30th August

There was a decent little arrival of migrants this morning with three Reed Warblers, 20 Wheatears, four Whinchats, three Redstarts, a Spotted and a Pied Flycatcher and the first migrant Chiffchaff of the autumn whilst early overhead passage included six Tree Pipits and a hunting.Buzzard. In the evening a Curlew Sandpiper also flew over.

Redstart Phoenicopterus phoenicopterus   Dungeness 30th August 2016

A Common Pipistrelle was feeding around the Observatory again this evening.

The extensa Small Copper was seen again and a Holly Blue was in the Old Lighthouse garden.

The nights moth trapping was fairly slow although a visiting mother managed to catch a Rest Harrow, Delicate and a Bordered Straw of note and a Hummingbird Hawk-moth was seen during the day.

The nighttime cricket tour produced nine Sickle-bearing Bush Crickets and lots of Tree Crickets. On  our return to the Observatory a Southern Oak Bush Cricket was found in the Observatory garden.

31st August

The highlights of the day were two Honey Buzzards which flew out to sea around midday. Very quiet in the bushes with just two Redstarts of note whilst a Tree Pipit, 30 Yellow Wagtails and three Grey Wagtails also flew over.

Four Porpoises were feeding offshore.

A new Small Copper of the form radiatus was seen and two Clay Triple-lines . Four Sickle-bearing Bush Crcikets were seen this evening.

A Red-eared Terrapin was showing well at the Long Pits.



29th August

There was an obvious increase in Willow Warblers numbers today with at least 50 counted along with a Sedge Warbler, seven Wheatears and a Spotted Flycatcher whilst a Buzzard, a Common Sandpiper a few Yellow Wagtails and four Tree Pipits flew over.
A Balearic Shearwater and a juvenile Mediterranean Gull flew west and a couple of Arctic Skuas were lingering offshore whilst two juvenile Caspian Gulls were feeding at the fishing boats. 




Caspian Gull Larus cachinnans   juvenile   Minsmere, Suffolk   29th August 2016

A Common Pipistrelle was flying around the Observatory and Moth Traps this evening.

Several Sickle-bearing Bush Crickets were seen at their usual sites but of greater interest was a new individual found at the North end of the Long Pits. The Tree Cricket were in full voice at dusk.

A Clouded Yellow was seen in the moat whilst moth trapping produced two Vestals, a Maiden's Blush and Clay Triple Lines.

28th August

Another very quiet day in fairly windy conditions. 

A new juvenile Caspian Gull was seen  at the fishing boats in the afternoon along with four Yellow-legged Gulls whilst at least three Arctic Skuas were lingering offshore.

Lesser Black-backed GulLarus fuscus   Dungeness 29th August 2016 
A nice, contrasty and dainty looking bird.
Two Grey Seals and at least six Porpoises were feeding offshore.

27th August


A much windier day than of late produced a handful of birds offshore but very little in the bushes. The best of the seawatching were a party of five Teal and two Sooty Shearwaters whilst three Arctic Skuas and singles of both Little and Mediterranean Gulls were feeding offshore. A juvenile Caspian Gull was also attracted to the fish and bread offerings at the fishing boats. Four Snipe, a Common Sandpiper and a Kingfisher were seen at the Long Pits.

Four Sickle-bearing Bush Crickets were found in a search this afternoon.

The Small Copper var. extensa was found again in the same area of mustard plants.

A total of 11 Autumn Lady's Tresses were found in flower in the trapping area.
Autumn Lady's Tresses Spiranthes spralis    Dungeness   27th August 2016


26th August

It remains pretty quiet on the land with just a Redstart, a Whinchat and a handful of commoner migrants to be seen whilst overhead there were two Grey Wagtails, 185 Yellow Wagtails and four Tree Pipits of note.
The sea also remains very quiet in the hot and calm conditions with just one Arctic Skua seen during the afternoon along with a few Sandwich and Common Terns heading west. A juvenile Little Gull and a juvenile Mediterranean Gull were also feeding offshore.

Six Porpoises and a Grey Seal were feeding offshore.

The large population of Small Coppers continues to produce a few interesting variant forms with another var radiata and a var.extensa being found in the vegetation around the red/white gate.

Small Copper Lycaena phlaeas  var.. extensa (top) and var. radiata (bottom)
The moth trap was quieter last night with the most unusual capture being a Scorched Carpet - only the 13th Observatory record. A Spruce Carpet and a Six-striped Rustic were also unusual species for us. A new Jersey Tiger spent most of the day in the Observatory garden and three Hummngbird Hawkmoths were also  seen.

25th August

A blisteringly hot day with no breeze resulted in a few grounded migrants including ten Lesser Whitethroats, two Pied Flycatchers, two Spotted Flycatchers and five Whinchats but still hardly any Willow Warblers. Small numbers of Swallows and Sand Martins trickled through during the day and two Tree Pipits, 95 Yellow Wagtails and two Tree Sparrows were also of note.
The sea was very slow in the flat conditions with just two lingering Arctic Skuas of any interest.

Seven Porpoises and a Grey Seal were feeding offshore.

It was easily the best night of the year for moths with the Observatory traps producing Dusky Hook-tip (4th Observatory record), The Gem, Clay Triple-lines, Cypress Pug, Jersey Tiger and Scarce Bordered Straw of note among the macro moths whilst three Hummingbird Hawkmoths were also seen during the day.



Dusky Hook-tip Drepana curvatula, Scarce Bordered Straw Helicoverpa armigera and Jersey Tiger Euplagia quadripunctaria   Dungeness 

A Holly Blue was flying in the Old Lighthouse Garden. Large numbers of Common Blues, Brown Argus and Small Coppers can still be seen. Two Small Coppers of the form radiata were also seen.

Another check for rare orthoptera this afternoon was surprisingly productive with five Sickle-bearing Bush Crickets including two new individuals being found.


Sickle-bearing Bush crickets Phaneroptera falcata   Dungeness   25th August 2016


24th August

Desperately quiet in the bushes again with barely a migrant to be seen and just two Whinchats and seven Wheatears of any interest. Overhead passage improved a bit with 70 Sand Martins, 950 Swallows, 75 Yellow Wagtails and a Corn Bunting moving SE during the day. At least 20 Swifts were flying around the Point this evening.
The sea picked up a bit in the afternoon with 14 Balearic Shearwaters (including a flock of 12) and two Black Terns and two lingering Arctic Skuas.

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

Moth trapping produced a Cypress Pug and our second Double Kidney of the year. Two Hummingbird Hawkmoths were seen and four Clouded Yellows came in off the sea.

The Tree Crickets and Sickle-bearing Bush Crickets gave another good showing this evening with a new adult male and a new male nymph of the latter.

23rd August

Despite the considerable change in the weather it was still a very quiet on the land with just a couple of Garden Warblers, five Lesser Whitethroats and a Sedge Warbler in the bushes whilst a Buzzard, 30 Yellow Wagtails, two Tree Pipits and a Crossbill flew over. 
Very quiet offshore.

Four Porpoises and a Grey Seal were seen offshore.

Good numbers of butterflies were seen including 18 Brown Argus, a Holly Blue and a Smal Copper of the variety radiata. Moth trapping overnight showed a slight improvement in numbers with Orange Swift and Cypress Pug being the best on offer.

An evening visit to the Desert produced six Sickle-bearing Bush Crickets and lots of Tree Crickets in the usual locations.

A Red-eared Terrapin was seen again in the Southern Long Pit.

22nd August

Most of the interest remains offshore where over nine hours of watching produced 17 Balearic Shearwaters, a Little Gull, two Black Terns, 474 Sandwich Terns and 593 Common Terns moving west and two Arctic Skuas, a juvenile Yellow-legged Gull and a Little Tern feeding offshore.
Two Whinchats were seen on the land.

Four Porpoises and a Grey Seal were also seen.

21st August

It was still very windy and all the days interest was offshore again. It was actually fairly slow going with many of the birds quite distant but by the end of over seven hours of watching some reasonable totals were amassed. The highlights were 20 Balearic Shearwaters, three Manx Shearwaters, a "Blue" Fulmar, a flock of eight Black-tailed Godwits, seven Arctics and one Great Skua, 16 Black Terns, three Little Terns, 500 Sandwich Terns and 540 Common Terns. However, the most surprising bird was an Osprey which headed south off the fishing boats at 1620hrs. Three Yellow-legged Gulls were also feeding at the fishing boats.

Rough conditions made accurate counts of the Porpoises very difficult but at least half a dozen were present.

20th August

With strong winds and rough seas all the days interest was offshore where at least 28 Balearic Shearwaters passing west were of great note along with four Teal, 27 Black Terns, 415 Common Terns and two Arctic Terns whilst a Manx Shearwater flew east and two Little Terns were feeding along the shoreline.

Fifteen Swifts were also seen.

Al least six Porpoises were counted but conditions for an accurate count were far from ideal.

19th August

A modest day of land birding, led by three Whinchats, a Spotted Flycatcher, three Wheatears and 25 Yellow Wagtails. Come the afternoon, Black Terns started pushing west offshore, with 159 all in, while a Balearic Shearwater, seven Little Terns and a Grey Plover headed the same way and at least four Arctic Skuas loitered.

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

Three Hummingbird Hawkmoths were seen along the front of the power station.

18th August

A Pied Flycatcher on the Power Station fence and 43 Yellow Wagtails and a Tree Pipit over the area were about the best on offer on the land whilst two Arctic Skuas were lingering offshore and a Manx Shearwater flew west.

Elsewhere, a Stone-curlew was showing well in Hayfield 3 on the RSPB Reserve and at least two Great White Egrets were present.

Six Porpoises and a Grey Seal were feeding offshore.

Despite very low numbers of moths in the traps overnight there were a couple of rarer species in the form of a Rest Harrow (only the fourth to be caught at the Observatory) and two Tawny-barred Angles (the 9th and 10th Observatory records).



Rest Harrow Aplasta ononaria and Tawny-barred Angle Macaria liturata   Dungeness   18th August 2016
.

17th August

The juvenile Caspian Gull was at the fishing boats again where four Arctic Skuas were also loitering. A juvenile Mediterranean Gull was at the Patch and an adult Yellow-legged Gull was also on the beach.
Still very quiet on the land with just 300 Sand Martins and 12 Yellow Wagtails overhead and a Garden Warbler and 12 Wheatears of any note.

Ten Porpoises were feeding offshore.

16th August

A Redstart and a Whinchat and a flyover Green Sandpiper and two Snipe were about the best the land could offer whilst three hours of seawatching produced a single Manx Shearwater, three loitering Arctic Skuas and an easterly movement of 270 Sandwich Terns. The Caspian Gull was still at the fishing boats along with four Yellow-legged Gulls and a couple of Mediterranean Gulls.

At least eight Porpoises, three Grey Seals and a Common Seal were feeding offshore.

One Small Red-eyed Damselfly was seen on the Southern Long Pit.

The now regular evening check for orthoptera revealed two adult female Sickle-bearing Bush Crickets and good numbers of singing Tree Crickets




15th August

It remains very quiet on both land and sea. The best of what little there was on the land included a Common Sandpiper, two Wheatears and ten Yellow Wagtails. Seawatching produced just 35 Teal passing west and a lingering Arctic Skua. The juvenile/first-winter Caspian Gull was still at the fishing along with three Yellow-legged Gulls.

At least 14 Porpoises and a Grey Seal where feeding close inshore.

A check for orthoptera just before midnight revealed the first adult female Sickle-bearing Bush Cricket of the season and lots of Tree Cricket activity. The line of sleepers was also checked and produced two individuals of the scarce beetle Helops caeruleus and ten Speckled Bush Crickets with a couple of females seen ovipositing.

14th August

A juvenile/first-winter Caspian Gull was attracted to the food offerings at the fishing boats but a more amazing record was that of a Little Auk on the sea in the afternoon. Very quiet on the land although a Whinchat was seen at the southern end of the Trapping Area and 250 Sand Martins, 28 Swallows and a Tree Pipit flew overhead.


Caspian Gull Larus cachinnans   juvenile/first-winter   Dungeess    14th August 2016
 At least 16 Porpoises and a Grey Seal were feeding offshore.

A female Sickle-bearing Bush Cricket was seen at the usual colony site.
Sickle-bearing Bush Cricket Phanerotera falcata   female nymph   Dungeness    14th August 2016
The moth trap was very quiet again but another Jersey Tiger was of note in the trapping area whilst notable butterflies included a Clouded Yellow, 25 Brown Argus and Holly Blue.

13th August

Whilst engaged in another late evening search for rare crickets what was presumably the same Nightjar as that seen the previous evening was refound, Earlier in the day there was a decent arrival of around 50 Willow Warblers (mostly at the Long Pits).
Three Mediterranean Gulls and five Yellow-legged Gulls were feeding offshore.

At least six Porpoises were seen.

A Jersey Tiger and three Holly Blues were seen in the trapping area but the moth trap was very poor. Good numbers of Small Tortoiseshells were seen around the Observatory and included this aberration.
Small Tortoiseshell Aglais urticae aberration   Dungeness   13th August 2016

One male Small Red-eyed Damselfly was seen at the northern end of the spine on the top Long Pit.

The search for crickets produced lots of singing and a few nymph Tree Crickets and three nymph Sickle-bearing Bush Crickets.


12th August

The highlight of the "day" was seen during a torchlight search for crickets in the very early hours when a Nightjar was flushed on a couple of occasions. 

There was little sign of any arrivals during the morning with just a Spotted Flycatcher at the Long Pits and 220 Sand Martins and six Yellow Wagtails passing overhead.

A juvenile Yellow-legged Gull was feeding at the Patch.

The aforementioned night search found three male nymphs of Sickle-bearing Bush Cricket and a small increase in the numbers of singing Tree Crickets. At least seven Small Red-eyed Damselflies were found on and around the southern Long Pit whilst moth-trapping produced a Dusky Thorn (only the seventh Observatory record). A Clouded Yellow and a Holly Blue were of note among the butterflies.

Four Porpoises were feeding offashore.

This evening another nymph Southern Oak Bush-cricket was found on the Observatory kitchen window.

Elsewhere two Great White Egrets were seen around the Dengemarsh area this morning.

11th August

An extremely quiet day despite the decent conditions with just a juvenile Mediterranean Gull at the Patch of interest.

Three Porpoises were seen offshore.

10th August

Very quiet. A Garden Warbler was one of very few migrants in the bushes and six Yellow Wagtails flew over. An Arctic Skua was offshore this evening.

A Grey Seal and 15 Porpoises were feeding offshore.

A single Small Red-eyed Damselfly was seen at the Long Pits.

9th August


There was a small arrival of migrants on the land including a Spotted Flycatcher and a Tree Pipit along with 45 Willow Warblers. A Green Sandpiper also flew over.
A juvenile Mediterranean Gull and three Yellow-legged Gulls were feeding at the Patch.

At least 12 Porpoises and a Grey Seal were feeding offshore.

Good numbers of dragonflies were seen at the Long Pits including a short-staying Lesser Emperor and 26 Small Red-eyed Damselflies.

Another torchlight check for rare crickets was very productive. Four singing Tree Crickets were located with one being seen and 14 nymphs were also noted. Five Sickle-bearing Bush Cricket nymphs were also found which are the first to be seen here and thus confirming that this species has survived the winter and has bred in the area. Both these species were first found in the area last summer and represent the first and second known breeding colonies in Britain.


Tree Cricket Oecanthus pellucens   nymph and adult male    Dungeness    9th August 2016



Sickle-bearing Bush Cricket Phaneroptera falcata    female   Dungeness   9th August 2016






8th August


Large numbers of gulls at the Patch included a juvenile Caspian Gull and four Yellow-legged Gulls and two juvenile Mediterranean Gulls and a Black Tern flew west. The bushes held a few Willow Warblers and three Lesser Whitethroats.

Six Porpoises (including a young one) were feeding offshore.

On the insect front, a female Southern Oak Bush-cricket was found just after midnight on the kitchen window and a nymph Green Shieldbug was found in the trapping area. Four Small Red-eyed Damselflies were also seen on the southern Long Pit. Butterflies continue to be seen in large numbers and included several Brown Argus and Painted Ladies.

Southern Oak Bush-cricket Meconema meridionale   female   Dungeness   8th August 2016

Green Shieldbug Palomena prassina   nymph   Dungeness   8th August 2016
A second patch of Branched Bur-reed was also found on the Southern Long Pit.

7th August

Very little to report on a cool, damp and windy day. Five Yellow-legged Gulls were feeding at the fishing boats and there appeared to be a steady westerly trickle of Gannets and Sandwich Terns.

Two Porpoises were feeding offshore.

6th August

On a day with seemingly not a great deal around it came to life in the afternoon when David Bunney found a Melodious Warbler in his garden and where it then showed intermittently until the early evening.

Four juvenile Yellow-legged Gulls were attracted to the offerings at the fishing boats this afternoon.

Melodious Warbler Hippolai polyglotta   Dungeness   6th August 2016 (David Bunney) 

Melodious Warbler Hippolai polyglotta   Dungeness   6th August 2016 (Gill Hollamby
Three Porpoises and a Grey Seal were seen offshore.

Below are some images of the various nymphal stages of the Tree Crickets seen yesterday.

A final instar Tree Cricket seen yesterday morning.

A final instar Tree Cricket seen yesterday evening by torch light

A final instar Tree Cricket found yesterday evening by torch light
A mid-stage instar Tree Cricket found yesterday evening by torch light


5th August

Calm conditions this morning produced a small arrival of migrants with two Great Spotted Woodpeckers, about 25 Willow Warblers and two Sedge Warblers of interest whilst 150 Sand Martins and three Yellow Wagtails passed overhead.
The sea was quiet except for a westerly trickle of terns and Kittiwakes and four juvenile Yellow-legged Gulls were feeding at the Patch.

Two Porpoises and a Grey Seal were seen offshore.

A Holly Blue and 15 Brown Argus were of note whilst there were nine male Small Red-eyed Damselflies on the southern Long Pit.
Brown Argus Aricia agestis   Dungeness 5th August 2016 (David Bunney)

After frequent searching over the last month or so I finally found a final instar nymph Tree Cricket at the breeding site discovered in 2015. However, an evening search by torchlight produced another ten nymphs in various stages of development

4th August

With the strong winds more or less failing to produce any seabird movement other than large numbers of Gannets and a couple of Manx Shearwaters it made for a very quiet day on both land and sea.

A handful of Willow Warblers were sheltering from the wind in the trapping area.

Four Porpoises and a Grey Seal were seen offshore.

3rd August


Most of the day's interest was offshore where eight hours of seawatching produced five Manx Shearwaters, a Whimbrel, three Great Skuas, two Mediterranean Gulls, five Black Terns, a Little Tern and 517 Common Terns, mostly moving west.

There was a small arrival of 20 Willow Warblers on the land and a handful of Swifts and Sand Martins flew south.

Four Porpoises and a Grey Seal were seen.

A few days ago a patch of Branched Bur-reed was found on the spine of the northern Long Pit. Having checked through the records I was surprised to discover that it was last recorded in the Observatory area in 1973.

Branched Bur-reed  Spargania erectum    Dungeness

2nd August

Almost all of the days interest was offshore where nine hours of watching produced three Eiders, 27 Manx Shearwaters, a Great Skua, 15 Arctic Skuas, 129 Kittiwakes, 16 Black Terns, 250 Sandwich Terns, 500 Common Terns and two Arctic Terns.
A Mediterranean Gull and three juvenile Yellow-legged Gulls were feeding offshore.
A juvenile Cuckoo was seen on the land.

Six Porpoises and a Grey Seal were also seen.

1st August

There was a small arrival of Willow Warblers this morning and a Little Ringed Plover flew over otherwise there was very little to be seen on the land. There were eight first-winter Yellow-legged Gulls and three Mediterranean Gulls feeding offshore and two Manx Shearwaters flew east..

At least six Porpoises were feeding offshore. 

A Hummingbird Hawk-moth was feeding along the wall on the seaward side of the power station.