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Local weather


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29th June

A wild and windy day with very little to report other than two Manx Shearwaters on the early morning seawatch.

Elsewhere, the Gull-billed Tern and Black-winged Stilt continued there stay at the ARC Pit.

28th June

A very windy day with little to be seen other than six Fulmars, a Mediterranean Gull, a Cuckoo and 400 Swifts.

Over the weekend we received some very exciting news concerning an exhausted small bat which Sam picked up off the shingle beach on 13th June. A quick once over back at the Observatory immediately rang alarm bells as to its identity when we saw the clear white trailing edge to the wing along with the relatively pale brown fur of the upperside, a non-contrasting darker face and large (for a pipistrelle) size. All of these features in combination strongly suggested that it might be a Kuhl's Pipistrelle. We called John Puckett of the Kent Bat Group who was quickly on site to take the bat into care. He cautiously agreed at the time with our concerns over the identity of it and later that day he called me to say that they also thought it was highly likely that it was indeed a Kuhl's Pipistrelle but added that a DNA analysis would be needed to confirm this. Yesterday morning JP called me again to say that the DNA analysis had been carried out and that it confirmed the identification as a Kuhl's Pipistrelle.  It is unclear how many records of wild Kuhl's Pipistrelles there have been in Britain but it looks as if it probably less than ten.

Kuhl's Pipistrelle Pipistrellus kuhlii   Dungeness   13th June 2020
Given the covid restrictions at the time, the condition of the individual bat and the laws regarding the handling of bats it was felt that we couldn't make the bat available for others to see and I suspect before it was taken into care. While it is planned to release the animal again once it is back to good health I have no idea when and where this might be but I suspect that it will not run as a public event.

Elsewhere, the Gull-billed Tern and the Black-winged Stilt were still present at ARC.

27th June

Little to report in the way of birds except for at least 31 Mediterranean Gulls offshore in increasingly windy conditions.

Moths continue to provide some interest with an example of the scarce Yponomeuta irrorella along with another Acrobasis repandana and singles of Pine Hawkmoth, Beautiful Hook-tip and Oak Nycteoline of note.

Pine Hawkmoth Sphinx pinastri and Yponomeuta irrorella   Dungeness   27th June 2020
Elsewhere, the Gull-billed Tern and Black-winged Stilt continue to be seen on the ARC Pit.

26th June

Very quiet on the bird front with just a Grey Plover, a Green Sandpiper, three Mediterranean Gulls and a Siskin flying over.

Moth trapping continues to provide plenty of interest with our fourth record of Sub-angled Wave and generally considered to be a migrant when they occur on the coast away from Folkestone. Other noteworthy moths included three Sussex Emeralds and singles of Sciota adelphella, Acrobasis suavella and Ancylosis oblitella. A Hummingbird Hawk-moth was seen on the wall at the Red and White gate  There was also a small arrival of Red Admirals.
Sub-angled Wave Scopula nigropunctata   Dungeness   26th June 2020
Ancylosis oblitella   Dungeness   26th June 2020
Dungenes is a stronghold for this nationally scarce species

Sciota adelphella   Dungeness   26th June 2020
Another nationally rare moth and the fifth record from the Observatory trap.
The now Nationally rare Red Hemp-nettle is just starting to come into flower.
Red Hemp-nettle     Dungeness   26th June 2020
Dungeness is a stronghold for this rapidly declining species and
here being visited by a Green-eyed Flower Bee. Anthophora bimaculata
Elsewhere, the Black-winged Stilt is now almost resident at the NW corner of the ARC Pit but the Gull-billed Tern is much more mobile. It did however spend most of the afternoon and evening feeding at the ARC Pit.

25th June

A bright, sunny and very warm day. Quiet for birds with just two Mediterranean Gulls at the Patch and a Grey Wagtail passing overhead were the only birds of note.

Five Porpoises and a Grey Seal were feeding offshore.

The most unexpected and significant record was the finding of an Ornate Shieldbug. A very rare migrant insect.
Ornate Shieldbug  Eurydema ornata   Dungeness   25th June 2020
The highlights of the moth trapping were an Acrobasis tumidana and three Acrobasis repandana and a Pale Shoulder was found in the rough vegetation in front of the Observatory during the day.

Acrobasis rependana and Acrobasis tumidana   Dungeness   25th June 2020
Pale Shoulder Acontia lucida   Dungeness   25th June 2020

24th June

A Honey Buzzard flew around the Point just after midday before it eventually disappeared heading north. A Siskin also flew over.

The Gull-billed Tern and Black-winged Stilt continue to show well at the ARC Pit.

23rd June

A Grey Wagtail was the only bird of note.

Two Porpoises and a Grey Seal were feeding offshore.

The days obvious highlights were actually elsewhere today. A Gull-billed Tern which was first seen at ARC yesterday evening eventually reappeared in the afternoon and gave excellent views. A Black-winged Stilt was also found at the western end of ARC Pit.

Gull-billed Tern Gelochidon nilotica   ARC, Dungeness   23rd June 2020

22nd June

A Little Gull and eight Mediterranean Gulls were feeding at the Patch and 25 Swifts and a Grey Wagtail flew overhead.

Elsewhere, the place to be was the ARC Pit where a Black-winged Stilt reappeared at the north-western end of the pit and late in the day a Gull-billed Tern was found feeding at the eastern end of the pit.

21st June

Not a great deal to report with a single Manx Shearwater passing east and two Yellow-legged Gulls at the Patch being about the best on offer.

A Porpoise and a Grey Seal were feeding offshore.

Elsewhere, two Cattle Egrets were new arrivals to the Hayfields and a Black-winged Stilt flew over Boulderwall Farm but promptly disappeared thereafter.

20th June

Three Mediterranean Gulls, a Little Tern and two Arctic Skuas feeding offshore were of note. A Grey Wagtail also flew over.

A Brown Hare was seen at the Point and three Porpoises and a Grey Seal were feeding offshore.

Another attempt with moth pheromone lures attracted six Six-belted Clearwings but there was nothing of any real note in the moth traps.

Six-belted Clearwing Bembecia ichneumoniformis   Dungeness   20th June 2020
More extensive flower hunting added Sea Radish, Garden Lobelia, Seaside Daisy and Pale Yellow-eyed Grass to the area list. 

19th June

Very little to be seen on the land or offshore. Three third calendar-year Yellow-legged Gulls were seen at the Patch.

Moth trapping produced our first Sussex Emerald of the year.
Sussex Emerald Thalera fimbrialis   Dungeness   19th June 2020
A thorough search through the "new" flower patch with Tim Inskipp resulted in four new species for the recording area in the form of Wavy Bittercress, Fringed Pearlwort, a Petunia sp and Annual Beard-grass and also the second area record of Yellow-juiced Poppy.

Annual Beard-grass Polypogon monspeliensis   Dungeness   19th June 2020

18th June

Heavy rain through the morning limited observations. Three Mediterranean Gulls were feeding at the Patch and a Green Sandpiper flew SE over the Observatory just after dark. 

Moth trapping produced a few decent moths with a Figure of 80, a Cypress Carpet, a Lime Hawkmoth and an Obscure Wainscot of note.

Figure of 80 Tethea ocularis and Lime Hawkmoth Mimas tiliae   Dungeness   18th June 2020
There was a large emergence of Small Skippers with at least 250 seen. 

17th June

The unusual summer movements of geese continued with a flock of 19 Greylag Geese flying out to sea over the fishing boats. A Marsh Harrier was hunting over the Long Pits and a Green Sandpiper and a Crossbill flew over the area. Twelve Mediterranean Gulls were feeding at the Patch.

Moth trapping was fairly unproductive but the use of a pheromone lure quickly attracted a couple of Six-belted Clearwings. A Holly Blue was also seen in the Observatory garden.

Six-belted Clearwing   Bembecia ichneumoniformis 17th June 2019

A very uncommon soldierfly was found at the Observatory this afternoon - Hybomitra ciureai - which appears to be restricted in its range to grazing marshes and including Romney Marsh.

Hybomitra ciureai   Dungeness   17th June 2020
During the course of ground works in front of the Observatory this winter the contractors in their wisdom decided to finish off the site with a layer of imported topsoil. I am not convinced by the logic of this action but is has certainly produced a spectacular display of colour. A few odd plants have been found here and currently include a couple of plants of Larkspur.

Floral Display and Larkspur Consolida jacis   Dungeness   17th June 2020

16th June

Two Mediterranean Gulls were feeding offshore and a Buzzard, a Great Spotted Woodpecker and 40 Swifts flew over on an otherwise quiet day.

Two Porpoises were feeding offshore.

A good variety of moths were trapped overnight although migrants were few and far between. The highlights included the micro Eidophasia messingiella and a Beautiful Hook-tip.
Eidophasia messingiella   Dungeness   16th June 2020
Beautiful Hook-tip Laspeyria flexula   Dungeness   16th June 2020

15th June

Three Mediterranean Gulls were feeding offshore but very little else was seen.

Seven Porpoises and a Grey Seal were seen offshore.

A Mottled Beauty was only the fourth Observatory record but migrants were limited to a handful of Plutella xylostella and a few daytime Silver Y's.

It is possible to see two county-level rare plants at the same time at the Long Pits at the moment with Greater Spearwort still in flower and the first Lesser Water-plaintain starting to appear.

Greater Spearwort Ranunculus lingua and Lesser Water-plantain Baldellia ranunculoides   Long Pits   15th June 2020

14th June

A Mediterranean Gull offshore and single Grey Wagtail and Siskin overhead were the only records of note.

A Grass Rivulet was only the fifth Observatory record and the micro-moth Argyresthia cupressella was a new species for the Observatory. 
Grass Rivulet Perizoma albulata   Dungeness   14th June 2020
A first-summer male Red-footed Falcon was seen on the Lydd Ranges in the early morning and later at Dengemarsh from mid-day onwards.

13th June

Not much to report on the bird front but an Avocet passed east offshore, a Little Gull was feeding at the Patch and a couple of recently fledged Black Redstarts on the Point were seen.

Black Redstart Phoenicurus ochrurus   Dungeness   13th June 2020
The overnight moth trapping was also a bit disappointing in terms of numbers but they did include the pryralid Sciota adelphella - only the fifth Observatory record.
Sciota adelphella   Dungeness   13th June 2020
Elsewhere, a Red-footed Falcon was seen on the Lydd Ranges but views were mostly distant and through severe heat haze.

12th June

Most of the days interest was offshore where there was an easterly trickle of Sandwich and Common Terns and the highlight of the day in the form of a Roseate Tern which spent some time during the morning at the Patch before also moving off eastwards. Three Mediterranean Gulls were also feeding at the Patch. 

Two Porpoises and a Grey Seal were seen.

11th June

A day of little movement in fairly miserable weather. An Arctic Skua flew east and a few Sandwich and Common Terns were feeding offshore but very little was seen on the land.

Two Porpoises and a Grey Seal were feeding offshore.

Another Mottled Shieldbug was found in the Moat. A couple of days ago I caught another interesting bee which has now been confirmed (as I thought) as Stelis punctulatissima and is probably a new species for the area.

Stelis punctulatissima   Dungeness   9th June 2020

10th June

Slightly surprisingly there was a little bit of movement offshore today with three Manx Shearwaters west and three Arctic Skuas east along with at least four Mediterranean Gulls loitering. For the second day in a row a flock of Canada Geese (29 this time) and a Greylag Goose flew out to the east and a Gadwall was seen at the Long Pits.
Very little to be seen on the land.

A Grey Seal was seen offshore. 

9th June

Another slow day in the Observatory area for migrants. Four Mediterranean Gulls were feeding offshore and a Manx Shearwater flew west. The most unusual sighting of the day was that of a flock of 39 Canada Geese which made a couple of sorties over the Point and even went out to sea before returning 30 minutes. A Ringed Plover and a Curlew also flew over and a Spotted Flycatcher at the Long Pits was worthy of note.

Two Porpoises and singles of Grey and Common Seal were also feeding offshore.

Two Holly Blues were seen at the Old Lighthouse Garden.

Elsewhere, a male Red-footed Falcon was seen at Dengemarsh though it was mostly high and  distant and did not hang around for very long. There was no sign of yesterdays Rose-coloured Starling.

8th June

A flock of nine Manx Shearwater flew west this morning and single Mediterranean and Yellow-legged Gulls were seen at the Patch. It was very quiet on the land with 375 Swifts passing through being about the only sign of any migration.

Three Porpoises and a Grey Seal were feeding offshore.

Elsewhere, a Rose-coloured Starling made several appearances during the morning on the Rype in Lydd. Presumably the same bird as that seen nearby a couple of days ago.

7th June

Another day with very little to report on the bird front. A Mediterranean Gull was feeding at the Patch.

Without doubt the highlight of the day was a moth - this superb Pale Shoulder. Unusually it was not attracted to the moth trap but was seen flying over the rough ground in front of the Observatory. It is only the fourth Observatory record and 12th Dungeness record of this very scarce migrant.

Pale Shoulder Acontia lucida   Dungeness   7th June 2020
However, the lepidoptera interest also extended to Dengemarsh where a fine Swallowtail butterfly was found and showed very well during the morning and early afternoon.
Swallowtail  Papilio machaon   Dengemarsh Road   7th June 2020
Sadly, there was no sign of yesterdays Rose-coloured Starling.

6th June

Very quiet in cold and windy conditions with some heavy rain. Swifts were seen in big numbers over the recording area (and across the peninsula in general) but very little else of interest was seen.

Swifts Apus apus   Dungeness   6th June 2020
Elsewhere, a superb adult Rose-coloured Starling was found among a large flock of Starlings feeding in the sheep fields at Dengemarsh Road.

Rose-coloured Starling Sturnus roseus   Dengemarsh Road, Lydd   6th June 2020