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Local weather


The Observatory can accommodate up to 9 people in two dormitories, you need to bring your own sleeping bags and it is self-catering. As well as Birdwatchers, we welcome people from many areas of interest including Moths, Butterflies, Bugs and Beetles or just a general interest in Nature and the local environment. Please forward any Dungeness recording area records to the Warden.
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 A big thank you to Waitrose, Hythe for this unexpected and generous donation.

29th Nov

A cool, icy morning produced very little of note offshore and just a trickle of migrants on the land. Six Chiffchaffs, three Goldcrests, two Song Thrushes, two Black Redstarts, five Bramblings and four Siskins were of interest on the land while five Mediterranean Gulls were the only birds of note at the Patch despite a large increase in the number of gulls feeding there. A Great Skua was also seen.

A Common Seal and two Grey Seals were seen. 

28th Nov

Most of the days coverage was looking offshore in a forlorn search for a Brunnich's Guillemot but there not even a sniff of one. Four and a half hours of watching produced two Velvet Scoters, three Goosanders, two Red-breasted Mergansers, 181 Red-throated Divers, a Great Northern Diver, five Mediterranean Gulls, five Sandwich Terns, a Great Skua, 1300 Guillemots, 50 Razorbills and just over 1000 auk species. 

Quiet on the land except for a Siberian Chiffchaff in the Trapping Area again.

A Common Seal and a Grey Seal were feeding offshore.

27th Nov

A day of miserable weather and almost all observations limited to the sea. Nearly six hours of watching produced four Velvet Scoters, 225 Red-throated Divers, a Little Egret, 92 Kittiwakes, three Mediterranean Gulls, three Sandwich Terns, 3000 Guillemots and 214 Razorbills of note.

Two Common Seals and a Grey Seal were feeding offshore. 

26th Nov

A quiet day (though with slightly limited coverage) which produced just two Caspian Gulls at the Patch of note.

25th Nov

A quiet day with a first-winter Caspian Gull at the Patch being the highlight. Two Chiffchaffs and two Goldcrests were seen in the Trapping Area and two Black Redstarts alongside the power station. Seawatching produced 120 Red-throated Divers, two Mediterranean Gulls and over 900 auks of any interest.

A Brown Hare was also seen.

24th June

A fairly quiet day although in the context of this autumn a total of six Goldcrests was significant. A Dartford Warbler was also seen near the Fish Shack and two Chiffchaffs were seen in the bushes. Two Caspian Gulls were feeding at the Patch.

Three Porpoises and two Grey Seals were feeding offshore.


A light northerly breeze saw another movement of birds offshore with most birds flying into the wind. Of particular note were 45 Shelduck, six Gadwall, 108 Wigeon, two Eider, a Velvet Scoter, a smart drake Long-tailed Duck, 135 Red-throated Divers, a Black-throated Diver, four Black-tailed Godwits, five Mediterranean Gulls, a Great Skua and a Red-necked Grebe. Two Merlins and 2845 Starlings came in. Three Caspian Gulls were seen during the day and a Snow Bunting was seen on a couple of occasions.

Four Common Seals, three Grey Seals and a Porpoise were feeding offshore. 

22nd Nov

A real wintry feel to the day with a cold north to north-west wind blowing and occasional showers passing through. Virtually all the coverage was of the sea where there was a decent, mainly up-channel movement of birds. The bulk was provided by 163 Brent Geese, 251 Wigeon, 73 Teal, 91 Red-throated Divers, 1449 Gannets, 530 Kittiwakes, 778 Black-headed Gulls and 491 auks. Less usual sightings included a high total of 162 Shelducks, 39 Shovelers, four Pintail, two Tufted Ducks, a Goldeneye, five Eider, a Velvet Scoter, six Red-breasted Mergansers, five Little Gulls, 43 Mediterranean Gulls and four Sandwich Terns. A Merlin was also seen and six Skylarks, 1963 Starlings and two Chaffinches came in.

Two Grey Seals and a Porpoise were also feeding offshore.

21st Nov

The mild damp weather of recent days gave way to much colder, clearer air and subsequently migrants were few and far between with just a handful of Bramblings and Siskins passing overhead. The sea was also quiet except for 14 Sandwich Terns and good numbers of auks. 

A Porpoise and a Grey Seal were feeding offshore.

20th Nov

A calm day but with almost constant very light drizzle brought a small arrival of birds in the bushes with eight Chiffchaffs, a Blackcap, two Goldcrests and the obvious highlight of a first-year Red-breasted Flycatcher. The sea was fairly quiet in the calm conditions so a Puffin seen heading slowly west in the afternoon was also a nice surprise. An adult Caspian Gull was also seen off the fishing boats. 

Red-breasted Flycatcher Ficedula parva   Dungeness   20th November 2021
The 39th Observatory record.

Two Porpoises were feeding offshore.

Two Gems were the highlight from the moth trap.

19th Nov

The morning seawatch produced 16 Mediterranean Gulls, 431 Kittiwakes, 14 Sandwich Terns and two Great Skuas and a first-winter Yellow-legged Gull was seen at the Patch. A Ring-necked Parrakeet was seen at the Point and then flying inland with a Peregrine Falcon in hot pursuit. Very quiet on the land with just two Merlins, eight Black Redstarts and four Bramblings of interest.

A Porpoise and a Grey Seal were seen offshore.

18th Nov

A very quiet day with 251 Kittiwakes, three Sandwich Terns and a couple of Great Skuas in an hours seawatch this morning while birds passing overhead included just a Rock Pipit and 13 Bramblings of note.

Two Porpoise and a Grey Seal were seen offshore.

17th Nov

Cloudy with a light NW breeze. Grounded migrants were scarce with just two Blackcaps of note while birds passing overhead included 4000 Starlings, two Fieldfares, 22 Bramblings and 13 Siskins. A flock of 11 Egyptian Geese also flew over the area. Seawatching saw a bit of movement with 754 Kittiwakes, seven Sandwich Terns and 110 Razorbills of interest.

Single Porpoise and Grey Seal were seen offshore.

Another female Vagrant Emperor seen late in the afternoon near the New Lighthouse was easily the best sighting of the day. A Gem was the only macro-moth attracted to the moth trap.

16th Nov

A flat calm, overcast morning again. Highlights of the day included two Long-eared Owls which were flying over the Trapping Area at first light, the Siberian Chiffchaff still present, a Dartford Warbler, a Goosander which flew west offshore. A late Yellow Wagtail flew over the area, as did nine Bramblings, 100 Siskins and 175 Goldfinches. Grounded migrants included a Woodcock and 46 Blackbirds and at least three Black Redstarts were seen on the power station wall. The sea was fairly quiet but also produced two Mediterranean Gulls and two Great Skuas.

Three Porpoises and a Grey Seal were feeding offshore.

A Gem was the highlight of a very small moth catch. A Mottled Shieldbug was also found in the moth trap.

15th Nov

There was another thin spread of migrants on the land and overhead while seawatching also produced a few bits and pieces. The highlights among the grounded migrants were two Woodcocks, a Siberian Chiffchaff, five Chiffchaffs, a Blackcap and 50 Blackbirds. Two Gadwall and a Kingfisher were seen on the Long Pits and five Black Redstarts were feeding along the power station wall. Two Golden Plovers, a Swallow, 1140 Starlings and 25 Bramblings were of note among the birds overhead. A first-winter Caspian Gull made a brief visit at the fishing boats and 15 Shelduck, 1015 Gannets, five Little Gulls, 19 Mediterranean Gulls, six Sandwich Terns and two Great Skua passed sea.

Three Porpoises and a Grey Seal were feeding offshore.

14th Nov

There was a decent arrival of Blackbirds this morning with at least 50 in the area and 72 Bramblings passed overhead. Seawatching produced 448 Gannets, 1287 Kittiwakes, 57 Mediterranean Gulls, five Sandwich Terns, three Arctic Skuas and a Great Skua of note.

Single Porpoise and Grey Seal were feeding offshore.

Only four moths were caught in the mothtrap but they did include a Gem. A Peacock butterfly was seen in the Trapping Area.

13th Nov

A quiet day with a trickle of birds passing overhead and a handful of grounded migrants. Of note were three Goldcrests in the Trapping Area and an adult Caspian Gull was seen at the Patch. A Little Owl was calling near the Observatory this evening. 

12th Nov

With fresh SW winds today nearly all the interest was offshore where 5.75hrs of seawatching produced a Sooty Shearwater, 1020 Gannets, 870 Kittiwakes, 64 Mediterranean Gulls11 Little Gulls, 6000 Black-headed Gulls, 91 Sandwich Terns, an Arctic Skua and 646 Razorbills of note. Starlings also came in in good numbers with 4000 seen arriving..

Two Porpoises and a Grey Seal were feeding offshore.

11th Nov

A warm, calm and cloudy morning saw a few finches passing overhead and just a few birds in the bushes. A Firecrest and five Black Redstarts were about the best on offer from the land but birds overhead included 2,600 Starlings, two Rock Pipits, three Bramblings, 80 Lesser Redpolls, a Common Redpoll and a Lapland Bunting flew over. At least 13 Mediterranean Gulls were feeding offshore and 210 Gannets, ten Sandwich Terns and an Arctic Skua flew west.

A Badger was feeding in the Observatory Garden in the early hours and a Porpoise was seen offshore.

The moth trap came up trumps with an Oak Rustic amongst just seven macromoths trapped - a new species for the Observatory.

Oak Rustic Dryobota labecula   Dungeness   11th November 2021

10th Nov

A damp, cloudy start to the day saw a variety of migrants on the land and overhead but most species in fairly small numbers. Highlights included two Woodcocks, a Merlin, a Firecrest, five Black Redstarts, 12 Bramblings and 30 Lesser Redpolls. The sighting of the day though was a noisy flock of 17 Ravens. Seawatching produced five Mediterranean Gulls and 24 Sandwich Terns

Two Porpoises were seen offshore.

Another Palpita vitrealis moth was caught in the moth traps.

9th Nov

A day with mainly light winds and low clouds with frequent drizzle. It was fairly quiet on the land with four Chiffchaffs, nine Fieldfares, 24 Redwings, two Mistle Thrush, a Rock Pipit, eight Bramblings, 14 Lesser Redpolls, 57 Siskins and a single Snow Bunting of note. Seawatching produced a Red-breasted Merganser, 1000 Gannets, 202 Kittiwakes, a Little Gull, eight Sandwich Terns, three Great Skuas and an Arctic Skua were seen offshore. 

A Grey Seal was feeding offshore.

A Vagrant Emperor was picked up inside the power station.

The moth traps produced a single Palpita vitrealis.

8th Nov

There were a few grounded Blackbirds and Redwings at dawn but after that it was mainly migrants passing overhead that provided the interest. Of note were 20 Stock Doves, 110 Wood Pigeons, four Swallows, three Jays, a Woodlark, two Bearded Tits, 4400 Starlings, five Rock Pipits, 80 Bramblings, 14 Redpolls, 35 Siskins and a Lapland Bunting.

Brambling Fringilla montifringilla   Dungeness   8th November 2021
One of two birds caught this morning.

One Porpoise was feeding offshore.

A Vagrant Emperor Dragonfly was seen flying along the beach at the fishing boats and is only the second Observatory record.

7th Nov

A bright day which produced a little visible migration but not a great deal in the bushes. The highlight of the day was a Snow Bunting which flew over the area.

Elsewhere, there was an obvious highlight in the form of a Black Brant found amongst the many geese present at Scotney. This is only the second record for the greater Dungeness area.

Black Brant Branta bernicla ssp nigricans   adult   Scotney   7th November 2021

6th Nov

More of the same with a handful of grounded migrants and a trickle of birds overhead including a Grey Heron, six late Swallows, 25 Blackbirds, three Fieldfares, seven Bramblings and 15 Siskins.

Seawatching was also slow going but did produce a surprising record when an adult Sabine's Gull was found in the late afternoon.

Two Porpoises were seen.

Elsewhere, at least 16 Cattle Egrets came in to roost at ARC this evening.

5th Nov

A clear and cold morning brought a bit of visible migration but very little on the ground. Two Grey Herons, two Buzzards, a Green Sandpiper, 25 Skylarks, 5600 Starlings, seven Fieldfares, 20 Redwings, six Song Thrushes, 200 Chaffinches, 25 Bramblings, 30 Lesser Redpolls and 110 Siskins flew over and two Egyptian Geese also flew around the Point. Three Woodcocks and 60 Blackbirds were of note on the land. The sea was very quiet although a single Velvet Scoter was of some note.

A Brown Hare was seen.

A Clouded Yellow butterfly was also seen.

4th Nov

With a fresh NNW breeze and heavy cloud at times the highlight of the day was a big arrival of thrushes with 250 Blackbirds, 220 Fieldfares, 300 Redwings, ten Song Thrush and a Mistle Thrush. A Lapwing, three Snipe, five Bramblings and 20 Siskins also passed overhead. 

Two Mediterranean Gulls were seen at the fishing boats.

Two Porpoises were feeding offshore.

3rd Nov

A bright and sunny day but with a light and cold NW breeze brought a decent bit of overhead passage but very little in the bushes other than a Woodcock, six Chiffchaffs, a Firecrest and 12 Redwings. Birds passing overhead included 17 Swallows and three House Martins, 4000 Starlings, 45 Bramblings and 50 Siskins.

Single Marsh Harrier and Buzzard were also seen.

2nd Nov

It was the first calm morning for ages and it duly produced the goods with a superb (aren't they always) Pallas's Warbler and two Siberian Chiffchaffs, (one caught) in the trapping area. It was actually still fairly quiet in terms of numbers of migrants though with a trickle of finches overhead including 25 Bramblings, ten Redpolls and 40 Siskins along with a Woodcock and a Rock Pipit. Other grounded migrants were limited to a Woodlark, a few new Chiffchaffs, two Blackcaps, a few Blackbirds and four Black Redstarts. A two-hour seawatch this morning produced an excellent total of 110 Mediterranean Gulls and 273 auks but not much else.

Pallas's Warbler Phylloscopus proregulus   Dungeness   2nd November 2021

Siberian Chiffchaff Phylloscopus collybita (tristis)   Dungeness   2nd November 2021

1st Nov

A Siberian Chiffchaff was a nice find in the Trapping Area but other migrants were limited to a Rock Pipit and a few finches. The morning seawatch was pretty quiet with just 21 Mediterranean Gulls, 16 Sandwich Terns and 36 Razorbills of interest. 

Four Porpoises and a Grey Seal were seen offshore.

31st Oct

A very stormy morning with winds up to Force 9 and some very heavy rain. The highlight of the day was a Hooded Crow which came in over the fishing boats in the afternoon. Two seawatch sessions totaling 5.75 hours produced four Gadwall, the first two Fulmars for some time, 1280 Gannets, 841 Kittiwakes, four Little Gulls, 13 Mediterranean Gulls, 73 Sandwich Terns, an Arctic Skua and 340 Razorbills. An adult Yellow-legged Gull and three Merlins were also seen on the beach.

Two Porpoises and a Grey Seal were seen offshore 

30th Oct

Another wet and windy morning with a bit of seabird movement but very little on the land. The best from over 5.5hours of seawatching were 15 Shovelers, three Red-breasted Mergansers, 443 Gannets, two Mediterranean Gulls, 137 Sandwich Terns, an Arctic Skua and 591 Razorbills. The only highlights on the land were a Merlin, six Swallows, a Rock Pipit and just three Siskins

Three Porpoises and a Grey Seal were feeding offshore.