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Local weather


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29th July

Another wet and breezy morning produced a handful of seabirds including 77 Kittiwakes, three Mediterranean Gulls, a Great Skua and two Arctic Skuas.

Very quiet on the land with a single Willow Warbler in the trapping area and a Yellow Wagtail overhead.

Two Porpoises and a Grey Seal were seen offshore.

A check of the trapping area for Orthoptera found seven mid- to late-stage nymph Sickle-bearing Bush-crickets and four final stage nymph Tree Crickets.

Sickle-bearing Bush-cricket Phaneroptera falcata and Tree Cricket Oecanthus pellucens 

28th July

A windy day with prolonged heavy showers during the morning brought a bit of slow seawatching. Eight hours of watching produced just 191 Gannets, 29 Sanderlings, three Mediterranean Gulls and two juvenile Yellow-legged Gulls. A total of 67 Swifts and 36 Sand Martins also flew out to sea.

Tow Porpoises and a Grey Seal were feeding offshore.

There were very few moths in the traps this morning but they did include our second Acrobasis tumidana of the year.  

27th July

Three Willow Warblers and 45 Sand Martins were the only migrants on the land. A very early flock of 22 Brent Geese flew west and five Mediterranean Gulls were also seen offshore.

A Common Seal and a Grey Seal were feeding offshore.

26th July

A Green Sandpiper which flew over the Observatory, six Mediterranean Gulls feeding offshore and an Arctic Skua were the highlights.

A Common Pipistrelle bat was flying around the Observatory in the early hours and a Grey Seal was seen offshore.

The best of the moths from the traps were the pyralid Acrobasis tumidana, 66 Yponomeuta evonymella, 62 Yponomeuta rorella, two Sussex Emeralds and The Ear Moth. Four Clouded Yellow butterflies were seen along the power station wall.

Acrobasis tumidana   Dungeness   26th July 2021 

25th July

A dank, dreary morning produced 420 Swifts, 33 Sand Martins and 36 Swallows  heading mainly east. The bushes were almost devoid of migrants but a Great Spotted Woodpecker was seen.

A Common Pipistrelle was flying around the Observatory and a Grey Seal was feeding offshore.

The highlight on the moth front was a superb  Dark Crimson Underwing caught by a holidaying moth-er on the Point overnight.

Dark Crimson Underwing Catocala sponsa   Dungeness   26th July 2021

24th July

A violent thunderstorm between 0500 and 0800hrs brought 40mm of rain and severely hampered any birding activity. Four Mediterranean Gulls were seen offshore and were virtually the day's only notable birds.

Among the more regular birds on the RSPB Reserve was a Cattle Egret.

23rd July

A two-hour seawatch this morning produced 36 Mediterranean Gulls but not much else. A Buzzard and four Yellow Wagtails flew over the area.

A Grey Seal was feeding offshore.

22nd July

The hot and dry weather continues. A three-hour seawatch this morning produced 36 Mediterranean Gulls and 72 Sandwich Terns and a couple of Whimbrel flew over.

Two Small Red-eyed Damselfies were seen at the Long Pits.

Small Red-eyed Damselfly Erythromma viridulum   Dungeness   22nd July 2021

The moth traps were surprisingly quiet but a session with pheromone lures produced several Six-belted Clearwings.

Six-belted Clearwing Bembecia ichneumonifrons     Dungeness   22nd Julu 2021

21st July

Another very warm day with light NE breeze. The only migrants on the land were three Great Spotted Woodpeckers and four Yellow Wagtails.

Ten Porpoises showed offshore on several occasions.

Four Sussex Emeralds were trapped overnight.

20th July

A Marsh Harrier and four Yellow Wagtails flew over the area and a Grey Plover, a Whimbrel and six Mediterranean Gulls were seen offshore.

Five Small Red-eyed Damselflies were seen on the southern Long Pit and two Clouded Yellows were patrolling along the wall in front of the power station. 

A Terrapin species was seen on the Southern Long Pit.

19th July

Two Great Spotted Woodpeckers and three Yellow Wagtails passed through this morning and a single Mediterranean Gull was feeding offshore.

Four Porpoises and a Grey Seal were feeding offshore and a Thresher Shark breached on one occasion.

There was another decent catch of moths overnight and with a Fan-foot of note - only the sixth record for the trap. Other bits and pieces included four Sussex Emeralds and at least 12  of the normally scarce Yponomeuta evonymella.

Fan-foot Zanclognatha tarsipennalis   Dungeness   19th July 2021

18th July

There was some further signs of migration getting underway with 60 Sand Martins and 12 Yellow Wagtails passing overhead. At least 20 Mediterranean Gulls were among the throng of gulls feeding offshore during the day.

At least eight Porpoises were feeding offshore.

Another Lesser Emperor was hunting and resting along the concrete wall between the red/white gate and the seawatch hide. Later in the day two Small Red-eyed Damselflies were seen  at the Long Pits.

There was another decent catch of moths with the highlights including a Pine Hawkmoth, two Sussex Emeralds and a Lunar-spotted Pinion and another Yponomueta evonymella

Pine Hawkmoth Hyloicus pinastri and Lunar-spotted Pinion Cosmia pyralina.  Dungeness   18th July 2021

17th July

Very little to report although coverage was a bit reduced today, Three Mediterranean Gulls and three Yellow Wagtails flew over the Long Pits.

A Badger came into the garden just before midnight.

16th July

A Buzzard and an unseasonal Merlin were seen and a Redshank flew over. Two Common Sandpipers were feeding at Long Pits and in the evening a flock of 150 Sand Martins gathered. One Mediterranean Gull  was seen at the Patch.

The non-avian highlight was a Lesser Emperor dragonfly which was found and quickly caught in the Moat. Three early-stage nymph Sickle-bearing Bush-crickets were also found.

Lesser Emperor Anax parthenone   Dungeness   16th July 2021   

15th June

There was a very small movement of finches this morning with a Crossbill, a Siskin and the highlight of the day in the form of a Serin which flew east over the Point. The first juvenile Willow Warbler of the autumn arrived and a Great Spotted Woodpecker was the also the first of the autumn. Four Mediterranean Gulls and Great Skua were seen offshore. 

The highlight on the insect front was the finding of three Southern Migrant Hawkers.

Southern Migrant Hawker Aeshna affinis  Dungeness  15th July 2021


14th July

Five Yellow Wagtails which flew south this morning and up to three Mediterranean Gulls at the Patch were the highlights of a quiet day.

Two Common Pipistrelle bats were feeding around the Observatory this evening.

The moth traps were quite busy again this morning with the pyralid Acrobasis repandana and seven Sussex Emeralds being the best on offer.

More checking for orthoptera produced another early-instar nymph Sickle-bearing Bush-cricket

13th July

A combination of listening after midnight followed by the deployment of the Audiomoth recorder produced a Redshank, five series of Common Sandpipers calls, Curlew, Bar-tailed Godwit and Sandwich Tern. Very little to be seen during the day except for a single Mediterranean Gull offshore this evening.

One of the Badgers came into the back garden just after midnight.

The moth traps were the busiest they have been this year and were full of Silver Y's along with a Dark Swordgrass, two Sussex Emeralds and a Langmaid's Yellow Underwing. The highlight though was a "micro" moth in the form of an Yponomeuta irrorella - only the second to be recorded at the Observatory.

Yponomeuta irrorella   Dungeness   13th July 2021

The find of the day though was a nymph Large Conehead and thus confirming that the species is now breeding at Dungeness.

Large Conehead Ruspolia nitidula   nymph   Dungeness   13th July 2021 


12th July

Rain for most of the day limited recording. A Whimbrel flew over during the morning but very little else was seen. 

The moth trap produced only a small catch but it did include a Sussex Emerald and two Langmaid's Yellow Underwings.

11th July

Another miserable morning and very little to be seen.

One Sussex Emerald Moth was trapped overnight.

10th July

Another foggy morning which turned to steady light rain into the afternoon and saw 145 Swifts and five Sand Martins heading out to sea. A short seawatch this evening provided a single Mediterranean Gull.

A Grey Seal was feeding offshore and two Badgers came into the Observatory garden a few minutes after midnight.

Badger Meles meles   Dungeness   10th July 2021

The moth trap showed a distinct improvement with four Sussex Emeralds being about the best on offer.

9th July

A few more signs of autumn migration getting underway with a juvenile Sedge Warbler in the Moat and a Yellow Wagtail flying over the Trapping Area. A half-hour seawatch this evening produced five Mediterranean Gulls heading west.

A Grey Seal was seen offshore.

The moth traps were fairly uninspiring this morning but a play with pheromone lures in the Trapping Area produced Lunar Hornet Moth and Six-belted Clearwing.

Lunar Hornet Moth Sesia bembeciformis   Dungeness   9th July 2021

8th July

The early-morning seawatch produced 51 Common Scoters, 51 Gannets, three Mediterranean Gulls and 155 Common Terns of note.

Highlights of the nights moth-trapping were a Langmaid's Yellow Underwing and the pyralid Sitochroa palealis. The first Gatekeepers of the year were seen.

7th July

A 3.5hr seawatch this morning produced three Fulmars, 258 Gannets, a Curlew and five Mediterranean Gulls of note. There was to report from the land.

Our regular Badger came into the garden in the early hours and four Porpoises and two Grey Seals were feeding offshore. 

A Thresher Shark was also seen breaching on two occasions.

An early search for some of our rarer crickets proved surprisingly productive with four early-stage instar Sickle-bearing Bush-crickets being found.

Sickle-bearing Bush-cricket Phaenoptera falcata   Dungeness   7th July 2021
An early instar nymph and the earliest I have ever found. Body length is about 8mm.

6th July

Gale-force winds overnight remained strong and with rain through the morning meant seawatching was the best (only) option. A three-hour session produced 19 Fulmars, 12 Manx Shearwaters, 300 Gannets and three Great Skuas of note. Ten Swifts were also seen.

A Rest-harrow moth was found on the kitchen window before the moth traps were turned on.

5th July

Very quiet on both land and sea. Fifteen Mediterranean Gulls were the only notable birds.

A Badger was seen in the garden in the early hours again and three Porpoise and two Grey Seals were feeding offshore.

A search of the area in front of the Observatory produced this very smart micromoth moth resting on a Wild Carrot flowerhead. It is Nemophora cupriacella and is a new species for Dungeness and is also very rare in the county. 

Nemophora cupriacella   Dungeness   5th July 2021

4th July

Several checks of the sea today showed a small passage of Mediterranean Gulls with 14 birds seen and the first juvenile Yellow-legged Gull arrived at the fishing boats.

Yellow-legged Gull Larus michahellis   juvenile   Dungeness   4th July 2021

Six Porpoises were present offshore and appeared to be showing mating behaviour. A Grey Seal was also seen.

Porpoise Phoca phoceana   Dungeness   4th July 2021

Another Langmaid's Yellow Underwing was the best of a fairly small moth catch overnight.

3rd July

Nothing to report on the bird front.

One Badger visited the Observatory Garden just after midnight.

Moth trapping produced the highlights of a Sussex Emerald and a Langmaid's Yellow Underwing.

2nd July

Another day dominated by the weather with thick fog for much of it resulting in fairly limited coverage.

Two Badgers visited the garden last night.

The first Essex Skippers of the year were seen

Elsewhere, the Cattle Egret was seen on the RSPB Reserve again.

1st July

Very little to report on the bird front with just a Buzzard and a Yellow Wagtail of any interest.

Four Porpoises and several Grey Seals were feeding offshore and a Badger came into the garden this evening for its regular snack.

Butterflies included a Holly Blue, the first Marbled White of the year, 200 Small Skippers and 150 Small Heaths. Three Hummingbird Hawkmoths and four Rest Harrow moths were seen during the day.

Dragonfly numbers remain incredibly low but four Variable Damselflies and a fairly late Hairy Dragonfly were of note.

The area of rough ground in front of the Observatory is looking spectacular at the moment.

After the ground works two winters ago and a no-show last year it was feared that we might have lost our Pyramidal Orchids but fortunately 11 spikes were found this morning.

Pyramidal Orchid Anacamptis pyramidalis   Dungeness   1st July 2021 

On the Reserve the Great White Egret population increased to ten birds and were joined by a Cattle Egret and the Glossy Ibis was still feeding at the western end of ARC.

30th June

Another day of heavy cloud and frequent rain. Not much to be seen other than two Mediterranean Gulls feeding offshore, an adult Yellow-legged Gull at the fishing boats and a Grey Heron heading out to sea. Black Redstarts continue to be seen/heard around the Power Station.

The Audiomoth nocmig recorder was deployed overnight and picked up singles of Little Ringed Plover, Curlew, Common Sandpiper and Green Sandpiper fly over.

Four Porpoises were feeding offshore.

The moth traps continue to produce only small numbers but last night's catch included a nice surprise in the form of a Clouded Buff - only the third to be caught at the Observatory.

Clouded Buff Diacrisia sannio   Dungeness   30th June 2021