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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.

4th July

Another miserable day of strong winds and almost continuous drizzle or light rain. Singles of Manx and Balearic Shearwaters and an Arctic Skua were noted offshore.

The Black-winged Stilt was showing at the ARC Pit again.

3rd July

Strong SW winds all day but mostly warm and sunny until rain arrived in the evening. Still very little to report. A Great Spotted Woodpecker was seen in the trapping area and two Siskins flew over the Observatory. The sea was almost devoid of birds.

2nd July

Still the wind blows and with odd showers during the day. Five Mediterranean Gulls passed west offshore and six Sand Martins and at least one Crossbill flew through.

Single Porpoise and Grey Seal were feeding offshore.

The best of another relatively poor nights moth trapping were a Figure-of-80 and a Double Kidney.

1st July

Another wet and windy night gave way to a brighter, sunnier day although it was still windy. Very little to report with just six Mediterranean Gulls and the juvenile Yellow-legged Gull at the Patch and a Yellow Wagtail and a Siskin flying over.

A Grey Seal was feeding offshore.

The first Gatekeepers were seen.

30th June

Another miserable day of strong winds and almost continuous rain. The sea continues to be very disappointing despite the stormy conditions although a Manx Shearwater and a flock of 13 Black-tailed Godwits which flew west this afternoon were of note. The first juvenile Yellow-legged Gull of the summer was seen on the beach at the Patch this morning.

Singles of Porpoise and Grey Seal were feeding offshore and a Brown Hare was seen on the beach near the fishing boats.

The Gull-billed Tern and Black-winged Stilt were seen at the ARC Pit again although the former may not have been seen after about 0900hrs.

29th June

A wild and windy day with very little to report other than two Manx Shearwaters on the early morning seawatch.

Elsewhere, the Gull-billed Tern and Black-winged Stilt continued there stay at the ARC Pit.

28th June

A very windy day with little to be seen other than six Fulmars, a Mediterranean Gull, a Cuckoo and 400 Swifts.

Over the weekend we received some very exciting news concerning an exhausted small bat which Sam picked up off the shingle beach on 13th June. A quick once over back at the Observatory immediately rang alarm bells as to its identity when we saw the clear white trailing edge to the wing along with the relatively pale brown fur of the upperside, a non-contrasting darker face and large (for a pipistrelle) size. All of these features in combination strongly suggested that it might be a Kuhl's Pipistrelle. We called John Puckett of the Kent Bat Group who was quickly on site to take the bat into care. He cautiously agreed at the time with our concerns over the identity of it and later that day he called me to say that they also thought it was highly likely that it was indeed a Kuhl's Pipistrelle but added that a DNA analysis would be needed to confirm this. Yesterday morning JP called me again to say that the DNA analysis had been carried out and that it confirmed the identification as a Kuhl's Pipistrelle.  It is unclear how many records of wild Kuhl's Pipistrelles there have been in Britain but it looks as if it probably less than ten.

Kuhl's Pipistrelle Pipistrellus kuhlii   Dungeness   13th June 2020
Given the covid restrictions at the time, the condition of the individual bat and the laws regarding the handling of bats it was felt that we couldn't make the bat available for others to see and I suspect before it was taken into care. While it is planned to release the animal again once it is back to good health I have no idea when and where this might be but I suspect that it will not run as a public event.

Elsewhere, the Gull-billed Tern and the Black-winged Stilt were still present at ARC.

27th June

Little to report in the way of birds except for at least 31 Mediterranean Gulls offshore in increasingly windy conditions.

Moths continue to provide some interest with an example of the scarce Yponomeuta irrorella along with another Acrobasis repandana and singles of Pine Hawkmoth, Beautiful Hook-tip and Oak Nycteoline of note.

Pine Hawkmoth Sphinx pinastri and Yponomeuta irrorella   Dungeness   27th June 2020
Elsewhere, the Gull-billed Tern and Black-winged Stilt continue to be seen on the ARC Pit.

26th June

Very quiet on the bird front with just a Grey Plover, a Green Sandpiper, three Mediterranean Gulls and a Siskin flying over.

Moth trapping continues to provide plenty of interest with our fourth record of Sub-angled Wave and generally considered to be a migrant when they occur on the coast away from Folkestone. Other noteworthy moths included three Sussex Emeralds and singles of Sciota adelphella, Acrobasis suavella and Ancylosis oblitella. A Hummingbird Hawk-moth was seen on the wall at the Red and White gate  There was also a small arrival of Red Admirals.
Sub-angled Wave Scopula nigropunctata   Dungeness   26th June 2020
Ancylosis oblitella   Dungeness   26th June 2020
Dungenes is a stronghold for this nationally scarce species

Sciota adelphella   Dungeness   26th June 2020
Another nationally rare moth and the fifth record from the Observatory trap.
The now Nationally rare Red Hemp-nettle is just starting to come into flower.
Red Hemp-nettle     Dungeness   26th June 2020
Dungeness is a stronghold for this rapidly declining species and
here being visited by a Green-eyed Flower Bee. Anthophora bimaculata
Elsewhere, the Black-winged Stilt is now almost resident at the NW corner of the ARC Pit but the Gull-billed Tern is much more mobile. It did however spend most of the afternoon and evening feeding at the ARC Pit.

25th June

A bright, sunny and very warm day. Quiet for birds with just two Mediterranean Gulls at the Patch and a Grey Wagtail passing overhead were the only birds of note.

Five Porpoises and a Grey Seal were feeding offshore.

The most unexpected and significant record was the finding of an Ornate Shieldbug. A very rare migrant insect.
Ornate Shieldbug  Eurydema ornata   Dungeness   25th June 2020
The highlights of the moth trapping were an Acrobasis tumidana and three Acrobasis repandana and a Pale Shoulder was found in the rough vegetation in front of the Observatory during the day.

Acrobasis rependana and Acrobasis tumidana   Dungeness   25th June 2020
Pale Shoulder Acontia lucida   Dungeness   25th June 2020