31st May

Fifteen Mediterranean Gulls flew east with another two feeding at the Patch along with the first-summer Iceland Gull. A Tree Pipit was seen at the fishing boats but very little else was to be seen on the land. A party of 18 Canada Geese flew out to sea.

Two Grey Seals were feeding offshore and two Brown Hares were seen on the land.

The highlight of the day was probably a male Red-veined Darter which spent a few minutes at the Long Pits before being chased off by a Four-spotted Chaser. A Grizzled Skipper and a Brown Argus were of note among the butterflies seen.

30th May

Another very quiet day on the bird front. The first-summer Iceland Gull was seen at the Patch again but very little else was noted.

Three Porpoises and a Grey Seal were seen offshore.

The highlight of the day though was this superb Purple Cloud Actinotia polyodon caught overnight at the Long Pits by Robert Arnfield and left at the Observatory for viewing. A very rare migrant moth to the British Isles with about 30 previous records.
Purple Cloud Actinotia polyodon   Dungeness   30th May 2017l 

29th May

Two Great White Egrets flew west and two Arctic Skuas flew east this morning and the first-summer Iceland Gull and at least eight Mediterranean Gulls were seen at the Patch but very quiet on the land with just a Grey Wagtail overhead of interest.

At least 14 Porpoises, a Grey Seal and a Brown Hare were seen during the day and a Red-eared Terrapin was seen at the Long Pits..

A Clouded Yellow and three Brown Argus were seen but the moth trap was very disappointing.

Elsewhere, a Black Kite flew over the RSPB Reserve before gaining height and heading inland via Lydd.

28th May

Very quiet for birds with just two Willow Warblers of interest on the land and small passage of Sandwich and Common Terns and Mediterranean Gulls and a single Black Tern. The Iceland Gull was at the Patch again.

Moth trapping overnight produced this Pretty Chalk Carpet - only the third Observatory record. Several Rest Harrow moths were also seen.
Pretty Chalk Carpet Melanthia procellata   Dungeness   28th May 2017

Rest Harrow Aplasta ononaria   Dungeness   28th May 2017
Two Grizzled Skippers and a Brown Argus were seen.

Large numbers of Four-spotted Chasers can be seen at the Long Pits where the first few Black-tailed Skimmers are also appearing. Some of the former are of the form praeubila.
Four-spotted Chaser Libellula quadrimaculata var praenubila   Dungeness   28th May 2017

27th May

Two good birds this morning with a Serin flying in over the Point at 0720hrs followed later by a Bee-eater which flew between Southview and the two lighthouses for a few minutes around 0830hrs before heading out to sea.
Offshore, good numbers of Common Scoters, Gannets and Sandwich Terns flew east along with two Shovelers and a Black-throated Diver

A Brown Hare was seen on the land.

Three Hummingbird Hawkmoths were seen and butterflies included ten Painted Ladies.

26th May

A check of the Patch this morning showed that the Iceland Gull was back in situ along with the hybrid adult Mediterranean x Black-headed Gull, two first-summer Mediterranean Gulls and a second-summer Yellow-legged Gull.
Very little in the way of migrants on the land.



Mediterranean Gull x Black-headed Gull hybrid   adult   Dungeness   26th May 2017


Iceland Gull Larus glaucoides   first-summer   Dungeness   26th May 2017
Note how worn the plumage is now becoming with the feathers nearly a year old.

Two Grizzled Skippers and three Brown Argus were of note among the small population of butterflies in the area.


Five Porpoises and a Common Seal were feeding offshore and two Red-eared Terrapins were seen at the Long Pits..

25th May

Very little to report on the bird-front today.

Mammals seen during the day included six Porpoises and a Grey Seal, a Stoat and a Brown Hare.

Butterflies included three Brown Argus and the first Black-tailed Skimmers of the year were also seen at the Long Pits.

A breeding bird survey inside the power station complex also produced two more colonies of Brassica Bugs and later in the day a small colony Lesser-streaked Shieldbugs Odontoscelis lineola and a Fallen's Shieldbug Arenocris falleni were found along the track to the Hanson Hide.
Lesser-streaked Shieldbug Odontoscelis lineola   ARC, RSPB   25th May 2017 

Fallen's Shieldbug Arenocris falleni   ARC,RSPB   25th May 2017

24th May

Another fine and warm day and not much to report in the way of birds. Two Mediterranean Gulls were feeding at the Patch but migration on the land appears to be at a virtual standstill. A Hobby was hunting in the Desert.

Six Porpoises were feeding offshore and two Brown Hares were seen on the land.

A Red-eared Terrapin was sunning itself at the Long Pits.

Five Brown Argus and 20 Painted Ladies were of note among the butterflies and the first Speckled Wood for some time was also seen. The warm overnight conditions produced good numbers of moths in the trap but nothing of any great note. The first Emperor Dragonflies of the summer were seen.

23rd May

It is beginning to feel like spring is effectively over. The only migrants of interest on the land were a Turtle Dove at the Long Pits and a Tree Pipit overhead. There was very little movement of birds offshore although a Shag flew east and three Mediterranean Gulls were feeding at the Patch.

Four Porpoises and a Grey Seal were seen offshore.

Moths included a Hummingbird Hawkmoth and also singles of Diamond-backed Moth Plutella xylostella and Rusty-dot Pearl Udea ferrugalis. Two Brown Argus and 20 Painted Ladies were also of note.

In the afternoon a quick off-site visit to Greatstone to look for shieldbugs produced the goods with the first area records of Rambur's Pied Shieldbug Tritomegas sexmaculatus. This species was first recorded in Britain and in Kent in only 2011 and is now found at several sites in the county but all are up north. 


Rambur's Pied Shieldbug Tritomegas sexmaculatus   Greatstone   23rd May 2017

22nd May

A fine and very warm day which failed to produce very much on the land but there was a decent easterly movement offshore with 673 Common Scoters during the morning and also three Velvet Scoters and a single Manx Shearwater. An Arctic Skua flew east in the evening. The Iceland Gull and a first-summer Mediterranean Gull were feeding at the Patch along with an adult hybrid Mediterranean Gull x Black-headed Gull.


Mediterranean x Black-headed Gull hybrid   adult   Dungeness   22nd May 2017   (Lee Gregory)

There were at least 30 Porpoises feeding offshore for a time this afternoon and a Grey Seal was also in the area.

Five Brown Argus butterflies were seen but overall butterfly numbers were very low.

21st May


The two surprising records of an otherwise very quiet day for birds were a party of seven Manx Shearwaters heading west in the morning and a Sooty Shearwater lingering offshore for a while in the afternoon.

At least 11 Porpoises were feeding offshore this afternoon.

With the weather improving again there was plenty of interest in some of the insects of Dungeness. A very fresh Grizzled Skipper and a Holly Blue were seen in the trapping area. Some time was also spent continuing the Shield-bug Survey with a new individual of Rhombic Leatherbug Syromastes rhombeus and a few Tortoise Shieldbugs Eurygaster testudinaria.

Grizzled Skipper Pyrgus malvae   Dungeness   21st May 2017

Holly Blue Celastrina argiolus   Dungeness   21st May 2017

Bishop's Mitre Aelia aciuinata   Dungeness   21st May 2017n

Tortoise Shield-bug Eurygaster testudinaria   Dungeness   21st May 2017

Rhomboid Leatherbug Syromastes rhombeus   Dungeness   21st May 2017
With so little rain in recent weeks flowers seem to have been reluctant to actually flower but a few nice plants are starting to show well including the offerings below.
Field Pansy Viola arvensis   Dungeness   21st March 2017

Marsh Cinquefoil Comarum palustre   Dungeness   21st May 2017

Sweet Spurge Euphorbia dulcis   Dungeness   21st May 2017

20th May

Very quiet for birds. A Spotted Flycatcher and a Yellow Wagtail were virtually the only migrants on the land and the Iceland Gull was still at the Patch.

Insects provided some more excitement with a male Red-veined Darter Sympetrum fonscolombii seen briefly in the Desert, at least ten Brassica Bugs in the moat, three Grizzled Skippers and two Tree Bumblebees Bombus hypnorum in the Observatory Garden.

19th May

Torrential rain overnight grounded just a couple of Willow Warblers and a Spotted Flycatcher. Seawatching was slow but the regular Iceland Gull and a Mediterranean Gull were feeding at the Patch. A Hobby was seen and a party of five Peregrine Falcons coming in off the sea was an unexpected record. A pair of Stonechats with five very recently fledged young were seen in the Desert.

The main event of the day was the delivery to the Observatory of this superb Death's Head Hawkmoth having been found earlier on the outside of the one of the cottages near the seawatch hide.


Death's Head Hawkmoth Acherontia atropos   Dungeness  19th May 2017n

Also on the insect front, a few days ago I came across an image of a beetle taken at Dungeness on 29th April by Paul Hogben. I suspected it might be an example of Hister quadrimaculatus and this has now been confirmed by Mark Telfer. This is the only the fifth British record with four of them now coming from Dungeness.
Hister quadrimaculatus   Dungeness   29th April 2017  by Paul Hogben
  
Eleven Porpoises were feeding offshore and two Brown Hares were also seen.





18th May

Heavy rain overnight and again from mid-afternoon. A very small arrival of migrants on the land with a Spotted Flycatcher and two Tree Pipits trapped of note whilst a Honey Buzzard flew east and out to sea.
An Arctic Skua flew east offshore and a Hobby came in. The first-summer Iceland Gull was still feeding at the Patch along with two first-summer Mediterranean Gulls.


Tree Pipit Anthus trivialis   Dungeness   18th May 2017
Ten Porpoises and a Grey Seal were feeding offshore.

Moths included a Hummingbird Hawk-moth on Red Valerian in the moat. Three Brown Argus were also seen. 

17th May

Very quiet for birds. An Arctic Skua flew east and the first-summer Iceland Gull was still at the Patch. Very little to be seen on the land.

At least eight Porpoises were feeding offshore and a Badger was seen in full daylight in the trapping area.

With very little activity on the bird front some time was spent searching out shield-bugs for the ongoing Kent Atlas of the group. This resulted in six species being found including Legnotus limbatus in the mothtrap, Sehirus luctuosus at the Observatory, several Eurydema oleraceous and two Coriomerus denticulatus amongst the Hoary Cress in the moat and a Ceraleptus lividus at the Long Pits. The Sehirus luctuosus might well be a new species for the area.
Bordered Shield-bug Legnotus limbatus   Dungeness   17th May 2017

Forget-me-not Shield-bug Sehirus luctuosus   Dungeness   17th May 2017
Brassica Bug Eurydema oleracea   Dungeness   17th May 2017

Denticulate Leather-bug Coriomeris denticulatus   !7th May 2017

Slender-horned Leatherbug Ceraleptus lividus   Dungeness    17th May 2017
Moth trapping produced good numbers of moths of 53 species but only two Maiden's Blushes of any note. Painted Lady numbers increased with at least 20 being seen along with three Brown Argus. The only Spindle bush in the area is currently being ravaged by moth larvae, I think of the Spindle Ermine Yponomeuta cagnagella. Other traps around the area produced two examples of the rare migrant Flame Wainscot - the fourth and fifth Dungeness records.
Brown Argus Aricia agestis   Dungeness   17th May 2017
Common Blue Polyomattus icarus   Dungeness   17th May 2017

Flame Wainscot Mythimna flammea   RSPB Reserve   17th May 2017


Spindle bush and larval tents
Late news concerns a Gull-billed Tern seen briefly and photographed from Firth Hide on the RSPB Reserve yesterday afternoon.

16th May

An Osprey came in off the sea and headed inland at 0745hrs but very little else was seen other than a Hobby at the Long Pits and a female Firecrest in the Old Lighthouse Garden.

Five Porpoises were seen offshore.

Six Painted Ladies, two Grizzled Skippers and a Holly Blue were of note among the butterflies seen.

Two Variable Damselflies were found at the Long Pits - a very scarce dragonfly at Dungeness.
Variable Damselfly Coenagrion pulchellum   Dungeness   16th May 2017


15th May

A quiet day on the land was given a brief lift following a call from the RSPB Reserve telling us of a Bee-eater heading our way. A few minutes we could hear it calling overhead but sadly failed to see it. Other bits and pieces in the area included a Hobby and a Spotted Flycatcher.
The sea was also fairly hard work with 3.25hr watch in the morning producing just a Black-throated Diver, three Manx Shearwaters and an Arctic Skua of note. The Iceland Gull and three first-summer Mediterranean Gulls were feeding  at the Patch.

One Porpoise was seen offshore. 

A Painted Lady was seen at the Long Pits.

14th May

A breezy day made observations on the land difficult but resulted in a few birds moving offshore with a Black-throated Diver, 487 Gannets, three Pomarine Skuas and five Great Skuas of note. A Merlin also came in. The first-summer Iceland Gull and two Mediterranean Gulls were feeding at the Patch.

Three Porpoises were seen offshore.

A few butterflies were seen including six Grizzled Skippers, a Brown Argus and five Painted Ladies

13th May

Very quiet on both land and sea. A Buzzard flew over the area and the first-winter Iceland Gull continues its stay at the Patch. One Arctic Skua flew east offshore.

With the temperature rising there were quite a few butterflies and dragonflies on the wing. Five Brown Argus, a Grizzled Skipper, the first Small Heaths of the year and a Painted Lady were of note while good numbers of Four-spotted Chasers were taking to the wing.

Two Red-eared Terrapins were seen at the Long Pits.

12th May

After weeks of almost continuous dry weather there was some heavy rain overnight and with southerly winds these made for an excellent day.
Seawatching throughout much of the day produced some quality in the form of nine Pomarine Skuas, a Roseate Tern and a Puffin and back up including two Black-throated Divers, a Great Skua, four Arctic Skuastwo Little Terns, nearly 300 Common Terns, and six Arctic Terns. The first-summer Iceland Gull and two first-summer Mediterranean Gulls were feeding at the Patch in the morning.
The overnight rain also grounded a few migrants with a Garden Warbler, eight Spotted Flycatchers and two Whinchats of note on the land. The day was then topped off by a superb male Woodchat Shrike which spent the late afternoon on the open shingle between the estate road and the fishing boats. This is the first Dungeness record since one on May 23rd 2007.




Woodchat Shrike Lanius senator   Dungeness   12th May 2017

Butterflies seen during the day included a Holly Blue and 12 Red Admirals and a Hummingbird Hawkmoth was also seen. Small numbers of Silver Y's also appeared overnight.

A Brown Hare was seen on the land whilst at least four Porpoises and a Grey Seal were feeding offshore. 

11th May

Most of the interest was offshore today. A Cattle Egret flying east was the bird of the day but was only seen by one observer whilst over 12 hrs of seawatching eventually produced 927 Common Scoters, a Long-tailed Duck, ten Black-throated Divers, a Little Egret, 12 Grey Plovers, 47 Sanderlings, 23 Whimbrels, 15 Pomarine Skuas, seven Arctic Skuas, six Little Terns, seven Black Terns and 516 Common Terns. A Long-tailed Skua which had been tracked along the south coast failed to show at Dungeness. 
The Iceland Gull was seen at the Patch again.
The only birds of interest on the land were seven Chiffchaffs, a Grey Wagtail and a Tree Pipit.

Butterflies seen during the day included two Brown Argus.

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

10th May

A bit limited coverage today but a flock of 12 Pomarine Skuas flew past in the afternoon and a Turtle Dove, a Hobby, a Ring Ouzel and three Whinchats at the Long Pits were of note on the land.

9th May

Very quiet on both land and sea. Just two Yellow Wagtails flew over and a 2.5hrs seawatch this morning produced just a Grey Plover, a Sanderling and seven Bar-tailed Godwits of any interest.


Butterflies were quite good today with the first three Brown Argus being seen along with three Holly Blues and six Grizzled Skippers

8th May

With a brief drop in the wind this morning there were signs of a very small arrival of migrants with a Garden Warbler in the moat, a handful of Willow Warblers and Chiffchaffs, a Whinchat in the Desert and a Tree Pipit trapped (see below) in the moat.
The sea was very quiet with a 2.75hr watch this morning producing just 37 Whimbrel, 60 Bar-tailed Godwits, a Little Tern and three Mediterranean Gulls of note whilst the Iceland Gull remained at the Patch. It was even quieter in the afternoon when a 45 minute watch produced just one Gannet.

Four Porpoise were seen. 



Tree Pipit Anthus trivialis   Dungeness   8th May 2017
An unusual capture for us with the last one we ringed way back in 2006.