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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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31st Mar

Todays highlight was the first snow of the "winter". Very little to be seen with just three Mediterranean Gulls of note offshore.

Two Porpoises and two Grey Seals were seen offshore.

30th Mar

A fairly quiet day on the land which produced six Chiffchaffs, 84 Redwings, two Song Thrushes, seven Black Redstarts, six Wheatears and 45 Siskins and also the first Blackcap of the year.

The sea was also fairly quiet but nearly three hours of watching this morning produced 448 Brent Geese, a Pochard, four Red-breasted Mergansers and 19 Sandwich Terns. A check at the fishing boats this afternoon produced a Polish-ringed first-winter Caspian Gull.

Caspian Gull Larus cachinnans   first-winter    Dungeness   30th March 2022 

Seven Porpoises, a Grey Seal and a Common Seal were also seen offshore.

29th Mar

A murky, damp and breezy morning saw a small arrival of migrants with a notable increase in Robin numbers along with a Merlin, two Fieldfares, ten Redwings, a Mistle Thrush, six Black Redstarts, two Wheatears and a White Wagtail whilst a trickle of birds overhead included a Buzzard, a Redshank and 21 Siskins.

Seawatching saw a steady of trickle of mainly wildfowl moving east including two Garganey, 38 Shovelers, five Pintails, eight Teal, 548 Common Scoters, nine Red-breasted Mergansers and 50 Sandwich Terns

A check of a few gulls roosting at the fishing gulls this afternoon produced a second-winter Caspian Gull - intriguingly it is metal-ringed and from what can be seen from some images of it it is likely to be of Czech origin. 

Caspian Gull Larus cachinnans   Dungeness   29th March 2022

At least 12 Porpoises and singles of both Common and Grey Seal were seen offshore and two Badgers were seen on the land.

28th Mar

A misty/foggy day which produced very little in the way of migrants. The best of the grounded migrants were eight Chiffchaffs, 15 Redwings, five Black Redstarts and four Wheatears and five Bramblings and 57 Siskins passed overhead. The sea was also very quiet although 40 Mediterranean Gulls were of note along with 12 Shovelers and five Pintails.

27th Mar

There was a small arrival of grounded migrants with 12 Chiffchaffs, 65 Redwings and seven Black Redstarts while birds continue to pass overhead including a Little Ringed Plover, six Grey Wagtails and another 65 Siskins. The sea was very quiet.

Two Brown Hares were seen in the Desert and 12 Porpoises were feeding offshore. 

26th Mar

Two species which have featured in remarkable numbers so far this spring have been Garganey and Siskin and today saw another record spring day total of 411 Siskins moving south-east throughout the morning. Other migrants were a bit limited but did include a Little Ringed Plover, two Merlins, 70 Jackdaws, seven Chiffchaffs, a Firecrest, a White Wagtail, a Rock Pipit, 150 Chaffinches and a Brambling.

It was very slow offshore but a flock of four Garganey was of note and brings the spring total to 94 birds. Also of note were three Mediterranean Gulls and just six Sandwich Terns.

Six Porpoises were feeding offshore.

25th Mar

Most of the days interest was in an overhead movement of finches with another very high count of 140 Siskins of particular note along with 55 Chaffinches, nine Bramblings, a Crossbill and 16 Goldfinches and a Rock Pipit and 75 Jackdaws. The rarest bird of the day was a female Bullfinch in the Trapping Area. It was very quiet offshore.

Three Porpoises were seen.

24th Mar

A lovely day but very quiet on the migration front. The best on the land were a Merlin, 57 Jackdaws, nine Chiffchaffs, a Firecrest, seven Song Thrushes, three Black Redstarts and two Bramblings. The best on the sea were 370 Brent Geese, two Red-breasted Mergansers and five Mediterranean Gulls. A Great White Egret was also feeding at the Long Pits.

At least 26 Porpoises were feeding offshore.

23rd Mar

A day with no wind and clear conditions overhead meant there was very little in the way of grounded migrants and little to be seen offshore in comparison to recent days. The highlights on the land were three Buzzards, four Black Redstarts and a Wheatear. It was very hazy offshore but the morning seawatching session still produced 851 Brent Geese, 23 Shoveler, 29 Teal, 568 Common Scoters, two Mediterranean Gulls and 23 Sandwich Terns of interest.

At least 31 Porpoises and a Grey Seal were feeding offshore and a Badger was feeding in the back garden this evening.

Only five moths were caught overnight but they did include a Satellite which is a fairly scarce visitor to the traps. 

22nd Mar

Another excellent day for offshore passage with the Garganey extravaganza continuing and another 25 passing through along with 159 Pintail, 15 Velvet Scoters, two Black-necked Grebes, five Avocet, 16 Little Gulls and 84 Sandwich Terns of note. There were also 1869 Brent Geese, 57 Shovelers, seven Gadwall, 15 Teal, three Eiders, 1277 Common Scoters, 347 Red-throated Divers, five Bar-tailed Godwits and five Mediterranean Gulls making up the numbers. A Red Kite flew west along the beach and other birds passing overhead included 30 Chaffinches, two Bramblings and five Siskins. Grounded migrants remain fairly scarce but a Jack Snipe, Firecrest and a total of ten Black Redstarts were of note.

Ten Porpoises and a Grey Seal were feeding offshore.

A Comma was seen at the Long Pits.

21st Mar

A spectacular day of offshore movement involving mostly wildfowl. Of particular note were a new second-best day total of 32 Garganeys (also see entry for 21st Mar), 18 Gadwall, a third best-ever spring day total of 369 Pintails. 19 Eider, 14 Velvet Scoters, two Long-tailed Ducks, four Little Gulls and four Mediterranean Gulls. A party of six Canada Geese along the beach was also an unusual sighting and of note in terms of numbers were 3600 Brent Geese, 74 Shoveler, 45 Teal, 1041 Common Scoters and 59 Sandwich Terns. Coverage on the land was limited but a Red Kite flew over the beach where three Black Redstarts, three Wheatears and a Rock Pipit were also seen.

Canada Geese Branta canadensis   Dungeness   21st March 2022
An uncommon species on seawatches.

Garganey Spatula querquedula with Brent Geese   Dungeness 21st March 2022. 

Pintail Anas acuta  with Brent Geese   Dungeness 21st March 2022

Pintail Anas acuta  with Brent Geese   Dungeness 21st March 2022

Pintail Anas acuta  with a couple of Wigeon   Dungeness 21st March 2022

Ten Porpoise and three Grey Seals were seen offshore.

20th Mar

More easterly winds resulted in another day of seawatching. Nearly nine hours of observations produced 2371 Brent Geese with a single Pale-bellied Brent Goose, 53 Shoveler, 16 Gadwall, 71 Pintail, 88 Teal, a Scaup, an Eider, 321 Common Scoters, 14 Red-breasted Mergansers, 17 Grey Plovers and 143 Sandwich Terns. A Buzzard and 17 Siskins flew over the area and nine Chiffchaffs and three Wheatears were found on the land.

Fifteen Porpoises and a Grey Seal were feeding offshore.

19th Mar

A fresh and cold NE wind limited observations on the land and seawatching was also fairly quiet but did produce two Garganey of note along with 14 Teal, five Shoveler, two Pintail and 427 Gannets during the morning. Four Chiffchaffs and a Wheatear were seen on the land.

Twelve Porpoises and a Grey Seal were feeding offshore. 

18th Mar

With crystal clear skies and a cold NW breeze during the morning there was not a great deal to be seen. The only birds of note from nearly fours of seawatching were a Slavonian Grebe, two Mediterranean Gulls and 14 Sandwich Terns. The best on the land were eight Chiffchaffs, 31 Redwings and three Bramblings.

At least 22 Porpoises were feeding offshore in the calm conditions this morning.

In the warmer sheltered spots on the land three Commas, nine Peacocks and three Small Tortoiseshells were found.

17th Mar

On what felt like a fairly quiet day there was actually quite a lot seen. Of particular note were the continuing presence of the Iceland Gull at the Patch while 551 Brent Geese, six Teal, 11 Eider, 30 Knot, seven Mediterranean Gulls and 65 Sandwich Terns also passed by offshore.

A bit of overhead passage included ten Buzzards, 17 Jackdaws, 3580 Starlings, 61 Chaffinches, a Brambling and six Siskins while grounded migrants included eight Chiffchaffs, 32 Redwings, seven Black Redstarts and five Wheatears

Six Porpoises were feeding offshore and a Brown Hare was seen on the land.

A Brimstone butterfly was seen in the Trapping Area. 

16th Mar

With a light south-east wind the highlight of the seawatch this morning was our second-best ever day total of 31 Garganey passing east along with 621 Brent Geese and 227 Common Scoters but variety was otherwise limited to six Teal, 19 Pintail, an Eider, a Red-breasted Merganser, 149 Red-throated Divers, 60 Sanderlings, seven Mediterranean Gulls and 14 Sandwich Terns. Although grounded migrants were scarce there was an excellent movement overhead with a record spring day total of 202 Siskin (previous best was 116 on 6th April 1980) as well as three Fieldfares, a White Wagtail, 295 Chaffinches and ten Bramblings.

Six Porpoises and a Grey Seal were feeding offshore. 

15th Mar

A calm, sunny day with a handful of birds on the land but very quiet offshore. Of note on the land were a Woodcock, a Merlin, two Firecrests, four Black Redstarts, five Wheatears and three Bramblings. The best of the seawatch were just 19 Pintail, four Velvet Scoters and three Red-breasted Mergansers and the Iceland Gull was seen at the Patch again.

Wheatear Oenanthe oenanthe   Dungeness   15th March 2022

Porpoises showed well in the flat sea with at least 12 seen. 

14th Mar

A fine morning saw a small arrival of birds on the land with the highlights being 11 Black Redstarts along with a Merlin, nine Chiffchaffs, three Firecrests, 62 Redwings, two Bramblings and two Siskins of note. It was very quiet offshore with just an Eider and 15 Mediterranean Gulls passing through and a brief reappearance of the Iceland Gull.

Black Redstart Phoenicurus ochrurus   Dungeness   14th March 2022
One of two fine males ringed today.
Two Porpoises were feeding offshore.

One of the more unusual finds today was that of a full grown Mediterranean Stick-insect sunning itself on the wall of the Bird Observatory.
Mediterranean Stick-insect   Bacillus rossius   Dungeness   14th March 2022

13th Mar

Fresh southerly winds at first meant more seawatching but passage seems to be dwindling now after several days of similar weather. Over four hours this morning 492 Brent Geese, two Shovelers, five Eider, 226 Common Scoters, a Red-breasted Merganser, 22 Fulmars, 823 Gannets, 302 Kittiwakes, four Little Gulls, ten Mediterranean Gulls, 22 Sandwich Terns and an Arctic Skua. The first Wheatear of the spring was seen on the beach but the only other interest were a single Firecrest and two Black Redstarts.

The highlight of the day was probably a pod of seven Bottle-nose Dolphins which passed east close inshore in the morning. Four Porpoises were also seen.

12th Mar

Yet more southerly winds saw another large push of Brent Geese up-channel with 2370 counted along with 104 Mediterranean Gulls but the variety of other species involved was reduced with three Velvet Scoters, two Red-breasted Mergansers and a single Sandwich Tern of interest. A good search of the land produced ten Chiffchaffs, four Firecrests, a Mistle Thrush, 14 Stonechats, three Grey Wagtails and a White Wagtail.

Seven Porpoises were feeding offshore.

Two Peacock butterflies were seen.

11th Mar

Virtually all the coverage was offshore in continuing south-south-east winds and rain from late morning. Numbers were provided by 808 Brent Geese, 22 Shovelers, 67 Teal, 174 Red-throated Divers, 22 Fulmars, 2004 Gannets, 780 Kittiwakes and 1432 auks. More notable records included two Gadwall, 30 Pintail, six Tufted Ducks, an excellent flock of 34 Black-tailed Godwits, two Little Gulls and 27 Mediterranean Gulls. Three Caspian Gulls and a Yellow-legged Gull were also roosting on the beach. 

A Belgian-ringed Chiffchaff was caught late in the day and a Firecrest was also seen.

Two Porpoises were feeding offshore.

10th Mar

A fresh south-easterly wind continued today and most of the interest was offshore although even here it was not particularly exciting. A total of 5.5hrs of seawatching producing 469 Brent Geese, three Mallard, 11 Pintails, 149 Common Scoters, 161 Red-throated Divers, 82 Oystercatchers, 299 Kittiwakes, four Mediterranean Gulls and three Sandwich Terns. Migrants on the land included 27 Skylarks, six Chiffchaffs, two Firecrests, two Fieldfares, 25 Chaffinches and four Siskins.  

Three Porpoises and a Grey Seal were feeding offshore.

9th Mar

The wind was still coming from the south-east today and large numbers of birds continued to move up-channel. Over eight hours of watching produced a Light-bellied Brent Goose, 2197 Dark-bellied Brent Geese, 34 Shoveler, 22 Gadwall, four Pintail, 40 Teal, ten Eider, four Velvet Scoters, 312 Common Scoters, six Red-breasted Merganser, 290 Red-throated Divers, a Black-throated Diver, 11 Fulmars, five Curlews, an excellent total of 2819 Kittiwakes, 43 Mediterranean Gulls, 15 Sandwich Terns and 1485 auks. It remains fairly quiet on the land but a Long-eared Owl in the Trapping Area was an obvious highlight and four Chiffchaffs, a Firecrest and a Siskin were also noted.

Four Porpoises and a Grey Seal were seen offshore.

8th Mar

With a strong south-east blowing nearly all the interest today was offshore. Over 8.25 hours of seawatching produced 2321 Brent Geese, 11 Greylag Geese, 35 Shoveler, two Gadwall, 44 Wigeon, 146 Pintail, 48 Teal, 12 Tufted Ducks, two Eider, two Velvet Scoters, 162 Red-throated Divers, 17 Dunlin, 121 Kittiwakes, a Mediterranean Gull, 94 Common Gulls, two Sandwich Terns and a Great Skua. It was very quiet on the land with just a Merlin and a Chiffchaff of note.

Three Porpoises were seen offshore.

7th Mar

A cold day with a strong easterly wind saw a little bit of movement on the sea with two Pintail, a drake Eider, 17 Fulmar, 508 Gannets, 71 Kittiwakes, a Mediterranean Gull and a Sandwich Tern in two hours this morning. Hard going on the land with just three Chiffchaffs and two Firecrests of note.

Four Porpoises were feeding offshore.

6th Mar

A day with strong and cold north-easterly winds with little to be seen on both land and at sea. The best from 2.5hours of seawatching were eight Fulmars, a Mediterranean Gull and 15 Sandwich Terns. A Merlin was also seen.

Five Porpoises were seen offshore.

5th Mar

There was a good mix of grounded migrants and birds passing overhead this morning with three Snipe, three Firecrests, 760 Starlings, 20 Blackbirds, 12 Fieldfares, 40 Redwings, five Song Thrushes and 150 Chaffinches and a surprising three flocks of Grey Herons totalling 15 birds heading east. Offshore passage was a bit slow but eventually produced 60 Brent Geese, 58 Common Scoters, two Mediterranean Gulls, nine Sandwich Terns and two Great Skuas.

Two Porpoises were feeding offshore. 

4th Mar

There was a bit of visible migration this morning with 246 Starlings, four Fieldfares, 112 Redwings, two Song Thrushes, two Bramblings and a Siskin passing overhead while three Firecrests were seen in the bushes. It was quiet for offshore passage but 480 Great Crested Grebes were seen on the sea and the regular Iceland Gull was seen at the Patch again.

A "nocmig" recorder was used overnight and produced a Hawfinch of note along with a Moorhen, a Lapwing, two Golden Plovers, three Ringed Plovers, a Dunlin, 91  Blackbirds calls, ten Fieldfare calls, 1464 Redwing calls and 256 Song Thrushes calls. 

Three Porpoises were feeding offshore.

3rd Mar

A Woodlark gave good views for a while between the Sanctuary and the Retreat this morning and there was a sizable arrival of Stonechats with at least 17 birds present although many of these appeared to be returning breeding birds. Other migrants on the land were fairly scarce but included 20 Jackdaws, five Chiffchaffs and two Goldcrests. A Black Redstart and a Grey Wagtail were seen at the sewage works again and at least 81 Pied Wagtails came in to roost inside the power station complex this evening. Seven hours of seawatching was also productive with 1942 Brent Geese, ten Shelduck, 12 Shoveler, 12 Pintail, 66 Common Scoter, 143 Red-throated Divers, 133 Kittiwakes, seven Mediterranean Gulls, three Sandwich Terns and 1128 auks passing through. The Iceland Gull was seen at the Patch again. 

After dark large numbers of Blackbirds, Redwings and Song Thrushes and a few waders were passing overhead.

Two Brown Hares were seen in the Desert and three Porpoises and a Grey Seal were feeding offshore.

2nd Mar

Offshore movement picked up a bit of steam today with nearly six hours of watching producing 860 Brent Geese, eight Shovelers, 14 Wigeon, an excellent total of 186 Pintails, 14 Teal, six Fulmars, 307 Gannets, 38 Sanderlings, 127 Kittiwakes, three Mediterranean Gulls and 1725 auks and the regular second-winter Iceland Gull again. There was also a bit of interest on the land with two displaying Great Spotted Woodpeckers, 11 Jackdaws, a visit from two immigrant Ravens which were rapidly chased off by the resident pair, six Chiffchaffs, two Firecrests, a Goldcrest, two Stonechats, 21 Chaffinches and 12 Goldfinches.

Nine Porpoises and a Grey Seal were feeding offshore. 

1st Mar

A handful of migrants on the land included two Chiffchaffs, the first Firecrest of the year and a Song Thrush. Seawatching was fairly slow with 149 Brent Geese, three Shelduck, 184 Kittiwakes and a Little Gull of interest along with one of the regular Iceland Gulls.

Three Porpoises were feeding offshore.

28th Feb

Most of the interest was in a continuing trickle of birds moving east offshore including 28 Brent Geese, eight Teal, two Shovelers, two Velvet Scoters, 12 Fulmars, 288 Kittiwakes, eight Mediterranean Gulls, a Sandwich Tern, a Great Skua (west) and 972 auks.

A Porpoise was feeding offshore.