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2016 Report

Our 2016 Report is now available from the Observatory for £8.00 plus P&P if needed. Please contact the Warden: dungenessobs@vfast.co.uk

Moth Licences for 'Friends'

Friends of Dungeness Moth Licences
With the changes in permission for moth trapping in the area around the Long Pits, Dungeness, we are very pleased to announce that we have 2 moth licences for use by 'Friends' of the Observatory. Please contact the Warden for more information.

19th June

Another quiet day with just two Mediterranean Gulls at the Patch of any interest.

Four Porpoises and a Grey Seal were seen offshore.

18th June

Not much to report other than an adult Mediterranean Gull feeding at the Patch and a few Swifts passing overhead.

17th June

Three Mediterranean Gulls were seen at the Patch.

A Grey Seal was feeding offshore.

16th June

Three Mediterranean Gulls were feeding at the Patch this morning but not a great deal else of interest was seen.

A Common Seal and a Grey Seal were feeding offshore.

A Figure of Eighty moth was trapped overnight which is (perhaps surprisingly) only the 15th Observatory record and the first since 2011.
Figure of Eighty Tethea ocularis   Dungeness   17th June 2018

15th June

Not a great deal to report although coverage was a bit limited today. A Mediterranean Gull was the best of the few birds offshore whilst 170 Swifts passed south-west.

Two Porpoises were feeding offshore.

14th June

A cold, damp and windy morning restricted observations on the land but a bit of seawatching produced six Manx Shearwaters and three Arctic Skuas passing through and four Mediterranean Gulls were feeding at the Patch. Ninety Swifts also flew overhead.

Two Porpoises were feeding offshore.

13th June

Four Buzzards flew over the Observatory and a Mediterranean Gulls was feeding at the Patch.

12th June

Another quiet day on the land in dull and cold conditions and a fresh NE wind. A Hobby was seen at the fishing boats and 33 Swifts flew over.

There was little actual movement offshore but the Patch held eight Mediterranean Gulls and two Little Terns of note.

11th June

Very little to be seen other than the breeding birds.

A quick check for Rest Harrow moths produced at least 50 individuals in a few minutes of searching.

10th June

Very quiet on the land with just the regular birds being seen but a visit to the Patch produced two first-summer Mediterranean Gulls, four Little Terns and an Arctic Tern. An adult Yellow-legged Gull was feeding with the usual gulls at the Fish Shack this afternoon.

A Brown Hare was seen.

Pyramidal Orchids are starting to flower in front of the Observatory.

Ten Painted Ladies and four Brown Argus were seen and another Variable Damselfly was found at the Long Pits. Over the last couple of years I have been making regular searches of large patches of forget-me-not in the hope finding the host-specific shieldbug and today I think I have finally found a brood of first-instar larvae of Sehirus luctuosus.
Variable Damselfly Coenagrion pulchellum   Dungeness  10th June 2018
Forget-me-not Shieldbug Sehirus luctuosus   Dungeness   10th June 2018.
Note these are very small, c1.5mm in length, and are first-instar larvae. .

9th June

Nothing to report on the bird front.

A check of a large patch of Rest Harrow at the Long Pits produced large numbers of the eponymous moth emerging.
Rest Harrow Aplasta ononaria   Dungeness   9th June 2018

8th June

A very tatty adult "Continental" Coal Tit was seen in the trapping area this morning and a first-summer Mediterranean Gull was feeding at the Patch.

Five Porpoises and a Grey Seal were feeding offshore.

The first Meadow Brown of the year was seen and a few worn Brown Argus are still on the wing.

Hairy Dragonflies are still flying in decent numbers and three Variable Damselflies were see at the Long Pits.
Hairy Dragonfly Brachytron pratensis   Dungeness   8th June 2018
A mating pair

7th June

An entertaining but at times frustrating first few hours of the day with both a Bee-eater and a Serin being seen (or more often heard) on several occasions between the Observatory and the Point. Both were last seen at about 0925hrs.
A two-hour seawatch this afternoon produced a party of three Arctic Skua passing east and a party of three Eiders flying west.

Seven Porpoises were also seen.

6th June

Not much to report on the bird front again with the only obvious migrant being a Grey Wagtail over the area.

Dragonflies seen today included two Variable Damselflies.

Variable Damselflfy Coenagrion pulchellum   Dungeness   6th June 2018
Although the weather has been unsuitable for nocturnal moth trapping for the last couple of nights it is still possible to find a few moths by day including Pammene regiana on the large Sycamore tree in the trapping area. A late Grizzled Skipper and a few ageing Brown Argus continue to be seen and a couple of Painted Ladies arrived. 
Pammene regiana   Dungeness   4th June 2018
The flowers are at their best with carpets of Bird's-foot Trefoil, Common Sorrel, Foxgloves, Nottingham Catchfly, Viper's Bugloss etc and a few oddities including Marsh Cinquefoil and a good showing of Common Broomrapes.
Marsh Cinquefoil Comarum palustre   Dungeness   4th June 2018


Common Broomrape Orobanche minor   Dungeness   6th June 2018
Offshore, at least eight Porpoises and a Grey Seal were feeding.

Visitors to the observatory can also partake in various other activities with our most recent guests spending some time fishing from the beach and catching good numbers of Sea Bass - all safely returned.
Sea Bass Dicentrachus labrax   Dungeness   6th June 2018  (Photo by Walter Brown)



5th June

Very little to report on a cold and breezy day. A Mediterranean Gull was seen at the Patch and a Redshank flew over. Two Garden Warblers were singing in the bushes.  

A Stoat and a Brown Hare were seen.

4th June

The highlight of the day (for one observer at least) was a flock of five Bee-eaters which flew south over the trapping area at 0800hrs. Inside the Power Station there were two broods of fledged young Black Redstarts and one of Wheatears whilst two Buzzards flew over and a party of six Ravens was present. Two Black Terns flew east with a group of Common Terns.

Eight Porpoises and a Grey Seal were feeding offshore.

A Variable Damselfly at the Long Pits was another uncommon dragonfly sighting for the area.

3rd June

Not much to report on the bird front this morning. A Reed Warbler was singing in the moat and a Garden Warbler was singing in the trapping area. A Yellow Wagtail flew over.

At least 28 Porpoises ere feeding offshore.

The highlight of the day was a Lesser Emperor caught in the Heligoland Trap at the Observatory although a male Broad-bodied Chaser at the Long Pits was remarkably only the 3rd Observatory record.


Lesser Emperor Anax pathernope    Dungeness   3rd June 2018

2nd June

Very little to report on another misty day. A Hobby was seen near the Old Lighthouse and a Garden Warbler was singing in the trapping area. A Nightjar was reported singing at the Long Pits at 2245 this evening.

One Porpoise was seen offshore and a Brown Hare and a Weasel were also seen.

1st June

A foggy day with a handful of migrants on the land including two Reed Warblers and two Garden Warblers and also two Egyptian Geese which flew over the Long Pits. More unusual was a Bittern which flew from the ARC Pit into the Long Pits area. The sea was barely visible for most of the day but a Velvet Scoter flew west in a brief clearer spell. A Mediterranean Gull also flew over the area.

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

31st May

After the various excitements of the last few days there was not a great deal to report today. A small passage offshore included 177 Common Scoters, 13 Sanderlings and six Mediterranean Gulls but there were no obvious migrants on the land. There was no sign of the Rose-coloured Starling.

Ten Porpoises and a Grey Seal were seen offshore. 

Elsewhere, there was also no sign of the Great Reed Warbler at ARC.

30th May

Singles of Spotted Flycatcher, Reed Warbler, Garden Warbler and Willow Warbler were the only new migrants in the area. The Rose-coloured Starling continued to give excellent views at the top of the estate. Please remember to respect the householders and their gardens when looking for this bird.




Rose-coloured Starling Sturnus roseus   Dungeness   30th May 2018
Two Porpoises were seen offshore.

Elsewhere, the highlight of the day was a remarkably showy Great Reed Warbler seen from the Hanson Hide on the ARC Pit although it was actually first seen the night before.





Great Reed Warbler Acrocephalus arundinaceous   Hanson  Hide, ARC Pit    30th May 2018
Three videos showing the bird singing can be viewed here and here and here.

29th May

The Rose-coloured Starling was still present but fairly elusive at times in the trapping area this morning but by the evening appeared to have moved out and joined a local flock of Starlings. After a wet night/early morning there was very little to report in the way of common migrants.



Rose-coloured Starling Sturnus roseus   Dungeness   29th May 2018

28th May

What seemed like a quiet morning began with just three Spotted Flycatchers of note but these were soon eclipsed by a superb adult Rose-coloured Starling. It was first seen on overhead cables at West Beach but quickly moved into the trapping area where it then stayed for much of the day. A party of five Mediterranean Gulls also flew overhead.



Rose-coloured Starling Sturnus roseus   Dungeness   28th May 2018
The fourth Observatory record.
Eight Porpoises were seen feeding offshore.

A Red-eared Terrapin was found dead on the road at the north end of the recording area.

Elsewhere today, most of the interest was in the moths trapped overnight. Dorothy Beck caught a Pretty Marbled and a Dew Moth at Lydd-on-sea and Barry Banson caught an example of the very rare pyralid Paracorsia repandalis and also a Flame Wainscot at Greatstone.
Paracorsia repandalis   Greatstone   28th May 2018
The eighth Brtish record.
Pretty Marbled Deltote deceptoria   Lydd-on-sea   28th May 2018
Only the third British record since 1986.

27th May

The sea improved a bit today with the early morning watch producing an Arctic Skua, 328 Common Terns and 14 Black Terns passing through and followed in the evening by a Shag, four Mediterranean Gulls and two Little Terns.  
A Serin flying around the New Lighthouse for a while was the highlight of an otherwise very quiet day on the land.

At least 17 Porpoises and two Grey Seals were seen offshore.

With the warm and sunny weather there were plenty of butterflies on the wing with five Grizzled Skippers, 28 Brown Argus and 140 Common Blues of note.
Brown Argus Lycaena phlaes   Dungeness   27th May 2018
There were also large numbers of dragonflies to be seen with the first two Black-tailed Skimmers of the year being seen and some spectacular gatherings of Four-spotted Chasers in the reed bed.
Four-spotted Chasers Libellula quadrimaculata   Dungeness   27th May 2018
A Dutch Iris was found flowering again at the Long Pits having been added to the area list as recently as 2016. 
Dutch Iris Iris hollandica   Long Pits   27th May 2018

26th May

Very quiet with even the offshore tern passage reduced to a trickle. One Manx Shearwater and a Little Tern were the best the sea could offer while there was barely a new migrant on the land.

Two Porpoises were seen offshore.

Grizzled Skippers continue to be seen along with good numbers of Brown Argus.

25th May

With overnight rain and calm conditions in the morning there was a nice little arrival of migrants with 13 Spotted Flycatchers and six (new) Reed Warblers of note and more rarities in the form of another flying west over the observatory at 0830hrs and a Nightjar heard briefly during the morning and again at dusk.
The tern movement also continued offshore with another 1010 Common Terns through in three hours of watching along with a Manx Shearwater, an Avocet, 30 Dunlin, a Little Gull and eight Little Terns.

Spotted Flycatcher Muscicapa striata   RSPB Reserve    25th May 2018
At least ten Porpoises were feeding offshore.

24th May

With flat calm conditions the sea continues to surprise with yet another steady easterly movement of terns involving an excellent 104 Black Terns and 1630 Common Terns along with five Grey Plovers, 48 Sanderlings, eight Redshank and two Arctic Skuas. The highlight though was a superb adult Long-tailed Skua which flew in from the south towards the Patch at 1700hrs, had a go at a Sandwich Tern and then seemed to drift off westwards before returning and going on through at 1755hrs. (It was subsequently tracked right along the Kent coast as far as Kingsdown at 2005hrs). 

The almost total dearth of passage migrants on the land continues despite what appeared to be more conducive conditions for an arrival of birds. 

At least 23 Porpoises and two Grey Seals were feeding offshore.

23rd May

Another day lacking in any common migrants but with a remarkable 20 minute spell in mid-morning when a Bee-eater, a Honey Buzzard, two Red Kites and a Common Buzzard all flew over the Observatory. The Bee-eater was then relocated on overhead cables at the north end of the recording area on a couple of occasions during the day.
There was very little movement offshore with just a trickle of Common Terns passing by and eight Black Terns, a Little Gull and a Mediterranean Gull feeding at the Patch.

Honey Buzzard Pernis apivorus   Dungeness   23rd May 2018




Red Kite Milvus milvus   Dungeness   23rd May 2018

Nine Porpoises were seen offshore.

Eleswhere and late in the day, a/the Bee-eater was found at Littlestone where it went to roost in some trees alongside Station Approach. 

22nd May

Another odd day at Dungeness. Barely a migrant to be seen on the land with just a Spotted Flycatcher in the trapping area, a Reed Warbler in the moat and 75 Swallows and three Yellow Wagtails overhead but two notable birds in the form of a Red Kite around mid-day and another all-to-brief Bee-eater which flew south at 1555hrs but was typically seen by just one observer.

The sea continues to provide some interest despite the late date with Common Terns still moving through in large numbers and also six Manx Shearwaters, a Pomarine Skua, five Mediterranean Gulls and 20 Black Terns of note.

A Common Seal, two Grey Seals and around 20 Porpoises were feeding offshore.

Several Brown Argus and Grizzled Skippers were seen. 

21st May

The early morning seemed very quiet but plenty of looking around the Point eventually produced a Grey Plover, a Greenshank, two Hobbies, two Garden Warblers and eight Corn Buntings of note. 
However, there was a surprisingly good seawatch from mid-morning which produced a Shag, seven Pomarine Skuas and 87 Black Terns along with 180 Common Scoter, 69 Sanderling, a Redshank, 17 Mediterranean Gulls and over 2200 "Commic" Terns. A Red-breasted Merganser also flew west.

At least 40 Porpoises were feeding offshore with a Grey Seal in close attendance but was not seen to get too involved with them.


20th May

There was another very small arrival of migrants on the land with five new Chiffchaffs ringed as well as a Common Sandpiper on the Long Pits, a Sedge Warbler trapped in the moat  and a Spotted Flycatcher in the Lighthouse Garden.

Six Porpoises were feeding offshore.

Several Grizzled Skippers and Brown Argus butterflies were seen in the afternoon once the sun came out.

Elsewhere, another good bird appeared on the RSPB Reserve with a Kentish Plover seen from Dennis's Hide for much of the day. The last Dungeness record was on 17th April 2005. The Hoopoe was seen on several occasions during the day and the Bee-eater was seen at ARC for a while in the morning before it flew off.

Kentish Plover Charadrius alexandrinus   RSPB Reserve   20th May 2018
Very oor distant shots but the best I could do.

19th May

Yet another quiet morning in the Observatory recording area with just ten Whimbrel and a trickle of Common Terns east offshore and a very small arrival of Chiffchaffs and a Whinchat on the land and eight Buzzards and four Hobby overhead.
(Late news concerns a party of three Pomarine Skuas this afternoon).

Twenty Porpoises and a Grey Seal were feeding offshore.


Most of the interest was elsewhere on the Point with the Hoopoe showing well again at times along Dengemarsh Road (usually just south of Springfield Bridge) and a Bee-eater which was seen briefly in the morning at Dengemarsh and then presumably relocated at the  ARC Pit in the evening which it showed very well for a time.

Bee-eater Merops apiaster   ARC   19th May 2018