21st July

Despite the seawatching riches to be had further west it was pretty hard going here with just three Manx Shearwaters, an Arctic Skua, three Mediterranean Gulls and good numbers of Gannets and Sandwich Terns passing through.
Quiet on the land except for a large gathering of Sand Martins at the Point in the afternoon.

Three Porpoises were feeding offshore.

The moth traps produced a Maiden's Blush, a Scarce Bordered Straw and three Langmaid's Yellow Underwings of note.

20th July

Today was very quiet on the bird front in the strong SW wind, highlights included; 50 Common Scoter feeding close inshore by the Patch, two Arctic Skua and a Razorbill east.
Common Scoter Melanitta nigra   Dungeness   20th July 2017 (Lee Gregory)
Five Porpoises and a Grey Seal were feeding offshore.

The Obs Moth Trap was quite busy with Double Kidney and seven Langmaid's Yellow Underwing. Some very good migrant moths were caught elsewhere in the Dungeness recording area; Pale Shoulder, Tamarisk Peacock, 2 Speckled Footman and Metalampra italica.
Double Kidney Ipimorpha retusa   Dungeness   19th July 2017 (Lee Gregory)

Langmaid's Yellow Underwing Noctua janthina   Dungeness   19th July 2017 (Lee Gregory)

Pale Shoulder Acontia lucida   Lydd   19th July 2017 (Lee Gregory)

Tamarisk Peacock Chiasmia aestimaria   Greatstone-on-Sea   19th July 2017 (Lee Gregory) 

Speckled Footman Coscinia cribraria   Dungeness   19th July 2017 (Lee Gregory)

Metalampra italica   New Romney   19th July 2017 (Lee Gregory)

19th July

No Patch this morning so few gulls on the beach but three fledged Herring Gulls were enjoying their new surroundings with more on the Power Station almost ready to go.
The Peregrines were putting on a good performance with the male giving the juveniles a master class in hunting Feral Pigeons.
Eight Whimbrels west offshore, Yellow Wagtail plus the odd Sand Martin through in the morning.
Herring Gulls Larus argentatus   Dungeness   19th July 2017 (Lee Gregory)
Two Clouded Yellows and a Hummingbird Hawkmoth were insect highlights.


18th July

Quite a few birds feeding offshore this morning including several hundred Gannets, five Mediterranean Gulls, two juvenile Yellow-legged Gulls and 50 Sandwich Terns and an Arctic Skua flew west this afternoon. Sand Martins trickled through during the day.

Six Porpoises and a Grey Seal were feeding offshore.

Two Hummingbird Hawkmoths were sunning themselves along the power station wall but the moth traps were very disappointing in the breezy conditions.

17th July

There were signs of a bit of a migration today with Little Ringed Plover, Dunlin, Redshank and a Yellow Wagtail flying over the Observatory whilst working through the moth traps and 87 Sand Martins passing through during the day.
The Patch remains almost non-existent but still had a juvenile Mediterranean Gull and three juvenile Yellow-legged Gulls around it.

The moth traps were quite productive with highlights including Star-wort and Plumed fan-foot (second this year and sixth record in total) and the pyralid Anania verbascalis.
Plumed Fan-foot Pechipogo plumigeralis   Dungeness   17th July 2017
Two Clouded Yellows and 22 Brown Argus were of note among the butterflies and a female Red-veined Darter was seen along the front of the power station.

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

16th July

Not a great deal to report. One juvenile Yellow-legged Gull was seen at the almost non-existent Patch and three Ravens flew over the area. A young (migrant?) Willow Warbler was seen at the Long Pits.

15th July

Three juvenile Yellow-legged Gulls were seen at the Patch.

The family party of Peregrine Falcons continue to show well.


Peregine Falcons Falco peregrinus  Dungeness   15th July 2017
The upper image shows all three youngsters.
 A Common Seal was seen offshore and a Brown Hare was seen on the road.

A Red-eared Terrapin was seen in the Long Pits.

Moth trapping produced two Rosy Footman (5th and 6th Observatory records), a Saltern Ear, a Langmaid's Yellow Underwing and a Plumed Fanfoot (only the 5th Observatory record of this relatively recent colonist to Britain) of note.
Rosy Footman Miltochrista miniata   Dungeness   15th July 2017


14th July

Little to report on the birding front. A second-winter Mediterranean Gull and two juvenile Yellow-legged Gulls were feeding at the Patch and 115 Swifts and a Yellow Wagtail flew over.
The Peregrine Falcon family continue to show well around the power station.

Peregrine Falcon Falco peregrinus   juvenile  Dungeness   14th July 2017
Looking for dragonflies proved very productive today with the finding of a male Broad-bodied Chaser Libellula depressa near the New Lighthouse (third Observatory record) and a male Red-veined Darter Sympetrum fonscolombii at the SE corner of the trapping area. 

One Porpoise was seen offshore.

13th July

A small movement of birds on the land with three Whimbrels, a Cuckoo and 48 Sand Martins overhead and single juvenile Mediterranean and Yellow-legged Gulls  at the Patch. This evening there was a large feeding flock of Gannnets offshore which attracted a Manx Shearwater into the frenzy.

Six Porpoises and a Grey Seal were feeding offshore.

The moth traps were very quiet (too cold overnight) but this morning a mating pair of Hummingbird Hawkmoths were found on the power station wall. Of note among the butterflies were at least 30 Brown Argus and five Speckled Bush-crickets were found in the observatory garden.
Hummingbird Hawkmoths Macroglossom stellatarum   Dungeness   12th July 2017

Yesterday afternoon I came across an unfamiliar umbellifer growing on the bank of the spine at the northern Long Pit. Having checked it against reference books it appears to be Lesser Water-parsnip Berula erecta and is a new species for the Observatory recording area and with only one old record for the greater Dungeness area.




Lesser Water-parsnip   Berula erecta   Dungeness   13th July 2017


12th July

Fresh winds and heavy rain overnight resulted in a reasonable movement of Manx Shearwaters with 34 passing west between 0740 and 1445hrs. Seven Mediterranean Gulls were also seen and four Yellow-legged Gulls were on the beach.

Six Porpoises and a Grey Seal were feeding offshore.

11th July

A quiet day with nothing of note on the land and just a trickle of birds passing offshore including 12 Shelducks and four Mediterranean Gulls and with another Mediterranean Gull and two Yellow-legged Gulls on the beach.

Three Porpoises and a Grey Seal were feeding offshore.

10th July

The highlight of the day was a Honey Buzzard which came in from the east this afternoon whilst an Arctic Skua and nine Mediterranean Gulls passed through on the sea. Due to the planned outage at the power station the Patch is now an intermittent feature at best and today there was no sign of it all. There were just a few gulls present on the beach including single juvenile Mediterranean and Yellow-legged Gulls wondering where it had gone.

Four Porpoises and a Grey Seal were seen offshore.

Despite another large catch of moths there was not a great deal of unusual stuff with the best being an Engrailed, a Buff Arches and a Southern Wainscot

Elsewhere, the now regular summer movement of Great White Egrets is occurring with possibly up to five birds scattered across the area. 

9th July

Six Mediterranean Gulls and a juvenile Yellow-legged Gull were present at the Patch. A Yellow Wagtail flew over. The recently fledged Peregrine Falcons are very obvious at the moment as they are perching on the pylons for much of the day.


Peregrine Falcon  Falco peregrinus   juveniles   Dungeness   9th July 2017
Two Grey Seals were feeding offshore.

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

Five Small Red-eyed Damselflies were also seen on the southern Long Pit. Good numbers of Brown Argus butterflies were seen again.

The Cattle Egret was seen again on the RSPB Reserve.


8th July

There were two adult Mediterranean Gulls and three juvenile Yellow-legged Gulls at the Patch this morning and two Sand Martins and a Yellow Wagtail flew over the Observatory. A juvenile Common Redstart was seen in a private garden.

Four Porpoises and a Grey Seal were feeding offshore.

A male Red-veined Dragonfly was sunning itself in the shelter of the power station wall this morning and a Hummingbird Hawk-moth was also seen there. Another large overnight catch of moths occurred and with highlights being a Small Fan-footed Wave (surprisingly scarce here), a Double Kidney, a Double Lobed (only the sixth Observatory record) and a Langmaid's Yellow Underwing.
Good numbers of butterflies were on the wing with 15 Brown Argus of note.


Double Lobed Apamea ophiogramma   Dungeness   8th July 2017
Elsewhere, the Cattle Egret was feeding with cows in Hayfield 3 on the RSPB Reserve during the day and came in to roost amongst the Cormorant nests and trees at the south end of Burrowes.

7th July

Very little to report on the bird front. The three nestling Peregrine Falcons are now flying around the power station and returning to the nesting platform.

A Common Seal and two Porpoise were seen offshore.

The main interest of the morning was a huge catch of moths in the two traps. A total of 132 species were recorded with a Poplar Lutestring, a Scorched Carpet, a Large Emerald, an Obscure Wainscot and five Langmaid's Yellow Underwing of note and the moth of the night in the form of a Speckled Footman ssp. arenaria. This species occurs in two forms with one breeding in Dorset and the second occurring as a very rare migrant. This is the second Observatory (first on 27th June 2011) and only the fourth Dungeness record. 
Speckled Footman Coscinia cribraria ssp arenaria   Dungeness   7th July 2017
Scorched Carpet Ligdia adustata   Dungeness   7th July 2017
Large Emerald Geometra papilionaria   Dungeness   7th July 2017
Elsewhere, the Cattle Egret was seen again on the RSPB Reserve.

6th July

There were seven (six juveniles and an adult) Mediterranean Gulls and a juvenile Yellow-legged Gull at the Patch this morning and two Grey Wagtails flew over. The Peregrine Falcon nestlings were in process of fledgling with one young having left the nest and flown across to 'A' Station while the other two young looked on from the edge of the nesting platform. It was also noteworthy to see a fairly well grown nestling Lesser Black-backed Gull in one of the nest sites. This species was first noted nesting on the power stations in 2009 but I think this is the first time I have seen a large nestling there. They are usually predated or get blown out of the nest. There was also a brood of very recently fledged Black Redstarts on the power station wall.

Two Porpoises and a Grey Seal were feeding offshore.

The moth traps were very quite last night with just a Cherry-tree Ermine Yponomeuta evonymella (a presumed migrant) and an L-album Wainscot of note.

Lesser Black-backed Gull Larus fuscus   large nestling with parent   Dungeness   6th July 2017


Peregrine Falcon Falco peregrinus   juvenile   Dungeness   6th July 2017
The first of the three young to leave the nest.
In addition, a Cattle Egret was found at Dengemarsh on the RSPB Reserve.

5th July

The best birds of the day were a Balearic Shearwater passing west this morning, a Greenshank over the Observatory and two Grey Wagtails over the Old Lighthouse.

Fourteen Porpoise were feeding offshore.

The moth traps provided plenty of moths though nothing of any great note but including V-Pug, Barred Yellow, Buff Arches, Langmaid's Yellow Underwing and the pyralids, Oncocera semirubella,  Sitchroa palealis and two Eudonia lineola.  Good numbers of butterflies were also seen during the day with numbers of Small Skippers remaining very high along with a few Essex Skippers, at least 12 Brown Argus and two Clouded Yellows.

Adult grasshoppers and crickets are becoming increasingly abundant as the summer progresses. Some 20 years ago Roesel's Bush-cricket was unknown at Dungeness but it is now present across the whole area and they can be easily seen and heard around the Observatory.

Buff Arches Habrosyne pyritoides   Dungeness   5th July 2017
Oncocera semirubella   Dungeness   5th July 2017
Roesel's Bush-cricket Metrioptera roeselii   Dungeness   5th July 2017

4th July

Very little to report on the bird front.

A visit to the Long Pits produced the first three male Small Red-eyed Damselflies of the year.. Huge numbers of Small Skippers remain on the wing and two Brown Argus were also seen.
Small Red-eyed Damselfly Erythromma viridulum and a pair of  Red-eyed Damsefly's Erythromma naja (left)

Brown Argus Aricia agestis   Dungeness   4th July 2017
Elsewhere, a Bee-eater made a couple of brief appearances at Heron's Park, Lydd. 

3rd July

There was an excellent movement of Mediterranean Gulls today with at least 88 passing west. There was also a slow but steady westerly trickle of Sandwich and Common Terns and a Tufted Duck flew east.
Four Sand Martins passed through on the land.

Two Porpoises and a Grey Seal were feeding offshore.

Moth trapping was much quieter than of late. Two Brown Argus and several Essex Skippers were seen during the day. Of greater note was a male Banded Demoiselle which was moving quickly south through the trapping area this afternoon.
Banded Demoiselle Agrion splendens   Long Pits   3rd July 2017

2nd July

A little bit of variety today with a Red Kite flying over the Observatory at 0930hrs and then heading off west and a Little Egret and a Common Sandpiper at the Long Pits. Two Sand Martins and 350 Swifts also passed overhead. A trickle of birds passing offshore included 29 Mediterranean Gulls and 108 Sandwich Terns. A juvenile Yellow-legged Gull was feeding on the beach by the fishing boats.


Gannet Morus bassana   Dungeness    2nd July 2017
This bird also came in to inspect the offerings at the fishing boats.


Yellow-legged Gull Larus michahellis   juvenile   Dungeness   2nd July 2017

Six Porpoises and a Grey Seal were seen offshore.

The moth traps were very good again this morning with over 100 species trapped and including a Sub-angled Wave (only our 3rd record) and the pyralids, Palpita vitrealis (10th Observatory record  the first to be caught before 11th September. Two Sitochroa palealis were also trapped and two Hummingbird Hawk-moths were seen at the Long Pits. 




1st July

Two Manx Shearwaters flew east this morning but not a great deal else was seen other than good numbers of Gannets and four Mediterranean Gulls.

Three Porpoises were feeding offshore.

The moth traps took a fair bit of sorting through this morning with 140 species (74 "macro"'s) and notable records including an Oak Nycteoline, a Scarce Bordered Straw, Langmaid's Yellow Underwing and four Dark Swordgrass along with the pyralids Oncocera semirubella, three Ostrinia nubilalis, two Eudonia lineola and an Acrobasis suavella.