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Local weather


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28th Apr

The seemingly endless cold and strong north-easterly winds continue. The lack of migrants on the land continues but seawatching was much more productive. The only interest on the land was the two Ring Ouzels at the north end of the Desert again and 30 Swallows, a House Martin and a Siskin flew over. Almost ten hours of watching the sea produced a Black-throated Diver, a Great Northern Diver, 329 Bar-tailed Godwits, 66 Whimbrel, a Knot, two Little Terns, ten Great Skuas, 18 Pomarine Skua (all this afternoon) and 16 Arctic Skuas.

The sea also provided some major excitement in the form of a pod of at least six White-beaked Dolphins which passed east in the morning as well as ten Porpoise and two Grey Seals.

27th Apr

The fresh and cold NE wind continues with very few birds on the land but the offshore passage was maintained although in smaller numbers. Twelve hours of seawatching produced four Red-breasted Mergansers, two Manx Shearwaters, a Red-necked Grebe, 466 Gannets, 12 Grey Plover, 247 Whimbrel, 637 Bar-tailed Godwits, six Knot, 17 Little Gulls, 40 Little Terns, 319 Common Terns, 67 Arctic Terns, 1031 "commic" Terns, a Black Tern, six Great Skuas and 13 Arctic Skuas.

Twenty Porpoise and two Grey Seals were seen offshore and a Brown Hare in the Desert.

A single Grizzled Skipper was also seen.

26th Apr

Another day of clear skies and a cold NE wind meant a few birds on the land including a Hobby and two Ring Ouzels. The morning seawatch saw a good variety of species but numbers were fairly small but a much heavier passage took place in the afternoon. Notable species and totals included 14 Shelduck, nine Teal, ten Velvet Scoters, 1187 Common Scoters, two Black-throated Divers, two Manx Shearwaters, six Grey Plovers, a second-best ever day total of 684 Whimbrel, 1171 Bar-tailed Godwit, 131 Little Gulls, seven Little Terns, 849 Common Terns, 596 Arctic Terns, 4301 "Commic" Terns, two Black Terns, 13 Great Skuas, 29 Arctic Skuas and a Pomarine Skua.

Ten Porpoises and two Grey Seals were feeding offshore.

A Grizzled Skipper and a Holly Blue were of note along with at least 220 Small Coppers.

Elsewhere, a Black Kite was seen on the RSPB Reserve.

25th Apr

Seawatching continues to dominate proceedings with a strong ENE wind and clear skies but barely a migrant to be seen on the land. Of note offshore were three Velvet Scoters, a Black-throated Diver, three Manx Shearwater, 140 Whimbrel, 611 Bar-tailed Godwits, 140 Little Gulls, four Little Terns, 563 Common Terns, 277 Arctic Terns, four Black Terns, four Great Skuas, two Pomarine Skuas and 27 Arctic Skuas and a Puffin

Fifteen Porpoises and three Grey Seals were feeding offshore.

24th Apr

The highlight of the day was our second Black Kite of the spring but other than this most of the interest was offshore. Over 11 hours of seawatching produced 25 Teal, four Red-breasted Mergansers, two Manx Shearwaters, two Grey Herons, four Grey Plovers, 159 Whimbrel, 709 Bar-tailed Godwits, a Wood Sandpiper, 33 Little Gulls, six Mediterranean Gulls, three Great Skuas and ten Arctic Skuas. Other birds of interest included three Sand Martins, three Yellow Wagtails and two Siskins.

Black Kite Milvus migrans   Dungeness   24th April 2022

Butterflies of note included three Brimstones and a Grizzled Skipper.

At least 15 Porpoises and three Grey Seals were feeding offshore

23rd Apr

Another day of strong NE winds and most of the observations coming from seawatching. Highlights included a Velvet Scoter, a Manx Shearwater, a Great Northern Diver on the sea, a party of six Avocets, 21 Grey Plover, 72 Whimbrel, 2507 Bar-tailed Godwits, six Knot, 32 Sanderling, 77 Little Gulls, 750 Common Terns, seven Little Terns, a Black Tern, seven Great Skuas and 24 Arctic Skuas.

Avocets Recurvirostra avosetta   Dungeness   23rd April 2022

Fifteen Porpoises were showing well offshore as well as three Grey Seals.

Grey Seal Halichoerus grypus   Dungeness   23rd April 2022 

22nd Apr

With little change in the weather seawatching was the order of the day again with nearly 11 hours of coverage. Highlights were four Velvet Scoters, an excellent total of 103 Grey Plovers, 111 Whimbrel, another 1576 Bar-tailed Godwit, 20 Little Gulls, 46 Arctic Terns, a Great Skua and eight Arctic Skuas. Migrants on the land were almost non-existent but did include a male Hen Harrier.

Last nights' Nocmig recording (perhaps not surprisingly) showed 21 passes by flocks of Bar-tailed Godwit but also of note was our first Common Sandpiper of the spring.

At least 20 Porpoises and a Grey Seal were feeding offshore.

21st Apr

With fresh to strong north-east winds most of the interest was offshore again. Almost full day coverage was achieved with the highlights being five Black-throated Divers and an excellent total of 2491 Bar-tailed Godwits with other bits and pieces including 307 Common Scoters, 31 Whimbrel, five Knot, seven Little Gulls, five Mediterranean Gulls, two Great Skuas, a Pomarine Skua and three Arctic Skuas. Terns were surprisingly low in number but did include 73 Arctics. Coverage of the land was limited but one observer saw a Red Kite flying over the Trapping Area.

Around 40 Porpoises were feeding offshore again along with a Grey Seal and two Brown Hares were seen on the land.

20th Apr

A bright, sunny but virtually birdless day. Seven hours of seawatching recorded just seven Whimbrel, seven Bar-tailed Godwits, 156 Sandwich Terns and two Arctic Skuas of interest. The merest trickle of birds overhead included six Swallows and two Yellow Wagtails but grounded migrants were virtually non-existent except for a small party of Wheatears around the Observatory.

Two Grey Seals and 25 Porpoises were feeding offshore.

Two Terrapins were seen at the Long Pits. 

A Grizzled Skipper was seen in the Trapping Area.

19th Apr

A few migrants arrived on the land and included a male Pied Flycatcher at the Long Pits and a Ring Ouzel over the Observatory of note along with two Buzzards, a Merlin, 17 Willow Warblers, a Yellow Wagtail and two Siskins. It was very slow offshore with just 26 Mediterranean Gulls and a Great Skua of any interest.

Thirty Porpoises and a Grey Seal were feeding offshore again.

18th Apr

Another calm but clear morning and still very few commoner migrants on the land although two Yellow Wagtails and a Tree Pipit were new for the year as was an Osprey which came in at the Lifeboat Station and then head north this afternoon. There was a decent trickle of birds moving east offshore this morning with 327 Brent Geese, six Velvet Scoters, 228 Common Scoters, two Red-breasted Mergansers, 51 Whimbrel, three Great Skuas and seven  Arctic Skuas. Numbers were much reduced in the afternoon but a Pomarine Skua and a Puffin flew east and 60 Mediterranean Gulls flew west.

The impressive numbers of Porpoises continue to feed offshore with 40 present and a Grey Seal was also seen.

Three Grizzled Skippers were seen.

17th Apr

The clear highlight of today was a Black Kite which spent a couple of hours this morning flying around the Point and even landing for a time in the Desert, before heading off north-east. Other migrants on the land were almost non-existent but did include a Jay. Nearly ten hours of seawatching produced three Garganey, 59 Shoveler, six Pintails, 28 Velvet Scoters, 636 Common Scoters, 12 Red-breasted Mergansers, six Black-throated Divers, 118 Whimbrels, 11 Little Gulls, 17 Mediterranean Gulls, 611 Sandwich Terns, five Little Terns and nine Arctic Skuas.

Thirty Porpoise and a Grey Seal were feeding offshore, a Brown Hare was seen in the Desert and a Badger came into the Observatory garden this evening.

An example of the rare beetle Hister quadrimaculatus was found in the Moat.

16th Apr

Seawatching provided of the interest today with 36 Shovelers, two Pintail, two Goldeneyes, 211 Bar-tailed Godwits, 50 Arctic Terns, three Great Skuas and three Arctic Skuas of note. Four Little Egrets and a Redpoll also flew over and a Coal Tit was heard in the Trapping Area.

Around 30 Porpoises were feeding offshore.

Two Light Orange Underwing moths were seen at the Long Pits.

15th Apr

Highlights on the land were a wing-tagged Red Kite, a Coal Tit, a singing Grasshopper Warbler and a Redstart whilst seawatching produced just a Black-throated Diver, 37 Bar-tailed Godwits, nine Mediterranean Gulls, a Great Skua and two Arctic Skuas of any note.

There was a minimum of 52 Porpoises feeding offshore along with two Grey Seals.

Among a few insects seen were our first Geotomus petiti shieldbug of the year and singles of Brimstone and Grizzled Skipper butterflies.

Geotomus petiti   Dungeness   15th April 2022

14th Apr

A very quiet day on both land and sea. A Black-throated Diver, six Mediterranean Gulls and 30 Sandwich Terns were the best from the sea. A small arrival of migrants on the land included 25 Willow Warblers, 18 Blackcaps, eight Whitethroats, seven Bramblings and a Redpoll.

At least 40 Porpoises were feeding offshore.

13th Apr

No doubt about the bird of the day when a Red-breasted Flycatcher was found by David Bunney in his garden. It gave excellent views at times through the afternoon for the gathering of locals. This was a totally unexpected bird and over a month earlier than any other Kent record. Other migrants seen during the day included five Swallows, five Willow Warblers, five Whitethroats and a Ring Ouzel. A Buzzard and a Merlin were also seen.

Red-breasted Flycatcher Ficedula parva   Dungeness   13th April 2022

Seawatching was fairly quiet but over five hours of watching produced 208 Brent Geese, five Red-breasted Mergansers, two Little Gulls, 197 Sandwich Terns, seven Great Skua, 12 Arctic Skuas and a very early Pomarine Skua.

Although the sea was quiet for birds it provided the mammalian highlight of the day with a pod of at least five White-beaked Dolphins along with ten Porpoises and a Grey Seal. A Brown Hare also seen on the land.

12th Apr

Seawatching was quieter than yesterday but still good with 7.5hrs of observation producing six Gadwall, 15 Velvet Scoters, a Black-throated Diver, four Manx Shearwaters, 92 Whimbrel, 16 Mediterranean Gulls, 20 Little Gulls, seven Little Terns, a Great Skua and 34 Arctic Skuas of note. The bulk of the passage consisted of 1320 Common Scoters, 297 Gannets, another very high count of 1584 Sandwich Terns, 158 Common Terns and 374 auks.

It remains very quiet on the land although a Redstart in the trapping area was new for the year and six Crossbill flew over.

Six Porpoises and singles of Common and Grey Seal were feeding offshore and a Badger was feeding in the Observatory garden this evening.

11th Apr

With winds coming from the south-east today all the interest was offshore and where 13 hours of coverage was achieved. A spectacular passage occurred and of particular note were 13 Garganey (taking the spring total to remarkable 111 individuals), 72 Velvet Scoters, two Avocets, 14 Little Gulls, 29 Mediterranean Gulls, seven Little Terns, 24 Arctic Terns and 23 Arctic Skuas. Numbers were provided by 40 Shelduck, 315 Shovelers, 47 Gadwalls, 123 Pintail, 202 Teal, 1672 Common Scoters, 30 Red-breasted Mergansers, 1194 Gannets, 277 Whimbrels, 124 Kittiwakes, 2898 Sandwich Terns (a new spring day record), 235 Common Terns and 687 auks species.

A singing Reed Warbler at the Long Pits was our first of the year..

Fifteen Porpoises were feeding offshore and a Badger was seen in the Observatory garden again this evening.

10th Apr

A calm, clear morning saw a decent arrival of migrants on the land and birds moving east offshore throughout the day. Of note on the land were 37 Willow Warblers, 25 Chiffchaffs, the first Sedge Warbler of the year and 15 Blackcaps while five Swallows, a Brambling and 22 Siskins passed overhead. Over 11 hours of seawatching from 0700hrs produced two Garganey, ten Velvet Scoters, 945 Common Scoters, 232 Red-throated Divers, a Great Northern Diver, 916 Gannets, 148 Whimbrels, five Mediterranean Gulls, 155 Little Gulls, 1088 Sandwich Terns, 53 Common Terns, two Great Skuas and eight Arctic Skuas.

At least 12 Porpoises were feeding offshore where a Grey Seal was also seen and a Stoat was hunting in the Moat.

9th Apr

Not a great deal to be seen on a cold and breezy day. A Great White Egret came in over the Fishing Boats, two Buzzards flew over the Long Pits and a Merlin was seen at the Point. Three Willow Warblers and 12 Chiffchaffs were seen in the bushes and a Brambling and 14 Siskin also flew over.

Five Porpoises were seen offshore and a Badger was seen in the Observatory garden at first light.

8th Apr

The wind finally dropped this morning and allowed a small arrival of migrants on the land and a few seabirds continued to trickle east. The highlights on the land were our first Willow Warblers of the spring and 20 Chiffchaffs, three Blackcaps and 20 Robins. Two Bramblings also flew over. Numbers of birds moving offshore were generally small but did include our first Common Terns of the year, four Mediterranean Gulls, two Little Gulls and a decent total of 13 Arctic Skuas.

Willow Warbler Phylloscopus trochilus   Dungeness   8th April 2022

At least 15 Porpoises were feeding offshore.

7th Apr

More strong winds and rain made observations difficult with seawatching the best option. Even here it was hard-going but over five hours of watching eventually produced an Eider, 1097 Common Scoters, seven Manx Shearwaters and 593 Gannets. A most-unexpected Sooty Shearwater also which passed west this afternoon which was only the fourth April record.

Two Porpoises were seen. 

6th Apr

A day of strong south-westerly winds with frequent rain meant that seawatching was the main option. Over six hours of watching produced 297 Brent Geese, 13 Velvet and 819 Common Scoters, three Red-breasted Mergansers, 14 Fulmars, a Manx Shearwater, three Great Skuas and two Arctic Skuas of note. It was virtually birdless on the land.

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

5th Apr

A very quiet day with three Pintail and 32 Sandwich Terns offshore, two Teal and a Jack Snipe at the Long Pits and two Swallows over the Point being about the only birds of note.

Two Porpoises and a Common Seal were seen offshore.

4th Apr

With a strong WSW wind blowing most of the interest was offshore with birds moving mainly east and passerines arriving from the south. Over six hours of seawatching produced 588 Brent Geese, six Velvet Scoters, 563 Common Scoters, two Mediterranean Gulls and 20 Sandwich Terns. Birds coming in from the south included a House Martin, a Swallow, 717 Meadow Pipits and 90 Linnets.

Four Porpoises were seen offshore.

3rd Apr

A cold northerly breeze for most of the day which saw a trickle of movement offshore and a handful of migrants on the land. The highlight on the land was the first Swallow of the year along with four Buzzards, a Merlin, five Chiffchaffs, 14 Redwings, 25 Robins, six Black Redstarts, three Wheatears and a Brambling. Seawatching produced two Pintails, eight Red-breasted Mergansers, six Mediterranean Gulls and 32 Sandwich Terns of note.

Four Porpoises and a Grey Seal were feeding offshore and a Badger visited the Observatory garden again this evening.

2nd Apr

A cold and windy day. Seawatching produced 352 Gannets, five Little Gulls and 70 Sandwich Terns. Eight Chiffchaffs, a Fieldfare, a Mistle Thrush, five Black Redstarts, six Wheatears, two Bramblings and 17 Siskins of note.

Two Porpoises and a Grey Seal were feeding offshore.

1st Apr

The most significant event of the day was waking up to a light covering of snow with snow flurries continuing through the morning. Several seawatching sessions eventually produced 121 Brent Geese, three Shelducks, three Teal, eight Red-breasted Mergansers, 62 Fulmars, 1237 Gannets, six Little Gulls and 82 Sandwich Terns. It was very quiet on the land.

A Porpoise and a Grey Seal were feeding offshore.