31st July


There was a small overhead passage of waders this morning with singles of Little Ringed Plover, Golden Plover, Wood Sandpiper and Redshank of note but it was very quiet in the bushes with just 14 Willow Warblers scattered across the Point of interest. Two juvenile Yellow-legged Gulls were on the beach.

The only unusual moth trapped overnight was this Double Kidney
Double Kidney Igimorpha retusa   Dungeness   31st July 2016

With the warm and calm weather there were plenty of dragonflies on the wing. The highlight was a short-staying Lesser Emperor at the northern Long Pit whilst seven Small Red-eyed Damselflies were seen including these two egg-laying pairs.

Small Red-eyed Damselfly Erythromma viridulum   31st July 2016  
Four Porpoises were feeding offshore.

30th July

A handful of birds in the trapping area included the first Garden Warbler of the autumn and a few Willow Warblers. Offshore passage was almost non-existent but a juvenile Mediterranean Gull and three Yellow-legged Gulls were feeding along the beach or at the Patch.

There were lots of butterflies to be seen with well over 130 Small Coppers and 20 Brown Argus of note.

A fairly small catch of moths included one surprise in the form of a Crescent Striped. This is the ninth Observatory record but the first since 1997.

Crescent Striped Apamea oblonga   Dungeness   30th July 2016
Offshore there were at least eight Porpoises and a Grey Seal feeding.

29th July

With strong winds again today most of the interest remained offshore. A four-hour watch this afternoon produced a Manx Shearwater, an adult light-phase Arctic Skua and a steady trickle of Kittiwakes and Common Terns moving west whilst a party of six Black Terns with the feeding frenzy offshore. A juvenile Mediterranean Gull and two juvenile Yellow-legged Gulls were also present.

At least ten Porpoises and three Grey Seals were feeding offshore.

Just before midnight a check of the kitchen windows produced this cricket nymph which I think must be a Southern Oak Bush-cricket.

Southern Oak Bush-cricket Meconema meridionale late-stage nymph   Dungeness   28th July 2016

28th July

Still fairly quiet. There was an increase in wader numbers with 78 Dunlins and 65 Sanderlings on the beach and a juvenile Mediterranean Gull and two juvenile Yellow-legged Gulls also feeding offshore.
A juvenile Cuckoo and seven Willow Warblers were new arrivals on the land.

Just six birds were caught for ringing but they included this juvenile Green Woodpecker.
Green Woodpecker Picus viridis    Dungeness   28th July 2016

Ten Porpoise and a Grey Seal were feeding offshore.

27th July

With fresher winds and drizzle today most of the interest was inevitably offshore. Almost seven hours of coverage eventually produced four Balearic and six Manx Shearwaters, ten Fulmars, singles of Arctic and Great Skua and a party of four Black Terns whilst three Mediterranean Gulls and two juvenile Yellow-legged Gulls were feeding at the fishing boats or the Patch.

Six Porpoises and a Grey Seal were also feeding offshore.

26th July

Very quiet in the bushes but there was a trickle of passage overhead with a Green Sandpiper, a Turnstone, 45 Swifts and a Grey Wagtail of note whilst three Sanderlings and a Redshank flew west offshore. Three juvenile Mediterranean Gulls and a juvenile Yellow-legged Gull were feeding at the Patch.

Eight Porpoises and two Grey Seals were feeding offshore.

Four Small Red-eyed Damselfly were found at the Long Pits where a Red-eared Terrapin was also seen again.
Small Red-eyed Damselfly Erythromma viridulum   Dungeness   26th July 2016












25th July

Two juvenile Mediterranean Gulls were feeding at the fishing boats and two juvenile Yellow-legged Gulls were feeding at the Patch. A Manx Shearwater flew east in the evening. 
Very quiet on the land with three very young Willow Warblers being trapped being the most interesting.

Ten Porpoises and two Grey Seals were feeding offshore.

Moth-trapping was disappointing with little of interest whilst on the butterfly front six Brown Argus and a single Painted Lady were of note.
Brown Argus Aricia agestis   Dungeness   25th July 2016

24th July

An hours seawatch this morning produced nine Manx Shearwaters whilst two Mediterranean Gulls at the Patch included a juvenile along with two juvenile Yellow-legged Gulls. A Little Ringed Plover also flew over.
Two Willow Warblers were calling in the trapping area.

Two Porpoises and a Grey Seal were feeding offshore.

The moth trap was fairly unexciting but a Jersey Tiger was found in the afternoon near the Sanctuary. Despite becoming increasingly widespread  in the south-east this remains a pretty scarce moth at Dungeness.
Jersey Tiger Euplagia quadripunctaria    Dungeness   24th July 2016

23rd July

An Arctic Skua was chasing gulls offshore this evening and three Mediterranean Gulls flew west. Eight Yellow Wagtails flew over.

Six Porpoises and a Grey Seal were feeding offshore.

The first Small Red-eyed Damselfly of the summer was seen at the southern Long Pit.

Elsewhere, a Bee-eater made a brief appearance on the RSPB Reserve in the afternoon.


22nd July

Four Willow Warblers and a small increase in Reed Warbler numbers were noted whilst a few Sand Martins and 11 Yellow Wagtails passed overhead.
Very quiet offshore with just one Mediterranean Gull and a party of three Little Terns of note.

Four Porpoises were seen.

Singles of the pyralids Udea ferrugalis and Nomophila noctuella and a Dark Sword-grass were the only obvious migrants in the moth trap whilst another True Lover's Knot and the uncommon pyralid Sitochroa palealis were also of note.

A check this evening for rare crickets produced just Grey Bush-crickets and Long-winged Coneheads and a few Lesser Cockroaches whilst a check of the sleeper line on the way back produced three examples of the scarce beetle Helops caerulea
Helops caerulea   Dungeness   22nd July 2016

21st July


Not much to report on the bird front with just an overhead trickle of Swifts, Sand Martins and Yellow Wagtails whilst at least four Yellow-legged Gulls and two Mediterranean Gulls were feeding at the Patch.

Moth-trapping was very productive with a Scalloped Hook-tip (3rd Obs record), Peach Blossom (6th Obs record) and the Fern (8th Obs record) of note.

Scalloped Hook-tip Falcaria lacertinaria   Dungeness   20th July 2016 
As well as moths the Viper's Bugloss is the host plant for to a variety of other insects. One of these is the weevil Mogulones geographicus shown below. Several were easily caught by sweeping the foodplant around the Observatory.
Mogulones geographicus   Dungeness   21st July 2016

Five Porpoises were feeding offshore.

20th July

Another quiet day with just a Whimbrel, two Mediterranean Gulls and a juvenile Yellow-legged Gull offshore and 85 Sand Martins passing through.

At least six Porpoises were feeding offshore and a Stoat was seen at the Long Pits.

With windier conditions overnight the moth catch was much reduced compared to the last couple of nights but still produced a True Lovers Knot and a Slender Brindle, the latter being only the fifth record for the Observatory.

True Lover's Knot Lycophotia porphyrea and Slender Brindle Apamea scolopacina   Dungeness 20th July 2016

19th July

Very quiet in very hot weather. Five Mediterranean and three juvenile Yellow-legged Gulls were feeding offshore this afternoon.
Seven Yellow Wagtails flew over and a single Willow Warbler was seen at the Long Pits.

Eight Porpoises and a Grey Seal were feeding offshore this afternoon.  

There were lots of moths in the trap this morning but there was nothing particularly unusual to be found. A Hummingbird Hawk-moth was seen on the security wall near the seawatch hide.

18th July

A few migrants are starting to move now with a Little Ringed Plover, 150 Swifts and 17 Sand Martins overhead and , two Willow Warblers, a Sedge Warbler and 18 Yellow Wagtails on the land.
A Marsh Harrier was hunting over the Long Pits.
Two juvenile Yellow-legged Gulls were feeding at the Patch.

At least 12 Porpoises were sen offshore in flat calm conditions.

The two Red-eared Terrapins were sunning themselves at the Long Pits.

There were plenty of moths in the trap with the best being this Waved Carpet - only the fourth Observatory record. An example of the scarce pyralid Evergestis limbata was also trapped.
Waved Carpet Hydrelia sylvata   Dungeness   18th July 2016

One Brown Argus was of note among the masses of butterflies on show

It is not very often that fish appear on the website but large numbers were sheltering from the sun in the shallows of the Long Pits this afternoon including these Roach.
Roach   Long Pits, Dungeness   18th July 2016

Following on from the addition of Yellow-wort to the Observatory plant list there are now 34 plants flowering along side the access track to the Observatory. However, a look through the power station fence here revealed a colony of 1000's of plants. 


Yellow-wort Blackstonia perfoliata   Dungeness   18th July 2016

17th July

Four Whimbrel flew west and a Great Skua flew east and an adult Mediterranean Gull and two juvenile Yellow-legged Gull were feeding offshore.

Two Porpoises and a Grey Seal were also feeding offshore

16th July

A very quiet day. Early morning seawatching produced a few Gannets and a Mediterranean Gull but very little else was seen on the land or at sea.

Butterfly numbers were impressive again today and with the addition of a Clouded Yellow and three Brown Argus.

15th July

Nothing much to report other than a few Sand Martins feeding over the fishing boats and a distinct increase in the numbers of Yellow Wagtails with 13 being seen.

Butterflies are providing plenty of interest with very high numbers of Small Skippers, Meadow Browns, Marbled Whites and Small Coppers to be seen..

14th July

A Buzzard and four Hobbies feeding over the area were of note whilst 230 Sand Martins and a Yellow Wagtail passed through and a Willow Warbler arrived.
Three Mediterranean Gulls and two juvenile Yellow-legged Gulls were feeding at the Patch.

Three Porpoises were seen offshore.

The first of a fresh brood of Brown Argus butterflies appeared today and migrant moths included a Hummingbird Hawk-moth in the Observatory garden and two Dark Swordgrass trapped overnight.

13th July

Singles of Marsh Harrier, Buzzard and Hobby were all seen hunting over the area and 140 Swifts flew south this evening. Three Yellow-legged Gulls were feeding offshore.

At least 14 Porpoises and a Grey Seal were seen.

12th July

An adult Roseate Tern which spent an hour or so at the Patch this morning was the highlight of the day. Two Mediterranean Gulls and four juvenile Yellow-legged Gulls were also feeding at the Patch. A Hobby was feeding at the Long Pits.

Two Porpoises were seen offshore.

Numbers of adult grasshoppers and crickets are now staring to appear and several Mottled Grasshoppers were found at the south east of the trapping area. This is a fairly scarce species in the recording area.
Mottled Grasshopper Mermeleotettix maculatus   Dungeness   12th July 2016
Calmer conditions meant better conditions for photographing the Yellow-wort but the plants themselves seem to have taken a bit of a battering from the wind.
Yellow-wort Blacksonia perfoliata    Dungeness   12th July 2016


Elsewhere, a Cattle Egret was seen at Dengemarsh.

11th July

A windy day made for difficult conditions but around 500 Swifts were feeding over the Point for much of the day. Seawatching produced a Manx Shearwater and an Arctic Skua of note whilst a juvenile Yellow-legged Gull was seen at the Patch.

Five Porpoises feeding offshore.

Yesterday, the plant Yellow-wort Blackstonia perfoliata was added to the Observatory flower list but conditions have made obtaining a decent image virtually impossible. Hopefully it will be less windy tomorrow and taking pictures will be a bit easier. 

10th July

Two second-summer Mediterranean Gulls flew west and two juvenile Yellow-legged Gulls were feeding at the fishing boats. A total of 300 Swifts passed through.
Yellow-legged Gull Larus michahellis   juvenile   Dungeness   10th July 2016

Three Porpoises and a Grey Seal were feeding offshore.
Grey Seal Halichoerus grypus   Dungeness   10th July 2016
A Hummingbird Hawk-moth also arrived and trapping in the moat produced the smart-looking micro-moth Eidophasia messingiella.
Eidophasia messingiella   Dungeness   10th July 2016


9th July

Not a great deal to report today. Very quiet offshore and 93 Swifts and 250 Sand Martins passing through over the land.

The Glossy Ibis was still present in the Hayfields at Dengemarsh.

8th July

The first juvenile Yellow-legged Gull of the summer arrived at the fishing boats where eight Mediterranean Gulls were also feeding offshore. Five Whimbrels passed through.

Four Porpoises were feeding offshore.

A search through the large numbers of skippers revealed the first three Essex Skippers of the year.

Elsewhere, a Glossy Ibis was showing in the hayfields on the RSPB Reserve.


7th July

A Manx Shearwater flew west this morning and two Mediterranean Gulls were feeding at the Patch but very little else was seen.

Two Porpoises were seen offshore.

The first Gatekeeper of the year was seen and Marbled Whites are beginning to increase in number and the first Sussex Emerald of the summer was trapped overnight.

At least 111 Pyramidal Orchids were in flower in front of the Bird Observatory.

6th July

A quiet day with very little movement until a 90 minute seawatch in the afternoon revealed a passage of Mediterranean Gulls with 23 heading west. Two Dunlins also arrived.

Two Porpoises and a Grey Seal were feeding offshore.

A Six-belted Clearwing moth was found at the Long Pits.

5th July

Highlights of a modest seawatch comprised of a Manx Shearwater, two Whimbrel, two dark morph Arctic Skuas, 34 Common Scoters and five Sand Martins. A Cuckoo seen near the Long Pits was likely preparing to depart our shores. Two Mediterranean Gulls fed at the Patch.

A Clouded Yellow was noted at the south end of the Trapping Area.

Offshore, a Grey Seal and a Harbour Porpoise were logged.

4th July

A push of 80 Sand Martins, all flying south, was the only notable aspect of the day's birding, bar a group of four Ravens over the observatory at dawn.

On the RSPB reserve, a Glossy Ibis was found near Boulderwall Farm.

3rd July

There was no news of any consequence today.

2nd July

Three of both Manx Shearwater and Sand Martin flew west this morning and 150 Common Swifts flew out to sea later on but generally all was quiet. A Cuckoo was in the Desert.

At least four Harbour Porpoises were seen offshore.

1st July

The new month was sworn in by a westward flurry of Manx Shearwaters, 31 in all, while 693 Gannets and the first returning Whimbrel also proceeded down the Channel. An Arctic Skua flew east in the morning and another spent some time harassing terns later in the day. 69 Common Swifts flew out to sea during the afternoon.

A Grey Seal and a minimum of three Harbour Porpoises were at sea.

Scotney's Spoonbill remained on the causeway between the eastern pits.