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Corona Virus Update

Due to Coronavirus we will have to remain closed to overnight visitors for the foreseeable future. Day visitors are welcome to call into the garden, as long as Covid-19 protocols are observed. We are still operating our monitoring programme. Please think carefully about Social Distancing before approaching our Wardens. Please forward any Dungeness records to the Warden.
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Thank You for your understanding in these difficult times.
The Trustees.

31st July

A very hot day but with very little in the way of common migrants about the place. A couple of Kingfishers at the Long Pits were a nice find.

Eight Porpoises and a Grey Seal were feeding offshore.

Insects, and moths in particular, provided most of the days interest with Acrobasis tumidana, a striking aberrant Sussex Emerald and then a day-flying Dark Crimson Underwing in the moat.
Acrobasis tumidana   Dungeness   31st July 2020

Sussex Emerald Thalera fimbrialis   Dungeness    31st July 2020
A striking aberration,
Ten Small Red-eyed Damselflies at the usual spot at the southern end of the Long Pits.


30th July

A nice and sunny day but very quiet on the migration front. The highlights from the sea were two Balearic Shearwaters this morning. Migrants on the land were mainly concentrated around the Long Pits with 60 Willow Warblers and a Sedge Warbler while 400 Sand Martins, a Grey Wagtail and five Yellow Wagtails passed overhead.

Ten Porpoise were feeding offshore. 

Another Lesser Emperor dragonfly was seen around the pumphouse area this morning and three Small Red-eyed Damselflies were also seen at the southern end of the Long Pits.

29th July

With calm conditions this morning the first reasonable arrival of Willow Warblers occurred with around 60 birds in the area. However, there was very little else in the way of grounded migrants. A party of eight Redshanks flew west over the trapping area this morning and this evening a Little Ringed Plover flew south along the beach. 

Four Porpoises and a Grey Seal were feeding offshore again.

Dragonflies provided plenty of interest today with our third-ever Willow Emerald seen in the trapping area this morning and then a Lesser Emperor seen in the Moat in the afternoon. Two male Small Red-eyed Damselflies were also seen at the Long Pits again.
Lesser Emperor Anax parthenope   Dungeness   29th July 2020
A check of the "cricket patch" at dusk produced six nymphs of Sickle-bearing Bush-crickets and a few brief bursts of Tree Cricket song was heard. Two Small Red-eyed Danselflies were seen a the southern end of the Long Pits. In addition, at least ten of the recently identified cockroach Ectobius montanus were seen among clubrush in one of the old bomb craters in the same area.

28th July

With a strong westerly wind blowing for most of the time it was another quiet day for migration. The sea was well watched but produced just a trickle of Kittiwakes and Common Terns. A juvenile Yellow-legged Gull came to the offerings of bread at the fishing boats. The land saw 390 Swifts overhead and just six Willow Warblers in the bushes of note.

Four Porpoises were feeding offshore.

Two Small Red-eyed Damselflies were seen at the southern end of the Long Pits.

27th July

Most of the days coverage involved seawatching where over six hours of observations provided a Sooty Shearwater, two Balearic Shearwaters and three Manx Shearwaters, 22 Knot, 113 Kittiwakes, 90 Sandwich Terns, three Little Terns and an Arctic Skua of note. Four juvenile Yellow-legged Gulls were also feeding at the fishing boats.

Birds passing overhead included 580 Swifts and 170 Sand Martins.

Four Porpoise and a Grey Seal were feeding offshore. 

26th July

Not a great deal of coverage today. A two-hour seawatch in the early afternoon produced two Manx Shearwaters and eight Little Terns of note but not a great deal else.

Five Porpoises and singles of both Common and Grey Seal were feeding offshore.

At least five Small Red-eyed Damselflies were feeding and mating at the southern end of the Long Pits whilst the first female Tree Cricket of the summer was seen in the usual spot at the south-eastern corner of the trapping area.

25th July

A damp and breezy day with most of the coverage offshore where there was a westerly trickle of Common Scoters, Sandwich and Common Terns, three Whimbrels, 11 Kittiwakes and a Little Tern. Four Mediterranean Gulls and three juvenile Yellow-legged Gulls were seen at the Patch.

At least eight Porpoise and two Grey Seals were seen offshore.

The Black-winged Stilt was still feeding at the ARC Pit.

24th July

A quiet day on the land with just four Willow Warblers and two Crossbills of note. It was Also very quiet offshore.

Ten Porpoises and two Grey Seals were feeding offshore.

The highlight from the Observatory moth trap was a Pale Grass Eggar of the form obsoleta. However, this was completely overshadowed by the trapping of Pine-tree Lappet at Greatstone by Barry Banson. Although they breed in Invernesshire this is a very rare migrant away from here with only around five previous British records.
Pale Grass Eggar Lasiocampa trifolii form obsoleta   Dungeness   24th July 2020


Pine-tree Lappet Dendrolimus pini    Greatstone   24th July 2020
The Black-winged Stilt continues its stay at the ARC Pit.

23rd July

Quiet on the bird front with just six Willow Warblers and a Sedge Warbler in the bushes and a Green Sandpiper, a few Sand Martins and 14 Yellow Wagtails passing overhead. Seven Mediterranean Gulls passed westwards in 90 minutes this morning.

Three Porpoises were feeding offshore.

Moth trapping was a bit more productive last night with a Chevron, a Black Arches, a Tree-lichen Beauty and two Langmaid's Yellow Underwings of note 

Black Arches Limantria monacha and Tree-lichen Beauty Cryphia algae   Dungeness   23rd July 2020

22nd July

At least 600 Sand Martins were seen during the day and including a nice gathering at the Point in the early evening. Nine Yellow Wagtails also passed through and six Willow Warblers were seen in the bushes.
Three Mediterranean Gulls offshore were the best on offer on what continues to be a very empty sea.

Three Porpoises were feeding offshore again and four Brown Hares were seen around the Point.

Ten Small Red-eyed Damselflies were seen  at the southern end of the Long Pits.




Sand Martin Riparia riparia   Dungeness   22nd July 2020
Part of a large gathering of birds at the Point this afternoon.

21st July

The bird of the day was a Wood Warbler which spent a short time in the Moat around mid-day. A scatter of other migrants included a party of four Grey Herons, five Willow Warblers, a Grey Wagtail and three Yellow Wagtails.

Three Porpoises were feeding offshore and a Brown Hare was also seen.

A Lesser Emperor dragonfly was seen at the northern end of the Long Pits and 25 Small Red-eyed Damselflies were gathered at the southern end of the Long Pits with several pairs in copulation and egg-laying. The highlight among the butterflies was a Clouded Yellow. A Hummingbird Hawk-moth was seen in front of the Observatory.

20th July

A few migrants on the land included a Little Ringed Plover, a Common Sandpiper, 120 Sand Martins, five Willow Warblers, two Yellow Wagtails and a Grey Wagtail. The sea was extremely quiet although six Mediterranean Gulls and a juvenile Yellow-legged Gull were feeding at the Patch.

A cooler night saw a reduced catch of moths but they did include a nice Black Arches.

Some "late" news concerns a small, black bee which I caught on Friday 17th and posted on here as Plain Dark Bee Stelis phaeoptera. It now transpires that this bee was actually a different species of Stelis, namely odontopyga, and is only the third British record. (Note they are extremely similar under field conditions!! and thanks to Grant Hazlehurst for the id).

Elsewhere, the Black-winged Stilt remains in residence at the ARC Pit.




19th July

Not a great deal to report. A couple of Willow Warblers were heard in the trapping area and a few Swifts flew south but not much else was seen on the land. Four Mediterranean Gulls and two juvenile Yellow-legged Gulls were feeding offshore.

Three Porpoises and two Grey Seals were seen offshore and a Common Pipistrelle bat was feeding around the Observatory in the early hours again.

Six Small Red-eyed Damselflies were seen on the Southern Long Pit. 

The Black-winged Stilt was still present at the ARC Pit.

18th July

Two Willow Warblers in the bushes and two Crossbills and five Yellow Wagtails passing overhead were the only migrants of any note on the land today. The sea remains quiet with just one Mediterranean Gull of interest. 

The micro-moth Acleris permutana and a Mottled Beauty were the most significant of a decent catch of moths overnight. 

The Black-winged Stilt was still showing at ARC.

17th July

After a couple of days of heavy cloud cover it cleared this morning to give a hot and sunny day. Birds were hard to come by but a Grey Wagtail and two Yellow Wagtails did pass overhead.

Good numbers of Porpoise were feeding offshore again.

The moth traps were busy again overnight although obvious migrants remain very scarce. The micro-moth Dichrorampha petiverella was trapped and is a new species for the Observatory garden. Two Hummingbird Hawk-moths were feeding in the moat. 

A good search around the Point for bees was productive with Spined Hylaeus, several Wool Carder Bees, a Plain Dark Bee, Orange-vented Mason-bees, five Large Sharp-tail Bees and a Variable Nomad Bee of particular note and with a few interesting species still to be confirmed. 

Two Small Red-eyed Damselflies were seen on the southern Long Pit.

Cock's Spur grass was found in flower in the floral haven in front of the Observatory.

16th July

Nine Mediterranean Gulls and two juvenile Yellow-legged Gulls were seen at the Patch. Overhead passage consisted of 95 Swifts and two Yellow Wagtails,  A moulting adult Willow Warbler was caught in the Heligoland Trap. 

Porpoise numbers have increased considerably in recent days with at least 21 counted today as well as a Grey Seal. This evening a Common Pipistrelle bat was patrolling over the back garden and stealing moths before they got to the traps.

Large numbers of moths did make it to the trap and included a Gothic which appears to be a new species for the Observatory garden. The micro-moth Calybites phasianpennella was also caught and is an unusual record for us. Good numbers of Essex Skippers and Brown Argus butterflies are on the wing.

There was little change elsewhere with the Black-winged Stilt still showing on the ARC Pit.


15th July

A quiet day with just one Manx Shearwater and three Mediterranean Gulls of note offshore. A Grey Wagtail was seen at the sewage works unit in the power station and two Yellow Wagtails flew over.

Porpoise numbers are increasing rapidly with at least 21 individuals feeding offshore this morning and a Grey Seal was also seen.

Twelve Essex Skippers and two Brown Argus whilst the moth trap produced this superb Rose Plume and only the third Observatory record.
Rose Plume Cnaemidophorus rhododactyla   Dungeness   15th July 2020


14th July

A damp, dreary day which failed to produce very much at all. Three Mediterranean Gulls were seen offshore and three Yellow Wagtails passed overhead.

There was a notable increase in Porpoise numbers with at least 11 individuals along with three Grey Seals feeding offshore.

The Black-winged Stilt continues its long stay at the ARC Pit.

13th July

A quiet day with just a trickle of migrants including a Wood Sandpiper, 52 Sand Martins and a Yellow Wagtail

One Porpoise was seen offshore.

Dragonflies provided most of the days interest with a Willow Emerald found in the Moat along with a Small Red-eyed Damselfly and another three of the latter at the Long Pits. Butterflies were also seen in good numbers with 21 Essex Skippers and nine Brown Argus of note.

Willow Emerald Chalcolestes viridis   Dungeness   13th July 2020   (Sam Perfect)
Only the second Dungeness record of this species which is
rapidly expanding its range across southern England
Small Red-eyed Damselfly Erythromma viridulum   Dungeness    13th July 2020
Although now regularly seen during the summer at the Long Pits
individuals (genuine migrants?) away from there remain very rare.
Elsewhere, the Black-winged Stilt was still present at the ARC Pit.

12th July

A warm and sunny day with light winds throughout produced a Lapwing, a Dunlin, a Whimbrel and a Hobby passing overhead. An insect-feeding flock of gulls passed through the area during the morning which included at least 22 Mediterranean Gulls and a juvenile Yellow-legged Gull was seen at the Patch. Migrants on the land also included a Hobby, 260 Sand Martins and a Yellow Wagtail

A Common Emerald Damselfly and four Small Red-eyed Damselflies were seen at the Long Pits as was a nymph Scarce Tortoise Shieldbug.

A Common Seal was feeding just offshore.

Elsewhere, the Black-winged Stilt is still being seen at the ARC Pit.

11th July

Not a great deal to report on the bird front.

Two Porpoises were feeding offshore.

The moth traps were fairly quiet this morning. A later session with pheromone lures attracted four Lunar Hornet Moths but sadly they did not hang around for any photo opportunities. Three male Small Red-eyed Damselflies were seen at he southernmost end of the Long Pits. Large numbers of Large White, Red Admirals and Peacocks can be seen around the Point.

Further afield, the Black-winged Stilt continues to show itself at the ARC Pit and an immature Southern Migrant Hawker was seen  at New Romney.

Southern Migrant Hawker Aeshna affinis   New Romney   11th July 2020

10th July

There were a few hints of autumn migration getting underway with nine Teal, a Pochard and a Red-throated Diver offshore, a juvenile-type Little Egret on the beach at the Patch, a party of three Little Ringed Plover, 1000 Swifts, 30 Sand Martins, three Yellow Wagtails, a Grey Wagtail and 11 Siskins passing overhead, a Common Sandpiper at the Long Pits and a juvenile Sedge Warbler in the Moat.

Three Langmaid's Yellow Underwings were about the best from the night's moth-trapping and six freshly emerged Essex Skippers were also seen. 

9th July

A few odds and sods were seen offshore with singles of Manx Shearwater and Arctic Skua and three Mediterranean Gulls of note. Quiet on the land except for a steady flow of Swifts with at least 470 passing through.
Several pairs of Herring Gulls are nesting on the Power Station and the young are about to fledge. 

Herring Gull Larus argentatus   juveniles   Dungeness   9th July 2020
The young are about to fledge and making practice flights into the wind.
Singles of Porpoise and Grey Seal were feeding offshore. 

The groundbug Beosus maritimus was found in front of the Observatory. It appears to be a fairly scarce species. An adult Green Shieldbug was seen on the Sycamore in the trapping area.
Beosus maritmus   Dungeness   9th July 2020
Green Shieldbug Palomena prasina   Dungeness   9th July 2020
A single plant of Ploughman's-spikenard was found at the Long Pits and appears to be a new species for the Observatory recording area.

Ploughman's-spikenard Inula conyzae   Dungeness   9th July 2020

8th July

Not a great deal to report on a day with plenty of drizzle and light rain. Sixteen Mediterranean Gulls and a Great Skua were of note offshore and a couple of Willow Warblers in the trapping area were the first of the autumn.

Two Porpoises and a Grey Seal were feeding offshore.

7th July

A Common Treecreeper in the Old Lighthouse Garden this morning was the days unexpected highlight and continuing the woodland theme a Great Spotted Woodpecker and at least two Crossbills also flew over.

The best in the Observatory moth trap was another Oak Nycteoline but some pheromone luring for clearwings proved highly successful. Two Six-belted Clearwings were seen but the star of the show were Lunar Hornet Moths which came in droves within minutes to a lure in the trapping area.

Lunar Hornet Moth Sesia bembeciformis   Dungeness   7th July 2020

Elsewhere, the Black-winged Stilt continues its stay at the ARC Pit.

6th July

The unexpected highlight this morning was the finding of a singing male Melodious Warbler at the Old Lighthouse. However, it was extremely hard to see and in fact it was actually seen for about two seconds in total all morning. A juvenile Cuckoo was seen in the trapping area, two Yellow Wagtails flew over during the morning and 430 Swifts were seen during the day.
Still very little movement offshore but eight Mediterranean Gulls passed through along with another ten birds feeding at the Patch and including the first juvenile of the spring. A juvenile and a third calendar year Yellow-legged Gull were also seen at the Patch.

Two Porpoises and a Grey Seal were also feeding offshore.

The Black-winged Stilt was seen at the NW corner of the ARC Pit again.

5th July

The wind shows no sign of dropping but over five hours of seawatching produced just ten Manx Shearwaters and two Mediterranean Gulls of interest. 

Two Porpoises and a Grey Seal were seen offshore.

The Black-winged Stilt was seen at the ARC Pit again. 

4th July

Another miserable day of strong winds and almost continuous drizzle or light rain. Singles of Manx and Balearic Shearwaters and an Arctic Skua were noted offshore.

The Black-winged Stilt was showing at the ARC Pit again.

3rd July

Strong SW winds all day but mostly warm and sunny until rain arrived in the evening. Still very little to report. A Great Spotted Woodpecker was seen in the trapping area and two Siskins flew over the Observatory. The sea was almost devoid of birds.

2nd July

Still the wind blows and with odd showers during the day. Five Mediterranean Gulls passed west offshore and six Sand Martins and at least one Crossbill flew through.

Single Porpoise and Grey Seal were feeding offshore.

The best of another relatively poor nights moth trapping were a Figure-of-80 and a Double Kidney.

1st July

Another wet and windy night gave way to a brighter, sunnier day although it was still windy. Very little to report with just six Mediterranean Gulls and the juvenile Yellow-legged Gull at the Patch and a Yellow Wagtail and a Siskin flying over.

A Grey Seal was feeding offshore.

The first Gatekeepers were seen.

30th June

Another miserable day of strong winds and almost continuous rain. The sea continues to be very disappointing despite the stormy conditions although a Manx Shearwater and a flock of 13 Black-tailed Godwits which flew west this afternoon were of note. The first juvenile Yellow-legged Gull of the summer was seen on the beach at the Patch this morning.

Singles of Porpoise and Grey Seal were feeding offshore and a Brown Hare was seen on the beach near the fishing boats.

The Gull-billed Tern and Black-winged Stilt were seen at the ARC Pit again although the former may not have been seen after about 0900hrs.