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Corona Virus Update

We are very pleased to be accepting booking at the Observatory. In order to keep staff and visitors as safe as possible, we will be requesting that you take a Lateral Flow Test (provided) before you first come in. The hides will be open for 'Friends of DBOT'. However, we would request that you continue to observe safe practises and sanitiser and spray will continue to be provided to clean down the handles and closures in the hide after you have used it.

Please forward any Dungeness recording area records to the Warden.
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4th Dec

Very quiet with just a few Red-throated Divers and auks lingering offshore and a single Sandwich Tern moving into the Bay. A Merlin was also seen at the fishing boats.

Three Porpoises and two Grey Seals were seen.

Also of note was a party of five Whooper Swans which spent most of the day on the ARC Pit.

3rd Dec

Another fairly miserable day with seawatching producing just five Teal, two Gadwall and a late Sandwich Tern of note and a brief stop in the small gull roost of a first-winter Caspian Gull.




Caspian Gull Larus cachinnans   first-winter   Dungeness   3rd December 2021

On the downside its depressing to see the number of gulls with ingested fishing line or severely damaged legs, mainly caused by entanglement with fishing tackle.


 A Grey Seal was seen offshore.


2nd Dec

The highlight of the morning seawatch was a Manx Shearwater along with three Sandwich Terns and two Great Skuas. Very little else to be seen other than a flock of 30 Fieldfares.

1st Dec

Seawatching was the order of the day again with 3.75 hrs of recording producing 518 Red-throated Divers (mostly west), three Sandwich Terns, two Great Skuas, 3000 Guillemots and a Merlin of note.

Two Common Seals and a Grey Seal were also seen.

30th Nov

Over three hours of seawatching in fresh westerly winds produced a Goldeneye, 266 Red-throated Divers, a Mediterranean Gull, nine Sandwich Terns, two Great Skuas and 900 auks of note. Two Caspian Gulls and a Yellow-legged Gull were seen at the Patch.

A Grey Seal was seen offshore. 

Waitrose

 A big thank you to Waitrose, Hythe for this unexpected and generous donation.



29th Nov

A cool, icy morning produced very little of note offshore and just a trickle of migrants on the land. Six Chiffchaffs, three Goldcrests, two Song Thrushes, two Black Redstarts, five Bramblings and four Siskins were of interest on the land while five Mediterranean Gulls were the only birds of note at the Patch despite a large increase in the number of gulls feeding there. A Great Skua was also seen.

A Common Seal and two Grey Seals were seen. 

28th Nov

Most of the days coverage was looking offshore in a forlorn search for a Brunnich's Guillemot but there not even a sniff of one. Four and a half hours of watching produced two Velvet Scoters, three Goosanders, two Red-breasted Mergansers, 181 Red-throated Divers, a Great Northern Diver, five Mediterranean Gulls, five Sandwich Terns, a Great Skua, 1300 Guillemots, 50 Razorbills and just over 1000 auk species. 

Quiet on the land except for a Siberian Chiffchaff in the Trapping Area again.

A Common Seal and a Grey Seal were feeding offshore.

27th Nov

A day of miserable weather and almost all observations limited to the sea. Nearly six hours of watching produced four Velvet Scoters, 225 Red-throated Divers, a Little Egret, 92 Kittiwakes, three Mediterranean Gulls, three Sandwich Terns, 3000 Guillemots and 214 Razorbills of note.

Two Common Seals and a Grey Seal were feeding offshore. 

26th Nov

A quiet day (though with slightly limited coverage) which produced just two Caspian Gulls at the Patch of note.

25th Nov

A quiet day with a first-winter Caspian Gull at the Patch being the highlight. Two Chiffchaffs and two Goldcrests were seen in the Trapping Area and two Black Redstarts alongside the power station. Seawatching produced 120 Red-throated Divers, two Mediterranean Gulls and over 900 auks of any interest.

A Brown Hare was also seen.

24th June

A fairly quiet day although in the context of this autumn a total of six Goldcrests was significant. A Dartford Warbler was also seen near the Fish Shack and two Chiffchaffs were seen in the bushes. Two Caspian Gulls were feeding at the Patch.

Three Porpoises and two Grey Seals were feeding offshore.

23rd

A light northerly breeze saw another movement of birds offshore with most birds flying into the wind. Of particular note were 45 Shelduck, six Gadwall, 108 Wigeon, two Eider, a Velvet Scoter, a smart drake Long-tailed Duck, 135 Red-throated Divers, a Black-throated Diver, four Black-tailed Godwits, five Mediterranean Gulls, a Great Skua and a Red-necked Grebe. Two Merlins and 2845 Starlings came in. Three Caspian Gulls were seen during the day and a Snow Bunting was seen on a couple of occasions.

Four Common Seals, three Grey Seals and a Porpoise were feeding offshore. 

22nd Nov

A real wintry feel to the day with a cold north to north-west wind blowing and occasional showers passing through. Virtually all the coverage was of the sea where there was a decent, mainly up-channel movement of birds. The bulk was provided by 163 Brent Geese, 251 Wigeon, 73 Teal, 91 Red-throated Divers, 1449 Gannets, 530 Kittiwakes, 778 Black-headed Gulls and 491 auks. Less usual sightings included a high total of 162 Shelducks, 39 Shovelers, four Pintail, two Tufted Ducks, a Goldeneye, five Eider, a Velvet Scoter, six Red-breasted Mergansers, five Little Gulls, 43 Mediterranean Gulls and four Sandwich Terns. A Merlin was also seen and six Skylarks, 1963 Starlings and two Chaffinches came in.

Two Grey Seals and a Porpoise were also feeding offshore.

21st Nov

The mild damp weather of recent days gave way to much colder, clearer air and subsequently migrants were few and far between with just a handful of Bramblings and Siskins passing overhead. The sea was also quiet except for 14 Sandwich Terns and good numbers of auks. 

A Porpoise and a Grey Seal were feeding offshore.

20th Nov

A calm day but with almost constant very light drizzle brought a small arrival of birds in the bushes with eight Chiffchaffs, a Blackcap, two Goldcrests and the obvious highlight of a first-year Red-breasted Flycatcher. The sea was fairly quiet in the calm conditions so a Puffin seen heading slowly west in the afternoon was also a nice surprise. An adult Caspian Gull was also seen off the fishing boats. 





Red-breasted Flycatcher Ficedula parva   Dungeness   20th November 2021
The 39th Observatory record.

Two Porpoises were feeding offshore.

Two Gems were the highlight from the moth trap.

19th Nov

The morning seawatch produced 16 Mediterranean Gulls, 431 Kittiwakes, 14 Sandwich Terns and two Great Skuas and a first-winter Yellow-legged Gull was seen at the Patch. A Ring-necked Parrakeet was seen at the Point and then flying inland with a Peregrine Falcon in hot pursuit. Very quiet on the land with just two Merlins, eight Black Redstarts and four Bramblings of interest.

A Porpoise and a Grey Seal were seen offshore.

18th Nov

A very quiet day with 251 Kittiwakes, three Sandwich Terns and a couple of Great Skuas in an hours seawatch this morning while birds passing overhead included just a Rock Pipit and 13 Bramblings of note.

Two Porpoise and a Grey Seal were seen offshore.

17th Nov

Cloudy with a light NW breeze. Grounded migrants were scarce with just two Blackcaps of note while birds passing overhead included 4000 Starlings, two Fieldfares, 22 Bramblings and 13 Siskins. A flock of 11 Egyptian Geese also flew over the area. Seawatching saw a bit of movement with 754 Kittiwakes, seven Sandwich Terns and 110 Razorbills of interest.

Single Porpoise and Grey Seal were seen offshore.

Another female Vagrant Emperor seen late in the afternoon near the New Lighthouse was easily the best sighting of the day. A Gem was the only macro-moth attracted to the moth trap.

16th Nov

A flat calm, overcast morning again. Highlights of the day included two Long-eared Owls which were flying over the Trapping Area at first light, the Siberian Chiffchaff still present, a Dartford Warbler, a Goosander which flew west offshore. A late Yellow Wagtail flew over the area, as did nine Bramblings, 100 Siskins and 175 Goldfinches. Grounded migrants included a Woodcock and 46 Blackbirds and at least three Black Redstarts were seen on the power station wall. The sea was fairly quiet but also produced two Mediterranean Gulls and two Great Skuas.

Three Porpoises and a Grey Seal were feeding offshore.

A Gem was the highlight of a very small moth catch. A Mottled Shieldbug was also found in the moth trap.

15th Nov

There was another thin spread of migrants on the land and overhead while seawatching also produced a few bits and pieces. The highlights among the grounded migrants were two Woodcocks, a Siberian Chiffchaff, five Chiffchaffs, a Blackcap and 50 Blackbirds. Two Gadwall and a Kingfisher were seen on the Long Pits and five Black Redstarts were feeding along the power station wall. Two Golden Plovers, a Swallow, 1140 Starlings and 25 Bramblings were of note among the birds overhead. A first-winter Caspian Gull made a brief visit at the fishing boats and 15 Shelduck, 1015 Gannets, five Little Gulls, 19 Mediterranean Gulls, six Sandwich Terns and two Great Skua passed by.at sea.

Three Porpoises and a Grey Seal were feeding offshore.

14th Nov

There was a decent arrival of Blackbirds this morning with at least 50 in the area and 72 Bramblings passed overhead. Seawatching produced 448 Gannets, 1287 Kittiwakes, 57 Mediterranean Gulls, five Sandwich Terns, three Arctic Skuas and a Great Skua of note.

Single Porpoise and Grey Seal were feeding offshore.

Only four moths were caught in the mothtrap but they did include a Gem. A Peacock butterfly was seen in the Trapping Area.

13th Nov

A quiet day with a trickle of birds passing overhead and a handful of grounded migrants. Of note were three Goldcrests in the Trapping Area and an adult Caspian Gull was seen at the Patch. A Little Owl was calling near the Observatory this evening. 

12th Nov

With fresh SW winds today nearly all the interest was offshore where 5.75hrs of seawatching produced a Sooty Shearwater, 1020 Gannets, 870 Kittiwakes, 64 Mediterranean Gulls11 Little Gulls, 6000 Black-headed Gulls, 91 Sandwich Terns, an Arctic Skua and 646 Razorbills of note. Starlings also came in in good numbers with 4000 seen arriving..

Two Porpoises and a Grey Seal were feeding offshore.

11th Nov

A warm, calm and cloudy morning saw a few finches passing overhead and just a few birds in the bushes. A Firecrest and five Black Redstarts were about the best on offer from the land but birds overhead included 2,600 Starlings, two Rock Pipits, three Bramblings, 80 Lesser Redpolls, a Common Redpoll and a Lapland Bunting flew over. At least 13 Mediterranean Gulls were feeding offshore and 210 Gannets, ten Sandwich Terns and an Arctic Skua flew west.

A Badger was feeding in the Observatory Garden in the early hours and a Porpoise was seen offshore.

The moth trap came up trumps with an Oak Rustic amongst just seven macromoths trapped - a new species for the Observatory.

Oak Rustic Dryobota labecula   Dungeness   11th November 2021




10th Nov

A damp, cloudy start to the day saw a variety of migrants on the land and overhead but most species in fairly small numbers. Highlights included two Woodcocks, a Merlin, a Firecrest, five Black Redstarts, 12 Bramblings and 30 Lesser Redpolls. The sighting of the day though was a noisy flock of 17 Ravens. Seawatching produced five Mediterranean Gulls and 24 Sandwich Terns

Two Porpoises were seen offshore.

Another Palpita vitrealis moth was caught in the moth traps.

9th Nov

A day with mainly light winds and low clouds with frequent drizzle. It was fairly quiet on the land with four Chiffchaffs, nine Fieldfares, 24 Redwings, two Mistle Thrush, a Rock Pipit, eight Bramblings, 14 Lesser Redpolls, 57 Siskins and a single Snow Bunting of note. Seawatching produced a Red-breasted Merganser, 1000 Gannets, 202 Kittiwakes, a Little Gull, eight Sandwich Terns, three Great Skuas and an Arctic Skua were seen offshore. 

A Grey Seal was feeding offshore.

A Vagrant Emperor was picked up inside the power station.

The moth traps produced a single Palpita vitrealis.


8th Nov

There were a few grounded Blackbirds and Redwings at dawn but after that it was mainly migrants passing overhead that provided the interest. Of note were 20 Stock Doves, 110 Wood Pigeons, four Swallows, three Jays, a Woodlark, two Bearded Tits, 4400 Starlings, five Rock Pipits, 80 Bramblings, 14 Redpolls, 35 Siskins and a Lapland Bunting.


Brambling Fringilla montifringilla   Dungeness   8th November 2021
One of two birds caught this morning.

One Porpoise was feeding offshore.

A Vagrant Emperor Dragonfly was seen flying along the beach at the fishing boats and is only the second Observatory record.

7th Nov

A bright day which produced a little visible migration but not a great deal in the bushes. The highlight of the day was a Snow Bunting flew which over the area.

Elsewhere, there was an obvious highlight in the form of a Black Brant found amongst the many geese present at Scotney. This is only the second record for the greater Dungeness area.



Black Brant Branta bernicla ssp nigricans   adult   Scotney   7th November 2021



6th Nov

More of the same with a handful of grounded migrants and a trickle of birds overhead including a Grey Heron, six late Swallows, 25 Blackbirds, three Fieldfares, seven Bramblings and 15 Siskins.

Seawatching was also slow going but did produce a surprising record when an adult Sabine's Gull was found in the late afternoon.

Two Porpoises were seen.

Elsewhere, at least 16 Cattle Egrets came in to roost at ARC this evening.

5th Nov

A clear and cold morning brought a bit of visible migration but very little on the ground. Two Grey Herons, two Buzzards, a Green Sandpiper, 25 Skylarks, 5600 Starlings, seven Fieldfares, 20 Redwings, six Song Thrushes, 200 Chaffinches, 25 Bramblings, 30 Lesser Redpolls and 110 Siskins flew over and two Egyptian Geese also flew around the Point. Three Woodcocks and 60 Blackbirds were of note on the land. The sea was very quiet although a single Velvet Scoter was of some note.

A Brown Hare was seen.

A Clouded Yellow butterfly was also seen.

4th Nov

With a fresh NNW breeze and heavy cloud at times the highlight of the day was a big arrival of thrushes with 250 Blackbirds, 220 Fieldfares, 300 Redwings, ten Song Thrush and a Mistle Thrush. A Lapwing, three Snipe, five Bramblings and 20 Siskins also passed overhead. 

Two Mediterranean Gulls were seen at the fishing boats.

Two Porpoises were feeding offshore.

3rd Nov

A bright and sunny day but with a light and cold NW breeze brought a decent bit of overhead passage but very little in the bushes other than a Woodcock, six Chiffchaffs, a Firecrest and 12 Redwings. Birds passing overhead included 17 Swallows and three House Martins, 4000 Starlings, 45 Bramblings and 50 Siskins.

Single Marsh Harrier and Buzzard were also seen.

2nd Nov

It was the first calm morning for ages and it duly produced the goods with a superb (aren't they always) Pallas's Warbler and two Siberian Chiffchaffs, (one caught) in the trapping area. It was actually still fairly quiet in terms of numbers of migrants though with a trickle of finches overhead including 25 Bramblings, ten Redpolls and 40 Siskins along with a Woodcock and a Rock Pipit. Other grounded migrants were limited to a Woodlark, a few new Chiffchaffs, two Blackcaps, a few Blackbirds and four Black Redstarts. A two-hour seawatch this morning produced an excellent total of 110 Mediterranean Gulls and 273 auks but not much else.




Pallas's Warbler Phylloscopus proregulus   Dungeness   2nd November 2021



Siberian Chiffchaff Phylloscopus collybita (tristis)   Dungeness   2nd November 2021



1st Nov

A Siberian Chiffchaff was a nice find in the Trapping Area but other migrants were limited to a Rock Pipit and a few finches. The morning seawatch was pretty quiet with just 21 Mediterranean Gulls, 16 Sandwich Terns and 36 Razorbills of interest. 

Four Porpoises and a Grey Seal were seen offshore.

31st Oct

A very stormy morning with winds up to Force 9 and some very heavy rain. The highlight of the day was a Hooded Crow which came in over the fishing boats in the afternoon. Two seawatch sessions totaling 5.75 hours produced four Gadwall, the first two Fulmars for some time, 1280 Gannets, 841 Kittiwakes, four Little Gulls, 13 Mediterranean Gulls, 73 Sandwich Terns, an Arctic Skua and 340 Razorbills. An adult Yellow-legged Gull and three Merlins were also seen on the beach.

Two Porpoises and a Grey Seal were seen offshore 

30th Oct

Another wet and windy morning with a bit of seabird movement but very little on the land. The best from over 5.5hours of seawatching were 15 Shovelers, three Red-breasted Mergansers, 443 Gannets, two Mediterranean Gulls, 137 Sandwich Terns, an Arctic Skua and 591 Razorbills. The only highlights on the land were a Merlin, six Swallows, a Rock Pipit and just three Siskins

Three Porpoises and a Grey Seal were feeding offshore.

29th Oct

A wet and windy day again which promised much on the sea but ultimately failed to deliver. Over five hours of watching eventually produced three Gadwall, three Red-breasted Mergansers, a Sooty Shearwater, 380 Gannets, 179 Kittiwakes, two Little Gulls, six Mediterranean Gulls, 267 Sandwich Terns and 701 Razorbills of note. An adult Yellow-legged Gull was also seen at the Point. A Wheatear was seen in the moat this afternoon.

Two Porpoises were also seen.

28th Oct

Yet another day with very little to report other than a a decent bit of movement offshore and a trickle of mainly finches overhead. Four hours of seawatching produced two Tufted Ducks, a Sooty Shearwater, 564 Gannets, an excellent 166 Mediterranean Gulls, 26 Sandwich Terns, singles of Great and Arctic Skuas and 564 Razorbills. The best of the overhead passage were 65 Swallows, a Rock Pipit, 765 Starlings, eight Bramblings, 15 Redpolls and 12 Siskins.

Two Porpoises were also seen.

27th Oct

Not a great deal of coverage today with fresh south-westerly winds limiting observations to four hours of seawatching but not much coverage of the land. Of note offshore were 1039 Gannets, 334 Kittiwakes, three Mediterranean Gulls, ten Sandwich Terns and 764 Razorbills.

Two Porpoises and a Grey Seal were also seen offshore.

A single Delicate was of note in the moth trap.

26th Oct

Still very quiet. Over four hours of seawatching produced 1372 Gannets, 13 Sandwich Terns, a Great Skua and 314 auks but very little else. Three Merlins were hunting around the Point. Grounded migrants remain almost non-existent and a few finches passed overhead.

Three Porpoise were feeding offshore.

The moth trap was surprisingly productive with two Gems, two Delicates and a Green-brindled Crescent.

25th Oct

More of the same really with some westerly movement offshore and a few finches passing overhead but still very little in the way of grounded migrants. Highlights from the seawatch included a Scaup, a Manx Shearwater, 13 Mediterranean Gulls, 48 Sandwich Terns, an Arctic Skua and 181 Razorbills. Birds moving overhead included a Jay, 40 Swallows, three House Martins, 36 Tree Sparrows, five Bramblings, nine Redpolls and 60 Siskins. Grounded migrants were limited to six Chiffchaffs, two Song Thrushes, a Redwing and a Rock Pipit.

Two Porpoises were feeding offshore.

A very late Common Blue butterfly was also seen.

24th Oct

The dearth of birds on the land continues with just a Woodcock in the bushes of note and a trickle of finches passing overhead. Seawatching continues to provide a bit of interest with a Pintail, 20 Wigeon, a Red-breasted Merganser, two Little Gulls, seven Mediterranean Gulls, 158 Sandwich Terns, two Great Skuas, three Arctic Skuas and 93 Razorbills of note in 3.25hrs of observations.

One Porpoise was seen feeding offshore.

23rd Oct

A calm, cloudy morning felt like it should be perfect for a few birds in the trapping area but yet again there was barely a migrant to be found. Two Jays were seen at the Long Pits and five Black Redstarts were seen along the front of the power stations. The lack of  'crests is shocking with only one Goldcrest and four Firecrests all autumn! There was a light passage of birds overhead including 14 Bramblings, 18 Redpolls, 40 Siskins and a Yellowhammer as well as 3160 Starlings. The sea was fairly quiet with four hours of watching producing just 135 Kittiwakes, two Mediterranean Gulls, an Arctic Tern and two Arctic Skuas.

Six Porpoises were seen offshore.

A Gem and a Delicate were trapped overnight and this evening, even before the moth traps had been switched on, a Radford's Flame Shoulder was found at the kitchen window.

Radford's Flame Shoulder Ochropleura leucogaster   Dungeness   23rd October 2021


22nd Oct

A late autumn feel to the day with a cold WNW wind and clear skies. A trickle of passerines passed overhead including 30 Tree Sparrows, two Rock Pipits, 11 Bramblings, 50 Chaffinches, a Redpoll, 15 Siskins, 120 Goldfinches and ten Reed Buntings. Grounded migrants were very scarce though with just a handful of Chiffchaffs to be seen. The sea was also fairly quiet with 2.5 hours of watching producing just three Gadwall, 14 Sandwich Terns, a Great Skua and five Arctic Skuas passing through and 50 Mediterranean Gulls and an Arctic Tern feeding offshore and at the Patch. 

21st Oct

Near gale force winds and heavy rain overnight had cleared by dawn but it was much colder than of late. Most of the observations concerned the sea where 3.5 hours of watching produced four Teal, 350 Gannets, two Curlews, 58 Kittiwakes, seven Little Gulls, nine Mediterranean Gulls, 130 Sandwich Terns, 13 Arctic Skuas and 150 Razorbills of note.

Two Porpoises and two Grey Seals were seen.


20th Oct

Strong winds and heavy rain restricted observations to the sea where an 8.5hr seawatch produced an Eider, 1316 Gannets, 267 Kittiwakes, 34 Little Gulls, two Mediterranean Gulls, 394 Sandwich Terns, four Arctic Terns, two Great Skuas, 24 Arctic Skuas and 135 Razorbills of note. A Merlin and a Peregrine also came in and passerines at the Point included a Rock Pipit and 435 Goldfinch.

Four Porpoise and a Grey Seal were feeding offshore.

19th Oct

A fresh, but very warm, south-westerly breeze brought a decent movement of seabirds during the morning with 1230 Gannets, 230 Kittiwakes, ten Little Gulls, 12 Mediterranean Gulls, 187 Sandwich Terns, four Great Skuas, ten Arctic Skuas, 257 Guillemots and 1527 Razorbills. A first-winter Arctic Tern was feeding at the Patch this evening. A Marsh Harrier and two Merlins were also seen offshore. Very little on the land again although 130 Pied Wagtails came into the power station complex to roost.

Two Porpoise and two Grey Seals were feeding offshore.

At Boulderwall the flock of Cattle Egrets increased again with at least 16 birds present and the two Glossy Ibis still showing well at times.

18th Oct

The lack of migrants on the land continues but over three hours of seawatching provided some interest with eight Red-throated Divers, 373 Gannets, 167 Kittiwakes, 55 Mediterranean Gulls, 93 Sandwich Terns, four Arctic Skuas and 98 Razorbills. Four Merlins were also hunting around the fishing boats. Visible migration was limited to six Swallows, 1150 Starlings, two Bramblings, six Greenfinches and 120 Goldfinches. There was a late Common Sandpiper on the southern Long Pit.

Two Porpoises and two Grey Seals were feeding offshore.

Elsewhere, the Cattle Egret flock rose to 13 birds along with the two regular Glossy Ibis and two first-winter Caspian Gulls were seen on Burrowes in the afternoon.

17th Oct

A cloudy day with a fresh SW breeze resulted in some good numbers of seabirds offshore but the lack of migrants on the land continues. Over four hours of seawatching produced two Eider, ten Red-throated Divers, 1157 Gannets, 1882 Kittiwakes, three Little Gulls, 17 Mediterranean Gulls, 151 Sandwich Terns, a Great Skua, six Arctic Skuas and 156 auks species. Two first-winter Caspian Gull were feeding along the tideline. Around 20 Chiffchaffs, eight Bramblings and 25 Siskins were the only birds of note on the land.

Two Porpoises and two Grey Seals were feeding offshore.


16th Oct

A cloudy morning with a light SE wind yet again failed to produce very much in the way of grounded migrants but with the first Wood LarkCoal Tit and Goldcrest of the autumn. There was some overhead movement with four Swallows, two Grey Wagtails, 24 Bramblings, 120 Goldfinch and 75 Siskins of note. It was also quiet offshore with three Mediterranean Gulls, 35 Sandwich Terns and two Arctic Skuas of interest.

During the early hours there was an almost continuous presence of Nathusius's and Common Pipistrelles and it was the same for a short time after dusk but intriguingly the Echo Meter bat recorder identified a couple of call sequences in quick succession as a Kuhl's Pipistrelle. I have noted 100's of registrations in the last few nights of the three commoner pipistrelles but these are the first that it has suggested Kuhl's Pipistrelles and the sonograms certainly looked different to any I have seen recently..

What may well be my final nocturnal visit of the year to look for rarer orthoptera proved surprisingly successful with good numbers of singing Tree Crickets and a female Sickle-bearing Bush-cricket being found.


15th Oct

Very little in the way of grounded migrants but five Black Redstarts and a Wheatear were of note whilst a trickle of birds passing overhead included six Jays, nine Grey Wagtails, five Rock Pipits, ten Bramblings, nine Redpolls and 70 Siskins. The Bittern was seen at the Long Pits again. Good numbers of birds were feeding offshore with 73 Mediterranean Gulls and a Great Skua of note.

Six Porpoise and two Grey Seals were feeding offshore, a Badger came into the Observatory garden and Common and Nathusius's Pipistrelles were flying around the Observatory this evening.

Two Delicate moths were the best on offer from the moth traps.

14th Oct

A warm, calm and cloudy morning seemed ideal for a few birds in the bushes but yet again this wasn't to be. Where are the Goldcrests? A few birds trickled through overhead including two Jays, three Grey Wagtails, three Rock Pipits, 18 Bramblings, two Redpolls, 24 Siskins and 17 Reed Buntings. Very quiet offshore.

I have also ran the Audiomoth recorder over the last two nights. Contacts have been almost limited to thrushes with 1507 Redwings and 188 Song Thrushes over the 12th/13th and 302 Redwings and 28 Song Thrush last night.

Nathusius's and Common Pipistrelle bats were flying around the Observatory in the early hours and again this evening. A Badger came into the garden this evening.

Moth-trapping produced two Delicates and a Green-brindled Crescent.

13th Oct

A cold, bright and clear morning saw a few grounded migrants, a decent number of birds moving overhead and some seawatching. The highlight of the day was probably a Bittern which showed well for a time as it sunned itself at the Long Pits. Grounded migrants included 60 Chiffchaffs, six Blackcaps, two Ring Ouzels, 40 Song Thrushes and 46 Reed Buntings. The highlights of the visible migration were 720 Starlings, seven Tree Sparrows, a Yellow Wagtail, three Grey Wagtails, 16 Rock Pipits, an excellent total of 120 Bramblings and at least 60 Siskins. Nearly five hours of seawatching produced 89 Wigeon, a Sooty Shearwater, 66 Mediterranean Gulls and a Great Skua of note. Two Merlins were hunting around the beach.


Bittern Botaurus stellaris   Dungeness   13th October 2021

Four Porpoises and two Grey Seals were feeding offshore.

With a cold night the moth catch was small but included our second record of Radford's Flame Shoulder.

Radford's Flame Shoulder Ochropluera leucogaster   Dungeness   13th October 2021
 
A check around one of the private gardens revealed about 20 Ivy Bees and four Mottled Shieldbugs

Ivy Bee Colletes hederea    Dungeness   13th October 2021

Mottled Shieldbug Rhaphigaster nebulosa   Dungeness   13th October 2021 

Elsewhere, the Cattle Egrets continue to show well around Boulderwall Farm and a Short-eared Owl gave fantastic views this evening along Galloways Road on the Lydd Ranges.

Short-eared Owl Asio flammeus   Lydd Ranges   13th October 2021

 


12th Oct

A trickle of birds passed overhead through the day with 25 Golden Plovers, 150 Redwings, ten Song Thrushes, a late Yellow Wagtail, two Grey Wagtails, four Rock Pipits, 150 Chaffinch, 15 Brambling, a Redpoll and 15 Siskin of note. However, the numbers of grounded migrants remain very low except for 50 Chiffchaffs. The sea was very quiet except for a movement of 240 Brent Geese this afternoon.

Four Porpoises and a Grey Seal were feeding offshore. In the evening there were Nathusius's Pipistrelle, Common Pipistrelle and Soprano Pipistrelle all feeding around the Observatory. 

A Clouded Yellow was seen at the Old Lighthouse.

11th Oct

A very quiet day on both land and sea. Grounded migrants were almost limited to a handful of Chiffchaffs and Blackcaps while a trickle of birds passing overhead included 17 Stock Doves, three Jays, two Tree Sparrows, five Rock Pipits, three Bramblings, a Redpoll and eight Siskins.

Six Porpoises were feeding offshore this afternoon.

10th Oct

Very thick fog reduced visibility down to a few metres for most of the morning and made observations difficult. Even so, it was obvious that there was very little in the way of grounded migrants and just a trickle of birds overhead which included a Buzzard, a Grey Wagtail, three Rock Pipits, seven Brambling and 15 Siskins.

In the evening there was an almost continuous presence of Nathusius's and Common Pipistrelles around the Observatory.

9th Oct

A bright, sunny morning with a light easterly breeze. It was fairly quiet on the land with most birds passing overhead and including six Jays, 25 Chiffchaffs, two Firecrests, five Song Thrushes, two Wheatears, a Grey Wagtail, five Brambling, a Redpoll, ten Siskins and seven Reed Buntings

Seawatching produced 90 Brent Geese, a Shoveler, 15 Wigeon, two Snipe, two Mediterranean Gulls and 15 Arctic Skuas.

The Audiomoth was out again last night with totals of one Grey Heron, two Snipe, 136 Song Thrushes, 76 Redwings and 74 Blackbirds.

Two Porpoises and a Grey Seal were seen offshore.

8th Oct

Light south-easterly winds brought in a few birds on the land and offshore. Grounded migrants included 50 Chiffchaffs, a Lesser Whitethroat, a Firecrest, a Ring Ouzel, 50 Redwings, 70 Song Thrushes, a Mistle Thrush and three Wheatears. Visible migration saw ten Jays, 3000 Starlings, four Grey Wagtails, five Rock Pipits, 16 Siskins and 50 Reed Buntings. A Hobby was hunting around the shoreline, 

Over 6.5hours of seawatching produced 167 Brent Geese, 12 Shelduck, 74 Wigeon, 11 Teal, ten Red-breasted Mergansers, 19 Mediterranean Gulls, a Great Skua, nine Arctic Skuas and 343 auks. The highlight of the day was also seen offshore with a Grey Phalarope seen on several occasions.

I ran the Audiomoth last night with some excellent results and call counts including one Golden Plover, three Snipe, 584 Redwings, 912 Song Thrushes and 76 Blackbirds

Four Porpoises and two Grey Seals were feeding offshore.

There were a couple of notable moths in the traps overnight. A Blair's Mocha was only the fifth Observatory record and this superb micro, Tebenna micalis, was the second record for the Observatory. Three Box-worm Moths and two Delicates were also caught. 


Blair's Mocha Cyclphora puppilaria and Tebenna micalis   Dungeness   10th October 2021



7th Oct

A calm, overcast morning saw a bit of movement offshore and a handful of migrants on the land. Over 5.5hrs of seawatching produced 363 Brent Geese, ten Shelduck, 22 Wigeon and 147 Common Scoter,  331 Gannets, 75 Kittiwakes, 36 Mediterranean Gulls, 109 Sandwich Terns, a Great Skua and 11 Arctic Skuas. Nine Grey Herons were also seen offshore 

There was an obvious increase in grounded migrants with 60 Chiffchaffs, ten Blackcaps and a Wheatear of note. Birds passing overhead included 750 Swallows and 200 House Martins, eight Grey Wagtails, a Tree Pipit, two Rock Pipits, 60 Goldfinch and 15 Siskin. A Kingfisher was also seen at the Long Pits. 

Good numbers of mammals were seen offshore today with eight Porpoises, four Grey Seals and a Common Seal.

A female Large Conehead was found in the Trapping Area.

Some repairs to the MOTUS tower were carried out. Thanks to Ewan and Sue Parsons for doing the necessaries.






Elsewhere, two Glossy Ibis and nine Cattle Egrets were seen with the cattle in the fields alongside the entrance track to the RSPB Reserve. 

6th Oct

A bright morning with a cold and brisk NW wind saw some light overhead passage, a handful of grounded migrants and very little movement offshore. The best of the grounded migrants were a Hobby, a Merlin, four Wheatears and 20 Chiffchaffs while visible migrants included a Buzzard, three Grey Wagtails, a Yellow Wagtail and the first Brambling of the autumn. The highlights from the sea were 38 Wigeon, a Sooty Shearwater and 15 Arctic Skuas.

Two Harvest Mouse nests were found around some small pools during some land management work at the Long Pits.

An evening check for orthoptera produced four Sickle-bearing Bush-crickets but there were very few singing Tree Crickets and Large Conehead was not found at all.

5th Oct

All the interest was offshore again today where over five hours of watching produced a Manx Shearwater, a Balearic Shearwater, 530 Gannets, 33 Mediterranean Gulls, 571 Sandwich Terns, 48 Common Terns, four Great Skuas and 94 Arctic Skuas all heading down-channel. A Merlin and a Hobby were also seen at the fishing boats.

Two Porpoises and a Grey Seal were also feeding offshore.

4th Oct

Another breezy morning with heavy showers saw more seawatching and birds passing overhead but still very little in the way of grounded migrants. Over five hours of staring at the sea produced 500 Gannets, a first-year Little Gull, two Mediterranean Gulls, 407 Sandwich Terns, three Little Terns and 39 Arctic Skuas of  note. Two Wheatears were found near the Observatory but were almost the only migrants to be seen.

Four Porpoises and two Great Seals were feeding offshore.

A Clouded Yellow was seen in the Moat and a female Southern Oak Bush-cricket was found on the roof of one of the contractors vans having just driven in from Clacton. A nice example of how these things can move around the country.

3rd Oct

It was very wet and windy overnight but this had dropped away by the morning and the offshore passage was reduced but still fairly eventful. The best on offer were a single Balearic Shearwater, 792 Gannets, a Shag, 22 Mediterranean Gulls, 449 Sandwich Terns, four Great Skuas and 74 Arctic Skuas. Two first-winter Caspian Gulls were on the beach, a Hobby flew along the beach and two Rock Pipits were also of note.

A check of the land produced a Merlin, 35 Chiffchaffs, three Blackcaps and a Lesser Whitethroat of interest.

Four Porpoise and a Grey Seal were feeding offshore.

Elsewhere, there were ten Cattle Egrets with the cattle in the fields at Boulderwall farm.

2nd Oct

All the interest was offshore today as the weather went from bad to worse during the day with the wind increasing to force 9 in the evening. The highlights from 6.25hrs of seawatching were two Leach's Petrels, 19 Sooty Shearwaters and 18 Balearic Shearwaters, 17 Great Skuas, 80 Arctic Skuas and a superb juvenile Long-tailed Skua. Other notable sightings included three Manx Shearwaters, 2420 Gannets, four Mediterranean Gulls and a first-winter Caspian Gull. Passerines passing south or south west at the fishing boats included two Sand Martins, six Pied Wagtails and 270 Meadow Pipits.

Four Porpoises and singles of Common and Grey Seal were all feeding close inshore

1st Oct

A return to wet and windy conditions produced another excellent seawatch with the obvious highlight being a total of five Leach's Petrels. There was considerable back up in the form of 19 Sooty Shearwaters, 20 Balearic Shearwaters, three Manx Shearwaters, two Great Skuas and 59 Arctic Skuas of note whilst the bulk numbers were provided by 2950 Gannets, 1306 Sandwich Terns and 498 auks

A Wheatear was sheltering around the fishing boats.

Six Porpoise and two Grey Seals were feeding offshore again.

30th Sep

A quiet day again with a very much reduced passage offshore and little in the way of grounded migrants although a few birds passed overhead. Of note from over four hours of seawatching were 14 Mediterranean Gulls and 30 Arctic Skuas. Birds passing overhead included a Yellow Wagtail, a Grey Wagtail, 300 Meadow Pipits and 120 Linnets.

Six Porpoise and two Grey Seals were feeding offshore.

29th Sep

With the wind veering into the west it was not surprising that it was a day of "After the Lord Mayor's Show". Four hours of seawatching produced 20 Mediterranean Gulls and 37 Arctic Skuas but not much else. Two Merlins arrived and three Grey Wagtails passed through.

Three Porpoises, three Grey Seals and a Common Seal were feeding offshore.

28th Sep

A fresh SSW wind with occasional showers passing through offshore saw a considerable movement of seabirds with the highlight being a new day count record of 161 Balearic Shearwaters and smashing the previous record of 92. Other, notable sightings were four Sooty Shearwaters, a Manx Shearwater, 1344 Gannets, 148 Kittiwakes, seven Mediterranean Gulls, 600 Sandwich Terns, ten Great Skuas and 58 Arctic SkuasA Merlin, 750 Swallows and two Grey Wagtails were also of note.

Five Porpoise and a Grey Seal were feeding close inshore at the fishing boats.

27th Sep

The wind increased overnight and with rain from the early hours the only option for the morning was seawatching. It turned out to be one of the best days for seabirds of the autumn with coverage for most of the day bringing 72 Brent Geese, seven Teal, a Leach's Petrel (seen from the fishing boats), seven Sooty Shearwaters, 40 Balearic Shearwaters, two Manx Shearwaters, seven Ringed Plovers, 370 Kittiwakes, nine Mediterranean Gulls, 540 Sandwich Terns, 50 Common Terns, 11 Great Skuas and 93 Arctic Skuas of note,

Three Porpoises and singles of Common and Grey Seal were feeding offshore.

26th Sep

Several hours of seawatching during the day produced 63 Common Scoters, two Sooty and two Manx Shearwaters, a Balearic Shearwater, 17 Mediterranean Gulls, 389 Sandwich Terns, three Arctic Skuas and 200 lingering Kittiwakes. The dearth of migrants in the bushes continues and overhead passage this morning was very light with just three Grey Wagtails and a Tree Pipit of interest.

A Delicate and another Palpita vitrealis were caught overnight. 

Also in the moth trap was a picture-winged fly named Tephritis divisa. This species was recorded as new for Britain in 2014 and has since spread but this is a new species for the Dungeness area.

Tephritis divisa   Dungeness   26th September 2021

The Daubenton's Bat which was taken into care last Saturday was released back into the wild at the Observatory this evening. A Badger was seen along the Observatory access track in the evening. 

25th Sep

A murky morning saw the arrival of a few more Chiffchaffs and Blackcaps and a trickle of birds overhead including two Grey Wagtails, two Tree Pipits and five Reed Buntings. A Kingfisher was also seen at the Long Pits. It remains quiet offshore with just ten Sanderlings, three Mediterranean Gulls and two Arctic Skuas of note.

Three Porpoises, a Common Seal and a Grey Seal were feeding offshore.

The moth traps were quiet in terms of numbers but did include a Palpita vitrealis, a Delicate and a first for Dungeness in the form of this tiny Cosmopterix pulchrimella.

Cosmopterix pulchrimella   Dungeness   25th September 2021
This species was first found in Britain in 2001 and the larva feeds on Pelitory-of-the-Wall

Also found in the moth trap was this example of the very local and very large diving-beetle Dytiscus dimidiatus.

Dytiscus dimidiatus   Dungeness   25th September 2021



24th Sep

Coverage was a bit limited today but migrants were clearly fairly scarce with just a few Chiffchaffs and Blackcaps in the bushes and three Grey Wagtails passing overhead.

A Badger was seen along the track to the Observatory in the evening.


23rd Sep

Clear skies this morning resulted in very few grounded migrants and very little movement offshore with just a Red-throated Diver, two Grey Plovers, two Mediterranean Gulls and four Arctic Skuas of note. Another two MOTUS tags were fitted to Blackcaps this morning.

Four Porpoises and a Grey Seal were feeding offshore.

The moth traps were very quiet but did have a Boxworm Moth inside.


22nd Sep

A misty start to the day then bright, warm and sunny. There was a decent arrival of Chiffchaffs and Blackcaps and some heavy movement of Swallows and House Martins along with 14 Yellow Wagtails, four Grey Wagtails and a Siskin overhead. Offshore, a Pintail and a Mediterranean Gull flew west and at least six Arctic Skuas were harassing terns offshore. The most unlikely bird of the day was a Black Swan which flew west offshore.

In addition, Lucy Mitchell joined us at the Observatory for the first of three morning to fit MOTUS radio tags to Blackcaps as part of a pilot project aimed at assessing the possibility of extending to the MOTUS netowokr to other ringing stations across the country. 

Lucy Mitchell and our first radio-tagged Blackcaps

Two Porpoises and two Grey Seals were feeding offshore.

Another visit to the Trapping Area after dusk produced six Large Coneheads and 14 Sickle-bearing Bush-crickets and including a pair seen mating.
Sickle-bearing Bush-cricket Phaneroptera falcata   Dungeness   22nd September 2021
A rarely seen mating pair.
Four Clouded Yellows were also seen.this .

21st Sep

A clear, moonlit night did little for grounded migrants in the morning with just a few Chiffchaffs and Blackcaps and two Wheatears being seen. Early morning vis-mig was also light but did include six Grey Wagtails and 17 Reed Bunting. with warmer conditions from late morning there were large numbers of Buzzards in the air with at least 21 being counted along with six Sparrowhawks. A Little Egret was also of note.

Seawatching was very slow with just a couple of Mediterranean Gulls seen this evening.

Two Porpoises and two Grey Seals were feeding offshore.

Elsewhere, there was no sign of yesterday's White-winged Tern but the Glossy Ibis and nine Cattle Egrets were still present on the Reserve. 

20th Sep

A cool and damp morning with very little in the way of grounded migrants and just a trickle of bird overhead which included six Grey Wagtails, a Tree Pipit, the first two Rock Pipits of the autumn and a Siskin. The sea was also fairly quiet but nearly five hours of watching eventually produced 145 Brent Geese, 17 Wigeon, 21 Teal, two Sooty Shearwaters, six Grey Plover and 11 Arctic Skuas of note.

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

The moth traps produced a handful of migrants with Palpita vitrealis and The Gem new for the year along with a Vestal, a Delicate and a Peary Underwing of note.

The Gem Orthonama obstipata   Dungeness   20th September 2021

Palpita vitrealis   Dungeness   20th September 2021

A Southern Oak Bush-cricket was found on the kitchen window and four Hawthorn Shield-bug nymphs were seen in the Trapping Area.

Hawthorn Shieldbug Acanthosoma haemorrhoidale nymphs   Dungeness   20th September 2021

Elsewhere, a first-year White-winged Tern was found on Burrowes Pit in the afternoon and nine Cattle Egrets were feeding amongst the cattle in the fields at Boulderwall. The Glossy Ibis was also seen in the same area. 



White-winged Tern Chlidonias leucopterus   first-year   Burrowes, RSPB   20th September 2021
Fairly distant views and in failing light.