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Migration Time.

23rd August

Most of the interest was of birds passing overhead including nine Common Buzzards, singles of Redshank, Green Sandpiper and Common Sandpipers, 12 Swifts, 208 Sand Martins, 120 Swallows, 40 Yellow Wagtails and a Grey Wagtail. Grounded migrants were pretty scarce but included 25 Willow Warblers.
Singles of Balearic and Manx Shearwater, nine Black Terns and four Arctic Skuas were of note offshore.

At least 17 Porpoises were seen offshore today but more significant was the fact that one of them was a white individual. Has this individual been seen anywhere else? Two Grey Seals and a Common Seal were also still present.

The clear highlight from last night's moth trapping was the catching of a Dark Crimson Underwing. - the first Observatory record (image to follow). In addition, An uncommon  tortrix, Cydia amplana, was also trapped. A Clouded Yellow butterfly was seen in the moat.

22nd August

There was a small but varied arrival of migrants this morning with 12 Willow Warblers, a Spotted Flycatcher, three Pied Flycatchers and two Whinchats on the ground and a Snipe, 80 Sand Martins, 39 Yellow Wagtails and three Tree Pipits passing overhead. The sea remains very quiet although several hours of watching eventually produced 513 Sandwich Terns, 120 Common Terns, three Arctic Skuas and a Great Skua. The prize for the most unlikely bird though goes to the Coot which floated by on the sea this afternoon.
Whinchat Saxicola rubetra   Dungeness   22nd August 2019
A Porpoise was seen offshore.

The Blue-eyed Hawker made another brief appearance at Southview Cottage this morning.

At least 11 Wasp Spiders are residing in and around the moat area.

A visit after dark to the "Desert" produced seven adult Sickle-bearing Bush-crickets and lots of singing Tree Crickets although the latter had almost ceased singing by the time I was leaving as the temperature was falling rapidly.

21st August

A calm but clear morning produced a small arrival of common migrants with 50 Willow Warblers, a Sedge Warbler, seven Reed Warblers, 17 Blackcaps and 40 Whitethroats while two Whimbrels, a Redshank, two Swifts, 139 Swallows, 89 Sand Martins, 33 Yellow Wagtails, a Grey Wagtail and three Tree Pipits flew over,

The sea remains fairly quiet with over six hours of watching produced just eight Shelducks, three Mediterranean Gulls, 626 Sandwich Terns, two Black Terns and an Arctic Skua of note.

Six Porpoises and two Grey Seals were feeding offshore and Common Pipistrelle bats were recorded on the Echometer this evening.

A Blue-eyed Hawker Aeshna affinis made a brief visit to the garden of Southview Cottage. This is the first Observatory area record of this recent colonist to southern England.

Seven Wasp Spiders have now been found in and around the moat. One web also had an egg case attached.


20th August

With the first calm morning in a while there was a small drop of migrants with 35 Willow Warblers, eight Reed Warblers, 65 Whitethroats, 50 Yellow Wagtails and 15 Tree Pipits of note. Three Buzzards also flew over.
Seawatching was fairly slow going again but five hours of observation produced 16 Mediterranean Gulls, 507 Sandwich Terns and four Arctic Skuas while two juvenile Yellow-legged Gulls feeding at the fishing boats were joined for a few minutes by a juvenile/first-winter Caspian Gull this evening.




Caspian Gull Larus cachinnans   first-winter   Dungeness   20th August 2019

A Porpoise and two Grey Seals were feeding offshore.

Two male Small Red-eyed Damselflies were seen at the southern end of the bottom Long Pit.

A Red-eared Terrapin was also seen at the Long Pits.

19th August

Very quiet on yet another breezy day. One juvenile Yellow-legged Gull was seen at the fishing boats.

18th August

A damp morning resulted in a few birds in the bushes and overhead with singles of Spotted and Pied Flycatchers, 37 Yellow Wagtails and 11 Tree Pipits being the highlights. Two Marsh Harriers and two Buzzards also flew over the area.
Increasingly windy conditions also meant plenty of seawatching but it was generally poor with 6.5hrs worth producing just 32 Bar-tailed Godwits, four Mediterranean Gulls, 460 Sandwich Terns and four Arctic Skuas of note.

A Grey Seal and a Porpoise were feeding offshore.

The overnight moth catch was surprisingly good with singles of Scarce Bordered Straw and Bordered Straw and the very scarce micro Metalampyra italica of note.
Scarce Bordered Straw Helicoverpa armigera and Bordered Straw Heliothis peltigera 
Dungeness   18th August 2019
Metalampyra italica   Dungeness   18th August 2019

17th August

Most of the interest was offshore again with 5.5hrs of seawatching producing a Balearic Shearwater, 271 Gannets, a juvenile Yellow-legged Gull, a juvenile Caspian Gull, 257 Sandwich Terns, two Little Terns, eight Arctic Terns, two Arctic Skuas and a Great Skua.

A Porpoise and a Grey Seal were feeding offshore.

A male Small Red-eyed Damselfly and a Wasp Spider were seen in front of the Observatory.

16th August

Another wet and windy day with 4.25hrs of seawatching but not much else in the way of coverage. The best from the sea were 642 Gannets, six Avocets, eight juvenile Yellow-legged Gulls, a juvenile Caspian Gull, 432 Sandwich Terns, six Black Terns and three Arctic Skuas

15th August

Not a great deal to report on another breezy day. The best on offer on the land were 21 Willow Warblers, a Sedge Warbler, 12 Blackcaps, 17 Robins and nine Wheatears. There was very little movement offshore but feeding birds included three Mediterranean Gulls, four juvenile Yellow-legged Gulls and an Arctic Skua.

Two Porpoises and a Grey Seal were also feeding offshore.

Four Hummingbird Hawkmoths were seen.

14th August

A walk around the area before the rain came produced 15 Wheatears around the sleepers and a Greenshank, 70 Swifts, a Yellow Wagtail and two Tree Pipits flew over.
The sea was watched for six hours and eventually came good with the finding of a Sabine's Gull at the fishing boats which eventually flew off west at 1548hrs. Other bits and pieces included two juvenile Mediterranean Gulls, two juvenile Yellow-legged Gulls, five Black Terns, 194 Common Terns and seven Arctic Skuas

Five Porpoises and two Grey Seals were feeding offshore.

Another adult Sickle-bearing Bush-cricket was found in the area.

13th August

With a drop in the wind there was a small arrival of migrants on the land with 40 Willow Warblers, three Sedge Warblers, seven Reed Warblers, a Garden Warbler, 45 Whitethroats and 11 Tree Pipits overhead.

The sea was very quiet with just two Mediterranean Gulls and two Yellow-legged Gulls feeding offshore and an adult Black Tern and five Arctic Skuas passing through.in the evening. 

Two Porpoises were feeding offshore.

One adult Sickle-bearing Bush-cricket and several Tree Crickets were found during a daytime search..  

12th Aug

The wind had dropped away overnight but the hoped for movement of re-orienting seabirds didn't really materialise with just one Balearic Shearwater, three Arctic and one Great Skua and 219 Sandwich Terns of note passing by. Gulls numbers increased again and included a juvenile/first-winter Caspian Gull, five Yellow-legged Gulls, five Mediterranean Gulls and a Little Gull at the fishing boats.

Two Porpoises and a Grey Seal were seen offshore and a Stoat was seen near the Old Lighthouse.

The highlight of the day though was not a bird but this female Long-tailed Blue butterfly which spent an hour or so in and around the Observatory back garden. Five Hummingbird Hawkmoths were also seen during the day.



Long-tailed Blue Lampides boeticus   female   Dungeness   12th August 2019

11th Aug

Another windy day but the sea continues to disappoint with 6.5hrs of watching producing just three Balearic and one Manx Shearwater, three Mediterranean Gulls, 140 Sandwich Terns, two Little Terns, 111 Common Terns and singles of Arctic and Great Skua of note. Three Yellow-legged Gulls were seen at the fishing boats.
Not much to be seen on the land in the difficult conditions.

Single Porpoise and Grey Seal were seen offshore.


10th Aug

With the predicted storm finally arriving here during the night it meant that the only serious birding coverage would be at the sea but it was ultimately fairly disappointing here. Nine hours of watching produced just 22 Fulmars, two Balearic Shearwaters, 267 Sandwich Terns, two Little Terns, 644 Common Terns, six Great Skuas and four Arctic Skuas of note. There was also a small influx of Yellow-legged Gulls at the fishing boats with around ten birds present.

The very rough conditions also made observation of sea mammals difficult but two Porpoises and a Grey Seal were noted.

9th Aug

With the wind increasing through the day there was plenty of seawatching to be done. Over seven hours of watching produced a Teal, 72 Common Scoters, a Manx Shearwater, a Balearic Shearwater, 500 Gannets, 25 Knot, 20 Whimbrel, a Redshank, six Mediterranean Gulls, 422 Sandwich Terns, two Little Terns, 238 Common Terns, two Arctic Skuas and four Great Skuas
A Pied Flycatcher was found in a private garden and a count of 25 Reed Warblers around the Long Pits was of note.

Five Porpoises and singles of Grey and Common Seal were seen offshore.

8th Aug

There was a reasonable arrival of migrants this morning with 55 Willow Warblers, two Sedge Warblers, a Garden Warbler, a Whinchat and a Tree Pipit of note.

Seawatching remains fairly slow going but the hardy few did four hours of watching and produced three Balearic Shearwaters of note. Two Mediterranean Gulls and a Yellow-legged Gull were also seen.

Five Porpoise and two Grey Seals were seen offshore.

7th Aug

A breezy day meant most of the interest was offshore where nearly eight hours of watching produced two Balearic Shearwaters of note along with eight Fulmars, 472 Gannets, a Knot, five Dunlin, three Redshank, four Mediterranean Gulls, 211 Sandwich Terns, 371 Common Terns and an Arctic Skua moving west. Two Yellow-legged Gulls were also seen on the beach.

Very little to be seen on the land.

Six Porpoises and singles of both Grey and Common Seal were seen offshore and a Brown Hare and two Stoats were seen on the land.

A Clouded Yellow was seen on the beach in front of the power station.

6th Aug

Another very quiet day although the windier conditions did produce a Manx Shearwaters, six Knot, 36 Kittiwakes and two Arctic Skuas of note from the sea.

A Grey Seal and six Porpoises were feeding offshore.

The moth traps were almost devoid of moths but did include three Langmaid's Yellow Underwings among them.

5th Aug

Very quiet with barely a migrant to be seen. A Wood Sandpiper flew over in the evening and a juvenile Yellow-legged Gull was seen  at the fishing boats.

Three examples of the tortix moth Cydia amplana were the best of another poor overnight catch of moths.

An evening check of orthoptera produced four nymphal Sickle-bearing Bush-crickets and a few singing Tree Crickets.

A Grey Seal and two Porpoises were seen offshore.

4th Aug

There was another drop of migrants this morning with 50 Willow Warblers and a Grasshopper Warbler of note. Overhead 200 Swifts, 30 Sand Martins and six Yellow Wagtail passed through. 
There was an emergence of flying ants this evening with an attendant flock of gulls which included two juvenile Mediterranean Gulls.

What were actually fairly empty moth traps did produce one notable moth in the form of a Golden Twin-spot - only the sixth Observatory record.
Golden Twin-spot Chrysodeixis chalcites   Dungeness   4th August 2019



3rd Aug

A pretty decent early autumn arrival of migrants with four Pied Flycatchers, a Grasshopper Warbler, a Garden Warbler and three Tree Pipits the pick of the bunch and numbers provided by around 100 Willow Warblers, ten Lesser Whitethroats and 65 Whitethroats. A Common Sandpiper, 120 Sand Martins and eight Yellow Wagtails also passed overhead.
Four juvenile Mediterranean Gulls were feeding at the Patch and a juvenile Yellow-legged Gull was also loafing on the beach. 

A visit to the top of the Long Pits this evening where the Kent Bat Group were operating produced two Daubenton's Bats, a Nathusius's Pipistrelle and a Soprana Pipistrelle in the hand.

2nd Aug

There was a decent arrival of Willow Warblers this morning with about 50 birds scattered around the Point but there was not a great deal else to be seen. During the early hours both Common Sandpiper and Redshank called as they flew over the Observatory.

The moth traps provided plenty of interest this morning with a Convolvulus Hawk-moth, a Pine Hawk-moth (although this may need to be checked for Southern Pine), a Tree-lichen Beauty, a Scarce Bordered Straw, two Langmaid's Yellow Underwings, the scarce pyralid Ancylosis oblitella and the migrant tortrix Cydia amplana

A Lesser Emperor dragonfly was seen at the northern end of the Long Pits and nine Small Red-eyed Damselflies were seen at the southern end. 

A evening search for rare orthoptera found another three nymph Sickle-bearing Bush-crickets and a few Tree Crickets but surprisingly no singing was heard from the latter. 

Sickle-bearing Bush-cricket Phaneroptera falcata and Tree Cricket Oecanthus pelluscens
Dunugeness    2nd August 2019



1st Aug

Migrants were pretty scarce again but did include a Green Sandpiper, 513 Sand Martins,  nine Willow Warblers and seven Yellow Wagtails and the bird of the day in the form of an Osprey flying south-east and out to sea this afternoon.
Two Mediterranean Gulls flew west and two juvenile Yellow-legged Gull were seen on the beach.

A Common Seal and three Porpoises were feeding offshore.

A fairly small moth catch overnight included two Langmaid's Yellow Underwings.



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