Wednesday 9 March 2016


Dungeness - cold, wet, s 5 - 0900-1100hrs - A rapidly developing low pressure system out in the Western Approaches during the early hours peaked this morning resulting in strong onshore winds forcing a variety of seabirds close to land. Comprising primarily several hundred Fulmars, also in their midst was a small but unprecedented number of dark phase birds, or so called Blue Fulmars, a type more associated with Atlantic waters further north. We joined PB, MH and the new DBO Assistant Warden, David Campbell, in a wet seawatch hide with the rain and spume lashing in through the flaps as a big sea pounded away just in front; infact, at one stage the sea got a bit too close for comfort, if I`m honest, as the waves appeared to undercut what remained of the shingle bank! 

                                Big sea pounding Dungeness

                                          Dungeness Seawatch hide, on the cusp

  However, by the time we arrived the movement had already slowed to a trickle, but there was still plenty on offer with Gannets, Kittiwakes, Red-throated Divers and parties of Brents moving up-Channel, plus single figures of Shoveler, Eider, Common Scoter, Curlew, Oystercatchers, Med Gull and Bonxie. Inevitably, given the sea state, many of the gulls, including a few Kittiwakes, foraged along the shoreline where the rollers crashed onto the beach, while just offshore both Grey Seal and Harbour Porpoise were noted. An interesting seawatch; welcome to Dungeness, David - a host of Blue Fulmars is a good start!
  We gave the sea another hour this afternoon from the fishing boats, but it was a dead loss with only a few auks, Red-throated Divers, Gannets and a Med Gull noted. The only passerines along the foreshore were 2 Mipits and a flock of 30 Starlings.

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