29th Sep

A dull and murky start and then rain from 1000hrs and for the rest of the day. The main feature of the day was a big early morning movement of birds overhead including 7000 Swallows, 1500 House Martins, 14 House Sparrows, 118 alba Wagtails, a Grey Wagtail, 810 Meadow Pipits, a Rock Pipit, 1350 Linnets, 450 Goldfinches, 32 Siskins and 47 Reed Buntings. There were very few grounded migrants with just 12 Chiffchaffs, six Blackcaps and seven Wheatears of interest.
Good numbers of Gannets and Sandwich Terns continued to move west and an adult Pomarine Skua was of note. The six regular Arctic Skuas were still harassing terns throughout the day and a Great Skua, an Arctic Tern and a Mediterranean Gull were also seen.

Six Porpoises, a Grey Seal and two Brown Hares were seen.

Three Delicates were trapped overnight.

28th Sep

Very warm and light rain and no wind from first light seemed like perfect conditions for a decent arrival of migrants. However, it turned out to be a bit of a damp squib. The best of the few grounded migrants were two Firecrests, three Lesser Whitethroats, 14 Blackcaps, four Song Thrushes, two Spotted Flycatchers, five Wheatears, a Redstart and a Whinchat. Overhead passage was limited to a few Swallows and good numbers of Meadow Pipits and three Grey Wagtails, four Siskins and 66 Goldfinches.
Seawatching was very slow with just a steady passage of Sandwich Terns and three Black Terns and three lingering Arctic Skuas and one Great Skua lingering offshore. A Mediterranean Gull was also seen.

Five Porpoises, a Common Seal and a Grey Seal were feeding offshore and two Brown Hares were seen in the Desert.

Nothing of any great interest in the way of migrants in the moth trap but two Hummingbird Hawkmoths were seen during the day.

27th Sep

Chiffchaffs and Goldcrests continue to arrive in decent numbers whilst other bits in the bushes included a Merlin, two "continental" Coal Tits, eight Blackcaps, a Garden Warbler, four Song Thrushes and a Redstart. Overhead passage was fairly light but 17 Tree Sparrows, five Yellow Wagtails, four Grey Wagtails, 260 Meadow Pipits and 25 Reed Buntings were seen.

Very quiet offshore with just a couple of Arctic Skuas of interest.

One Clouded Yellow was seen.

A Brown Hare was seen in the Desert.

26th Sep

With the warm easterly wind continuing there was a distinct increase in the numbers of migrants on the ground and a decent overhead movement but the sea remained fairly quiet. 
Among the good numbers of migrants on the land were a rarity in the form of a Turtle Dove, 35 Goldcrests, 12 Firecrests, 160 Chiffchaffs, 12 Blackcaps, two Garden Warblers, a Grasshopper Warbler, a Sedge Warbler, the first three Song Thrushes of the autumn, ten Spotted Flycatchers, three Redstarts, 30 Wheatears, a Rock Pipit, and 35 Reed Buntings whilst birds passing overhead included four Buzzards, a Hobby, five Yellow and four Grey Wagtails, a Tree Pipit and 420 Meadow Pipits.

Ten Porpoises were feeding offshore.

The moth trap was good this morning with two Clancy's Rustics, a Delicate and the migrant pyralid Palpita vitrealis of note. Clancy's Rustic was first seen in Britain at Greatstone in 2002. It then increased rapidly across southern Britain, with the first Observatory record in 2006 and when 14 of the 15 previous Observatory records were seen and with final individual on 6th October 2013.

Palpita vitrealis and Clancy's Rustic Caradrina kadenii   Dungeness   26th September 2017
A Clouded Yellow was also seen.


25th Sep

The day dawned with what felt like ideal conditions for an arrival of migrants on the land and a bit of movement offshore but unfortunately the birds hadn't read the script. The only migrants in the bushes of any significance were 12 Firecrests and two Spotted Flycatchers whilst birds passing overhead included 3500 Swallows, 850 House Martins, four Grey Wagtails, 900 Meadow Pipits, a Siskin and 13 Reed Buntings. The best on the sea were 199 Brent Geese, 86 Wigeon, eight Shoveler, six Arctic Skuas and two Great Skuas and three Mediterranean Gulls.

Four Porpoises and a Grey Seal were feeding offshore and a Weasel and three Brown Hares were seen on the land.

The best of the moth trapping was a Delicate.

24th Sep

There was a small arrival of migrants this morning with five Firecrests and a Pied Flycatcher of interest and this Red-backed Shrike around Southview Cottage from mid-morning of particular note.

Red-backed Shrike Lanius collurio   Dungeness   24th September 2017
Seawatching was pretty slow this morning with 195 Brent Geese, a Shag and just a few Arctic and Great Skuas lingering or passing through but late in the day this Caspian Gull made an appearance on the beach at the fishing boats. An adult Yellow-legged Gull was also seen.






Caspian Gull Larus cachinnans   Dungeness   24th September 2017
Five Clouded Yellows were seen during the day and a Scarce Bordered Straw was trapped overnight.

23rd Sep

Birds were fairly few and far between in the bushes but there was a bit of movement overhead including 400 Swallows, two Yellow Wagtails, five Grey Wagtails, 300 Meadow Pipits, 35 Goldfinches and four Reed Buntings.

Most of the interest was offshore where there was a good variety of birds seen with 21 Wigeon, 22 Teal, two Pintail, four Eider, a Black-necked Grebe, 32 Arctic Skuas, 26 Great Skuas, a Little Tern and a Mediterranean Gull of note and numbers provided by 160 Brent Geese, 175 Common Scoters, 40 Gannets, 35 Dunlin and 237 Sandwich Terns.

At least ten Porpoises were feeding offshore and a Brown Hare was seen on the land.

Small numbers of butterflies were on the wing and included two Clouded Yellows and a Brown Argus.

22nd Sep

A nice day after a foggy start produced another large movement of Swallows in the afternoon along with five Grey Wagtails and two Yellow Wagtails in the morning whilst the best of the grounded migrants was a single Firecrest. The sea was also fairly quiet with seven lingering Arctic Skuas and two Great Skuas passing west being the highlights.

Six Porpoises and a Grey Seal were seen offshore and a Brown Hare was seen on the land.

A Clouded Yellow was the best of the butterflies.

A search just after dusk this evening produced plenty of singing Tree Crickets in the usual area.

Today two of us attended a meeting at Sandwich Bay which was looking at ways of working more closely with our french colleagues on a "Migrating Birds of the Straits of Dover" project. It was an enjoyable day and great to meet up with our french friends again. Thank you to Caroline Delelis for organizing and chairing the meeting and to Sandwich team for hosting us.



21st Sep

Given the change to a more southerly breeze the day was a bit disappointing. There were very few grounded migrants and overhead passage was more or less limited to hirundines with 3500 Swallows passing through along with three Grey Wagtails and 105 Meadow Pipits. Other grounded bits included 20 Chiffchaffs and five Wheatears.
Seawatching was also slow but six hours of observation eventually produced 20 Arctic Skuas, two Great Skuas, a Black Tern and 625 Sandwich Terns.

Two Clouded Yellows were seen during the day.

20th Sep

There was a decent arrival of Chiffchaffs this morning along with a latish Willow Warbler, 12 Blackcaps and a Sedge Warbler.
More hirundines moved through with 5000 Swallows and 650 House Martins and six Grey Wagtails and six Siskins also passed overhead. The Osprey made a couple of visits into the area again.

About 14 Arctic Skuas and a Mediterranean Gull were lingering offshore.

Three Porpoises were feeding offshore and Brown Hare was seen on the land. 

On a more or less unrelated subject but of great interest was the snagging in pot lines of an aeroengine by Joe Thomas and brought ashore this afternoon. It is a 9 cylinder radial engine and various suggestions have been made on Twitter as to what it may have been part of. The most likely options so far appear to be either from a B-17 Flying Fortress or Dornier D-17. Hopefully there will be a definitive answer shortly.  




Covered in a variety of deep sea life we do not usually see.

19th Sep

A small arrival of migrants on the land included 55 Chiffchaffs but hirundine passage increased considerably with 15,000 Swallows and 650 House Martins. Other bits passing overhead included eight Yellow Wagtails, seven Grey Wagtails, two Tree Pipits, a Redpoll and 14 Reed Buntings
Four Arctic Skuas were lingering offshore and the first Brent Geese of the autumn flew west along with eight Shelducks and 22 Eiders. The Osprey flew over the area again.

Five Porpoises were seen offshore.

Two White Storks flew NE over Lydd-on-sea this afternoon.

18th Sep

A surprising day with an arrival of at least 150 Chiffchaffs along with a Short-eared Owl, a Barn Owl,  five  Blackcaps, a Garden Warbler, three Spotted Flycatchers, three Redstarts and a Whinchat. Birds passing overhead included a Buzzard, a Hobby, ten Tree Sparrows, six Grey Wagtails and 14 Reed Buntings and the Osprey reappeared around the Point in the morning. At least three Arctic Skuas and a Little Tern were seen offshore.

Six Porpoises were seen offshore and two Brown Hares were seen in the Desert.

A Delicate was the highlight of a small catch overnight.

17th Sep

The day began with thick and very wet fog which only rarely produces anything of real note and today was no exception. There was a noticeable increase in Chiffchaff numbers but very little else in the way of grounded migrants. Overhead passage was also very slow until the skies cleared after which there were good numbers of Swallows and House Martins and the Osprey made another flyover into the Observatory recording area.
Two Yellow-legged Gulls were attracted to the offerings at the fishing boats whilst at least six Arctic Skuas were patrolling offshore.

Arctic Skuas Stercorarius parasticus   Dungeness   17th September 2017 
At least five Grey Seals and four Porpoises were feeding offshore.

Five Clouded Yellows and a Hummingbird Hawkmoth were seen.

16th Sep

A bright and sunny morning saw a small arrival of Chiffchaffs and Willow Warblers but most of the interest was overhead with the first big movement of hirundines for some time and later in the morning some excellent raptor activity. Very conservative estimates of numbers were 2000 each of Swallow and House Martins with a few Sand Martins also still moving through. The highlights of the raptor movement was a Honey Buzzard and 17 Buzzards whilst the "local" Osprey made several visits into the Observatory recording area. Four Grey Wagtail also flew over and perhaps most surprising was a flock of ten Ravens which may well be a record Dungeness count.

Whilst movement offshore appeared to have virtually ceased there was still plenty of activity with at least six Arctic Skuas marauding up and down the beach, good numbers of Sandwich Terns still feeding, the Eider floating around and a brief appearance of a first-year Caspian Gull at the fishing boats.


Eider Somateria mollissima   Dungeness   16th September 2017

Arctic Skua Stercorarius parasticus   Dungeness   16th September 2017

Six Porpoises were feeding offshore and a Brown Hare was also seen.


Two Clouded Yellows and two Hummingbird Hawkmoths were seen around the Observatory and a Pearly Underwing was the only moth of any note trapped overnight.

15th Sep

A bright and calm morning which turned out to be very disappointing on the land with only small numbers of  grounded migrants including 15 Chiffchaffs, a Redstart and a Whinchat. There was a bit of diurnal movement with 500 Swallows, ten Yellow Wagtails, two Grey Wagtails, seven Tree Sparrows and 17 Reed Buntings. The Osprey was also seen again.
Most of the interest was surprisingly offshore given the westerly wind. Eight hours of watching produced 12 Wigeon, a Sooty Shearwater, 550 Gannets, an excellent total of 100 Arctic Skuas, 40 Great Skuas and a Pomarine Skua and 1000 Sandwich Terns. Juvenile Little Gull and Yellow-legged Gull.were feeding at the Patch.

A Grey Seal and 12 Porpoise were feeding offshore.

Three Clouded Yellow butterflies and a Hummingbird Hawkmoth were seen.

14th Sep

Most of the coverage was again offshore with at least 50 Arctic Skuas moving west during the day along with a Little Tern, 1000 Sandwich Terns and four Arctic Terns and more unusual birds in the form of a flock of 14 Pink-footed Geese and two Shags. The Grey Phalarope was still present but in the calmer conditions today it was mostly being seen from the boardwalk. An Eider was also loafing around the shoreline and two juvenile Little Gulls and an adult Yellow-legged Gull were also present.

There was a bit of passerine movement overhead with 210 Meadow Pipits along with the first Rock Pipit of the autumn and an Osprey also flew south and out to sea at 0800hrs. There was a decent scatter of grounded migrants as well including 35 Chiffchaffs, a Garden Warbler, 12 Blackcaps and seven Whinchats.


Eider Somateria mollissima   Dungeness   14th September 2017

Two Grey Seals and four Porpoises were seen offshore.

Elsewhere, this Red-necked Phalarope made a brief appearance at the northern end of Scotney Pit as it fed alongside the froth gathered at the edge of the lake. 






Red-necked Phalarope Phalaropus lobatus   Scotney Pit   14th September 2017

13th Sep

Following a very wet and windy night it dawned clear but still very windy and the place to be was on the beach. There wasn't a great deal actually moving through but some quality birds were seen in the form of a Leach's Petrel which flew into the bay and at least two Grey Phalaropes - one of which spent the afternoon feeding along the surf at the fishing boats. Other bits and pieces seen during nearly nine hours of watching included a Velvet Scoter, 16 Arctic Skuas, a Great Skua, a Little Tern, two Black Terns, 800 Sandwich Terns and five Little Gulls. An adult Yellow-legged Gull was also on the beach.







Grey Phalarope Phalaropus fulicarius   Dungeness   13th September 2017
There was no sign of the Wryneck although the conditions were very difficult. The Osprey that has been residing in the area made a fishing visit to the Long Pits.

Four Porpoises were feeding offshore.

Two Clouded Yellows were also seen.

12th Sep

A nice morning but not a great deal in the way of new migrants in the bushes and a bit passing overhead. The Wryneck was still present and was giving superb views at times.
The sea was very quiet in the morning but passage picked up in the afternoon as the wind increased. 
Grounded migrants included 20 Chiffchaffs, a Redstart and seven Wheatears and birds passing overhead included five Grey Wagtails, two Tree Pipits, 250 Meadow Pipits and 34 Tree Sparrows. A Kingfisher was seen at the Long Pits.
The afternoon offshore movement produced 28 Arctic Skuas, a Great Skua and 1420 Sandwich Terns whilst two Yellow-legged Gulls were on the beach at the boats and a juvenile Arctic Tern was feeding at the Patch.








Wryneck Jynx torquilla   Dungeness   12th September 2017
Six Porpoises and two Grey Seals were offshore.

A Holly Blue and five Clouded Yellows were seen and included one of the pale form helice. Only 15 "macro" moths were trapped overnight but they did include a Delicate.

11th Sep

Another very windy day and with some torrential rain at times in the morning. The Wryneck was still in its preferred clump of bushes but other migrants were very scarce with just six Whinchats and 12 Wheatears of note. The sea was also quiet with over four hours of watching producing just two Great Skuas and three Little Gulls of interest and a late afternoon movement of Sandwich Terns as the wind dropped slightly.

A Porpoise  and a Brown Hare were seen.

A Silver-striped Hawkmoth Hippotion celerio was caught overnight by Sean Clancy just outside the Observatory recording area and is only the third area record of this spectacular migrant.


10th Sep

A much quieter day in the bushes with just six Whinchats and 16 Wheatears of note although the Wryneck was still present but fairly elusive in the increasingly windy conditions. A handful of birds passing overhead included 120 Swallows, 14 Tree Sparrows, two Grey Wagtails, a Tree Pipit and five Reed Buntings.
There were the usual handful of Arctic Skuas lingering offshore along with plenty of Gannets and Sandwich Terns but the highlight was this lovely juvenile Caspian Gull which came to the puddles at the fishing boats.







Caspian Gull Larus cachinnans   juvenile   Dungeness   10th September 2017
Three Hummingbird Hawkmoths were seen around the Observatory.