31st Aug

A nice day and a decent spread of migrants on the land including four Chiffchaffs, 15 Willow Warblers, five Blackcaps, ten Lesser Whitethroats, 30 Whitethroats, three Spotted Flycatchers, two Redstarts, 18 Wheatears and five Whinchats.  Birds passing overhead included a Greenshank, a Wood Sandpiper, three Redshanks, three Grey Wagtails and a Tree Pipit.
Seawatching was surprising with a continuing massive westerly movement of Sandwich Terns and over 2100 birds counted in 4.5hrs of watching. There were around 20 Arctic Skuas harassing the terns and three Little Terns were also seen. A first-winter Yellow-legged Gull was also on the beach.

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

Two Hummingbird Hawkmoths and a Pearly Underwing were seen during the day.

A Spiked Shieldbug Picromerus bidens was found in front of the Observatory.
Spiked Shieldbug Picromerus bidens   Dungeness   31st August 2017
Elsewhere, a party of five Cattle Egrets arrived on the Reserve and spent much of the day amongst the cattle in the fields just south of Boulderwall farm. The adult Pectoral Sandpiper was still present at ARC.  



Cattle Egret Bubulcus ibis   Dungeness RSPB Reserve   31st August 2017

30th Aug

With rain overnight and for much of the day there was a small arrival of migrants including 15 Willow Warblers and a Sedge Warbler.
As on most days recently there were large schools of fish offshore and these were attracting plenty of attention from the Gannets, gulls and terns and also brought in a Balearic Shearwater, a minimum of six Arctic Skuas and two Black Terns. A first-winter Mediterranean Gull and an adult Yellow-legged Gull were also on the beach along with a party of three Common Sandpipers.

Four Porpoises and a Grey Seal were also feeding offshore.

The moth traps were fairly quiet but the catch did include a Small Mottled Willow.

A Western Conifer Seed Bug was also found on the side of the Patch hide.

Western Conifer Seed Bug Leptoglossus occidentalis   Dungeness   30th August 2017

29th Aug

Coverage today was limited to the first few hours of daylight but it was clear that there only a thin scattering of migrants on the land but these did include our first Firecrest of the autumn along with a Redstart, 13 Wheatears and three Whinchats. An Eider and an Arctic Skua were seen offshore.

There was a good variety of moth in the traps overnight but nothing of any real note. Two Hummingbird Hawkmoths were seen. 

28th Aug

Very quiet in the bushes with just a Spotted Flycatcher, a Whinchat and a Redstart of note. Birds passing overhead included a Greenshank, seven Buzzards, a Hen Harrier out to sea, 60 Yellow Wagtails and a Tree Pipit.
An excellent total of 500 Sandwich Terns along with six Arctic Skuas, three Great Skuas, two first-winter Mediterranean Gulls and a first-winter Yellow-legged Gull were among the throng of birds feeding offshore in the morning.

Four Porpoises and a Grey Seal were seen offshore.

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

The highlights of the nights mothtrapping were a Rest Harrow, a Scarce Bordered Straw and the pyralid Palpita vitrealis. Four Hummingbird Hawkmoths were also seen during the day and a Brimstone butterfly was also noteworthy.
Palpita vitrealis   Dungeness   28th August 2017 
Last night three Sickle-bearing Bush-crickets were found and this evening another two individuals were also located. There was an excellent chorus of Tree Crickets.

Autumn Lady's Tresses are still in flower in the area.
Autumn Lady's Tresses  Spiranthes spiralis   Dungeness   28th August 2017
Elsewhere, the Pectoral Sandpiper was still present at the ARC Pit and viewable from the Hanson Hide and a party of seven Bee-eaters flew south over New Romney this morning but were not relocated.

27th Aug

After a foggy start the day soon became hot and sunny. Very little was seen on the land with best being a Spotted Flycatcher and four Whinchats and the first Goldcrest and two migrant Chiffchaffs of the autumn. It was also fairly quiet overhead with two Little Egrets and a trickle of Yellow Wagtails and Swallows passing through until early afternoon when a flock of two Honey Buzzards and 12 Common Buzzards flew over.
The only sign of any movement offshore was a flock of five Black Terns in the evening.

A Brown Hare was seen in the Desert.

The moth traps were very productive again with a Convolvulus Hawkmoth, a Delicate and a Small Mottled Willow of note. Seven Hummingbird Hawkmoths were seen during the day and a Clouded Yellow butterfly was also noted.




Convolvulus Hawkmoth Agrion convolvuli,  Delicate Mythimna vitellina and Small Mottled Willow Spodoptera exigua  
Dungeness   27th August 2017 

Elsewhere, a Pectoral Sandpiper was found at ARC this afternoon.
Pectoral Sandpiper Calidris melanotus   ARC, Dungeness   27th August 2017

26th Aug

A big movement of raptors was the highlight of the day with a female Montagu's Harrier heading east and out to sea in the afternoon along with 24 Buzzards and three Marsh Harriers going over. There was also some movement of hirundines with an early pulse of 250 House Martins. Other bits passing over included 15 Tree Sparrows, 33 Yellow Wagtails and a Tree Pipit. Grounded migrants were generally present in small numbers but did include 25 Willow Warblers, 20 Blackcaps, eight Lesser Whitethroats, a Spotted Flycatcher, two Whinchats and eight Wheatears. A party of six Common Sandpipers was on the beach by the Lifeboat Station.
Two Arctic Skuas, a Great Skua and over 300 Sandwich Terns were lingering offshore.

Twelve Porpoises, five Grey Seals and two Common Seals were seen offshore and a Brown Hare was seen in the Desert.

An evening search found one Sickle-bearing Bush Cricket and plenty of Tree Crickets. Four Hummingbird Hawkmoths were also seen.

25th Aug

A pretty quiet day with just a small scatter of commoner migrant species around the area. Of note were a Green Sandpiper, 30 Willow Warblers, a Spotted Flycatcher, a Redstart, five Tree Sparrows, 48 Yellow Wagtails, three Grey Wagtails and six Tree Pipits whilst Swallows trickled through for most of the day.
Good numbers of Sandwich Terns were feeding and moving east during the day and an Arctic Skua was also showing an interest in the terns this evening.

The mothtraps continue to provide a few goodies with a Rest Harrow, a Vestal and six Scarce Bordered Straws of particular note.

24th August

Another day with a small scatter of migrants on the land and bits and pieces passing overhead. Of note among the grounded migrants were 45 Willow Warblers, 23 Wheatears, two Redstarts and two Whinchats whilst a Snipe, 72 Yellow Wagtails, a Grey Wagtail and six Tree Pipits flew over.
A Balearic Shearwater and two Arctic Skuas were seen offshore this morning.

The moth traps were low on quantity this morning but were extremely in quality with a stunning Clifden Nonpareil (our second record) and also a very scarce pyralid Loxostege sticticalis (our fourth record). Singles of Scarce Bordered Straw, Dark Sword-grass and Pearly Underwing were also caught and at least four Hummingbird Hawkmoths were feeding at the Red Valerian in the Moat with another at the top of the recording area..


Clifden Nonpareil Catocala fraxini   Dungeness   23rd August 2017

Photographing the Clifden Nonpareil


Loxostege sticticalis   Dungeness   23rd August 2017

23rd Aug

There was very little in the way of grounded migrants other than nine Wheatears but a few waders passed overhead including Green Sandpiper and Snipe and what was easily the bird of the day in the form of a juvenile Dotterel which rested briefly in the Desert. Other birds flying over included nine Tree Pipits and 110 Yellow Wagtails.
A couple of seawatches during the day produced just two Arctic Skuas and two Great Skuas and a trickle of Sandwich and Common Terns of interest.







Dotterel Charadrius morinellus   juvenile   Dungeness   23rd August 2017
Six Porpoises and a Grey Seal were seen offshore and a Brown Hare was seen in the Desert.

Overall numbers in the moth traps were quite poor but they did include a Clay Triple-lines, two Engraileds, a Scarce Bordered Straw and a Red Underwing. At least ten Hummingbird Hawkmoths were seen during the day.

22nd Aug

Very few birds in the bushes with just 25 Willow Warblers and a Garden Warbler of note but there was a bit of overhead passage with a Green Sandpiper, a Redshank, 105 Yellow Wagtails, a Grey Wagtail and three Tree Pipits.
The sea was very quiet.

14 Porpoises were feeding offshore.

Moth trapping was much better than of late but rarer species were still just that with just a Pinion-streaked Snout of interest. An exceptional total of 16 Hummingbird Hawk-moths were also seen.
Butterflies included three Brown Argus.

21st Aug

Most of the days interest was offshore with heavy drizzle and a fresh SE wind during the morning encouraging a decent westerly movement although it had mostly petered out by the early afternoon. 
Notable were 60 Grey Plover, 152 Sanderling, 131 Dunlin, 27 Arctic Skuas, an adult Pomarine Skua, five Great Skuas, seven Black Terns, seven Little Terns, 26 Little Gulls and a juvenile Mediterranean Gull. Numbers were provided 290 Gannets, 229 Sandwich Terns and 433 Common Terns. Two Yellow-legged Gulls were loafing offshore.
The bushes were barely covered but a Garden Warbler, seven Lesser Whitethroats and a Redstart were worthy of mention.

At least 12 Porpoises and three Grey Seals were feeding offshore.

An evening search produced a single Sickle-bearing Bush Cricket and lots of Tree Crickets.

20th Aug

A fair bit  around the bushes this morning although most of it was outside the trapping area with counts of 40 Willow Warbler, 26 Lesser Whitethroats, 70 Whitethroats and a Redstart of note. There was also a bit of overhead passage with nine Tree Pipits and a Grey Wagtail this morning and a couple of Buzzards later in the day.

Seawatching was fairly unproductive today with over four hours of watching producing just two Arctic Skuas, a Great Skua and the steady westerly stream of Sandwich Terns

Eight Porpoises and two Grey Seals were seen this morning.

A Clouded Yellow and 11 Brown Argus were also of note. A fairly late Langmaid's Yellow Underwing was trapped overnight and six Hummingbird Hawkmoths were seen during the day.

19th Aug

Seawatching produced a surprise today with a very early Leach's Petrel west this afternoon. 540 Sandwich Terns also passed west during the day and ten Arctic Skuas  passed west during the morning and five more birds were lingering in the afternoon along with an Eider. A juvenile Yellow-legged Gull was with a small flock of gulls roosting on the beach.
There was a good scatter of migrants in the bushes in the morning with 40 Willow Warblers, four Blackcaps, two Garden Warblers, ten Lesser Whitethroats, 60 Whitethroats and six Wheatears whilst 17 Yellow Wagtails flew over. 

Eight Porpoises and a Grey Seal were seen offshore.

The resident Red-eared Terrapin was seen in the southern Long Pit this afternoon.

Butterflies included two Clouded Yellows and four Brown Argus and nine Hummingbird Hawkmoths were also seen..

18th Aug

Slightly limited coverage today but an Eider and two Arctic Skuas were of note offshore and a juvenile Yellow-legged Gull was on the beach. A Whinchat was of interest on the land.

Eight Porpoises were seen offshore.

Three Brown Argus and two Hummingbird Hawkmoths were seen during the day.

17th Aug

A wet morning with a light southerly breeze produced an excellent seawatch with day totals of 106 Common Scoters, a Sooty Shearwater and a Shag, 80 Grey Plover, two Whimbrel, 237 Bar-tailed Godwits, 100 Turnstones, 80 Knot, 50 Sanderling, a Great Skua, 34 Little Terns, 29 Black Terns, 1015 Sandwich Terns, 750 Common Terns and 107 Kittiwakes. At least six Arctic Skuas appeared to be lingering offshore and two juvenile Yellow-legged Gulls were feeding along the beach. 
Very quiet on the land but a Whinchat was seen by the New Lighthouse and nine Swifts and a Tree Pipit flew over.

Shag Phalarocrax aristotelis   Dungeness   17th August 2017
A surprisingly scarce bird at Dungeness
Grey Plover Pluvialis squatarola   Dungeness    17th August 2017

Bar-tailed Godwit Limosa lapponica   Dungeness   17th August 2017




Arctic Skua Stercorarius parasiticus   Dungeness    17th August 2017
At least 12 Porpoises and the regular bull Grey Seal were feeding offshore.

A Scarce Bordered Straw was trapped overnight and six Hummingbird Hawkmoths were seen during the day despite the mainly miserable weather.

16th Aug

There was a good scatter of migrants in the bushes and with good netting conditions a total of 66 birds were ringed during the day. The bulk of the migrants were Willow Warblers, Lesser Whitethroats and Common Whitethroats but other bits and pieces included three Grey Herons, five Wheatears, 34 Yellow Wagtails and two Tree Pipits
The sea was fairly quiet with just the ongoing westerly movements of Gannets, Sandwich Terns and Kittiwakes and five Arctic Skuas of note.

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

Four Hummingbird Hawkmoths were seen during the day but the moth traps were fairly quiet. One Sickle-bearing Bush-cricket and a couple of Tree Crickets were found in a brief search this afternoon.

15th Aug

The highlight of the day was a party of two Great White Egrets and a Spoonbill which flew over the trapping area and out to the east in the morning. Other birds passing overhead included a Buzzard, a Green Sandpiper, a Greenshank, 50 Swallows, 36 Yellow Wagtails, a Tree Pipit and another Corn Bunting. There was also a decent scatter of grounded migrants after the thunderstorms in early hours and including 32 Willow Warblers, a Garden Warbler, ten Lesser Whitethroats, three Sedge Warblers, a Redstart, a Whinchat and 23 Wheatears.
Offshore, 11 Arctic Skuas were seen along with a few Sandwich Terns and a juvenile Mediterranean Gull and four Yellow-legged Gulls were seen at the Patch.

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

Two Clouded Yellows and seven Hummingbird Hawkmoths were seen during the day and the mothtraps produced another Rest Harrow (with another seen by day) and a Gem of note.

A daylight search of the main area for the rarer crickets produced a female Sickle-bearing Bush-cricket and this Tree Cricket.

Tree Cricket Oecanthus pelluncens   Dungeness   5th August 2017

14th Aug

A decent day with a good numbers of migrants on the land and passing overhead and a few birds offshore.
Birds passing overhead included three Marsh Harriers and four Buzzards, two Common Sandpipers, 24 Yellow Wagtails, a Tree Pipit and a Corn Bunting (first of the year) whilst grounded migrants included a Turtle Dove and a Cuckoo, 30 Willow Warblers, 14 Lesser Whitethroats, 170 Whitethroats, seven Sedge Warblers, a Spotted Flycatcher and seven Wheatears.
Offshore, two Teal and singles of Arctic and Great Skuas were seen and an adult Yellow-legged Gull was feeding on emerging flying ants near the Britannia.

Buzzard Buteo buteo  Dungeness   14th August 2017
One of the birds was a very pale individual.

At least 12 Porpoises and singles of Grey and Common Seal were feeding offshore and a Brown Hare was seen in the Desert.

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

Butterflies included two Clouded Yellows whilst the highlights of the moth trapping overnight a Rest Harrow and a Jersey Tiger whilst a Bordered Straw was seen feeding at the Red Valerian in the moat. At least eight Hummingbird Hawkmoths were also noted during the day.
Rest Harrow Aplasta onoraria    Dungeness   14th August 2017
Formerly considered a very scarce migrant to Dungeness this species is now breeding here and even expanding its range in the Observatory recording area.

Jersey Tiger Euplagia quadripunctaria   Dungeness   14th August 2017
A torchlight search for orthoptera this evening produced three Sickle-bearing Bush-crickets and an excellent chorus of singing Tree Crickets with several individuals seen.

Sickle-bearing Bush-cricket Phaneroptera falcata    Female above, male below   Dungeness    14th August 2017



13th Aug

There was another decent spread of migrants on the land with a Kingfisher at the Long Pits, 70 Willow Warblers, a Garden Warbler, 15 Lesser Whitethroats, 60 Whitethroats and seven Sedge Warblers whilst four Marsh Harriers, a Buzzard, 1050 Sand Martins and 12 Yellow Wagtails flew over.

The sea remains fairly quiet although three Arctic Skuas were lingering offshore and 383 Sandwich Terns and two Mediterranean Gulls flew west.

Four Porpoises and a Grey Seal were feeding offshore.

Six Hummingbird Hawkmoths were seen during the day and two Scarce Bordered Straws were of note from the moth traps. Butterflies included three Painted Ladies, 80 Small Coppers and three Brown Argus.

A Sunflower Helianthus annuus was found growing on the road side yesterday and survived the weekend. The only previous record of a "wild" plant appears to have been in 2000.  
Sunflower Helianthus annuus   Dungeness   13th August 2017



12th Aug

There was a decent arrival of migrants in the bushes with a total of five Lesser Whitethroats of particular note along with 20 Willow Warblers, 30 Whitethroats and a Spotted Flycatcher. Fourteen Swifts and a couple of Yellow Wagtails also flew over.

Terns continue to move westwards at sea with two Black Terns and 544 Sandwich Terns counted along with 143 Common Scoters, 455 Gannets and five Arctic Skuas of interest.

Three Porpoises were feeding offshore and a visit to the Long Pits with the Kent Bat Group this evening produced a single Nathusius's Pipistrelle as well as six Soprano and a Common Pipistrelle. A Noctule Bat was also noted.


Nathusius's Pipistrelle Pipistrellus nathusii   Dungeness   12th August 2017

A Scarce Bordered Straw and a Dog's Tooth were trapped overnight and six Hummingbird Hawkmoths were seen during the day.

On the flora front, a total of 15 Autumn Lady's-tresses were found along the western side of the trapping area although most of these were still in bud.
Autumn Lady's-tresses Spiranthes spiralis   Dungeness   12th August 2017

11th Aug

Again four and a half hours seawatching today included the following; 65 Common Scoter, 212 Gannet, two Yellow-legged Gulls, seven Arctic Skua, 575 Sandwich Terns and a single Black Tern.
On land a Little Ringed Plover over, two Yellow Wagtails, 215 Sand Martin, 25 Willow Warblers, 70 Whitethroat, 10 Lesser Whitethroat and four Sedge Warbler.

Six Porpoises and a Grey Seal were seen.

Insect highlights included a Clouded Yellow and Hummingbird Hawk-moth.




10th Aug

Highlights from a total of four and a half hours seawatching today included just over 500 Gannet, 239 Kittiwake, four Arctic Skua and a Honey Buzzard out to sea at 0640am.
On land in these northerly winds a surprise Melodious Warbler was seen briefly in Dave Bunney's garden first thing but not since also a scattering of Willow Warblers, two Redstart and a migrant Reed Warbler.

Eight Porpoises and a Grey Seal were seen.

No real surprises in the moth trap just a few common migrant species including a Hummingbird Hawkmoth also another five seen nectaring during the day. 
Common Redstart Phoenicurus phoenicurus   Dungeness   10th August 2017 (Lee Gregory)



Hummingbird Hawkmoth Macroglossum stellatarum   Dungeness   10th August 2017 (Lee Gregory)

9th Aug

Three Balearic Shearwaters, 15 Ringed Plovers, 35 Dunlin, 240 Sandwich Terns and five Black Terns west offshore were of note at sea. 
A small arrival of birds on the land included 20 Willow Warblers, five Lesser Whitethroats, 30 Whitethroats, a Redstart and seven Yellow Wagtails.  

Three Sickle-bearing Bush-crickets were seen at the south-east corner of the trapping area and the Jewel-Wasp Hedychrum nobile was feeding at the same patch of Yarrow as two days ago. 
Shield-bugs recorded during the day included a Rhomboid Shield-bug Syromastes rhombeus in the large Sycamore in the trapping area and a final-stage nymph Brassica Bug Eurydema oleracea in the moat.

8th Aug

Sandwich Terns and Kittiwakes continue to move westwards in good numbers offshore and where 5.5hrs of seawatching eventually produced a Manx Shearwater, four Arctics and a Great Skua, three Little Terns and a Little Gull.
It was very quiet on the land although a flock of four Green Sandpipers was seen at the Long Pits and two Great White Egrets flew over the Observatory at 0720hrs and on towards the RSPB Reserve.

Six Porpoises and a Grey Seal were seen.


The best of the moth trap were this Poplar Kitten (only the seventh Observatory record) and a Scarce Bordered Straw.
Poplar Kitten Furcula bifida    Dungeness   8th August 2017
Also of potential interest is this small, brightly-coloured wasp which was seen a couple of days ago. Having done some research I think it might be Hedychrum nobile and would be a significant record.



Hedychrum nobile    Dungeness   6th August 2017