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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

30th Sep

Another morning with decent numbers of Chiffchaffs and Blackcaps in the bushes but not much else. Overhead passage was very light but a Great White Egret over the trapping area was of note. 
The sea was very quiet in the morning but an afternoon seawatch produced a Pomarine Skua, four Arctic Skuas, two Great Skuas and 17 Mediterranean Gulls.

Seven Porpoises were feeding offshore.

Elsewhere, the Buff-breasted Sandpiper was still in the fields behind Scotney Pit and six Cattle Egrets were still being seen on the RSPB Reserve.

29th Sep

More of the same with another decent arrival of Chiffchaffs and a few Blackcaps along with the first two Jays of the autumn, five Firecrests, a late Willow Warbler, two Whinchats and nine Wheatears around the area. Visible migration was pretty slow but a Wood Lark made a brief appearance in mid-morning and a Rock Pipit also flew over. Three Great White Egrets also flew over the recording area.
The sea was very quiet with just a single Arctic Skua and 62 Wigeon of interest.

Only one Porpoise was noted feeding offshore.

A Delicate moth was trapped overnight and a Clouded Yellow was seen during the day.

Elsewhere, the Reserve held nine Cattle Egrets and 23 Great White Egrets came in to roost at ARC and the Buff-breasted Sandpiper was still in the fields behind Scotney Pit in East Sussex..

28th Sep

The wind increased rapidly from mid-afternoon but before then there were a large arrival of Chiffchaffs, at least 100, and smaller numbers of Blackcaps but again not a great deal else.
Overhead passage was also limited with two Rock Pipits and a Grey Wagtail of interest.
Over three hours of seawatching produced a Great Skua, about ten Arctic Skuas and seven Mediterranean Gulls.

Six Porpoises and two Grey Seals were feeding offshore.

Elsewhere, the Buff-breasted Sandpiper was in the fields behind Scotney Pit but remains very hard to see and at least seven Cattle Egrets were with the cattle near Boulderwall Farm on the RSPB Reserve.

27th Sep

Good numbers of Chiffchaffs again and small numbers of Blackcaps but not a great deal else on the land and a steady movement of Swallows and House Martins south during the day.
Very quiet offshore with just four hunting Arctic Skuas, a Mediterranean Gull and an Arctic Tern this afternoon.

Six Porpoises and a Grey Seal were feeding offshore.

The warm weather saw plenty of butterflies on the wing with three Clouded Yellows and a Holly Blue of note. 


26th Sep

Another morning with plenty of Chiffchaffs and Blackcaps in the bushes and a big movement of hirundines overhead with at least 7000 Swallows and 2000 House Martins passing through. Other grounded migrants included two Lesser Whitethroats, 15 Whitethroats, a Spotted Flycatcher and six Wheatears whilst a Buzzard, a Hobby, 200 Sand Martins, four Grey Wagtails, four Yellow Wagtails, ten Siskins and 30 Reed Bunting added to the variety of birds passing overhead.
The sea was very quiet in the calm conditions but a Grey Phalarope was seen off the fishing boats again.

Five Grey Seals, a Common Seal and six Porpoises were feeding offshore and a Brown Hare was seen on the land.

There was a good selection of butterflies on the wing with a Clouded Yellow and two Painted Ladies of note and also several fresh Meadow Browns.

The Buff-breasted Sandpiper made a brief appearance at Scotney and Cattle Egrets continue to be seen on the Reserve.  

25th Sep

A calm, cold and clear morning brought another decent drop of migrants with 70 Chiffchaffs and 50 Blackcaps making up the bulk and also a Spotted Flycatcher.
Passsage overhead was quite good with a Greenshank, a Hobby, 440 Sand Martins, 500 Swallows, eight Grey Wagtails and 20 Reed Buntings.
An afternoon seawatch produced 12 Arctic Skuas and another Grey Phalarope.

At least six Porpoise were feeding offshore.

A Clouded Yellow was seen in the moat.

Elsewhere, a Buff-breasted Sandpiper was seen on one of the new pits behind the main pit at Scotney and nine Cattle Egrets were seen on the Reserve.

24th Sep

There was a decent arrival of migrants today with 60 Chiffchaffs and 70 Blackcaps providing the numbers along with good variety of scarcer migrants including singles of Short-eared Owl, Pied Flycatcher and Redstart and three Wheatears. Birds passing overhead included four Buzzards, two Yellow Wagtails, 260 Meadow Pipits, 17 Siskins and 28 Reed Buntings.
Seawatching was fairly quiet but fours hours of observation eventually produced totals of two Great Skuas and 16 Arctic Skuas.The Grey Phalarope was seen again.
Pied Flycatcher Ficedula hypoleuca   Dungeness    24th September 2018

Wheatear Oenanthe oenanthe   Dungeness   24th September 2018 (Marcus Lawson)
At least two Grey Seals and five Porpoises were feeding close inshore.

A Western Conifer Seed Bug was seen on one of the Observatory windows this afternoon.

23rd Sep

Another cold, wet and windy day which produced very little other than a trickle of birds offshore. Seawatching for much of the day produced just three Brent Geese, 12 Great Skuas, seven Arctic Skuas and two Mediterranean Gulls. Three Yellow-legged Gulls were also roosting on the beach.

Ten Porpoises and three Grey Seals were feeding offshore from the fishing boats.

22nd Sep

With a drop in the wind there was much more activity this morning but heavy rain from early-afternoon brought a premature end to proceedings.

There were two Whinchats and a few Chiffchaffs and Blackcaps on the land and Meadow Pipits passed through in large numbers with 670 counted. An Osprey heading west along the beach was particularly significant and four Yellow Wagtails, a Grey Wagtail, a Tree Pipit and four Reed Buntings also passed overhead.

Five hours of seawatching produced two Great Skuas and 44 Arctic Skuas, 25 Mediterranean Gulls, 656 Sandwich Terns, four Arctic Terns and three Little Terns. A Grey Phalarope was also offshore, anywhere between the Patch and the fishing boats, during the morning.

At least six Porpoise and a Grey Seal were feeding offshore. 

Elsewhere five Spoonbills, eight Cattle Egrets and a Pectoral Sandpiper were seen on the Reserve.

21st Sep

A day with more strong, mostly westerly, winds which unfortunately resulted in very little movement offshore and difficult conditions on the land.
Nearly five hours of seawatching produced the first two Red-breasted Mergansers of the autumn, ten Arctic Skuas and 225 Sandwich Terns but very little else. An adult Yellow-legged Gull was feeding at the fishing boats. There was no sign of yesterday's Grey Phalarope.

A Grey Seal and six Porpoises were feeding offshore.

It was equally slow going around the RSPB Reserve but seven Cattle Egrets were still with the cattle in the fields alongside the entrance track.


20th Sep

Another breezy day with most of the interest offshore. Coverage for most of the day produced ten Balearic Shearwaters, a Sooty Shearwater, 21 Arctic Skuas, two Mediterranean Gulls, a remarkable total of 2243 Sandwich Terns, two Arctic Terns, 102 Common Terns and a Black Tern. The best of the bunch arrived late in the afternoon though when a Grey Phalarope came in and landed on the sea at the fishing boats and then proceeded to feed just offshore.
Swallows continued to move south with at least 1000 passing through and a Redstart was also seen but the land was generally quiet.








Grey Phalarope Phalaropus fulicarius   Dungeness   20th September 2018
At least eight Porpoises and a Grey Seal were feeding offshore.

A Delicate moth was found in the kitchen this morning.

19th Sep

With very windy conditions it was tough going on the land with just a Spotted Flycatcher in the moat and a steady flow of Swallows and House Martins through the morning. A Kestrel caught in the Crow Trap was an uncommon bird for us to ring here.

Kestrel Falco tinnunculus   Dungeness   19th September 2018
The main interest was at sea but even here it was fairly tough going but five hours of watching eventually produced four Balearic Shearwaters, a Little Gull, 881 Sandwich Terns, two Black Terns, a Great Skua and 20 Arctic Skuas.

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

A small catch of moths included another Delicate.

In the evening a male Southern Oak Bush-cricket was found clinging to the kitchen window. 
Southern Oak Bush-cricket Meconema meridionale   male   Dungeness   19th September 2018

18th Sep

With the wind increasing quickly during the night most of the observations involved seawatching but the Wryneck was seen again though still elusive and a Firecrest and a Spotted Flycatcher were also seen. Lots of Swallows and House Martins also passed through.
Several hours of seawatching produced two Balearic Shearwaters, a Great Skua, 16 Arctic Skuas, a Mediterranean Gull, 518 Sandwich Terns and two Black Terns.

At least five Porpoises were feeding offshore.

The best of the moths trapped overnight were a Clancy's Rustic (the first at the Observatory since 2013) and another two Delicates.

Elsewhere, the Cattle Egret population on the Reserve has increased to seven birds.

17th Sep

The Wryneck was still present but it has become much more elusive over the last few days and is being seen only a few times during the day. Grounded migrants were fairly scarce again but they did include two Firecrests, a Redstart, two Whinchats and eight Wheatears. Passage overhead was dominated by Swallows with fewer House and Sand Martins and also two Swifts.
The sea was also quiet except for a short run of ten Arctic Skuas and some Sandwich Terns in the afternoon.

At least ten Porpoises were feeding offshore.

A Clouded Yellow and at least 10 Painted Ladies were seen.

An evening search for orthoptera produced a female Sickle-bearing Bush-cricket and hundreds of singing Tree Crickets.

Four Delicates were the best the Observatory moth traps could come up with but Martin Casemore trapping at his house in Lydd really came up with the goods when he found this sensational Oleander Hawk-moth in his trap. 
Oleander Hawk-moth Daphnis nerii   Lydd   17th September 2018


16th Sep

Quiet on the land with just the long-staying Wryneck and a Whinchat of note while birds passing overhead included 1000 Swallows, a Grey Wagtail and a Rock Pipit.
The sea was a bit more productive with five hours of watching producing two Manx Shearwaters, a Sooty Shearwater, 16 Ringed Plovers, 24 Dunlin, nine Sanderling, 17 Arctic Skuas, seven Mediterranean Gulls and 1322 Sandwich Terns.

Twenty Porpoises and a Grey Seal were feeding offshore.




15th Sep

Highlights today were the long-staying Wryneck and an adult Pomarine Skua west offshore. Other bits and pieces on the ground and overhead included a Buzzard, a Golden Plover, 12 Kestrels, 150 Sand Martins, 1000 House Martins, 700 Swallows, a Redstart, two Whinchats, a Tree Pipit and ten Reed Buntings. Five Arctic Skuas were also seen offshore.

Another Delicate moth was trapped overnight and five Hummingbird Hawkmonths were feeding at Red Valerian.

Five Cattle Egrets were seen at Boulderwall and ARC.

14th Sep

The highlight of the day was the finding of an Ortolan Bunting seen briefly in the moat before it flew off around the Point and then appearing to settle near the Railway Station. Despite searching it was not again until the late afternoon when it was on the access road to the Observatory. There was a decent spread of other common migrants with the best being 35 Chiffchaffs, a Goldcrest, three Pied Flycatcher and a Redstart. The Wryneck remained in its usual spots in the southern Desert area throughout the day.
There was also some overhead passage with two Merlins, 430 Sand Martins, 1000 Swallows, 2000 House Martins, 15 Yellow Wagtails, five Grey Wagtails, six Tree Pipits, five Siskins and 14 Reed Buntings
About 13 Arctic Skuas were seen offshore during the day and eight Black Terns flew west..

Six Porpoises and two Grey Seals were feeding offshore.

The moth traps did not produce much overnight but this aberrant Treble-bar was of interest.
An unusually marked Treble-bar Aplocera plagiata   Dungeness   14th September 2018
The Cattle Egret flock increased to five birds and are still being seen with the cattle in the fields at Boulderwall or at ARC.

13th Sep

A pretty decent arrival of birds occurred this morning with three Great Spotted Woodpeckers, 15 Willow Warblers, 30 Chiffchaffs, two Sedge Warblers, 30 Blackcaps, three Garden Warblers, ten Lesser Whitethroats, four Spotted Flycatchers, four Redstarts and three Whinchats. The Wryneck remained and gave good views at times.
Overhead passage was also of interest with at least 20 Common Buzzards, four Golden Plovers, 16 Yellow Wagtails, six Grey Wagtails, 560 Meadow Pipits, five Tree Pipits and the first ten Siskins of the autumn. 
Two first-winter Yellow-legged Gulls were feeding around the Fish Hut but the sea was very quiet. 
Wryneck Jynx torquilla   Dungeness  12th September 2018
Another shot of this crowdpleaser

Tree Pipit Anthus trivalis   Dungeness 13th September 2018
A species we rarely ring at Dungeness
Four Porpoises were feeding offshore.

Another Delicate was trapped overnight and two Hummingbird Hawkmoths were seen during the day.

12th Sep

There was very little change today with just Meadow Pipits and Linnets increasing into the hundreds but very else in the way of migrants. The Wryneck continues to show very well.
Also very quiet offshore with just five Arctic Skuas of note.
Wryneck Jynx torquilla   Dungeness   12th September 2018
Two Delicates were trapped overnight but the most surprising record was that of a Hummingbird Hawk-moth caterpillar also inside the moth trap.
Hummingbird Hawk-moth Macroglossom stellatarum   Dungeness   12th September 2018
The four Cattle Egrets and up to 12 Great White Egrets were still present on the RSPB Reserve.

11th Sep

A very breezy day with most of the attention offshore although a Wryneck continued to show in the scrub south of the trapping area. A Hobby and a Redstart were also seen there.
Five hours of seawatching resulted in three Balearic Shearwaters and singles of Manx and Sooty Shearwaters being seen along with two Mediterranean Gulls and six Arctic Skuas but not much else other than the continuing westward stream of Sandwich Terns.

Eight Porpoise and a Grey Seal were feeding offshore.

A male Southern Oak Bush-cricket was found in the front garden Privet bush.

10th Sep

A very quiet day on and over the land. One of the Wrynecks was still present along with ten Blackcaps and three Whinchats and seven Grey Wagtails flew over.
Several seawatching sessions produced a Manx Shearwater, 20 Arctic Skuas and one Mediterranean Gull.

At least six Porpoises were feeding offshore.

A decent catch of moths overnight produced a few migrants including a Gem and two Delicates. A search for crickets this evening was successful with a female Sickle-bearing Bush-cricket being found along with lots of singing Tree Crickets.
Gem Orthonama obstipata   Dungeness   10th September 2018
Delicate Mythimna vitellina   Dungeness   10th September 2018
Three Cattle Egrets and the Pectoral Sandpipers were still being seen on the Reserve.




9th Sep

The two Wrynecks were still present but fresh grounded migrants were almost non-existent with just a Grasshopper Warbler at the Long Pits of note. Overhead passage was almost at a standstill as well with just a trickle of hirundines passing through.
Sandwich Terns continue to pass offshore in big numbers and 12 Arctic Skuas, five Mediterranean Gulls and four Black Terns also flew but it was generally slow going after the first couple of hours.

At least 15 Porpoises were feeding offshore and a Brown Hare was also seen.

There were reasonable numbers in the moth traps overnight but the only notable record was that of another Delicate.

Elsewhere, four Cattle Egrets and a Pectoral Sandpiper were still present on the RSPB Reserve.

8th Sep

There were two Wrynecks in the scrubby areas to the south of the trapping area and were giving good views (in the morning at least). Other migrants were generally thin on the ground though with 15 Chiffchaffs, 30 Blackcaps, a Garden Warbler, a Spotted Flycatcher, three Redstarts, two Whinchats, nine Wheatears, five Tree Sparrows and ten Grey Wagtails of note. 
The sea was also fairly quiet but the first hour or so after dawn produced  two Great Skuas, six Arctic Skuas, seven Black Terns and a continuing stream of west-bound Sandwich Terns.

At least 15 Porpoises were counted.

A Delicate was the best of the moths trapped overnight and a Hummingbird Hawk-moth was seen by day along with two Clouded Yellows.

Elsewhere, three Cattle Egrets continue to be seen around Boulderwall or at ARC and a Pectoral Sandpiper was found at Dengmarsh. 

7th Sep

The Wryneck was still present and showed very well at times. The morning saw the first large movement of House Martins with 2000 birds counted along with 700 Swallows, eight Grey Wagtails, three Tree Pipits and four Tree Sparrows. There was a decent sprinkling of commoner migrants on the land with 15 Chiffchaffs, eight Lesser Whitethroats, two Spotted Flycatchers, three Redstarts, three Whinchats and 12 Wheatears of note.

Wryneck Jynx torquilla   Dungeness   7th September 2018
Two Caspian Gulls (a first-winter and a first-summer) and three Yellow-legged Gulls were seen at the fishing boats and an Osprey flew out to sea. Sandwich and Common Terns continue to pour westwards and two Black Terns and 11 Mediterranean Gulls were also seen. 





Caspian Gull Larus cachinnans   first-summer   Dungeness  7th September 2018
Four Porpoises and a Grey Seal were feeding offshore.

A Convolvulus Hawk-moth and an Oak Hook-tip were of note from the moth trap and a Holly Blue butterfly was also seen in the trapping area.

6th Sep

After a fairly slow start migrants seemed to start arriving from mid-morning and notable end of the day totals included two Garden Warblers, ten Lesser Whitethroats, 11 Redstarts, eight Spotted Flycatchers and six Whinchats and more unexpectedly, a Wryneck in the Desert and a flyover Ortolan Bunting this afternoon.
Sandwich and Common Terns remain offshore in large numbers while four Balearic Shearwaters flew west during the day. Three Mediterranean Gulls were also feeding offshore and two Yellow-legged Gulls came to the offerings at the fishing boats.

Ten Porpoises and single Grey and Common Seals were feeding offshore.

A Convolvulus Hawk-moth was the highlight of the nights' moth trapping and a Clouded Yellow was also seen.
Convolvulus Hawkmoth Agrius convolvuli   Dungeness   5th September 2018
Our third individual of the year.



5th Sep

There were some very large numbers of birds offshore this morning with around 2000 Sandwich Terns of particular note along with 13 Arctic Skuas, four Great Skuas, 22 Mediterranean Gulls, three Little Terns and 67 Black Terns and also a first-winter Caspian Gull on the beach.
Fairly quiet on the land but two Pied Flycatchers, four Whinchats and a Grey Wagtail were of note. 



Sandwich Tern Sterna sandvicensis   Dungeness   5th September 2018
An odd-plumaged individual.
Two Grey Seals and at least 12 Porpoises were feeding offshore.

Although the moth trap was not exactly full of moths this morning they did include our second Golden Twin-spot of the year.
Golden Twin-spot Chrysodeixis chalcites   Dungeness   5th September 2018
Four Cattle Egrets were seen on the RSPB Reserve again.


4th Sep

Despite the seemingly decent conditions there were only small numbers of grounded migrants and just a trickle of birds overhead. Of note were 20 Blackcaps, three Grey Wagtails and a Tree Pipit.
There were seven Mediterranean Gulls and five Black Terns feeding at the Patch this morning and in the afternoon at least 20 Mediterranean Gulls flew north past the fishing boats in a loose feeding frenzy with Sandwich Terns. Three Arctic Skuas were also loitering offshore whilst a first-year Caspian Gull made a short visit to the offerings of bread.


Caspian Gull Larus cachinnans   first-year   Dungeness   4th September.
At least 15 Porpoises and two Grey Seals were feeding offshore.

Three Cattle Egrets were seen on the RSPB Reserve again.

3rd Sep

Very quiet. The best of the few birds on the land were 15 Blackcaps, the first two Firecrests of the autumn, a Redstart, four Whinchats and 25 Wheatears whilst a few Swallows and Yellow Wagtails and five Grey Wagtails passed overhead.

2nd Sep

One of the quietest days for some time with just a trickle of birds overhead, very little in the bushes and just three lingering Arctic Skuas offshore.

The only birds of note on the land were 15 Blackcaps, a Spotted Flycatcher, nine Whinchats and seven Redstarts. A Tree Pipit was the best of the trickle of birds flying over.

The Tree Crickets were singing well this evening and could be heard from the Observatory.

Three Cattle Egrets were seen on the Reserve. 

1st Sep

A quiet start to the month with just a handful of grounded migrants and a bit of overhead passage but very little moving offshore.
The best of the birds on the ground were 20 Blackcaps, 17 Lesser Whitethroats, a Spotted Flycatcher, a Redstart, ten Whinchats and 15 Wheatears while birds flying over included 11 Buzzards, 40 Yellow Wagtails and two Grey Wagtails.
Other than large numbers of Sandwich Terns there was very little to be seen offshore.

Ten Porpoises were feeding offshore.

A Clouded Yellow butterfly and three Hummingbird Hawk-moths were seen around the Observatory. 

There was still no further sign of either the American Black Tern or the Terek Sandpiper and the Cattle Egret population seems to have been reduced to a single individual.

31st Aug

More of the same with small numbers of grounded migrants and an increasing overhead passage. Notable among the grounded migrants were ten Reed Warblers, a Pied Flycatcher, three Redstarts, 12 Wheatears and birds going over included ten Buzzards, 350 Sand Martins, three Grey Wagtails and three Tree Pipits.
Offshore, five Arctic Skuas, a Great Skua and two Black Terns were of note.

Three Porpoises were feeding offshore.

Another female Southern Oak Bush-cricket was found inside the Observatory building and the Tree Crickets were singing well this evening.

Elsewhere, the big news was of a Terek Sandpiper on the RSPB Reserve this morning. Unfortunately despite being seen well and photographed it promptly disappeared after the initial sighting. The Cattle Egrets were still present in remarkable numbers although the flock seems to have become reduced to eight individuals. There was no sign of the American Black Tern