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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

A stiff easterly wind brought a reasonable movement of birds offshore but it remains very quiet on the land. Nearly four hours of seawatching produced 86 Brent Geese, 63 Shelducks, 22 Shovelers, eight Teal, a Pintail, five Eider, 662 Common Scoters, four Red-breasted Mergansers, an Avocet, two Little Gulls, five Mediterranean Gulls, 61 Sandwich Terns and six Common Terns of note. Still quiet on the land with three Egyptian Geese in the Desert, a Merlin, ten Chiffchaffs, two Blackcaps, two Song Thrushes and two Siskins being the best on offer. 

Seven Porpoises and a Grey Seal were feeding offshore.

30th Mar

A sunny, calm day but with little to be seen. The sea was very disappointing with just over two hours of watching in the morning producing just 311 Common Scoters, eight Little Gulls, two Mediterranean Gulls and 27 Sandwich Terns of note. Eight Chiffchaffs, a Blackcap, a Firecrest, two Wheatears, eight Goldfinches and two Siskins were the best the land could offer.

Four Porpoises were feeding offshore.

Of note from elsewhere a White Stork flew over the RSPB Reserve before heading NE and over Lade.

29th Mar

More seawatching again today with 4.5hrs of observation producing 200 Brent Geese, three Shoveler, 24 Pintail, 1346 Common Scoters, seven Red-breasted Mergansers, six Little Gulls, three Mediterranean Gulls, 60 Sandwich Terns, three Great Skuas, six Arctic Skuas, 111 Red-throated Divers, 22 Fulmars, five Manx Shearwaters of note.

Two Porpoises were feeding offshore.

A Brimstone butterfly was seen at the Long Pits.

28th Mar

Strong, increasing to gale force SSW winds, in the afternoon resulted in nearly all the coverage being offshore again. Numbers were dominated by 164 Brent Geese, 536 Common Scoters, 93 Common Gulls, 127 Great Black-backed Gulls, 53 Sandwich Terns, 125 Red-throated Divers and 377 Gannets. A surprisingly high total of 23 Arctic Skuas in the afternoon was a particularly noteworthy while 17 Manx Shearwaters were new for the year. Two Red-breasted Mergansers, eight Mediterranean Gulls and three Little Gulls were also seen.

Two Porpoises and a Grey Seal were feeding offshore.

27th Mar

A search of the trapping area produced two Jack Snipe of note but it was otherwise very quiet on the land. Most of the attention was focused on the sea where another seven hours of watching produced 1052 Brent Geese, six Shovelers, an Eider, 753 Common Scoters, a Red-breasted Merganser, 23 Curlew, 151 Kittiwakes, 14 Mediterranean Gulls, 307 Common Gulls, 211 Sandwich Terns, our first Common Tern of the year, a Great Skua, nine Arctic Skuas, 266 Red-throated Divers, singles of Black-throated and Great Northern Divers, nine Fulmars and 460 Gannets.

Two Porpoises and a Grey Seal were seen offshore.

26th Mar

A fresh south-east wind was blowing so most of the effort today was directed toward the sea. Six hours of watching produced 1067 Brent Geese, seven Shelduck, 15 Shoveler, four Teal, six Eider, 1752 Common Scoters, three Red-breasted Mergansers, three Mediterranean Gulls, 19 Sandwich Terns and a Great Northern Diver of note. Very quiet on the land but a Merlin was seen at the fishing boats.

Four Porpoises and a Grey Seal were feeding offshore.

25th Mar

With a stiff SSE wind blowing today most of the interest was offshore where 6.5hrs of watching produced 1993 Brent Geese, 15 Shovelers, 14 Teal, 268 Common Scoters, 11 Red-breasted Mergansers, 12 Dunlin, a Mediterranean Gull, 103 Sandwich Terns, 153 Red-throated Divers, two Black-throated Divers and seven Fulmars of note.

Four Porpoises and a Grey Seal were feeding offshore.

24th Mar

Very quiet with just one Mediterranean Gull offshore and two Willow Warblers, 12 Wheatears and a Black Redstart on the land.

Two Porpoises were feeding offshore.

I ran the Audiomoth a couple of nights ago but had not been able to check the recordings until this morning. It was very quiet so it was a surprise to hear a short series of four calls from a 0250hrs on 23rd. A Water Rail was also recorded.

23rd Mar

The sea was very quiet with just 45 Common Scoters and four Mediterranean Gulls of any note. A handful of birds on the land included a Marsh Harrier, a Buzzard, four Willow Warblers, ten Chiffchaffs, 12 Wheatears and ten Siskins.

Two Porpoises were feeding offshore.

22nd Mar

A very quiet morning with rain from about 0900hrs. The only birds of note on the land were a second-winter Yellow-legged Gull at the fishing boats, two Willow Warblers at the Long Pits, seven Wheatears around the New Lighthouse and five Siskins overhead. Seawatching produced just four Mediterranean Gulls and 13 Sandwich Terns.

Five Porpoises were feeding offshore.  

21st Mar

A dull, overcast morning which became increasingly foggy during the afternoon. A handful of migrants on the land included the first Willow Warbler and Blackcap of the spring along with a Woodcock, a Snipe, a Merlin and six Wheatears and also ten Siskins overhead. Seawatching was very slow again with just five Teal and seven Sandwich Terns of interest.

Two Porpoises were feeding offshore. 

20th Mar

A small arrival of birds on the land with a Woodcock, a Snipe, 30 Chiffchaffs and five Wheatears. Seawatching remains slow with just 14 Shelducks, 26 Shovelers, three Pintails, 151 Common Scoters, two Whimbrel and six Sandwich Terns of note.

Seven Porpoises were feeding offshore.

A Red Chestnut was the best of a small overnight catch of moths. Surprisingly this is only the seventh Observatory record. Five Comma butterflies were also seen.

Red Chestnut Cerastis rubicosa   Dungeness   20th March 2024

19th Mar

A few migrants on the land included two Snipe, 13 Chiffchaffs, a Firecrest and ten Wheatears. Seawatching was slow going but 233 Brent Geese, three Shelducks, seven Shovelers, 11 Mediterranean Gulls, three Sandwich Terns and an Arctic Skua were seen during the morning. A Bittern flew over the Observatory calling at 2153hrs.

A Porpoise was seen offshore and a Brown Hare was seen in the Desert.

18th Mar

A lovely, bright and sunny day but not a great deal to be seen. The best on the land were a cock Pheasant, a Water Rail, 44 Jackdaws, 16 Chiffchaffs, three Wheatears and five Siskins.

Four Porpoises and a Grey Seal were feeding offshore and a Brown Hare was seen in the Desert.

A Hummingbird Hawkmoth was seen in the trapping area.

A Pied Shieldbug found in front of the Observatory was only the second record for the Observatory area. Hundreds of Firebugs were also found.

Pied Shieldbug Tritomegas bicolor   Dungeness   18th March 2024

17th Mar

Heavy rain followed by thick fog severely limited observations today. Seven Teal and a Mediterranean Gull were the best from the sea and a Water Rail, 17 Chiffchaffs and two Firecrests were seen on the land. 

A Porpoise was seen offshore.

16th Mar

A bright and sunny day for a change meant some good coverage of the land which produced four Egyptian Geese, a Golden Plover, a Woodcock, a Great Spotted Woodpecker, a Merlin, 11 Chiffchaffs, three Firecrests, 19 Redwing, three Wheatears and three Siskins of interest. The sea was slow-going but 280 Brent Geese, a Red-breasted Merganser, two Mediterranean Gulls and three Sandwich Terns were seen.

Four Porpoise were seen offshore.

15th Mar

A fairly quiet day on both land and sea. The morning seawatch produced just 85 Common Scoters, five Mediterranean Gulls, ten Sandwich Terns and six Fulmars of note whilst the meagre highlights on the land were a Jack Snipe, ten Chiffchaffs and three Wheatears. Two Egyptian Geese also landed on the Point.

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

14th Mar

The first Wheatear of the spring was seen but it was otherwise fairly quiet on both land and sea. A trickle of birds on the sea included 237 Brent Geese, a Gadwall, 14 Shovelers, four Pintail, 15 Teal, six Velvet Scoters (west) and 233 Common Scoters. Other bits on the land included a Rock Pipit, 19 Chiffchaffs and a Siskin

Three Porpoises were feeding offshore.

Small White, Peacock and Small Tortoiseshell butterflies were all seen.

13th Mar

Despite light rain and a massive movement of Redwings overnight it was fairly quiet on the land by the morning but with a Woodcock, three Firecrests, 70 Redwings and 80 Chaffinches of note.  The sea was reasonably good this morning with 1880 Brent Geese, 68 Pintails, three Velvet Scoters, three Sandwich Terns and two Spoonbills being noteworthy. A first-winter Caspian Gull and a Merlin were seen at the fishing boats.

As already mentioned there was a huge passage of birds overnight with the Audiomoth recorder registering an incredible 14,000 Redwing calls, 74 Fieldfare calls and 25 Song Thrushes calls along with a singles flocks of Wigeon and Common Scoter, a Water Rail, a Grey Plover and a Bullfinch.

Only one Porpoise was seen offshore.

12th Mar

The miserable weather continues and very little moving offshore. Also very little on the land despite a massive movement of thrushes overnight so a couple of Woodlarks which spent a few minutes just south of the trapping area were a nice surprise.

Woodlark Lullula arborea   Dungeness   12th March 2024 (by Tom Wright)

As suggested above there was another massive nocmig overnight. Redwings were easily the most abundant with 4200 calls in seven hours but the most interesting record was of two sets of Stone-curlew calls. Other notable records included a Grey Plover, four Snipe, three Redshanks, five very close passages of Mediterranean Gulls, 122 Fieldfare calls and a Bullfinch.

Two Grey Seals were feeding offshore.

11th Mar

A miserable, wet day grounded a few Chiffchaffs with at least 17 seen and also five Goldcrests and three Song Thrushes. Seawatching was dominated by Brent Geese with 2,229 east along with eight Wigeon, five Teal and three Sandwich Tern of note.

The Audiomoth recorder was deployed last night with some remarkable results. Nine flocks of Brent Geese, an Avocet, 233 Curlew calls, 136 Snipe calls, three Redshanks, 20 Fieldfare calls, 32 Song Thrush calls and an outstanding 4005 Redwing calls were recorded. 

Five Porpoises were feeding offshore and two Brown Hares were seen in the Desert.

10th Mar

Birds continued to move east offshore with 2459 Brent Geese, four Shoveler, 34 Pintails, nine Teal, 398 Common Scoters, a Goldeneye, two Red-breasted Mergansers, 30 Little Gulls, six Mediterranean Gulls, an Arctic Skua, an excellent total of 722 Red-throated Divers and 410 Gannets. Single Velvet Scoter and Sandwich Tern passed west. A cock Pheasant was seen in the Desert  and grounded migrants included a Merlin, five Chiffchaffs, three Firecrests, four Redwings and seven Song Thrushes.

Fifteen Porpoises and a Grey Seal were feeding offshore.

9th Mar

Seawatching was the order of the day where the best movement of the spring so far included 1692 Dark-bellied Brent Geese, three Pale-bellied Brent Geese, 12 Shelducks, 15 Shovelers, 12 Wigeon, 46 Pintails, 29 Teal, three Tufted Ducks, a flock of seven Velvet Scoters, six Curlews, three Sandwich Terns, 443 Red-throated Divers, five Fulmars and 1625 Gannets

A Chiffchaff was seen in the Lighthouse garden.

At least 15 Porpoises were feeding offshore along with single Common and Grey Seals.

8th Mar

Another morning with a stiff easterly wind and a decent seawatch. A three hour watch produced four Shelducks, 57 Shovelers, 33 Wigeon, 71 Pintails, 122 Teal, two Avocets, a Black-tailed Godwit, six Sanderlings, three Mediterranean Gulls, 86 Red-throated Divers, four Fulmars and 740 Gannets. A Chiffchaff was also seen in the Lighthouse Garden.

One Porpoise was feeding close inshore. 

7th Mar

With a stiff easterly wind blowing the sea was the place to be. A six-hour watch this morning produced 410 Brent Geese, 28 Shelducks, 27 Shovelers, 124 Pintails, 61 Teal, 96 Common Scoters, 23 Avocets (flocks of 15 and 8), eight Curlews, two Bar-tailed Godwits, two Mediterranean Gulls, 68 Common Gulls, 376 Guillemots, 73 Razorbills, 129 Red-throated Divers and 138 Gannets. Two Black Redstarts were also seen near the seawatch hide but the trapping area was very quiet.

A Porpoise and a Grey Seal were feeding offshore.

6th Mar

Rain overnight and then a foggy morning. A small arrival of migrants on the land included a Woodcock, a Chiffchaff, five Firecrests, a Goldcrest, five Redwings, three Song Thrushes, two Rock Pipits and a Siskin. Seawatching was a bit limited due to the fog with just 138 Brent Geese and two Mediterranean Gulls of interest.

Five Porpoises and a Grey Seal were feeding offshore.

5th Mar

A damp morning which brightened up later. Seawatching produced 270 Brent Geese, ten Wigeon, 36 Pintail, four Teal, a drake Eider, four Mediterranean Gulls and Fulmars of interest. There was also a small arrival of birds on the land and including two Woodcocks, three Chiffchaffs, three Firecrests and a Goldcrest.

Five Porpoises were feeding offshore and two Brown Hares were seen in the Desert. 

4th Mar

Most of the observations involved seawatching where 4.25hrs of watching producing 208 Brent Geese, five Velvet Scoters, three Mediterranean Gulls and a Great Northern Diver of note.

Six Porpoises and a Grey Seal were feeding offshore.

3rd Mar

A bright and sunny morning for a change. Seawatching produced 54 Brent Geese, four Eider (all drakes), 70 Great Crested Grebes on the sea, 25 Mediterranean Gulls and 225 Red-throated Divers. A check of the trapping area produced seven calling Water Rails and what was presumably the first migrant Firecrest of the spring was seen in a private garden,

There was lots of Porpoise activity this afternoon with at least 20 individuals seemingly showing mating behaviour. A Grey Seal was also seen. 

2nd Mar

Another windy morning with a two hour seawatch in the morning 154 Brent Geese, 15 Pintails, 78 Kittiwakes, two Mediterranean Gulls, a Great Skua and 10 Fulmars of note.

A Porpoise was feeding offshore and a Brown Hare was seen after dark.

1st Mar

Another very windy day with seawatching the only sensible option but even here it was quiet after the first two hours of the morning. Of note were 119 Kittiwakes, 90 Fulmars and 386 Gannets.

Two Porpoises were feeding offshore.

29th Feb

The clear highlight of the day was two Waxwings which flew south over the Long Pits. Seawatching produced a Velvet Scoter, 193 Brent Geese and ten Mediterranean Gulls. Three Water Rails were heard calling in the trapping area and a Chiffchaff was feeding in the Lighthouse Garden.

A Porpoise was feeding offshore.