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Local weather


The Observatory can accommodate up to 9 people in two dormitories, you need to bring your own sleeping bags and it is self-catering. As well as Birdwatchers, we welcome people from many areas of interest including Moths, Butterflies, Bugs and Beetles or just a general interest in Nature and the local environment. Please forward any Dungeness recording area records to the Warden.
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30th May

A very quiet day with a cold and strong NE wind but very busy for day trippers with 280+ cars parked at one time in the area and barely an avian migrant to be seen.

The Badger made a visit to the back garden in the early hours.

Butterflies continue in very low numbers with two Grizzled Skippers and two Brown Argus of note.

29th May

It remains almost devoid of passage migrants with a Tree Pipit singing from the Privet Bush in the front garden of the Observatory being the highlight. Five Mediterranean Gulls flew east during the morning.

A Water Shrew was seen at the Long Pits, two Badgers were seen at the fishing boats and two Porpoises and a Grey Seal were feeding offshore.

Three Grizzled Skippers and three Brown Argus were the best of still limited numbers of butterflies and the first Hairy Dragonfly of the year was also seen.

28th May

There was little sign of any migration on the land and the sea was very quiet but still provided the bird of the day in the form of a Puffin which flew east with three Guillemots. An adult Mediterranean Gull was feeding at the Patch. Two  broods of Black Redstart were seen and several young Stonechats were on the wing but there has been no sign of any young Wheatears as yet.

Six Porpoises and a Grey Seal were feeding offshore.

27th May

There was a little arrival of migrants during the morning with a Redstart and seven Spotted Flycatchers of note and a Buzzard and three Siskins flew over. The sea was very quiet but a one-hour watch this morning did produce a Little Ringed Plover. A family of Black Redstarts were feeding along the power station wall behind the seawatch hide.

Two Holly Blues were seen in the Old Lighthouse Garden and four Brown Argus were also seen.

Dragonflies have been very late to emerge this spring and numbers are still pitifully low but a Variable Damselfly was found at the northern end of the Long Pits.

26th May

Very quiet on both land and at sea. A Willow Warbler and a Siskin were the only obvious migrants in the Trapping Area and 41 Sanderling and 34 Turnstones were seen on the beach. 

Our friendly Badger visited the garden in the early hours and six Porpoises were feeding offshore.

A few more flowers of interest were noted including Rock Soapwort, White Ramping-fumitory, Climbing Corydalis and a nice variety of Bearded Iris.

Rock Soapwort Saponaria ocymoides

White Ramping-fumitory Fumaria capreolata

Bearded Iris Iris germanica var?

25th May

A pretty quiet day but a Sedge Warbler and a Spotted Flycatcher were new arrivals in the bushes whilst a flock of Sanderling and Dunlin provided some entertainment at the fishing boats. Offshore passage was virtually non-existent so the big surprise of the day was the reappearance of the previously long-staying second-year Iceland Gull at the Patch this morning.

Dunlin Calidris alpina   Dungeness   25th May 2021
This bird would appear to be of the race alpina. Note the rich rufous edgings of the coverts and scapulars and a pale, whitish looking head.

Sanderling Calidris alba   Dungeness   25th May 2021
A variety of plumages among a flock of 70 birds at the Fishing Boats this morning.

One Porpoise was seen.

On the botanical front we are finally get a few things in flower. Yellow Vetch can now be found on the bank surrounding the Observatory and the first Yellow-juiced Poppies were found. in front of the Observatory.

Yellow Vetch Vicia lutea   Dungeness   25th May 2021

Yellow-juiced Poppy Papaver lecoqui   Dungeness   25th May 2021  

24th May

The main interest was offshore again where following last nights gale there was a substantial movement of re-orienting seabirds. Of greatest note was a near record spring day total of 421 Manx Shearwaters along with 23 Fulmars, 690 Gannets eight Great Skuas and two Arctic Skuas. Fifteen House Martins also came in. A check of the Long Pits produced a Little Egret but very little else in the way of migrants.

Six Porpoises and a Grey Seal were seen offshore.

Butterflies included the first Wall Brown since 2014 as well as two Grizzled Skippers and two Brown Argus.

23rd May

A Serin spent about half-an-hour around the Point this morning and three Spotted Flycatchers were seen at the northern of the Long Pits. Seawatching produced just 120 Common Scoters and a Little Gull of note.

22nd May

The gale continued through most of the night but subsided after dawn. Seawatching was again the best option but even here it was fairly slow going with six hours of observations yielding just 136 Common Scoters, 45 Fulmars, eight Manx Shearwaters, 656 Gannets and a single Arctic Skua of note. 

The sea also produced two Porpoises and two Grey Seal but the Observatory garden was the place for observing mammals. In the afternoon one of the local foxes came unannounced into the kitchen and then sat around posing in the back garden for while and then a Badger came into the garden after dark.

Fox Vulpes vulpes   Dungeness   22nd June 2021 

Badger Meles meles   Dungeness   22nd June 2021

21st May

With a howling SW gale blowing all day seawatching was the only sensible option but even here it was slow going. Watching for 8.5 hrs produced a very notable total of 60 Manx Shearwaters and also a Great Northern Diver but very little else other than 32 Fulmars, nine Swifts and 13 House Martins.

A Grey Seal and three Porpoises were seen offshore and also a dolphin sp, thought most likely to be a Bottle-nose

20th May

Very quiet on the land but some dedicated seawatching for eight hours eventually produced a drake Scaup, 202 Common Scoters, 36 Manx Shearwaters, 601 Gannets, three Whimbrel, a Mediterranean Gull, five Great Skuas and four Arctic Skuas.

It was nice to see a few recently fledged House Sparrows in the garden.

House Sparrow Passer domesticus   Dungeness   19th May 2021

A Grey Seal and 14 Porpoises were feeding offshore and a Brown Hare was seen near the Sanctuary.

19th May

Quiet on the land with just four House Martins, a Willow Warbler and two Spotted Flycatchers of note. Seawatching was marginally more interesting with 255 Common Scoters, a Shag, six Sanderlings and three Arctic Skuas being seen.

Eight Porpoise and a Grey Seal were seen offshore.

Two Grizzled Skippers, two Painted Ladies and a Small Heath were among the few butterflies seen.

The Early Purple Orchids flowered very late this year and some are in still reasonable condition with this individual being about the most impressive of them.

Early Purple Orchid Orchis mascula   Dungeness

18th May

A return to normality with just a Hobby and the breeding summer migrants to be seen on the land and a Pomarine Skua and two Arctic Skuas of note on the sea. 

Six Porpoises were feeding offshore.

The first Common Blue butterfly of the year was seen and a couple of Grizzled Skippers were also found in the Trapping Area. 

Elsewhere, a Red-rumped Swallow was flying over Lade North Pit for a short time this afternoon.

17th May

With yet another cold, wet and breezy morning with barely a migrant to be seen on the land it was a very welcome surprise when a singing Melodious Warbler was found at the Sycamores in the trapping area. It was quite vocal for a time and showed well if briefly on several occasions. There was a bit of visible migration though with 85 Swifts and 50 Swallows arriving. The sea was equally quiet with just two Grey Herons heading west and a Great Skua moving up-channel of note.

Click on the links below to hear recordings of the Melodious Warbler.

and a second recording here.

Six Porpoises and two Grey Seals were feeding offshore.

16th May

The highlight of the day was a Honey Buzzard which came out of the Trapping Area at 0920hrs and then flew rapidly east and out to sea with a few gulls giving chase. Four hours of seawatching produced just 22 Manx Shearwaters (flocks of 10 and 12), a Great Skua and two Arctic Skuas.

Ten Porpoise were feeding offshore and a Badger came into the Observatory garden again this evening.

Two Grizzled Skippers and the first Brown Argus of the year were seen.

15th May

Seawatching was very slow this morning but as the wind increased in the afternoon there was an improvement with a long watch producing two Great Skuas, six Pomarine Skuas and 11 Arctic Skuas of note. On the land a male Cuckoo and a Hobby were of interest but very little else could be found.

A Badger was feeding in the Observatory garden in the early hours of the morning. Two Porpoises were seen offshore.

The rare shieldbug Geotomus petiti has now been found at three site in the Observatory area following confirmation of the identity of two more specimens as of this species. 

 Geotomus petiti   Dungeness   11th May 2021
Found at a new site in the Trapping Area. 

Elsewhere, a Cattle Egret was a new arrival on the RSPB Reserve.

14th May

Rain for much of the day limited coverage a bit but it was clear that there was no obvious arrival of fresh migrants. However there was still some interest with a Spoonbill flying over, a Cuckoo seen at the fishing boats, a Dartford Warbler which was wandering around the Point and seen on several occasions and two Siskins..

A Badger came into the garden to feed on seed spilt from the bird feeders.

A small improvement in the moth numbers trapped overnight included a Rush Veneer Nomophila noctuella

13th May

Despite what felt like fairly promising weather conditions this morning it was actually very quiet on the land and not much better on the sea where five hours of watching produced just three Arctic Skuas of note.

Six Porpoises were seen offshore.

Three Grizzled Skippers were seen in the Trapping Area.

12th May

A sub-adult Purple Heron which spent about 30 minutes at the Long Pits this morning before flying towards the RSPB Reserve was today's clear highlight. There was very little else of note on the land and several seawatching sessions produced just one Great Skua, a distant Pomarine Skua in the evening and four Arctic Skuas.

Purple Heron Ardea purpurea   Long Pits   12th May 2021

At least 12 Porpoises were feeding offshore and a dead Grey Seal was washed up on the beach. A Brown Hare was also seen.

Nine Grizzled Skippers were seen today but there were no surprises in the moth trap.

11th May

More of the same with a quiet sea eventually producing a drake Garganey, two Velvet Scoters, two Black-throated Divers, 142 Arctic Terns, two Great Skuas, three Pomarine Skuas and five Arctic Skuas of interest. It remains hard work on the land with just a Spotted Flycatcher at the northern end of the Long Pits and a Redpoll of any note.

At least 16 Porpoises and a Grey Seal were feeding offshore.

Small Heath butterfly was new for the year and five Grizzled Skippers and plenty of Painted Ladies were also of interest. Moth trapping has been very poor this spring so far but last night showed a bit of an improvement with a Chamomile Shark being the highlight.

Chamomile Shark Cucillia chamonillea   Dungeness   11th May 2021

10th May

Over eight hours of seawatching eventually produced four Pomarine Skuas along with a Great Skua, three Arctic Skuas and a Great Northern Diver of note. It remains very quiet on the land but a Turtle Dove and a Yellowhammer along the beach were both new species for the year.

At least 20 Porpoises and a Grey Seal were feeding offshore.

A Terrapin sp was sunning itself at the Long Pits.

Large numbers of Painted Ladies arrived on the Point this morning.

9th May

A morning of thunderstorms with a few birds moving offshore and two Great Northern Divers, a Great Skua and five Pomarine Skuas of interest.

Still very quiet on the land with just two Spotted Flycatchers at the Long Pits of note.

Several Painted Ladies were seen.

8th May

With a strong southerly wind and heavy rain this morning hopes were high but in the event not a great deal was to be seen. Of note on the sea were two Great Northern Divers, 870 Gannets, six Black Terns, eight Great Skuas and four Pomarine Skuas but it was very quiet on the land.

Only two Porpoises were seen feeding offshore this morning.

7th May

There was a small but rich and varied arrival of migrants through the day with a Wood Warbler and a Grasshopper Warbler (both singing at the North end of the Long pits), six Whinchats, a Redstart,  three Spotted Flycatchers, a Pied Flycatcher (in the Old Lighthouse Garden) and a Tree Pipit. Commoner migrants included a Buzzard, 12 Willow Warblers, seven Garden Warblers, a few "Greenland" Wheatears, two Yellow Wagtails and two Redpolls.

Wood Warbler Phylloscopus sibilatrix   Dungeness   7th May 2021
The sea was very quiet with a two-hour watch this morning producing just a Mediterranean Gulls, two Little Terns and an Arctic Skua of note.

Seven Porpoises and a Grey Seal were feeding offshore and two Brown Hares were seen on the land.

Insects of note included another presumed Geotomus petiti shieldbug but from a new location so will need to be properly checked, another Hister quadrimaculatus in the moat. Two Grizzled Skippers were also seen.

Geotomus petiti and Hister quadrimaculatus   Dungeness 7th May 2021

6th May

A fairly slow day although there were some nice bits on the sea where seven hours of watching produced three Black-throated Divers, three Pomarine Skuas, two Great Skuas, 14 Arctic Skuas and a ringtail Hen Harrier. The land remains quiet with just ten Willow Warblers and a Yellow Wagtail of note.

Four Porpoises and a Common Seal were feeding offshore and two Brown Hares were seen on the land.

5th May

There was a very small arrival of migrants on the land with the first Spotted Flycatcher of the spring along with six Willow Warblers, four Garden Warblers and a Sedge Warbler. Seawatching was very slow with just two Velvet Scoters and two Great Skuas of note.

Two Porpoises and a Grey Seal were feeding offshore.

A 30-minute search of the moat produced one example of the very rare shieldbug Geotomus petiti.

4th May

The wind veered into the west and increased to gale force overnight with yet more damage to the roof of the Observatory. All the coverage was offshore but unusually most of the interesting birds moved west including 56 Manx Shearwaters and a Black-throated Diver. An Osprey came in this afternoon.

Two Porpoises were seen.

3rd May

Still very quiet on the land but seawatching followed a similar pattern to recent days with a fairly quiet morning then a decent passage in the afternoon. A total of 11 hours of seawatching produced two Black-throated and a Great Northern Diver, nine Manx Shearwaters, six Knot, ten Great Skuas, 25 Pomarine Skuas and 28 Arctic Skuas of note.

2nd May

Following the pattern of recent days the morning seawatch was fairly quiet but the afternoon was much busier with yet more terns passing through. Notable totals from nearly ten hours of watching included four Black-throated Divers, 38 Whimbrel, three Little Gulls, 14 Little Terns, 7626 "Commic" Terns, five Great Skuas, a Pomarine Skua and five Arctic Skuas. It remains very quiet on the land with hardly a passage migrant to be seen.

At least 20 Porpoises and three Grey Seals were feeding offshore and three Brown Hares were seen on the land.

Very few butterflies were to be seen but they did include three Grizzled Skippers.

Grizzled Skipper Pyrgus malvae   Dungeness   2nd May 2021

1st May

The weather of April continued into May and even with some hail showers in the afternoon. After a quiet morning on the sea the trend of the last few days continued with another big afternoon movement. Of note were the terns again with 3129 Common Terns, 2415 Arctic Terns and 7132 "commic" Terns, nine Little Terns and two Black Terns. Skuas also featured highly with 21 Greats, three Pomarines and 11 Arctic Skuas and other notables included two Black-throated Divers, a Great Northern Diver, a Manx Shearwater and five Little Gulls. The Iceland Gull was still feeding at the Patch.

Three Hobbies, a Pied Flycatcher at the Long Pits and two Yellow Wagtails were the highlights of the few migrants on the land. The nesting Ravens have fledged four young. 

A Grey Seal and 16 Porpoises were feeding offshore.