29th Sept

Fresh SW winds and drizzle/light rain for much of the morning but brightening up a bit in the afternoon. Most of the interest was offshore again with over six hours of watching producing a summer-plumage male Long-tailed Duck, a Balearic Shearwater, a juvenile Pomarine Skua, 24 Arctic Skuas, two Great Skuas, a Little Gull and four Mediterranean Gull along with large numbers of Sandwich Terns and good numbers of Gannets and Common Terns.

Large numbers of hirundines also passed through but very little was seen in the bushes.

Eight Porpoises were feeding offshore.

A male Southern Oak Bush Cricket was attracted to the moth light but the moths were very disappointing.

28th Sept

Another windy day with very little to be seen. A few Arctic Skuas were lingering offshore and a coupe of Great Skuas passed through whilst 20 Chiffchaffs in the bushes and 300 Meadow Pipits overhead were about the best the land had to offer.

Two Porpoises and a Grey Seal were feeding offshore.

A Delicate was the highlight from the mothtraps.

27th Sept

A cloudy and breezy morning produced decent numbers of birds offshore but they were mostly feeding rather than moving through. Of note was a Balearic Shearwater, eight Arctic Skuas and a Great Skua. It was quiet on the land with just a couple of Firecrests, 25 Chiffchaffs and three Lesser Whitethroats whilst birds passing overhead included 150 Swallows, two Grey Wagtails and 105 Meadow Pipits

Ten Porpoises and a Grey Seal were feeding offshore.

26th Sept

A calm and cloudy, occasionally wet, morning brought a decent movement overhead but very few birds in the bushes.Of note were six Yellow Wagtails, nine Grey Wagtails, 420 Meadow Pipits and 65 Reed Bunting but the best the bushes could offer was just six Wheatears and 12 Chiffchaffs
One Arctic Skua on the sea was the only bird of note here.

A Glossy Ibis was found on the RSPB Reserve in mid-afternoon but was then not seen again until 1810hrs when it flew out of its ditch and circled around the rest of the Reserve. At least seven Great White Egrets and the Cattle Egret were still in the area.

25th Sept

Another windy day. There were plenty of birds feeding offshore including 100 Gannets and 200 Sandwich Terns and with a handful of skuas in attendance but there was little sign of any real movement. Five Yellow-legged Gulls came to the offerings at the fishing boats.
Very quiet on the land.

One Porpoise was seen offshore.

24th Sept

With a freshening southerly wind there was more activity offshore but just how much was actually passing through was questionable. Several hours of watching produced 16 Arctic and eight Great Skuas and a Manx Shearwater and around 300 Sandwich Terns feeding. A first-winter Caspian Gull came into the fishing boats in the evening. Swallows were moving south in good numbers.

Three Porpoises and a Grey Seal were seen offshore and a weasel was seen on the land.

Moth trapping produced the first Delicate of the year and another Vestal.

23rd Sept

A bright, warm and sunny day saw another arrival of Chiffchaffs with about 100 in the area but not a great deal else other than a handful of Blackcaps and two Firecrests in the bushes, a trickle of hirundines, Meadow Pipits and Reed Buntings overhead and another late juvenile Cuckoo. A party of three Buzzards also flew over.

Ten Porpoises and a Grey Seal were feeding offshore.

The moth traps were very quiet and butterfly numbers are beginning to fall away now but another Small Copper var radiata in the moat was a nice find by Paul Hogben.


Small Copper Lycaena phlaeas var radiata   Dungeness   23rd September 2016
Elsewhere, egrets continue to provide plenty of interest with the Cattle Egret still present and eight Great White Egrets in the area and all joining up with 24 Little Egrets in the evening roost at ARC. Two Little Stints were present on Burrowes.

22nd Sept

One of the features of this morning was a big movement of hirundines with at least 6000 House Martins and 1150 Swallows passing through. Other birds passing over included 12 Grey Wagtails, three Tree Pipits, 230 Meadow Pipits and eight Tree Sparrows. Grounded migrants were fairly scarce with a Firecrest of note along with 60 Chiffchaffs and 18 Blackcaps. Two Great White Egrets also flew over area, as did an Osprey which flew east and out to sea as from the ARC Pit as dusk approached.

Seawatching produced 188 Brent Geese, 24 Wigeon, a Pintail, the first Red-throated Diver of the autumn, eight Arctic Skuas, a Mediterranean Gull and 865 Sandwich Terns.

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

The moth traps were very quiet but visitors to the Observatory were still treated to a close-up view of this spectacular Clifden Nonpareil trapped by Gill Hollamby at St.Michaels, Tenterden.
Clifden Nonpareil Catocala fraxini   Tenterden

21st Sept

There was another decent arrival of Chiffchaffs today with 100 or so in the area along with a late juvenile Cuckoo, 18 Blackcaps and three Lesser Whitethroats, Despite plenty of searching the Rose-coloured Starling was not seen today.

Birds passing overhead included a couple of Buzzards, five Yellow Wagtails, two Grey Wagtails and 26 Reed Buntings

A couple of Arctic Skuas flew east and two Black Terns flew west offshore.

20th Sept

The Rose-coloured Starling was still present and spent most of the day between the Observatory and the Old Lighthouse. It was otherwise a fairly quiet day with just a few Chiffchaffs and Blackcaps, two Whinchats and a Redstart in the bushes although a Cetti's Warbler was an unexpected catch. A trickle of birds overhead included 200 House Martins, a Grey Wagtail, a Tree Pipit and 35 Reed Buntings.

The sea was very quiet. 

Cetti's Warbler Cettia cetti   Dungeness  20th September 2016



Rose-coloured Starling Sturnus roseus    Dungeness   20th Septemner 2016 
At least eight Porpoises were feeding offshore.

Moth trapping produced two Vestals, a Dusky Thorn and the pyralid Palpita vitrealis and another example of the scarce Western Conifer Seed-bug.
Western Conifer Seed-bug Leptoglossos occidentalis  Dungeness   20th September 2016

19th Sept

An excellent day with a decent fall of migrants and a few birds passing overhead and the highlight in the form of a first-winter Rose-coloured Starling which was found around mid-day near Lloyds Cottage. It remained in the same area for much of the day but eventually flew off strongly at 1815hrs in the company of a few Starlings. Grounded migrants were dominated by Chiffchaffs with a bare minimum of 300 birds along with just two Willow Warblers, a Redstart, three Spotted Flycatchers whilst overhead passage included 200 House Martins, seven Grey Wagtails, nine Tree Pipits and 200 Meadow Pipits.
The occasional report from the sea was that it was very quiet.

Moth-trapping produced two Vestals, an L-album Wainscot and 117 Rush Veneer.




Rose-coloured Starling Sturnus roseus    Dungeness   19th September 2016
This is the third Observatory record of this eastern Starling.

18th Sept

There was a small arrival of migrants on the land and overhead whilst there were few birds offshore although they seemed to be moving both up- and down-channel.
Of note in the bushes were 25 Chiffchaffs, a Spotted Flycatcher and eight Song Thrushes whilst birds passing overhead included 100 House Martins, two Grey Wagtails, around 300 Meadow Pipits, 11 Reed Buntings and a Corn Bunting.
Offshore, there were the usual lingering Arctic Skuas and a first-winter Mediterranean Gull and a few Brent Geese, Wigeon and Teal passing by.

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

Moth trapping was very poor although one of the previously caught Convolvulus Hawkmoths made its way back into the trap despite being released about 100m away and out of sight of the light.

Access to the Lydd Ranges was very limited today but an early morning search failed to relocate yesterdays Pallid Harrier. Two Spoonbills were seen at Scotney and the Cattle Egret and at least five Great White Egrets were seen n the RSPB Reserve.

17th Sept

The first cold day of the autumn produced a bit of movement offshore but very little on the land.
Of note offshore were the first Brent Geese (31) of the autumn, 95 Wigeon, 14 Teal, a Ruff, 24 Arctic Skuas, seven Great Skuas, three Mediterranean Gulls, a Little Tern and two Black Terns.
Four Kestrels and six Merlins appeared to arrive from the south and two Swifts, 300 Swallows and 550 House Martins also flew through, Grounded migrants were pretty scarce with just ten Chiffchaffs of note.

Ten Porpoises and two Grey Seals were feeding offshore and a Stoat was also seen.

The moth traps were very quiet but the catch did include a Scarce Bordered Straw.

Elsewhere, the obvious highlight of the day was a first-winter Pallid Harrier which was hunting over the Army Ranges at Galloways Road at 1840hrs before it headed strongly west towards Scotney. This is the first Dungeness area record.

16th Sept

The first significant rain for some time probably came too late in the day to produce a large fall of migrants but a scattering of birds in the bushes included singles of Grasshopper Warbler, Spotted Flycatcher and Whinchat whilst birds passing overhead included two Marsh Harriers, an Osprey, four Grey Wagtails, a Tree Pipit and the first Siskin of the autumn.
Over four hours of seawatching produced two Balearic Shearwaters, 12 Arctic Skuas, a juvenile Pomarine Skua and singles of Great Skua and Black Tern of note. Two Yellow-legged Gulls were also roosting on the beach.

Six Porpoises were seen.

Migrant moths trapped overnight included another Convolvulus Hawkmoth along with a Gem and a Vestal.

15th Sept

With no obvious change in the weather conditions it was a surprise that there were actually a few migrants around this morning. Numbers were provided by 40 Chiffchaffs and 16 Blackcaps along with a Garden Warbler, a Whinchat and two Spotted Flycatchers. There was also a trickle of birds overhead including singles of Golden Plover and Snipe, 11 Grey Wagtails, 38 Yellow Wagtails, two Tree Pipits, four Tree Sparrows and 20 Reed Buntings. The sea received limited coverage today but was very quiet with just a Mediterranean Gull and a Black Tern of note.

About 12 Porpoises were feeding offshore.

Moth trapping continues to produce low numbers of individuals but they did include two Gems and a Convolvulus Hawkmoth.
Convolvulus Hawkmoth Agrius convolvuli   Dungeness   15th September 2016

14th Sept

Very little to report on another hot and very humid day. A Black Tern was feeding offshore and 14 Arctic Skuas,two Great Skuas and five Mediterranean Gulls were seen during the day. Overhead passage was very light with just 28 Yellow Wagtails and six Grey Wagtails of interest.

Elsewhere, the Cattle Egret was showing on the RSPB Reserve from the main entrance track.

Six Porpoises were feeding offshore.

Overnight, another Southern Oak Bush Cricket was found on the wall of the Observatory and moth-trapping produced just one Clay Triple-lines of interest.

13th Sept

A very hot, calm and humid day and almost devoid of any migrants. Two Whinchats were seen and five Grey Wagtails flew over and a Firecrest remained in the Observatory garden. A Mediterranean Gull, five Arctic Skuas and three Black Terns were seen offshore.

Six Porpoises were feeding offshore.

A male Sickle-bearing Bush Cricket was seen in the afternoon and large numbers of Tree Crickets were seen and heard at the usual site. A male Southern Oak Bush Cricket was found in the Observatory garden.

Tree Cricket Oecanthus pelluscens    singing male and mating pair   Dungeness   13th September 2016

12th Sept

Given the weather conditions it was a very disappointing day with hardly a migrant to be seen in the bushes and just a trickle of birds overhead until Swallows began to arrive at the Point in the late afternoon. They seemed reluctant to go out and gathered on the overhead lines and increased to around 2000 birds before they headed back inland as the sun set. The only birds of note in the bushes were a couple of Firecrests and the first Goldcrest of the autumn whilst 25 Yellow Wagtails, 17 Grey Wagtails and five Tree Pipits passed through in the morning. 
A Balearic Shearwater, five lingering Arctic Skuas and a couple of Great Skuas were about the best the sea had to offer.

At least 12 Porpoises were feeding offshore.

The overnight moth-trapping was also poor with just a Scarce Bordered Straw of interest. 

11th Sept

There was a small arrival of Willow Warblers and Chiffchaffs this morning but these were quickly eclipsed by the finding of a Tawny Pipit on the shingle between the fishing boats beach and the road. Although a fairly regular if scarce migrant at Dungeness in the 70's and 80's this species has become a major rarity in recent years with the last one to be seen at Dungeness occurring in 2005. A Wryneck was also reported to be in the Desert but searches failed to relocate it. There was some visible migration with a flock of 11 Buzzards and 15 Grey Wagtails of note.
Seawatching was also quiet in the near flat conditions with just three Balearic Shearwaters, three Arctic Skuas and 14 Black Terns of note.


Eleven Porpoises and a Grey Seal were feeding offshore.

The highlight of a fairly quiet moth trap was this scarce pyralid, Palpita vitrealis. - only the ninth Observatory record.
Palpita vitrealis   Dungeness   11th September 2016

10th Sept

Virtually birdless on the land but some westerly movement offshore with eight Balearic Shearwaters, five Great Skuas, five Black Terns, 619 Sandwich Terns and 218 Common Terns. A Mediterranean Gull was feeding at the Patch.

Six Porpoises were seen offshore.

A Western Conifer Seed-bug was attracted by the moth trap lights into the garden.
Western Conifer Shield Bug Leptoglossus occidentalis   Dungeness   10th September 2016

9th Sept

With strong south to south-west winds this morning all the interest was offshore where an early morning watch produced two Balearic Shearwaters and two Pomarine Skuas passing west of note. Also seen during the day were nine Arctic Skuas, four Black Terns and 945 Sandwich Terns.
Very quiet on the land.

Six Porpoises were seen offshore.

Of great note from elsewhere was a Buff-breasted Sandpiper which showed well this afternoon on the islands viewable from Makepeace Hide on the RSPB Reserve.This is the tenth area record with the most recent records involving four individuals in 2010.

8th Sept

Another quiet day for common migrants with just singles of Whinchat and Pied Flycatcher of note in the bushes but some good visible migration with two notable birds in the form of Montagu's Harrier and Honey Buzzard. Good numbers of Swallows also passed through along with a Hobby, 75 Yellow Wagtails, nine Grey Wagtails and a Tree Pipit.
Offshore, seven Arctic Skuas flew east whilst a Pintail and three Wigeon passing west were new for the autumn along with 13 Bar-tailed Godwits, a Mediterranean Gull and a Black Tern.
Pied Flycatcher Ficedula hyopleuca   Dungeness   8th September 2016

Two Sickle-bearing Bush Crickets were found but they seem to be getting harder to locate now.

A Hummingbird Hawkmoth, a Gem and 50 Silver Y's were the highlights of a busy moth trap.


7th Sept

In the end it was a day with a fairly decent tally of commoner migrants but nothing in any great numbers until mid-afternoon when large numbers of Swallows began departing to the south-east. Of note among the grounded migrants were the first two Firecrests of the autumn, nine Blackcaps, eight Lesser Whitethroats, six Spotted Flycatchers, two Redstarts, ten Whinchats and two Pied Flycaychers. Overhead migrants included a flock of seven Common Buzzards, 45 Yellow Wagtails, six Grey Wagtails and two Tree Pipits.  A Little Owl was also heard in the Desert.
There were four Arctic Skuas and a Black Tern feeding offshore where a Common Sandpiper flew west..

Redstart Phoenicurus phoenicurus   Dungeness   7th September 2016
In flat calm conditions this morning an excellent count of at least 32 Porpoises was made and a Grey Seal was also seen.

An early evening check produced two Sickle-bearing Bush Crickets and lots of Tree Crickets singing.

Despite an excellent catch of moths in terms of numbers it was actually fairly low on unusual species with the best being another Gem

6th Sept

Despite what seemed like perfect conditions again there was just a thin scatter of grounded migrants across the Point. These included a Grasshopper Warbler, a Pied Flycatcher and two Whinchats of note along with ten Willow Warblers, four Sedge Warblers and five Lesser Whitethroats. Overhead, 600 Sand Martins, 260 Swallows, a few Yellow Wagtails and eight Grey Wagtails passed through.
Fourteen Arctic Skuas and eight Black Terns flew west this afternoon and a Little Tern, a juvenile Little Gull and a first-winter Yellow-legged Gull were feeding offshore.

At least ten Porpoises were feeding offshore.

Another male Southern Oak Bush Cricket was  found in the garden.

Moth trapping produced a new species for the Dungeness area in the form of the tiny Caloptilia alchimiella and brings the area Lepidoptera list to an impressive 1300 species. The moth trap was otherwise a bit disappointing with plenty of common moths but not a great deal in the way of typical migrants. A Gem was probably the best of the rest along with a Dusky Thorn, a Dog's Tooth and 17 Nomophila noctuella.

Caloptilia alchimiella   Dungeness   6th September 2016

5th Sept

Persistent light rain for most of the day grounded a handful of migrants with 12 Blackcaps, two Garden Warblers and four Whinchats of note.  A Greenshank, two Tree Pipits and a Grey Wagtail flew over.
An afternoon seawatch produced three Knot, a Ruff, 16 Bar-tailed Godwits, 11 Arctic Skuas, five Little Gulls, two Little Terns and four Black Terns.

A Pearly Underwing and two Dark Sword-grass were trapped overnight.

A male Southern Oak Bush Cricket was found on the kitchen window this morning.
Southern Oak Bush Cricket Meconema meridionale   Dungeness   5th September 2016

4th Sept

Most of the days interest was offshore in fresh westerly winds. Five hours of watching produced 22 Arctic Skuas, two Little Gulls, four Black Terns, 948 Sandwich Terns and 183 Common Terns. Three Yellow-legged Gulls were feeding at the fishing boats but more interesting was a very small and dainty looking juvenile "LBBGull".

A Hobby was seen at the Long Pits but any other migrants on the land were few and far between.







Lesser Black-backed Gull Larus fuscus (fuscus)   Dungeness   4th September 2016.



3rd Sept

It was so quiet around the Observatory this morning that I reckon I actually heard the proverbial pin drop. A Redstart was seen in the trapping area and just eight Yellow Wagtails and a Grey Wagtail flew over.
In the afternoon there was another passage of mainly terns including 46 Blacks and 962 Sandwichs. A juvenile Yellow-legged Gull also flew west and the previously seen juvenile Caspian Gull was noted again at the boats..

Elsewhere, the Red-necked Phalarope was showing again on ARC and the Cattle Egret was showing in the fields with cattle at Boulderwall Farm. Three Wood Sandpipers were showing in the flooded fields at Dengemarsh and three Little Stints were at ARC.

2nd Sept

Very quiet on the land with barely a migrant to be seen although a Kingfisher flew around the trapping area and just two Grey Wagtails and a Tree Pipit of any interest.
The sea was also very quiet in the morning but as the wind and rain increased this afternoon there was a distinct increase in offshore passage with 12 Arctic Skuas, three Black Terns, 842 Sandwich Terns and 336 Common Terns.

Three Porpoises were feeding offshore again.

Two Sickle-bearing Bush Crickets were found this evening despite the less than ideal weather conditions. Plenty of Tree Crickets were also still present.

Elsewhere, a Cattle Egret appeared on the RSPB Reserve and went on to roost at ARC but of more interest was a Red-necked Phalaarope which was also found on the water at the southern end of the ARC Pit.

1st Sept

A quiet start to the new month in very warm and calm conditions. Migrants on the ground were pretty scarce but included a Redstart, 16 Wheatears and a Spotted Flycatcher. Birds passing overhead included 200 Sand Martins, 95 Swallows, 27 Yellow Wagtails, three Grey Wagtails and a Tree Pipit

A Grey Seal and a few Porpoises were seen.

Two Sickle-bearing Bush Crickets were seen at the usual site in the early afternoon.

The small cluster of Autumn Lady's Tresses is already starting to burn off in the hot and dry weather but this plant is still in good condition.
Autumn Lady's Tresses Spiranthes spiralis   Dungeness   1st September 2016