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Corona Virus Update

Following discussions with other Observatories and taking advice from the RSPB we are not allowed to open the hides yet to visitors as we cannot put in place the necessary protocols to keep staff and visitors safe. We will have to remain closed to overnight visitors for the foreseeable future. Day visitors are welcome to call into the garden, as long as Covid-19 protocols are observed. We are still operating our monitoring programme. Please think carefully about Social Distancing before approaching our Wardens. Please forward any Dungeness records to the Warden.
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Thank You for your understanding in these dificult times.
The Trustees.

11th Aug

A small arrival of migrants occurred today with 19 Willow Warblers, a Pied Flycatcher and a Whinchat of note. Thirteen Mediterranean Gulls were feeding offshore.

A busier moth trap than of late produced two Oak Processionary's of note along with a Black Arches, a Scorched Carpet and a Rosy Footman. A Holly Blue was seen in the moat and seven Small Red-eyed Damselflies were seen at the Long Pits.

Black Arches Limantria dispar and Oak Processionary Thaumetopoea processionea 
 Dungeness   11th August 2020


10th Aug

Another very hot day and very few birds to be seen but they did include a Pied Flycatcher in the trapping area and six migrant Wheatears. A Tree Pipit and eight Yellow Wagtails flew over. Three Common Sandpipers were seen at the Long Pits in the morning and another five flew over after dark. Two juvenile Yellow-legged Gulls came to bread at the fishing boats.

The moth traps struck gold this morning with a superb Bedstraw Hawkmoth being the obvious highlight and only the second Observatory record. Also of note were a Tree-lichen Beauty and a Rest Harrow.
Bedstraw Hawkmoth Hyles gallii   Dungeness   10th August 2020
A walk out after dark to check on the rare orthoptera of the area produced another outstanding chorus from the Tree Crickets along with four Sickle-bearing Tree Crickets. There were easily a hundred Ectobius montanus as well.


Ectobius montanus   Dungeness    10th August 2020

Sickle-bearing Bush-cricket Phanoptera falcata   female nymph   Dungeness   10th August 2020
I didn't realise when I was trying to to get this shot that there was also an Ectobius montanus in the image.




9th Aug

Still very quiet for birds with the best being a single Black Tern. Five Mediterranean Gulls flew east this morning  and a  juvenile Yellow-legged Gull was among the gulls  at the fishing boats this evening. A Kingfisher was seen at the Long Pits again. Eight Wheatears were also new arrivals.

A Porpoise and a Common Seal were feeding off the fishing boats..

The moth traps were very disappointing but the small catch did include a Dusky Thorn and this super-looking Peach Blossom.
Peach Blossom Thyatira batis   Dungeness   9th Aug.2020.
A Lesser Emperor and five Small Red-eyed Damselflies were seen at the southern end of the Long Pits.

The first couple of flowering Autumn Lady's-tresses were found in the trapping area.
Autumn Lady's-tresses Spiranthes spiralis   Dungeness   9th August 2020on
Elsewhere today, another Monarch butterfly was seen in a private garden at Greatstone and this evening a Glossy Ibis dropped into the ARC Pit. 

8th Aug

Very quiet on the bird front as the very hot weather continues.

From the moth traps, we finally got in on the Oak Processionary bandwagon with three individuals trapped overnight although overall numbers of moths were low again. Other bits of note included Yponomeuta plumbella, two Acrobasis tumidana and two Rest Harrows.
The Tree Crickets in the Desert could be heard singing from the Observatory again this evening.
Oak Processionary Thaumetopoea processionea   Dungeness   8th August 2020
Elsewhere, the days highlight was the finding by John Young of a small number of Blue-eyed Hawkers where the Dengemarsh Sewer meets the railway line just south of Lydd Airport.

Blue-eyed Hawker Aeshna affinis   Lydd   8th August 2020

7th Aug

Another scorching hot day with wall-to-wall sunshine and barely a breath of wind. Typically, hardly a migrant to be seen under these conditions but a Great White Egret made a sortie into observatory air space from the Reserve, a Snipe was flushed  at the Long Pits and a Grey Wagtail was seen at the Observatory. Only two Yellow-legged Gulls were seen at the Patch and passage offshore was virtually non-existent.

The number of moths coming to the traps is very low at the moment despite the warm nights. Maybe the clear skies and full moon are not helping. Having said that the traps this morning were high on quality with the star being a really golden Golden Twin-spot along with three Rest Harrows and a Palpita vitrealis. A Clouded Yellow was also seen alongside the power station wall,
Golden Twin-spot Chrysodeixis chalcites   Dungeness   7th Aug.2020
A Lesser Emperor dragonfly was seen on the northern Long Pit and eight Small Red-eyed Damselflies were seen at the southern end. 


6th Aug

A calm, bright and very hot day and very quiet for birds with very small numbers of migrants in the bushes and 50 Sand Martins at the fishing boats this evening.

A Grey Seal was feeding offshore.

The highlight of a fairly small moth catch was a couple of Palpita vitrealis as well as two Rest Harrows and a Maiden's Blush. A Hummingbird Hawkmoth was seen ovipositing on Hedge Bedstraw along the power station fence.

Elsewhere, the Black-winged Stilt was still feeding at ARC. The insect highlight was a Monarch butterfly which made a brief visit to a garden at Lydd-on-sea.

5th Aug

Another very quiet morning. A handful of Willow Warblers were found, three migrant Wheatears arrived and a Grey Wagtail was seen at the water treatment unit inside the power station.
A Mediterranean Gull, two juvenile Yellow-legged Gulls and 45 Common Terns were feeding at the Patch.

A Lesser Emperor dragonfly was  seen on the southern Long Pits along with two Small Red-eyed Damselflies. A Holly Blue was seen in the trapping area.

4th Aug

Very quiet on the land with just a handful of Willow Warblers of interest. The sea was also slow going with just a westerly trickle of Gannets, six Mediterranean Gulls and a few Sandwich and Common Terns. Two juvenile Yellow-legged Gulls were feeding at the fishing boats.

Four Porpoises were feeding offshore.

Very poor numbers in the moth traps but they did include our second record of Metalampyra italica. A couple of more or less full grown Hummingbird Hawkmoth larvae were found in front of the Observatory. A Lesser Emperor dragonfly was seen at the southern end of the Long Pits.

3rd Aug

Very little on the land and still very slow going offshore were there was just a trickle of Kittiwakes and a few terns passing through and four juvenile Yellow-legged Gulls were also seen.

Eight Porpoise and a Grey Seal were feeding offshore.

Barry Banson caught another two Oak Processionary moths last night.

A Lesser Emperor dragonfly was seen at the north end of the Long Pits this evening.


2nd Aug

There was a westerly trickle of Gannets and terns and also 12 Dunlin but otherwise very quiet offshore and very little to be seen on the land.

It was a decent night for moths with an Oblique-striped of particular note (only the third Obs area record) although a Scarce Tortoise Shieldbug was perhaps even more surprising.. A Holly Blue was the pick of the butterflies and six Small Red-eyed Damselflies were seen at the southernmost end of the Long Pits.
Oblique Striped Phibelapterx verbata   Dungeness   2nd August 2012
A small patch of Nyjer was found growing at the base of one of the feeders in the trapping area.
Nyjer Guizotia abyssinica   Dungeness   2nd August 2020 
Elsewhere, there were at least five Cattle Egrets on the Reserve along with the Black-winged Stilt and Barry Banson continues to catch the best moths with another Oak Proessionary and a Speckled Footman

Speckled Footman Cocinia cribrarian and Oak Processionary  Thaumetopo processionea
2nd August 2020