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Local weather


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27th Apr

The flood gates finally opened offshore with a monster movement of mainly terns. An 11hr seawatch produced 397 Brent Geese, six Shelduck, two Pintails, a Velvet Scoter, 816 Common Scoters, four Red-breasted Mergansers, two Avocets, three Grey Plover,12 Knot, 11 Sanderling, nine Dunlin, 97 Whimbrel, 297 Bar-tailed Godwits, 45 Little Gulls, 389 Sandwich Terns, an excellent total of 154 Little Terns, a huge 16,330 Common/commic Terns, 3137 Arctic Terns, 48 Back Terns, two Great Skuas, 51 Arctic Skuas, seven Pomarine Skuas, a Black-throated Diver, 12 Fulmars, four Manx Shearwaters and 856 Gannets. On a much smaller scale there was also an arrival on the land with a Swift, a Cuckoo, two Sand Martins, 26 Swallows, 30 Willow Warblers, two Sedge Warblers, a Garden Warbler, 20 Lesser Whitethroats, a Firecrest, three Song Thrushes, a Pied Flycatcher, a Whinchat, 13 Yellow Wagtails, two Redpolls and two Yellowhammers

Pied Flycatcher Ficedula hypoleuca   Dungeness   27th April 2024

Ten Porpoises and a Grey Seal were seen offshore.

26th Apr

A small but varied drop of migrants on the land today resulted in the first Garden Warbler, Grasshopper Warbler and Whinchat of the year along with a Snipe, 20 Swallows, 30 Willow Warblers, a Ring Ouzel, a Redstart and seven Yellow Wagtails. Seawatching was fairly quiet in the morning but improved considerably in the afternoon with final totals of 142 Brent Geese, four Shovelers, three Eider, 523 Common Scoters, 26 Whimbrel, a Purple Sandpiper, 209 Sandwich Terns, 47 Little Terns, 210 Common Terns, 43 Arctic Terns, 1057 "Commic" Terns, the first Black Tern of the year and 11 Arctic Skuas

Four Porpoise and two Grey Seals were feeding offshore.

Spiders do not feature that often on this page but this impressive Segestria florentina was found on the back door frame of the Observatory and appears to be a new species for the area.

Segestria florentina   Dungeness   26th April 2024

On the flora front a small patch of Rue-leaved Saxifrage was found at the Lifeboat Station. It is a previously known location but as far as I can tell has not been seen here since 2000. Close-by the patch of Rock Soapwort was looking superb.

Rock Soapwort Saponaria ocymoides   Dungeness   26th April 2024

Rue-leaved Saxifrage Saxifraga tridactylites   Dungeness   26th April 2024

25th Apr

Nearly all the interest today was offshore where 7.5 hrs of watching producing 275 Brent Geese, a flock of seven Velvet Scoters, 353 Common Scoters, 169 Bar-tailed Godwits, two Mediterranean Gulls, 152 Sandwich Terns, an excellent 32 Little Terns, 11 Arctic Terns, a Great Skua, an Arctic Skua, three Black-throated Divers and 424 Gannets. A Hobby also arrived.

A Grey Seal was seen offshore.

24th Apr

Still pretty slow going with seven hours of seawatching producing 165 Common Scoters, a drake Long-tailed Duck, 162 Sandwich Terns, six Arctic Skuas and 252 Gannets. A Buzzard, three Sand Martins, 27 Swallows and a female Common Redstart were the best that could be found on the land.

Five Porpoises were feeding offshore.

23rd Apr

The highlight of the day was a Cattle Egret which arrived from the south along with 933 Bar-tailed Godwits, a Mediterranean Gull, two Arctic Skuas and 345 Gannets. It was very quiet on the land with a Yellowhammer being about the only notable bird.

Six Porpoises were feeding offshore. 

22nd Apr

A day with some quality but still low on quantity. Seawatching produced nine Whimbrels, 66 Bar-tailed Godwits, 137 Sandwich Terns, the first six Little Terns of the year, two Great Skuas and two Arctic Skuas. Of note on the land were a Red Kite and a Short-eared Owl, 20 Swallows, a Sedge Warbler, seven Lesser Whitethroats and 13 Wheatears.

The Roe Deer was seen at the Long Pits and four Porpoises were feeding offshore.

21st Apr

A trickle of birds passing offshore included four Shelduck, 106 Common Scoters, a Red-breasted Merganser, 54 Bar-tailed Godwits, two Mediterranean Gulls and 108 Sandwich Terns. Very slow on the land with just a Sedge Warbler, six Blackcaps and eight Lesser Whitethroats of note.

20th Apr

Very quiet as the northerly wind continues. Of note from the sea were just 167 Common Scoters, six Whimbrel, 111 Bar-tailed Godwits and 61 Common Terns. The best on the land was just four Blackcaps.

Two Porpoises were feeding offshore.

19th Apr

The cold, brisk NW wind continues and with barely any migration on the land to be seen. Seawatching improved slightly on recent days with 76 Brent Geese, five Shelduck, three Shovelers, 171 Common Scoters, eight Whimbrel, 50 Bar-tailed Godwits and two Mediterranean Gulls of interest.

Four Porpoises and a Grey Seal were feeding offshore. 

18th Apr

There was a noticeable increase in Wheatear numbers with at least 56 birds across the Point along with eight Willow Warblers, nine Lesser Whitethroats and the Ring Ouzel still in the Desert. A Yellow Wagtail, a Redpoll and seven Siskins flew over.

Three Brown Hares were seen in the Desert.

The first dragonflies of the year were seen with an Azure Damselfly and three Hairy Hawkers at the Long Pits.

17th Apr

Another cold day but with a few migrants on the land including the first Cuckoo of the year, 19 Willow Warblers, 17 Lesser Whitethroats, a Ring Ouzel in the Desert and 24 Wheatears scattered across the Point and a Yellow Wagtail and two Siskins overhead. Seawatching continues to be slow going with just three Egyptian Geese, four Red-breasted Mergansers, eight Whimbrels, two Mediterranean Gulls and 26 Common Terns of note.

Two Porpoises and a Grey Seal were feeding offshore.

16th Apr

With a cold, strong north-westerly wind blowing migration was at a virtual standstill. The only birds of any note were five Mediterranean Gulls west offshore and five Willow Warblers, ten Chiffchaffs, seven Lesser Whitethroats and two Siskins on the land.

Four Porpoises were feeding offshore and four Brown Hares were seen in the Desert.

Brown Hares Lepus europaeus   Dungeness   16th April 2024   (Tom Wright)

15th Apr

A difficult day for birding with a severe gale at times restricting most of the observations to the sea. Even here it was very poor with just 51 Oystercatchers, 30 Mediterranean Gulls, 89 Sandwich Terns, 15 Common Terns and two Manx Shearwaters of note. The first Swift of the year came in over the Point and a single Yellow Wagtail also flew over.

One Porpoise was seen offshore. Much more unusual was a Roe Deer reported from the Long Pits by fishermen.

14th Apr

What was presumably yesterdays Purple Heron was flushed from the Long Pits this morning and then made a couple of circuits of the Point before flying high and south-west and out to sea over the Power Station. A small arrival of migrants on the land included 13 Willow Warblers, the first Sedge Warbler of the spring, 13 Lesser Whitethroats, a Ring Ouzel at the north end of the Long Pits, three Yellow Wagtails and five Siskins. A Redshank, a Buzzard, seven Mediterranean Gulls and five Ravens also flew over the area.

Four Porpoises and a Grey Seal were feeding offshore.

13th Apr

Another very quiet day with just a Sand Martin, 13 Willow Warblers, a Yellow Wagtail and five Siskins of interest on the land and seven Garganey, three Mediterranean Gulls, 59 Sandwich Terns and seven Common Terns offshore.

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

A Brimstone butterfly was seen on the beach in front of the power station.

Elsewhere, the Hoopoe was showing really well in the dunes at Greatstone again and a Purple Heron was reported from ARC.

Hoopoe Upopa epops   Greatstone   13th April 2024

12th Apr

A fairly quiet day. A handful of migrants on the land included three Redshanks, a Merlin, two Sand Martins, 11 Willow Warblers, our first Reed Warbler of the spring, five Blackcaps, five Lesser Whitethroats and a Redstart. Stonechats are breeding in good numbers with many of the males showing characteristics of the continental race rubicola as in this bird caught today.

Stonechat Saxicola rubicola ssp rubicola   Dungeness   12th April 2024 (Images by Tom Wright)

The sea was very slow with just 51 Sandwich Terns, four Common Terns and an Arctic Skua of interest.

A Porpoise was seen offshore and a Brown Hare was seen on the land.

The highlight of the day though was in the dunes at Greatstone where a Hoopoe showed really well.

Hoopoe Upupa epops   Greatstone Dunes   12th April 2024

11th Apr

Rain at first turning to fog from mid-morning resulted in a decent arrival of migrants with the highlight of five Redstarts along with a Snipe, two Sand Martins, 11 Swallows, 55 Willow Warblers, 21 Blackcaps, four Lesser Whitethroats, 16 Wheatears and 11 Siskins. The Ring Ouzel of recent days was still present at the northern end of the Desert.

Redstarts Phoenicurus phoenicurus   Dungeness   11th April 2024
Images of two birds trapped today.

A Brown Hare was seen.

10th Apr

A fine and calm but ultimately disappointing morning. Grounded migrants were thin on the ground with just 11 Chiffchaffs, five Blackcaps, two Lesser Whitethroats and the long-staying male Ring Ouzel at the northern end of the Desert. Three Siskins flew over and a cock Pheasant was also seen.

9th Apr

Gale-force south-westerly winds and rain made for a difficult day with seawatching producing just two Velvet Scoters, three Mediterranean Gulls, 25 Sandwich Terns and an Arctic Skua. Very slow on the land.

8th Apr

With a fresh SE wind blowing this morning it seemed to be good conditions for a seawatch but unfortunately it proved not be the case. Nevertheless a few bits of interest were seen during 6.5hrs of watching including a Garganey, two Goldeneyes, four Red-breasted Mergansers, 22 Whimbrel, five Mediterranean Gulls, 81 Sandwich Terns, an Arctic Skua, a Black-throated Diver and a Manx Shearwater. On the land the most notable sightings were of three parties of Ravens over the Point totaling 41 birds. A Buzzard, eight Swallows, 12 Siskins and three Corn Buntings also flew over and a small arrival of migrants in the bushes included 14 Willow Warbler and nine Blackcaps. The Ring Ouzel and Redstart were seen again. A very noisy Alexandrine Parakeet was also seen flying around the Point and seen feeding on tree buds in the trapping area.

Eleven Porpoises were feeding offshore. 

7th Apr

There was a small arrival of migrants on the land today with a Ring Ouzel and the first Sand Martin and Whitethroat of the spring of note along with a Little Egret, ten Swallows, two Willow Warblers, 20 Chiffchaffs, four Blackcaps and a Redpoll. The sea was fairly disappointing with 3.5hrs of watching producing just two Little Gulls, 25 Mediterranean Gulls, 142 Sandwich Terns, three Common Terns, an Arctic Skua and a Black-throated Diver of note.

Wheatear Oenanthe oenanthe   and   Whitethroat Sylvia communis   Dungeness   7th April 2024   (images by Tom Wright)

6th Apr

With a strong to gale force SSE wind for most of the day the main interest was offshore. Seven hours of watching produced 299 Brent Geese, nine Shelduck, 22 Shovelers, nine Gadwall, 25 Pintail, 430 Common Scoters, five Red-breasted Mergansers, 43 Whimbrel, six Little Gulls, 14 Mediterranean Gulls, 641 Sandwich Terns, 49 Common Terns, the first Arctic Tern of the spring, 12 Arctic Skuas, 72 Red-throated Divers, two Black-throated Divers and 769 GannetsVery quiet on the land although the male Redstart was still present and two White Wagtails were seen.

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

A Blossom Underwing was trapped overnight - only the sixth Observatory record.

5th Apr

Another wet and windy start to the day but the skies eventually cleared and the wind dropped a bit in the afternoon and allowed a few migrants to arrive. Of note on the land was a fine male Redstart around the Polish War Memorial along with nine Swallows, a House Martin, 22 Chiffchaffs, seven Blackcaps and a Yellow Wagtail. A four seawatch this morning produced 78 Brent Geese, 242 Common Scoters, an Avocet, seven Little Gulls, 307 Sandwich Terns, 53 Common Terns, a Great Skua and, two Arctic Skuas headed east while 14 Fulmars, a Manx Shearwater and 714 Gannets flew west.

Redstart Phoenicurus phoenicurus   Dungeness   5th April 2024   ((by Tom Wright)

Nine Porpoises and a Grey Seal were feeding offshore and a Water Shrew was found under metal sheeting at the Long Pits.

4th Apr

Very quiet in more wet and windy conditions. A 2.25hr seawatch this morning produced just two Mediterranean Gulls, 73 Sandwich Terns, nine Common Terns and an Arctic Skua of note. A Swallow, two Wheatears and 17 Goldfinches were the best on the land.

3rd Apr

Another disappointing day with strong SW winds and lots of rain. Coverage of the land was difficult in the windy conditions and nearly seven hours of seawatching produced just 324 Common Scoters, seven Mediterranean Gulls, 210 Sandwich Terns and 15 Common Terns. A Swallow also arrived.

Two Porpoises and a Grey Seal were feeding offshore.

2nd Apr

Very little of interest to be seen. Four Mediterranean Gulls and five Arctic Skuas were seen offshore while a party of eight Ravens was of note on the land.

A Brown Hare was also seen.

1st Apr

The early morning seawatch produced just 247 Common Scoters, five Little Gulls and 142 Sandwich Terns. A small arrival of migrants on the land included two Willow Warblers, four Blackcaps, three Black Redstarts, two Song Thrushes and two Siskins.

Two Porpoises were feeding offshore.