30th June

Five Balearic Shearwaters flew past west during an hour of observation mid-morning, while interest on the land was limited to a single Great Spotted Woodpecker.

The Spoonbill slumbered away at Scotney GPs.

29th June

90 minutes of observation this morning produced a respectable count of eight Balearic Shearwaters flying west, along with an Arctic Skua. Three southbound Sand Martins this morning were followed by an exodus of 1,764 Common Swifts over a two-hour vigil in the afternoon, during which time two Manx Shearwaters and a 2nd-summer Mediterranean Gull passed west offshore. In addition, 10 Common Scoters flew west and a Marsh Harrier flew over the beach.

Over at Scotney, the Spoonbill was still showing on the causeway between the eastern pits.

28th June

It was another very quiet day, with just two Great Spotted Woodpeckers to speak of on land and 134 Gannets passing west in one hour this morning.

The first Ruddy Darter of the year was on the wing at the Long Pits.

At least six Harbour Porpoises were offshore along with two Grey Seals and an unidentified breaching shark.

Away from the observatory, the Spoonbill was present at Scotney GPs for a second day.

27th June

A few Gannets continued to move west offshore, with 225 doing so in 90 minutes this evening. A trickle of southbound Common Swifts totalled 125 and an adult Mediterranean Gull was feeding at the Patch.

Five Harbour Porpoises and a Grey Seal were seen offshore.

Elsewhere, a Spoonbill was found on the causeway between the eastern pits at Scotney.

26th June

Another quiet day with just two Mediterranean Gulls at the Patch and 98 Swifts overhead of interest.

Moth trapping produce a Small Emerald and a Rush Veneer of note.

At least four Porpoises and a Grey Seal were feeding offshore and two Stoats were seen on the land.

25th June

Nothing to report on the birding front but whilst engaged in a breeding bird survey of the land within the fences of the power stations I came across a few examples of the Brassica Bug Eurydema oleracea - a fairly scarce shield bug and possibly a new species for Dungeness.


Brassica Bug Eurydema oleracea    Dungeness   25th June 2016

24th June

The bird of the day was a Black Kite which spent some time this afternoon trying to feed at the Fish Hut before heading north and then inland over Lade. (A video still is shown below.)
A Manx Shearwater and 210 Gannets flew west this evening.
Black Kite Milvus migrans   Dungeness   24th June 2016   D.Bunney
One Porpoise was seen offshore.

Overnight moth trapping was fairly poor again but did include a Pearly Underwing.
Pearly Underwing Peridroma saucia   Dungeness   24th June 2016

23rd June

After a night and early morning of heavy rain and almost constant thunder and lightning there was very little to be seen in the way of birds.

Night scenes from the Observatory.

Three Porpoises and a Grey Seal were feeding offshore and a Stoat was seen near the Observatory.

The moth trap was very disappointing with just a Freyer's Pug of note but large numbers of Silver Y's and a Hummingbird Hawk-moth arrived during the day.

The Cattle Egret was seen on the RSPB Reserve again. 

22nd June

A juvenile Great Spotted Woodpecker was the first of the "autumn" along with three juvenile Stonechats but there was very little else to be seen.

A Miller was of note from the moth-trap.
The Miller Acronicta leporina   Dungeness   22nd June 2016

The Cattle Egret was still being seen at Hayflied 3 on the RSPB Reserve.

21st June

Several spells of seawatching during the day totalling 4.5hrs produced 526 Gannets, nine Fulmars, an Arctic Skua, 23 Kittiwakes, a Mediterranean Gull, 115 Common Terns and three Black Terns heading west and a Great Skua moving east. The bird of the day though was a Storm Petrel which flew slowly west off the fishing boats this evening.
There were signs of autumn migration on the land as well with 17 Sand Martins flying south. 
A Little Egret also flew over the Point.

Eight Porpoises and a Grey Seal were feeding offshore.

The first Common Darter of the year was seen at the Long Pits where one of the Red-eared Terrapins was also sunning itself.

Elsewhere, the Cattle Egret was still feeding around the cows in Hayfield 3 on the RSPB Reserve.

20th June

A miserable day of strong winds and heavy rain during the morning followed later by thick fog. A few intrepid seawatchers scraped up to two Balearic and five Manx Shearwaters and 14 Little Terns moving west but there was little else to be seen.

A Grey Seal was feeding offshore.

Of note elsewhere was a Cattle Egret with cattle in Hayfield 2 on the RSPB Reserve.

19th June

Very little to report today. A first-summer Mediterranean Gull was offshore.

Four Porpoises were also feeding offshore.

Butterflies included a couple of Painted Ladies, increasing numbers of Small Skippers and the first few of a new brood of Small Coppers.


18th June

Some overhead movement included 163 Swifts, four House Martins and three Goldfinches and three juvenile Stonechats were in the moat. A Balearic Shearwater flew west and an Arctic Skua flew east this afternoon.  

At least six Porpoises and a Grey Seal were feeding offshore.

Another important plant at Dungeness is the Viper's Bugloss. This is not so much because the plant is rare but it is the food plant of a number of rare inverterbrates including the these two micro-moths, Ethmia terminella and Ethmia bipunctella.

Viper's Bugloss Echium vilgare   Dungeness   18th June 2016

Ethmia terminella and Ethmia bipunctella   Dungeness   18th June 2016

17th June

A day of frequent storms, some with lightning. A party of 500 Swifts flew out to sea in the evening but there was not a great deal else to be seen in the poor conditions.

Six Porpoises and a Grey Seal were feeding offshore.


16th June

The highlight of the day was a female "hepatic" Cuckoo at the Long Pits around lunch time. A couple of juvenile Stonechats were also seen again.

Grey Seal was seen.

In the fine, warm conditions good numbers of dragonflies were seen at the Long Pits including the first mature Black-tailed Skimmers of the summer and lots of Four-spotted Chasers. A few Hairy Dragonflies can also still be seen.

Black-tailed Skimmer Orthetrum cancellatum   Dungeness   16th June 2016

Four-spotted Chaser Libelulla quadrimaculata var praenubila   Dungeness   16th  June 2016
Moth trapping was fairly poor but did produce a Small Waved Umber and a Toadflax Brocade.

The area is still looking really good for flowers with carpets of Nottingham Catchfly in flower. This is a night-flowerer and is at its best in the evening when the scent fills the air.


Nottingham Catchfly Silene nutans   Dungeness   16th June 2016
This nationally rare plant is also extremely important to the area as it is the main food plant of the equally scarce moth, the White Spot, which is appearing in the moth trap in decent numbers.
White Spot Hadena albimacula   Dungeness   16th June 2016
Finally, a caterpillar for which I posted an image on 10th June has now grown considerably and in the process has morphed into a Puss Moth.
Puss Moth Cerura vitula   Dungeness   16th June 2016

15th June

Very quiet with just a Mediterranean Gull offshore and a party of four juvenile Stonechats of note.

Four Porpoises were feeding offshore.


14th June

Another windy day and not much to show for it in the way of birds.

Large Skipper and Meadow Brown were both new species for the year.

Large Skipper Ochlodes venatus   Dungeness   15th June 2016
At least ten Porpoises were feeding offshore this morning.

13th June

The only birds of note today were a Nightingale singing at the Long Pits (presumably the same individual as one heard briefly on 9th) and a flyover Corn Bunting.

Six Porpoises were feeding offshore.

12th June

The day started with decent weather but heavy rain set in from mid-morning and when this cleared through it turned very foggy so observations were fairly limited. A brief check of the sea this afternoon revealed two Arctic Skuas and two Mediterranean Gulls but very little else was seen during the day.

The warm and calm conditions overnight produced the best moth catch of the year so far with notable records including two Seraphims, a totally melanic Peppered Moth, three Shoulder-striped Wainscots and the fifth Observatory record of Obscure Wainscot. Over 500 Diamond-back Moths were also trapped.

Three Porpoises were feeding offshore.

11th June

Very little to report today other than a small movement of Swifts this evening and a Yellow Wagtail over this morning.

Eight Harbour Porpoises and a Grey Seal were seen offshore.

10th June

Very quiet for birds in the Observatory area.

Elsewhere, a Night Heron was seen going into a daytime roost at the Oppen Pits on the RSPB Reserve.

The flowers are excellent at the moment and creating a very colourful scene. Bird's-foot Trefoil is particularly good and creating great swathes of colour whilst more subtle plants include a few more Grass Vetchlings appearing and the finding of a plant of the rare Yellow Vetch at a new location within the recording area.



The desert in bloom and the Long Pit "meadows".
Grass Vetchling Lathyrus nissolia   Dungeness   10th June 2016

Yellow Vetch  Vicia lutea   Dungeness   10th June 2016 

Butterflies were seen in quite good numbers today with at least 70 Common Blues and three Brown Argus. Moth trapping has not been very productive but the caterpillar of a Puss Moth was found in the moat 
Puss Moth Cerura vinula   larva   Dungeness   10th June 2016


A dead young Stoat was found in the trapping area and two Porpoises were feeding offshore.

9th June

A Willow Warbler was the only obvious new migrant in the trapping area whilst three Cuckoos were displaying at the Long Pits this evening. Six Mediterranean Gulls and the white-winged gull were feeding at the Patch during the morning.

Porpoise was seen offshore and two Stoats were seen along the Observatory access track.

Two Red-eared Terrapins were basking in the sunshine at the Long Pits.

The best of the butterflies were two Brown Argus along with good numbers of Common Blues and Small Heaths and four Painted Ladies.

8th June

Very quiet for birds with just ten Mediterranean Gulls seen during the day and a Corn Bunting flying over of note.

One Porpoise was seen offshore.

Butterflies included two Grizzled Skippers (one looking as if it had just emerged) and a tatty Brown Argus in the Observatory garden. Lots of Diamond-back Moths continue to be seen. The numbers of dragonflies remain low but the first Emperor Dragonfly of the year and 50 Red-eyed Damselflies were seen. A beetle was photographed at the Long Pits which turns out to be Donacia clavipes and classified as Notable B. (thanks to Mark Telfer for help with the identification.)
Donacia clavipes   Dungeness   8th June 2016
Flowers continue to provide plenty of interest. A search of the damp flushes to the east of the Long Pits found 1000's of plants of  Marsh Speedwell and a patch of at least 20 flowering Marsh Cinquefoils. This is possibly the first time since 1984 that it has been seen in flower in the Observatory area.

Marsh Speedwell Veronica scutellata    Dungeness    8th June 2016


Marsh Cinquefoil Potentilla palustris   Dungeness   8th June 2016

7th June

Not a great deal to report on the bird front with just a Buzzard over the area and two migrant Reed Warblers of note. Three Mediterranean Gulls and "that" white-winged gull were feeding at the Patch in the afternoon.

The invasion of Diamond-back Moths continues to dominate the lepidoptera scene with one sample transect count of about 10,000 between the red and white gate and the Patch this evening. There were plenty to be seen almost wherever they were looked for and there must be into the millions in the Observatory recording area as a whole. A dozen or so Painted Ladies were also seen along with a couple of Brown Argus and lots of Small Heaths and Small Coppers.

Six Porpoises were feeding offshore.

The flowers across the peninsula are just about coming to their best. A couple of nice finds today included Grass Vetchling and some interesting broomrapes. Below is an image of a typical Common Broomrape Orobanche minor followed by two images of another individual which whilst looking quite different seems to be "just" a Common Broomrape.

Grass Vetchling Lathyrus nissolia   Dungeness   7th June 2016



Common Broomrape Orobanche minor   Dungeness   normal and white form 7th June 2016

6th June

Yesterdays Fieldfare was still present in the trapping area this morning and managed to find its way into one of the nets. A Grey Wagtail flew over but there was very little else to report.

Fieldfare Turdus pilaris   Dungeness   6th June 2016
A bat-catching session at the Long Pits last night produced two Nathusius's Pipistrelles whilst a Grey Seal, a Stoat and a Brown Hare were seen during the day.

The warm weather encouraged some dragonflies to appear with another Variable Damselfly, 130 Four-spotted Chasers and the first three Black-tailed Skimmers Orthetrum cancellatum of the year of note.

A few Painted Ladies were seen and Diamond-back Moths remain abundant during the day.

A couple of Red-eared Terrapins were seen basking at the Long Pits again. 

5th June

A bright and sunny day at last although the wintry theme actually continued with the unusual bird of the day in the form of a Fieldfare in the trapping area. A Buzzard and a Grey Wagtail also flew over.

With the better weather a few butterflies were also on the wing and included a Holly Blue at the Sycamore in the trapping area and a Painted Lady. The moth trap produced lots of Diamond-back Moths again and the first Toadflax Brocade of the year. The best of the few dragonflies seen was a Variable Damselfly in the trapping area. 


4th June

A hint of some late migration this morning with a Garden Warbler in the trapping area, a Reed Warbler on the beach near the Patch hide and a Spotted Flycatcher in the Lighthouse Garden. The Patch was pretty quite although the white-winged gull was present and being reported under various guises.

A family party of Stoats were showing well along our access road during the morning.

Diamond-back Moths continue to dominate the moth scene with 426 recorded in one moth trap overnight and clouds of them present by day. One observer, (GH) reported a "snow storm" in the car headlights this evening. Three Painted Ladies and a few Silver Y's were also of note today.

3rd June

Another cold and cloudy day but at least the wind dropped. The Patch provided most of the days interest with the best being a couple of Roseate Terns seen late morning. Among the hordes of birds feeding there were at least 15 Mediterraneans Gulls, a second-summer Yellow-legged Gull, the mystery white-winged gull and a return visit of what is presumably a Mediterranean x Black-headed Gull hybrid. A Great Skua also passed through.

Click here for a short video of the Mediterranean x Black-headed Gull hybrid.

A Grey Seal was also feeding offshore.

The invasion of Diamond-backed Moths Plutella xylostella continues with around 1000 counted but this will only touch the surface of the real numbers present.



2nd June

Another day of miserable weather with strong and cold N by NNE winds and heavy cloud. The highlight of the day was the short visit in mid-afternoon by the adult Laughing Gull to the Patch before it was flushed by dogwalkers and it flew off in a westerly direction. Eight Mediterranean Gulls and a Little Tern were also of note at the Patch whilst seawatching revealed a strong westerly movement of Gannets but not much else. 

Two Porpoises and a Grey Seal were feeding offshore.

Although the overnight weather conditions were poor the moth trap was still operated but only six moths were trapped including a single Diamond-backed Moth. However the walk between the two hides on the beach produced a count of another 400 and there must be thousands in the area as they are being reported in huge numbers across the country.

1st June

The first day of Meteorological Summer apparently. You could have fooled me. Another cold, damp and windy day with very little to show for a fair amount of time spent in the field.
'The' first-summer gull was at the Patch again this afternoon and I am now fairly happy that it is a Herring x Glaucous hybrid but watch this space as I will probably have changed my mind again by tomorrow!  Two Mediterranean Gulls were also feeding at the Patch.

For a couple of videoclips of the gull click here and here.

There was nothing of note in the bushes.

The weather of late has prevented any attempts at moth trapping but a search around the Observatory and Moat produced 100 Diamond-backed Moths Plutella xylostella in about 20 minutes this afternoon. There appears to have been a massive arrival of this migrant moth across the country in the last few days.

Two Porpoises and two Grey Seals were seen offshore.