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Migration Time.

Staying at the Observatory

Autumn migration is here. As well as birds there are moths and crickets to enjoy. Why not join us for a few nights and experience it for yourself. Spaces available, just check out the website for details. 

Project Yellow-browed at Dungeness

Our first reciever array has been installed and is now LIVE on the Motus website. It's an exciting time in the development of technology to further our ongoing scientific research. For more details and information click here. 





16th Oct

Its getting repetitive now but yet another wet and windy day making seawatching the best option. Over seven hours of watching produced a Manx Shearwater, 733 Gannets, a Black-throated Diver, 123 Little Gulls, 24 Mediterranean Gulls, two Great Skuas and 23 Arctic Skuas. The German-ringed Caspian Gull was still present along with three Yellow-legged Gulls.
Visible migration totals were dominated by 2370 Swallows along with three Rock Pipits of note. A Ring Ouzel was seen in the trapping area.

Two Porpoises and a Grey Seal were feeding offshore.

15th Oct

Another stormy night and wet morning produced a big movement of birds overhead and a few birds offshore but grounded migrants were fairly low in numbers. The highlights of the visible migrants were a Woodlark, a Serin and a Lapland Bunting along with 63 Skylarks, 1100 Swallows, 86 House Martins, three Grey Wagtails, 850 Meadow Pipits, four Rock Pipits, 160 Chaffinches, six Bramblings, 1435 Goldfinches, 26 Siskins and 11 Reed Buntings. Grounded migrants included a Jay, two Firecrests, five Ring Ouzels, 13 Redwings, 23 Song Thrushes, and three Wheatears.
Five hours of seawatching produced 14 Wigeon, two Teal, 251 Common Scoters, three Red-breasted Mergansers, a Sooty Shearwater, six Grey Herons, 28 Sanderlings, 11 Little Gulls, 54 Mediterranean Gulls, 122 Sandwich Terns, six Arctic Skuas and 61 Razorbills. The colour-ringed Caspian Gull (X86C) was seen at the fishing boats again.

I also ran the Audiomoth last night and recorded 19 Song Thrushes, two Redwings, a Fieldfare and a brief series of Little Owl calls.

Two Porpoises and singles of Common and Grey Seal were feeding offshore and a Weasel was of note on the land.

A Clouded Yellow was seen in the trapping area and a Hummingbird Hawkmoth came in at the fishing boats. 

14th Oct

Another wet day but with mainly light winds. Most of the interest was on the shore again with 4.5 hours of watching producing a Sooty Shearwater, 120 Mediterranean Gulls, seven Little Gulls, a Pomarine Skua and best of all, a Grey Phalarope. Two first-year Caspian Gulls, the bird bearing a colour ring X86C and a new individual, also came to bread at the fishing boats.
Grounded migrants included 80 Chiffchaffs, 14 Blackcaps and four Ring Ouzels and good numbers of finches also passed overhead with five Bramblings, 29 Siskins and 420 Goldfinches of note.

13th Oct

With a fresh southerly breeze this morning and more damp conditions there was a decent movement of birds offshore and passing overhead but still very little to be seen on the land. Prolonged coverage of the sea produced the highlight of a Leach's Petrel at 1000hrs along with eight Sooty Shearwaters, a Balearic Shearwater, three Manx Shearwaters, 920 Gannets, two Little Egrets, a party of 22 Golden Plovers, 49 Little Gulls, 40 Kittiwakes and 14 Mediterranean Gulls, seven Great Skuas, 14 Arctic Skuas and 320 Razorbills.
Birds passing overhead included a Hobby, 152 Swallows, five Grey Wagtails, a Rock Pipit, 420 Linnets, 1500 Goldfinches and 40 Siskins, Grounded migrants were very scarce but did include three Ring Ouzels and a late Willow Warbler.

Two Porpoises, a large bull Grey Seal and a Common Seal were feeding offshore.

The moth traps were surprisingly good last night and included a fine Dewick's Plusia (only the fifth Observatory record), a Delicate and two Palpita vitrealis.

Dewick's Plusia  Macdunnoughia confusa   Dungeness   13th October 2019

Palpita vitrealis   Dungeness   23th October 2019

12th Oct

Another miserable day with almost continuous rain making observations difficult. The best of the birds on the land were seven Ring Ouzels and a Firecrest whilst early morning seawatching produced 13 Arctic Skuas and a Mediterranean Gull but little else after mid-morning.

Four Porpoises were feeding offshore.

11th Oct

Yet another wet and windy day with observations again restricted mainly to the sea where three Sooty Shearwaters, a Little Gull, 1100 Sandwich Terns, two Great Skuas, 42 Arctic Skuas and 61 Razorbills were of note.
The best of some very limited coverage of the land were two Merlins.

Two Porpoises, a Common Seal and a Grey Seal.were feeding offshore.

10th Oct

Several hours of seawatching produced two Grey Plovers, 24 Mediterranean Gulls, 201 Sandwich Terns, three Great Skuas and 47 Arctic Skuas of interest.
Three Ring Ouzels were the best of the birds in the bushes along with 30 Chiffchaffs and two Firecrests whilst birds flying overhead included two Marsh Harriers, 19 Stock Doves, six Collared Doves, two Merlins, two Grey Wagtails, five Bramblings, 20 Siskin and 12 Reed Buntings.   
Black Redstart Phoenicurus ochrurus   Dungeness   10th October 2019 (James Dee)
Four Porpoise were feeding offshore.

I have also finally worked my way through the Audiomoth recording made on the night of 5th/6th October. Birds passed through all night long and produced the following totals:
Dunlin 1
Snipe 1
Blackbird 1
Redwing 180
Song Thrush 884 




9th Oct

The Wryneck was seen again but remains elusive with just two observers seeing it today. Other notable birds on the land included 75 Chiffchaffs, four Ring Ouzels, two Grey Wagtails and 100 Goldfinches.
The sea was more productive with 6.5 hours of watching producing three Grey Plovers, two Little Gulls, 28 Mediterranean Gulls, 759 Sandwich Terns, two Great Skuas, 22 Arctic Skuas and 72 Razorbills.

Ten Porpoise and two Grey Seal were feeding offshore.