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Local weather


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31st Dec

The year ended with a continuation of the wet and windy weather of the last few days and limited observations to seawatching. The highlights here were a Great Northern Diver west and two Caspian Gulls on the beach while numbers were provided by a steady flow of Red-throated Divers, Gannets, Kittiwakes and auks.

A Grey Seal was also seen.

Memories of Dungeness and Dungeness Bird Observatory

 Over the years we have heard many stories about the 'Old Days' so we thought it would be good to collect these stories together before they got lost altogetgher. 144 pages of memories, photos and anecdotes are now gathered together and available from the Observatory at £12.00 plus P & P. 2nd class £2.30, 1st class £2.80. 

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30th Dec

Another thoroughly miserable day with strong to gale force SSE winds and heavy rain making even seawatching a real challenge. Of note offshore were five Fulmars, 110 Gannets, 300 Kittiwakes and 300 auks all heading west. A gull session at the Point in the afternoon produced three Caspian Gulls.

Two Grey Seals were feeding offshore.

29th Dec

A miserable morning of strong winds and heavy rain limited observations to a couple of seawatches but not a great deal was seen other than 85 Red-throated Divers, 100 Kittiwakes and 200 auks heading west.  

28th Dec

An hour seawatch this morning produced 175 Brent Geese moving up-channel and 650 Kittiwakes moving down-channel.

25th Dec

Very limited coverage today (for obvious reasons) but a Ring-necked Parakeet flying around the Point was an unexpected sighting.

24th Dec

The Iceland Gull first seen yesterday was seen at the Patch in the morning along with five Mediterranean Gulls and what was presumably the same first-winter Glaucous Gull flew west along the beach but was not seen again. Two Chiffchaffs and four Firecrests were seen in the Trapping Area/Southern Long Pits.

Happy Christmas

 Happy Christmas to all our Friends, Followers and Visitors. Best Wishes for 2023.

Click on the picture 

23rd Dec

A very dull, wet start to the day but as the visibility improved slightly around mid-morning a short check off the fishing boats was made. While passage seemed to be limited to a few auks and Kittiwakes it was clear that there had been an influx of gulls and large numbers of Gannets feeding just offshore. In fact it turned into a bit of a gull fest with the finding of a third-winter Iceland Gull, a first-winter Glaucous Gull and four first-winter Caspian Gulls. In addition, two adult Little Gulls were feeding at the Patch. A party of nine White-fronted Geese also came in over the Lifeboat Station.

Iceland Gull Larus glaucoides   third-winter   Dungeness   23rd December 2022

Caspian Gull Larus cachinnans   first-winter   Dungeness   23rd December 2022
One of four individuals seen this morning.

Gannets Morus bassana   Dungeness   23rd December 2022
Large numbers were feeding very close inshore this morning.

A Common Seal and a Grey Seal were also feeding offshore. 

22nd Dec

A quick check of the trapping area and the Desert this morning produced four Snipe, a Chiffchaff and three Goldcrests of note. The sea was very quiet. 

21st Dec

More wind and rain. Just a first-winter Caspian Gull on the beach and 150 Kittiwakes west offshore of note.

20th Dec

Another wet and windy morning but with a lot more birds offshore. Of note were a Red-breasted Merganser, 191 Red-throated Divers, a Black-throated Diver on the sea, 350 Gannets, a Mediterranean Gull, a Little Gull, a Yellow-legged Gull and three Caspian Gulls (two first-winters and one third-winter), 450 auks and a Marsh Harrier which came in from the east.

A Porpoise and a Grey Seal were feeding offshore.

19th Dec

A wet and windy day with limited coverage. A Little Gull and a Mediterranean Gull were feeding offshore and the only birds of any note.

18th Dec

It was very cold overnight and first thing but the thaw arrived with a vengeance this afternoon with continuous heavy rain and strong winds. A two-hour seawatch in the morning produced 190 Gannets, 20 Kittiwakes and four Mediterranean Gulls passing west and a flock of 60 Lapwing came in.

A Grey Seal was seen offshore.

17th Feb

Very little to be seen on another very cold, calm and clear day although coverage was fairly limited.

A Common Seal was seen offshore.

16th Dec

Still quiet despite the continuing very cold conditions. A Snipe, a Chiffchaff, three Redwings and two Song Thrushes were seen in the Trapping Area.

15th Dec

A search on the land produced two Water Rails, a Woodcock, a Snipe, three Chiffchaffs, five Firecrests and 20 Blackbirds of note. There were lots of gulls at the Patch but the only one of interest to be seen was an adult Yellow-legged Gull.

14th Dec

Very quiet.

Two Porpoise were feeding offshore.

13th Dec

It is still very quiet on both land and sea despite the continuing cold weather. A Water Rail and a Chiffchaff were in the Trapping Area and a first-winter Caspian Gull was seen at the Patch.

A Porpoise was feeding offshore.

12th Dec

Very quiet offshore despite the arrival of some very wintry weather. A Firecrest and a Dartford Warbler were seen on the land.

A Porpoise was feeding offshore.

11th Dec

Limited daylight and time spent WEBS counting meant very little coverage of the Observatory recording area.

10th Dec

Two White Storks flew over the recording area this afternoon. A Black Redstart was seen in front of the Power  Station.

Three Grey Seals were feeding offshore.

Elsewhere, the Green-winged Teal was seen on Burrowes again and the Dotterel reappeared with Golden Plovers at Cockles Bridge. Two Whooper Swans continue to be seen on the ARC Pit. The two Glossy Ibis appear to have moved to Dengemarsh and several Cattle Egrets continue to be seen in the wet fields between Boulderwall and Lydd.

9th Dec

Thick, freezing fog through the morning severely limited any observations and meant a day of  paperwork.

8th Dec

The first really cold weather of the winter appeared to have had very little effect on the birds with just five Chiffchaffs in the trapping again and a Siskin overhead. There was no sign of any movement offshore.

7th Dec

Two Dartford Warblers were associating with two Stonechats at the Point and two Chiffchaffs and five Redwings were seen in the Trapping Area.

A Grey Seal was seen offshore.

6th Dec

A first-winter Caspian Gull was roosting at the fishing boats this morning, a Jack Snipe was seen at the Long Pits and a Woodcock, five Chiffchaffs and a Firecrest were seen in the trapping area.

A Grey Seal was feeding offshore.

5th Dec

Very quiet offshore and just five Chiffchaffs in the trapping area of interest.

The Green-winged Teal was seen on Burrowes Pit again and the Dotterel was seen in a flooded field at Lydd Airport.

4th Dec

Five Teal, an Eider and two Red-breasted Mergansers flew west and three Mediterranean Gulls were feeding offshore. Three Chiffchaffs were seen in the trapping area.

The drake Green-winged Teal was seen on Burrowes Pit again.

3rd Dec

Five Red-breasted Mergansers and a Sandwich Tern were seen offshore and a Woodcock and a Chiffchaff were seen in the trapping area.

The drake Green-winged Teal was seen on Burrowes Pit again and a Dotterel was seen amongst the Golden Plovers at Cook's Pool on the RSPB Reserve. A flock of 11 Pink-footed Geese were in the fields at the back of Scotney. Sixteen Cattle Egrets and two Glossy Ibis were feeding in the flooded fields between Boulderwall Farm and Cockles Bridge. 

2nd Dec

Very little movement offshore with just three Red-breasted Mergansers, two Little Gulls and two Sandwich Terns of interest. A Chiffchaff was seen in the trapping area.

Elsewhere, the drake Green-winged Teal was seen again on Burrowes Pit.

1st Dec

Thirteen Little Gulls flew west and a few Gannets, Red-throated Divers and auks were seen offshore, a Snow Bunting flew over the fishing boats and a Firecrest was seen in the trapping area.

A Porpoise and two Grey Seals were feeding offshore.

The drake Green-winged Teal was seen on Burrowes Pit again.

30th Nov

A party of seven Pink-footed Geese which flew north over the area in the afternoon and a Snow Bunting around the Point were the highlights of the day. A first-winter Caspian Gull, eight Little Gulls and six Mediterranean Gulls were feeding at the Patch while four Sandwich Terns and 100 Razorbills were offshore and birds passing included 12 Wigeon, a Pochard, two Velvet Scoters and a Black-throated Diver. A Woodcock also came in from the east and seven Chiffchaffs, two Redpolls and 100 Goldfinches were seen in the bushes. 

Two Grey Seals and a Porpoise were seen offshore and a Badger was seen in the Observatory garden.

The Green-winged Teal was seen again on Burrowes Pit on the RSPB Reserve.

29th Nov

Limited coverage today but seven Little Gulls and seven Mediterranean Gulls and an Arctic Tern were seen at the Patch and two Chiffchaffs, a Dartford Warbler, six Fieldfares, 120 Chaffinches and a Siskin were seen on the land. 

28th Nov

Very little offshore passage with just 28 Teal and eight Mediterranean Gulls and two first-winter Caspian Gulls at the fishing boats. The Patch continues to be active with 20 Little Gulls, another Mediterranean Gull, an adult Mediterranean x Black-headed Gull hybrid and an Arctic Tern feeding there.

A handful of birds on the land included two Fieldfares, six Redwings and three Song Thrushes.

Three Grey Seals and a Common Seal were feeding offshore.

27th Nov

A day of continuous rain and light SW winds proved to be an excellent one for rarities. About the only bird found on the land was a Pallas's Warbler in a private garden. Although the number of birds passing offshore was low the quality was very high with a Leach's Petrel, an adult Sabine's Gull (which ended up at the Patch at dusk), a juvenile Long-tailed Skua and a Puffin. Three Sandwich Terns and an Arctic Tern were also seen and 34 Little Gulls passed through with another 30 birds feeding at the Patch. 

A Common Seal and two Grey Seals were also seen.

Elsewhere, the Green-winged Teal was showing again on Burrowes Pit and a Great Northern Diver was a new arrival on the New Diggings Pit.

26th Nov

A quiet day with just 14 Little Gulls and 11 Sandwich Terns of note.

A Grey Seal was also seen.

Elsewhere, a drake Green-winged Teal was found on Burrowes shortly before dark.

25th Nov

A handful of birds seen on the land included seven Chiffchaffs, a Dartford Warbler and a Rock Pipit. The sea was very quiet with just a Black-throated Diver and four Little Gulls of any note.

24th Nov

Virtually all the days interest was offshore again where 7.5hrs of seawatching produced a Great Northern Diver, four Fulmars, three Sooty Shearwaters, 495 Kittiwakes, 48 Little Gulls, three Mediterranean Gulls, a Sandwich Tern, an Arctic Skua and 197 Razorbills.

One Porpoise was seen.

23rd Nov

Not a great deal to be seen other than a steady westerly trickle of Little Gulls with 46 birds counted along with five Mediterranean Gulls and a Sandwich Tern. Two Chiffchaffs were seen in the Trapping Area.

Singles of Porpoise and Grey Seal were feeding offshore and a Brown Hare was seen on the land.

22nd Nov

With fine, clear conditions it was much quieter on the sea and there were barely any birds passing overhead. Notable birds on the land included eight Chiffchaffs and five Dartford Warblers. The juvenile Sabine's Gull was feeding at the Patch this afternoon along with four Little Gulls and another 21 birds flew west this morning. Gannets, 11 Mediterranean Gulls and 251 Razorbills also trickled west offshore.

A Porpoise was feeding offshore.

A Clouded Yellow butterfly was seen near the Old Lighthouse.

21st Nov

Another morning of seawatching with strong SSE winds and rain from late morning. There were numerous highlights with five Eiders, four Velvet Scoters, a Black-throated Diver, two Great Northern Divers, two Great White Egrets out to sea, 175 Little Gulls, a Sandwich Tern, four Great Skuas, two Pomarine Skuas, five Little Auks and five Puffins and numbers provided by 33 Teal, 33 Red-throated Divers, 508 Gannets, 1077 Kittiwakes, 132 Guillemots, 1323 Razorbills and 217 'auk' species. The juvenile Sabine's Gull was also feeding offshore again.  

Little Auk Alle alle   Dungeness   21st November 2022   

A Porpoise and a Grey Seal were feeding offshore.

20th Nov

The day started with a fresh SSW wind and some decent seawatching but the wind soon veered into the west and brought a quick end to the passage. Highlights were 88 Shelduck, 24 Shoveler, 97 Pintail, six Velvet Scoter, 53 Red-breasted Mergansers, three Black-throated and one Great Northern Diver, two Sooty Shearwaters, five Grey Plovers, 127 Dunlin, 575 Kittiwakes, 31 Little Gulls, three Sandwich Terns and singles of Great and Arctic Skuas. The Sabine's Gull reappeared in the afternoon when a Little Auk was also seen. Migrants on the land were few and far between but did include four Swallows and an extremely late Sand Martin, a Dartford Warbler and six Goldcrests.  

One Porpoise was seen offshore.

19th Nov

A light NW breeze with some drizzle resulted in a surprisingly good seawatch. Highlights included a Pale-bellied Brent Goose, 14 Gadwall, four Pintail, six Tufted Ducks, three Velvet Scoters, 16 Red-breasted Mergansers, six Black-throated Divers, a Great Northern Diver, 159 Little Gulls, 25 Mediterranean Gulls, five Sandwich Terns and singles of Great and Arctic Skuas. Numbers were provided 354 Dark-bellied Brent Geese, 133 Teal, 1190 Gannets, 1820 Kittiwakes, 1823 Razorbills and 925 'auk' species. A female Eider was also feeding offshore. Three Snipe, three Chiffchaffs, a Firecrest and 13 Goldcrests were seen in the Trapping Area and a Mistle Thrush, two Tree Sparrows, six Bramblings, two Redpolls and 18 Siskin passed overhead.  

Five Porpoises and singles of Common and Grey Seal were seen offshore.

One moth trap was put out at last night and was surprisingly productive with our second-ever Tawny Pinion of note along with a Satellite and a Dark Sword-grass.

Tawny Pinion Lithophane semibrunnea   Dungeness   19th November 2022

18th Nov

Two seawtching sessions produced 270 Gannets, 350 Kittiwakes, seven Little Gulls, 103 Mediterranean Gulls and four Sandwich Terns and the juvenile Sabine's Gull was seen again. A Great White Egret, 40 Golden Plovers, two Redshanks, 150 Stock Doves, 350 Wood Pigeons, nine Skylarks, four Swallows, a Brambling, 23 Redpolls, 60 Goldfinches and a Siskin flew over. There were a few grounded migrants including 13 Chiffchaffs, two Firecrests and 27 Goldcrests, A female Bullfinch was also of note in the Trapping Area and the first of the year and five Dartford Warblers were seen again.

Single Porpoise and Grey Seals were feeding offshore and a Brown Hare was seen on the land.

Large numbers of Fire Bugs are still being seen around the Observatory.

Fire Bugs Pyrrhocoris apterus   Dungeness   18th November 2022

17th Nov

Most of the interest was offshore again with eight Shovelers, a Goldeneye, six Red-breasted Mergansers, a Black-throated Diver, five Little Gulls and the highlight of two Leach's Petrels. A Great White Egret also came in.

One Grey Seal was seen.

16th Nov

The strong winds and heavy rain continues and seawatching remains the only sensible option. Over seven hours of sheltering at the fishing boats eventually produced five Eiders, 207 Common Scoters, seven Black-throated Divers, eight Fulmars, 1427 Gannets, 615 Kittiwakes, 190 Little Gulls, five Mediterranean Gulls, two Arctic Skuas, 11 Sandwich Terns and an Arctic Tern.

A Porpoise and a Grey Seal were seen offshore.

15th Nov

Yet more very wet and windy weather meant a day of seawatching. A continuous nine-hour session from first light produced 19 Shovelers, six Teal, an Eider, a Velvet Scoter, 146 Common Scoters, four Red-breasted Mergansers, a Black-throated Diver, nine Fulmars, nine Sooty Shearwaters, a Manx Shearwaters, 717 Gannets, 244 Kittiwakes, 144 Little Gulls, two Mediterranean Gulls, 11 Sandwich Terns, a Great Skua, a Long-tailed Skua, 141 Razorbills and two Puffins of note.

A Grey Seal and two Porpoises were seen offshore.

The best from the mothtraps was another Palpita vitrealis.

14th Nov

A light SE breeze with heavy cloud saw a a light passage of birds overhead and in the bushes and a decent morning seawatch. The Sabine's Gull was seen again but was much more elusive today. Over three hours of seawatching produced 328 Brent Geese, 23 Shelducks, 17 Shovelers, 28 Wigeon, 25 Pintails, 66 Teal, two Tufted Ducks, three Velvet Scoters, two Red-breasted Mergansers, three Little Gulls, 18 Mediterranean Gulls and yet another Puffin. Overhead passage saw 65 Stock Doves, nine Bramblings, 35 Redpolls and 92 Siskins. Three Dartford Warblers were seen again along with a few grounded migrants including seven Chiffchaffs, 20 Goldcrests, four Fieldfares, 50 Redwings and six Black Redstarts

Two Porpoise and two Grey Seals were feeding offshore.

The moth traps produced our fourth Cosmopolitan of the autumn and a Scarce Umber which was surprisingly only our third record.

Scarce Umber Agriopis aurantaria   Dungeness   14th November 2022

13th Nov

The Sabine's Gull was still showing fantastically well along the shoreline today but there was no sign of the Grey Phalarope. Some movement was seen offshore with 757 Brent Geese, 14 Pintails, three Eider, a Red-breasted Merganser, a Great Northern Diver, six Little Gulls and 34 Mediterranean Gulls. A Woodcock, 15 Chiffchaffs, a Blackcap, three Firecrests, 24 Goldcrests, two Fieldfares and a Mistle Thrush were seen in the bushes and eight Bramblings, five Redpolls and 72 Siskins flew overhead.

Sabine's Gull Xema sabini   juvenile   Dungeness   13th November 2022

A Grey Seal was seen offshore and a Badger spent the evening in the Observatory garden. 

12th Nov

The highlight of the day was a juvenile Sabine's Gull which spent most of the time flying up and down the tideline along the beach. The Grey Phalarope was still present as were the two Arctic Terns and 50 Mediterranean Gulls. Birds passing overhead included 266 Stock Doves, three Swallows, seven Tree Sparrows, seven Bramblings, six Redpolls and 21 Siskins whilst grounded migrants included 16 Chiffchaffs, a Firecest and at least eight Dartford Warblers. A Green Sandpiper was seen at the Long Pits.

Sabine's Gull Xema sabini   juvenile   Dungeness   12th November 2022

A Grey Seal and a Porpoise were feeding offshore and a Brown Hare was seen in the Desert.

11th Nov

Almost all the interest was at the shore again where two Red-breasted Mergansers, two Sooty Shearwaters, a Shag, 12 Little Gulls, 15 Mediterranean Gulls, a Puffin and an Arctic Tern were of note along with the Grey Phalarope. The hybrid Mediterranean x Black-headed Gull was also seen again. Other migrants on the land included four Swallows, three Chiffchaffs, 1050 Starlings, 170 Goldfinches and seven Siskins.

Grey Phalarope Phalaropus fulicarius   Dungeness   11th November 2022

Notable insects in the slightly warmer conditions included Spiked Shieldbug, Ornate Shieldbug, Brassica Bugs and Fire Bugs while the only "macro" in the moth trap was a Bloxworth Snout.

Bloxworth's Snout Hypena obsitalis   Dungeness   11th November 2022
This is our fourth individual this year. 

Spiked Shieldbug Picromerus bidens   Dungeness   11th November 2022

10th Nov

The Grey Phalarope remains offshore and was giving great views but it was otherwise fairly quiet. Two Mediterranean Gulls, two Caspian Gulls and the regular two Arctic Terns were also seen at the fishing boats. Passage overhead included 175 Stock Doves, six Swallows, seven Redpolls, 450 Goldfinches and 17 Siskins. It remains very quiet in the bushes with just a Firecrest of note.

Arctic Tern Sterna paradisaea   first-winter   Dungeness   10th November 2022

A Grey Seal was feeding offshore.

9th Nov

The wet and windy continues and most of the interest was at the fishing boats again where the star of the show was a Grey Phalarope which spent the afternoon feeding just offshore. Other bits and pieces included a Little Gull, two Mediterranean Gulls, an adult Yellow-legged Gull and two Arctic Terns. There was also some visible migration with 51 Stock Doves, six Swallows, a Tree Sparrow, two Bramblings, 21 Redpolls and 14 Siskins and six Chiffchaffs and two Firecrests were seen on the land.

Grey Phalarope Phalaropus fulicarius   Dungeness   9th November 2022

Arctic Tern Sterna paradisaea   adult   Dungeness   9th November 2022
Two late birds are being seen regularly - this is the adult.

8th Nov

The wind and rain continues and virtually restricted any coverage to the sea. Two sessions totaling 7.25 hrs produced an Eider, a Sooty Shearwater, a Manx Shearwater, 1005 Gannets, a Purple Sandpiper, 451 Kittiwakes, seven Little Gulls, three Mediterranean Gulls and 269 Razorbills moving west. Three Caspian Gulls and two Arctic Terns were feeding along the beach.

The only landbirds of any note were 400 Goldfinches.

A Porpoise and a Grey Seal were feeding offshore.

7th Nov

Yet more strong winds and heavy rain more or less restricted observations to the sea where two Gadwall, an Eider, a Great Northern Diver, four Sooty Shearwaters, a Manx Shearwater, two Leach's Petrels, 1600 Gannets, three Purple Sandpipers, 642 Kittiwakes, four Little Gulls, at least four Caspian Gulls, three Yellow-legged Gulls, 25 Sandwich Terns, a Pomarine Skua and 302 Razorbills. The Siberian Stonechat was not seen.

A Grey Seal was feeding offshore.

6th Nov

More thoroughly miserable weather resulted in a very good seawatch but observations on the land were almost pointless although the Siberian Stonechat reappeared when the weather improved slightly in the afternoon. Only one Dartford Warbler was seen at the Point today. Over eight hours seawatching produced a Black-throated and two Great Northern Divers, 2505 Gannets, 1969 Kittiwakes, 102 Little Gulls, six Mediterranean Gulls, 31 Sandwich Terns, two each of Great and Pomarine Skuas, an Arctic Skua, 426 Razorbills and a Puffin. A Purple Sandpiper, five Caspian Gulls and an adult hybrid Mediterranean Gull x Black-headed Gull were also feeding along the tideline at the fishing boats. 

Mediterranean x Black-headed Gull hybrid   Dungeness   6th November 2022

A large Tuna breached once in front of one lucky observer.

Singles of Porpoise and Grey Seal were also seen.

5th Nov

The day started with clear skies but rain and strong winds arrived fairly quickly. The early morning saw a reasonable movement of birds overhead including 50 Stock Doves, 3450 Wood Pigeons, 14 Swallows, two Rock Pipits, 12 Bramblings, 70 Redpolls, 300 Goldfinches and 30 Siskins and a very surprising record of a Hoopoe which was not seen again after the original sighting. However, this was easily surpassed by the finding of a superb Siberian Stonechat at the eastern end of the Lorry Road. It then spent the day in a fairly small area but the rapidly deteriorating weather made watching and photographing it very difficult. A remarkable seven Dartford Warblers around the Point were also noteworthy.

Siberian Stonechat Saxicola maurus   Dungeness   5th November 2022

There was also a steady westerly movement of birds offshore with two Eiders, six Red-breasted Mergansers, 950 Kittiwakes, five Little Gulls and an Arctic Tern of note. 

A Brown Hare was also seen.