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2016 Report

Our 2016 Report is now available from the Observatory for £8.00 plus P&P if needed. Please contact the Warden: dungenessobs@vfast.co.uk

26th May

Very quiet with even the offshore tern passage reduced to a trickle. One Manx Shearwater and a Little Tern were the best the sea could offer while there was barely a new migrant on the land.

Two Porpoises were seen offshore.

Grizzled Skippers continue to be seen along with good numbers of Brown Argus.

25th May

With overnight rain and calm conditions in the morning there was a nice little arrival of migrants with 13 Spotted Flycatchers and six (new) Reed Warblers of note and more rarities in the form of another flying west over the observatory at 0830hrs and a Nightjar heard briefly during the morning and again at dusk.
The tern movement also continued offshore with another 1010 Common Terns through in three hours of watching along with a Manx Shearwater, an Avocet, 30 Dunlin, a Little Gull and eight Little Terns.

Spotted Flycatcher Muscicapa striata   RSPB Reserve    25th May 2018

At least ten Porpoises were feeding offshore.





24th May

With flat calm conditions the sea continues to surprise with yet another steady easterly movement of terns involving an excellent 104 Black Terns and 1630 Common Terns along with five Grey Plovers, 48 Sanderlings, eight Redshank and two Arctic Skuas. The highlight though was a superb adult Long-tailed Skua which flew in from the south towards the Patch at 1700hrs, had a go at a Sandwich Tern and then seemed to drift off westwards before returning and going on through at 1755hrs. (It was subsequently tracked right along the Kent coast as far as Kingsdown at 2005hrs). 

The almost total dearth of passage migrants on the land continues despite what appeared to be more conducive conditions for an arrival of birds. 

At least 23 Porpoises and two Grey Seals were feeding offshore.

23rd May

Another day lacking in any common migrants but with a remarkable 20 minute spell in mid-morning when a Bee-eater, a Honey Buzzard, two Red Kites and a Common Buzzard all flew over the Observatory. The Bee-eater was then relocated on overhead cables at the north end of the recording area on a couple of occasions during the day.
There was very little movement offshore with just a trickle of Common Terns passing by and eight Black Terns, a Little Gull and a Mediterranean Gull feeding at the Patch.

Honey Buzzard Pernis apivorus   Dungeness   23rd May 2018




Red Kite Milvus milvus   Dungeness   23rd May 2018

Nine Porpoises were seen offshore.

Eleswhere and late in the day, a/the Bee-eater was found at Littlestone where it went to roost in some trees alongside Station Approach. 

22nd May

Another odd day at Dungeness. Barely a migrant to be seen on the land with just a Spotted Flycatcher in the trapping area, a Reed Warbler in the moat and 75 Swallows and three Yellow Wagtails overhead but two notable birds in the form of a Red Kite around mid-day and another all-to-brief Bee-eater which flew south at 1555hrs but was typically seen by just one observer.

The sea continues to provide some interest despite the late date with Common Terns still moving through in large numbers and also six Manx Shearwaters, a Pomarine Skua, five Mediterranean Gulls and 20 Black Terns of note.

A Common Seal, two Grey Seals and around 20 Porpoises were feeding offshore.

Several Brown Argus and Grizzled Skippers were seen. 

21st May

The early morning seemed very quiet but plenty of looking around the Point eventually produced a Grey Plover, a Greenshank, two Hobbies, two Garden Warblers and eight Corn Buntings of note. 
However, there was a surprisingly good seawatch from mid-morning which produced a Shag, seven Pomarine Skuas and 87 Black Terns along with 180 Common Scoter, 69 Sanderling, a Redshank, 17 Mediterranean Gulls and over 2200 "Commic" Terns. A Red-breasted Merganser also flew west.

At least 40 Porpoises were feeding offshore with a Grey Seal in close attendance but was not seen to get too involved with them.


20th May

There was another very small arrival of migrants on the land with five new Chiffchaffs ringed as well as a Common Sandpiper on the Long Pits, a Sedge Warbler trapped in the moat  and a Spotted Flycatcher in the Lighthouse Garden.

Six Porpoises were feeding offshore.

Several Grizzled Skippers and Brown Argus butterflies were seen in the afternoon once the sun came out.

Elsewhere, another good bird appeared on the RSPB Reserve with a Kentish Plover seen from Dennis's Hide for much of the day. The last Dungeness record was on 17th April 2005. The Hoopoe was seen on several occasions during the day and the Bee-eater was seen at ARC for a while in the morning before it flew off.

Kentish Plover Charadrius alexandrinus   RSPB Reserve   20th May 2018
Very oor distant shots but the best I could do.

19th May

Yet another quiet morning in the Observatory recording area with just ten Whimbrel and a trickle of Common Terns east offshore and a very small arrival of Chiffchaffs and a Whinchat on the land and eight Buzzards and four Hobby overhead.
(Late news concerns a party of three Pomarine Skuas this afternoon).

Twenty Porpoises and a Grey Seal were feeding offshore.


Most of the interest was elsewhere on the Point with the Hoopoe showing well again at times along Dengemarsh Road (usually just south of Springfield Bridge) and a Bee-eater which was seen briefly in the morning at Dengemarsh and then presumably relocated at the  ARC Pit in the evening which it showed very well for a time.

Bee-eater Merops apiaster   ARC   19th May 2018 

18th May

Very quiet on both land and sea. An Arctic Skua and four Mediterranean Gulls were feeding offshore and three Garden Warblers were singing at the Long Pits.

Five Porpoises and a Grey Seal were feeding offshore.

Six Grizzled Skippers and five Brown Argus were of note among the butterflies seen.

Elsewhere, a Hoopoe was initially found at Galloways Road on the Ranges and later relocated feeding along the edge of Dengemarsh Road.
Hoopoe Upupa epops   Dengemarsh Road   18th May 2018
For those visiting Dungeness in the next few days the Screen Hide on the ARC Pit is well worth a visit as up to three Bitterns have been showing very well there at times.


Bittern Botaurus stellaris   Screen Hide, ARC Pit   17th May 2018

17h May

Two Manx Shearwaters, 31 Whimbrel, four Great Skuas, a Pomarine Skua, seven Arctic Skuas and seven Mediterranean Gulls all flew west during the day.
Very quiet on the land with just a Grey Wagtail of interest.

Five Porpoises and a Grey Seal were seen offshore.

It was a decent day for butterflies with four Grizzled Skippers and three Brown Argus being the highlights and the hoverfly Xanthogramma citrofasciatum was also seen.
Xantogramma citrofasciatum   Dungeness   17th May 2018
Some time was also spent looking for some of the scarcer flowers growing on the Point with Clustered Clover being one of the best finds.


Clustered Clover Trifolium glomeratum   Dungeness   17th May 2018