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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

23rd June

Very little to report today apart from a Mediterranean Gull and ten Swifts overhead.

A session this evening with a Bat Detector calls from Common and Nathusius's Pipistrelle.

22nd June

Five Buzzards flew over the Observatory and four Mediterranean Gulls were seen during the day.

Three Porpoises and a Grey Seal were seen offshore.

The first Essex Skipper of the season was seen amid large numbers of Small Skippers.

21st June

A very quiet day with just a couple of Mediterranean Gulls overhead and a couple of new Reed Warblers of interest.

20th June

Two Curlews and a Mediterranean Gull were about the best of the birds to be seen today.

Three Porpoises were also feeding offshore this morning.

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.