps were fairly quiet but two Palpita vitrealis, a Vestal and two Delicates were seen. Five Mottled Shieldbugs were also found.

Elsewhere there was little doubt as to the star bird of the day when a moulting adult American Golden Plover was found in the afternoon at the ARC Pit.