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Corona Virus Update

We are very pleased to be accepting booking at the Observatory. In order to keep staff and visitors as safe as possible, we will be requesting that you take a Lateral Flow Test (provided) before you first come in. The hides will be open for 'Friends of DBOT'. However, we would request that you continue to observe safe practises and sanitiser and spray will continue to be provided to clean down the handles and closures in the hide after you have used it.

Please forward any Dungeness recording area records to the Warden.
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27th Sep

The wind increased overnight and with rain from the early hours the only option for the morning was seawatching. It turned out to be one of the best days for seabirds of the autumn with coverage for most of the day bringing 72 Brent Geese, seven Teal, a Leach's Petrel (seen from the fishing boats), seven Sooty Shearwaters, 40 Balearic Shearwaters, two Manx Shearwaters, seven Ringed Plovers, 370 Kittiwakes, nine Mediterranean Gulls, 540 Sandwich Terns, 50 Common Terns, 11 Great Skuas and 93 Arctic Skuas of note,

Three Porpoises and singles of Common and Grey Seal were feeding offshore.

26th Sep

Several hours of seawatching during the day produced 63 Common Scoters, two Sooty and two Manx Shearwaters, a Balearic Shearwater, 17 Mediterranean Gulls, 389 Sandwich Terns, three Arctic Skuas and 200 lingering Kittiwakes. The dearth of migrants in the bushes continues and overhead passage this morning was very light with just three Grey Wagtails and a Tree Pipit of interest.

A Delicate and another Palpita vitrealis were caught overnight. 

Also in the moth trap was a picture-winged fly named Tephritis divisa. This species was recorded as new for Britain in 2014 and has since spread but this is a new species for the Dungeness area.

Tephritis divisa   Dungeness   26th September 2021

The Daubenton's Bat which was taken into care last Saturday was released back into the wild at the Observatory this evening. A Badger was seen along the Observatory access track in the evening. 

25th Sep

A murky morning saw the arrival of a few more Chiffchaffs and Blackcaps and a trickle of birds overhead including two Grey Wagtails, two Tree Pipits and five Reed Buntings. A Kingfisher was also seen at the Long Pits. It remains quiet offshore with just ten Sanderlings, three Mediterranean Gulls and two Arctic Skuas of note.

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

The moth traps were quiet in terms of numbers but did include a Palpita vitrealis, a Delicate and a first for Dungeness in the form of this tiny Cosmopterix pulchrimella.

Cosmopterix pulchrimella   Dungeness   25th September 2021
This species was first found in Britain in 2001 and the larva feeds on Pelitory-of-the-Wall

Also found in the moth trap was this example of the very local and very large diving-beetle Dytiscus dimidiatus.

Dytiscus dimidiatus   Dungeness   25th September 2021

24th Sep

Coverage was a bit limited today but migrants were clearly fairly scarce with just a few Chiffchaffs and Blackcaps in the bushes and three Grey Wagtails passing overhead.

A Badger was seen along the track to the Observatory in the evening.

23rd Sep

Clear skies this morning resulted in very few grounded migrants and very little movement offshore with just a Red-throated Diver, two Grey Plovers, two Mediterranean Gulls and four Arctic Skuas of note. Another two MOTUS tags were fitted to Blackcaps this morning.

Four Porpoises and a Grey Seal were feeding offshore.

The moth traps were very quiet but did have a Boxworm Moth inside.

22nd Sep

A misty start to the day then bright, warm and sunny. There was a decent arrival of Chiffchaffs and Blackcaps and some heavy movement of Swallows and House Martins along with 14 Yellow Wagtails, four Grey Wagtails and a Siskin overhead. Offshore, a Pintail and a Mediterranean Gull flew west and at least six Arctic Skuas were harassing terns offshore. The most unlikely bird of the day was a Black Swan which flew west offshore.

In addition, Lucy Mitchell joined us at the Observatory for the first of three morning to fit MOTUS radio tags to Blackcaps as part of a pilot project aimed at assessing the possibility of extending to the MOTUS netowokr to other ringing stations across the country. 

Lucy Mitchell and our first radio-tagged Blackcaps

Two Porpoises and two Grey Seals were feeding offshore.

Another visit to the Trapping Area after dusk produced six Large Coneheads and 14 Sickle-bearing Bush-crickets and including a pair seen mating.
Sickle-bearing Bush-cricket Phaneroptera falcata   Dungeness   22nd September 2021
A rarely seen mating pair.
Four Clouded Yellows were also seen.this .

21st Sep

A clear, moonlit night did little for grounded migrants in the morning with just a few Chiffchaffs and Blackcaps and two Wheatears being seen. Early morning vis-mig was also light but did include six Grey Wagtails and 17 Reed Bunting. with warmer conditions from late morning there were large numbers of Buzzards in the air with at least 21 being counted along with six Sparrowhawks. A Little Egret was also of note.

Seawatching was very slow with just a couple of Mediterranean Gulls seen this evening.

Two Porpoises and two Grey Seals were feeding offshore.

Elsewhere, there was no sign of yesterday's White-winged Tern but the Glossy Ibis and nine Cattle Egrets were still present on the Reserve. 

20th Sep

A cool and damp morning with very little in the way of grounded migrants and just a trickle of bird overhead which included six Grey Wagtails, a Tree Pipit, the first two Rock Pipits of the autumn and a Siskin. The sea was also fairly quiet but nearly five hours of watching eventually produced 145 Brent Geese, 17 Wigeon, 21 Teal, two Sooty Shearwaters, six Grey Plover and 11 Arctic Skuas of note.

At least eight Porpoises and a Grey Seal were seen offshore.

The moth traps produced a handful of migrants with Palpita vitrealis and The Gem new for the year along with a Vestal, a Delicate and a Peary Underwing of note.

The Gem Orthonama obstipata   Dungeness   20th September 2021

Palpita vitrealis   Dungeness   20th September 2021

A Southern Oak Bush-cricket was found on the kitchen window and four Hawthorn Shield-bug nymphs were seen in the Trapping Area.

Hawthorn Shieldbug Acanthosoma haemorrhoidale nymphs   Dungeness   20th September 2021

Elsewhere, a first-year White-winged Tern was found on Burrowes Pit in the afternoon and nine Cattle Egrets were feeding amongst the cattle in the fields at Boulderwall. The Glossy Ibis was also seen in the same area. 

White-winged Tern Chlidonias leucopterus   first-year   Burrowes, RSPB   20th September 2021
Fairly distant views and in failing light.

19th Sep

There was a trickle of birds overhead and passing offshore and also a small number of grounded migrants. The highlights from the sea were two Sooty Shearwaters, 34 Teal, 403 Gannets, a Red-throated Diver, a Great Skua and 17 Arctic Skuas. Birds passing overhead included a Common Sandpiper, a Buzzard, 12 Yellow Wagtails, seven Grey Wagtails and 13 Reed Buntings. A handful of Chiffchaffs and Blackcaps were seen in the bushes.

Six Porpoises and a Grey Seal were feeding offshore.

18th Sep

Another slow day despite the seemingly fairly decent conditions. Five Teal, 205 Kittiwakes, a Great Skua and 21 Arctic Skuas were seen offshore during the day.. Very little to report from the land except for a Kingfisher at the Long Pits, seven Yellow Wagtails and the first Siskin of the autumn.

Two Porpoises were feeding  offshore and a Daubenton's Bat was found roosting in the open on a fence on the seaward side of the power station.

One Sickle-bearing Bush-cricket was seen during the day, two Clouded Yellows were seen in the Desert and the mothtrap produced just two Box-worm Moths of note. 

Box-worm Moth Cydalima perspectalis   Dungeness  18th September 2021
A melanic example of this species.