14th Jan

After all the birds feeding offshore over the last few days it was quite different today with just small numbers of auks and Gannets to be seen although Great Crested Grebes increased to around 1500 birds during the day. The regular first-winter Caspian Gull was still present and the juvenile Glaucous Gull made at least one brief appearance this afternoon.
A few birds of note on the land included a Dartford Warbler just south of the Observatory, the Grey Wagtail feeding around the settling tanks behind the seawatch hide again and Siskin and Bullfinch in the trapping area. A Little Grebe was also seen on the northern Long Pit. 

A Red Admiral was also seen.

13th Jan

The beach continues to be the place to be with thousands of seabirds passing through or feeding offshore. In two hours watching this morning over 7300 auks were counted along with 120 Red-throated Divers, three Great Skuas and two Mediterranean Gulls of note. Signs of spring movement also continued with 87 Brent Geese and 15 Teal heading up-channel.
Both the first-winter Caspian Gull and juvenile Glaucous Gull were also seen.
A Firecrest was heard in the Moat.

Various seabirds feeding offshore at Dungeness   12th January 2018
With so many seabirds offshore I thought might be interesting to look at how much food they might be eating.  Using fairly ball park figures for daily consumption of fish by some 6000 Cormorants, 300 Red-throated Divers, 1500 Great Crested Grebes, 200 Gannets and 7000 auks it comes out somewhere in the region of a staggering 6.5 metric tonnes of fish per day.  

In comparison, the effect of the one Grey Seal seen offshore today on the fish populations would be negligible. 


12th Jan

There were masses of birds offshore again with 300 Red-throated Divers, 1000 Great Crested Grebes, 100's of Razorbills and 100 Kittiwakes of note and also attracting the attention of a Great Skua. The regular first-winter Caspian Gull was still present and showing very well.
A Chiffchaff on the power station fence was an unusual January sighting and a Bullfinch was noted in the trapping area.

Two Porpoises and a Grey Seal were also attracted to the offshore feeding frenzy.

11th Jan

An adult Mediterranean Gull and the juvenile Glaucous Gull and first-winter Caspian Gull were feeding at the fishing boats again along with large numbers of Gannets, Great Crested Grebes, Guillemots and Razorbills offshore.
The land also proved interesting with a Hawfinch flying around the trapping area before heading north, a Bullfinch in the trapping area, two Firecrests at the Long Pits and a Grey Wagtail feeding at the settling tanks behind the seawatch hide.

10th Jan

Large numbers of birds were feeding offshore again with 1500 Great Crested Grebes, 200 Gannets, 1000+ Cormorants, two Great Skuas and 500 Guillemots of note and the first-winter Caspian Gull was on the beach. Signs of upchannel passage of Brent Goose continued with 150 moving through and birds moving west included two Velvet Scoters, two Eiders and 1000 auks.

Red-throated Diver Gavia stellata   Dungeness   10th January 2018
Despite large numbers offshore this species is rarely close enough for a photograph.

Caspian Gull Larus cachinnans   first-winter   Dungeness   10th January 2018
The regular bird but hard to resist photographing when it is standingin front of you.

9th Jan

A calmer but very murky day which barely seemed to get light. Seawatching was not as good as yesterday but still produced 11 Pintails, three Red-breasted Mergansers, an astonishing minimum of 6000 Cormorants, a Great Skua and lots of Guillemots and Razorbills during a two-hour watch this morning. The regular first-winter Caspian Gull was feeding around the strand line at the fishing boats.
A check of the bushes found just one Bullfinch of note.
Pintail Anas acuta, Wigeon Anas penelope and Teal Anas crecca   Dungeness   9th January 2018

Great Skua Stercorarius skua   Dungeness   9th January 2018

Caspian Gull Larus cachinnans   first-winter   Dungeness   9th January 2018

8th Jan

It was another cold day and dreary day but the wind had dropped a bit overnight and resulted in some excellent seawatching. Over four hours of watching produced a near-record winter count of 16 Great Skuas (the record winter count is 17 on 31st December 2015 - if we had known at the time just how close we were we might have continued for a bit longer and beaten it). Other notable birds included two Gadwall, five Pintails, 18 Teal, a Velvet Scoter, 310 Red-throated Divers, 869 Great Crested Grebes, 330 Kittiwakes, ten Mediterranean Gulls (with another three feeding at the Patch), 2755 Guillemots and 1181 Razorbills. There were thousands of gulls  at the Patch  with both the second-winter Iceland Gull and juvenile Glaucous Gull being seen in the morning along with a first-winter Caspian Gull in addition to the regular bird at the fishing boats.
Two Bullfinches were seen at the north end of the Long Pits and a Fieldfare and three Redwings were seen in the trapping area.

Two Common Seals and a Grey Seal were also feeding close inshore at the fishing boats. 

7th Jan

A day with fierce, bitingly cold NE winds and another very rough sea making conditions for birding extremely difficult. Huge numbers of gulls were feeding offshore with the second-winter Iceland Gull and juvenile Glaucous Gull feeding at the Patch and four Caspian Gulls feeding at the fishing boats. Two Mediterranean Gulls and 150 Kittiwakes were also present amid the throng.
A few birds were also moving offshore with 103 Brent Geese, nine Pintails, 11 Teal and a Great Skua of note.

6th Jan

A first-winter Glaucous Gull which has been seen for the last few days on the RSPB Reserve was found at the Patch this morning and the regular first-winter Caspian Gull was at the fishing boats again. Offshore movement was limited to 46 Brent Geese, a Great Skua and the first three Mediterranean Gulls of the year and at least 1200 Great Crested Grebes and 60 Razorbills were feeding offshore.
A Firecrest was heard in the Moat.

Glaucous Gull Larus hyperboreus   juvenile  Dungeness   6th January 2018
The recent storms have coincided with spring hide tides and have removed several metres of shingle from the beach in front of the power station and have seriously undermined the Patch Hide. Today contractors were on site to repair the damage and hopefully save the hide from disappearing into the sea when the next storm hits. 

5th Jan

The regular first-winter Caspian Gull and a first-winter Little Gull were showing very well at the fishing boats this morning and a/the second-winter Iceland Gull also made a brief appearance. A Great Skua also flew west and at least 783 Great Crested Grebes, 400 Kittiwakes and over 1000 Guillemots were also feeding offshore.

Little Gull  Hydrocoloeus minutus   first-winter   Dungeness   5th January 2018

Caspian Gull Larus cachinnans   first-winter   5th January 2018