31st July

There was a small arrival of Willow Warblers during the morning and a build up of Sand Martins at the Point in the afternoon.

Over five hours of seawatching produced three Balearic Shearwaters, 375 Gannets, ten Sanderlings, five Dunlins, three Whimbrels, three Arctic Skuas, six Black Terns, 250 Sandwich Terns and 330 Common Terns moving west. An adult Mediterranean Gull and two Yellow-legged Gulls were also seen


Sand Martin Riparia riparia    Dungeness   31st July 2017
Gathering at the Point before heading on.
 At least eight Porpoises and two Grey Seals were feeding offshore.

A Scarce Bordered Straw was the best on offer from the overnight moth trapping.



30th July

Yet another windy day with plenty of effort but not much to show for it. Over six hours of seawatching produced five Balearic Shearwaters, over 600 Gannets, four Arctic Skuas and a steady trickle of Sandwich and Common Terns. Very quiet on the land with just four Willow Warblers and the juvenile Redstart first seen on 27th of interest.

Four Porpoises were seen offshore and a Brown Hare was seen on the land.

One Small Red-eyed Damselfly and two Hummingbird Hawkmoths were also seen.

Further to yesterdays sighting of a colour-ringed Great White Egret it has now been confirmed that this bird was ringed as a female nestling at Ham Wall, Somerset on 28th May and is a sibling to the male currently residing at Sandwich Bay. It is believed to have fledged sometime between the 10th and 13th July.

29th July

Another breezy day resulted in plenty of seawatching which produced 11 Balearic Shearwaters, five Manx Shearwaters, 1088 Gannets, three Arctic Skuas, 109 Sandwich Terns and 114 Common Terns.

Four Porpoises were seen.

The Banded Demoiselle was seen at the southern end of the Long Pits again.

This hymenopteran was also found in the area this morning.It appears to be Gasteruption jaculator but not sure of its status in Kent and any confirmation would be useful.



Elsewhere, the Pectoral Sandpiper was seen again on Burrowes and a colour-ringed Great White Egret was also seen.

28th July

A day of strong winds and frequent rain. Most of the days observations where from the sea where six hours of watching produced six Balearic and two Manx Shearwaters, 816 Gannets, five Arctic Skuas, 112 Sandwich Terns, 74 Common  Terns and 11 Kittiwakes.

Eight Porpoises were feeding offshore.

A male Banded Demoiselle was seen at the south end of the Long Pits.

Of note on the RSPB Reserve was an adult Pectoral Sandpiper which gave mostly distant views from the islands in front of the Visitor's Centre and Dennis's Hide.

27th July

Migrants continue to trickle through on the land with six Willow Warblers, seven Wheatears and very young-looking Whinchat and Redstart.
The sea was generally quiet although a Balearic Shearwater lingered for a time in the morning and four Manx Shearwaters flew west. A juvenile Yellow-legged Gull was seen at the fishing boats again.




Yellow-legged Gull Larus michaheliss   juvenile   Dungeness   27th July 2017

Four Porpoises and two Grey Seals were feeding offshore.

Two Hummingbird Hawkmoths were seen but the moth trap was very quiet after poor weather conditions overnight.

26th July

There was a small arrival of migrants this morning with 18 Willow Warblers and a Garden Warbler in the bushes. The early morning seawatch was fairly slow with just two Arctic Skuas to show for it but a bit of a movement took place late in the day with a Balearic Shearwater, another two Arctic Skuas and a remarkable 65 Black Terns of note.

Four Porpoises and a Grey Seal  were seen offshore.

The moth traps produced a Scarce Bordered Straw and a Langmaid's Yellow Underwing.

A torchlight search last night for orthoptera produced five nymph Tree Cricket and this mid-stage nymph Sickle-bearing Bush-cricket. Although nymphs were found for the first time last summer this one is much younger than any of those seen previously.

Sickle-bearing Bush-cricket Phaneroptera falcata    mid-stage nymph   Dungeness   25th July 2017
Think this must be falcata but finding any suitable reference material is very difficult - even on the web.

25th July

There was a small arrival of Willow Warblers with at least ten in the area whilst 360 Swifts and a Yellow Wagtail passed overhead. Five Black Terns and nearly 400 Gannets moving west offshore were of note and a juvenile Yellow-legged Gull was seen at the fishing boats.

Three Porpoises and a Common Seal were feeding offshore. 

The moth traps produced a few migrants including nine Dark Sword-grass whilst two Hummingbird Hawk-moths were feeding in the moat and two Clouded Yellows were also seen.

A Southern Oak Bush-cricket was also attracted to the lights whilst a search of the main "rare" cricket breeding area produced a nymph Tree Cricket.


Tree Cricket Oecanthus pellucens   nymph   Dungeness   25th July 2017

24th July

First signs of a few grounded migrants with two Willow Warblers, a Garden Warbler and a Sedge Warbler in the bushes. A few Swifts also passed overhead.
It was another fairly quiet day offshore with several seawatching sessions producing just a trickle of Gannets and Common Terns passing west.

Five Porpoises were feeding offshore.

The moth traps produced a Small Rivulet, four Dark Sword-grass and four Langmaid's Yellow Underwings of note but these were very much outshone by a Shining Marbled caught by Ben Lewis on the RSPB reserve. 
Shining Marbled Pseudiostrotia candidula   Dungeness RSPB   24th July 2017
The first Tree Crickets of the season were heard singing from the usual area this evening.

23rd July

Two Balearic Shearwaters, 12 Whimbrel, two Sanderlings and 46 Common Terns passed west this afternoon whilst two Arctic Skuas flew east on an otherwise quiet day. 

Five Porpoise and a Grey Seal were seen offshore.

A Bordered Straw was the best of a small overnight catch of moths and a Hummingbird Hawkmoth was feeding around the Observatory garden during the day.

22nd July

A breezy day with a westerly movement of birds offshore including 81 Whimbrel, six Greenshanks, two Arctic Skuas, 30 Little Terns and a juvenile Mediterranean Gull.
Overhead, 400 Swifts and 45 Sand Martins were the only obvious migrants.

Six Porpoises and a Common Seal were feeding offshore.

The best of the moths were a Svennson's Copper Underwing and three Langmaid's Yellow Underwings.

A Wasp Spider was seen at the northern end of the Long Pits.

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.

Sand Martin Riparia riparia    Dungeness   21st July 2017
Gathering at the Point before departing to the south.
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.