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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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31st Aug

A Wryneck was seen briefly at the south-east corner of the trapping area and two Pied Flycatchers were seen in the Moat. Two Tree Pipits and 20 Yellow Wagtails flew over, three Whinchats and 20 Wheatears were seen in and around the Desert area and a Merlin was seen at the fishing boats. A Mediterranean Gull and a Little Gull were feeding at the Patch and two Arctic Skuas were lingering offshore.

30th Aug

A cool, damp and breezy day which produced very little. A Garden Warbler and two Pied Flycatchers were seen in the Moat. Offshore, 21 Sanderling, a Mediterranean Gull, 123 Sandwich Terns and 15 Arctic Skuas were of note.

Three Porpoises and a Grey Seal were feeding offshore.

The highlight from the moth trap was a Tree-lichen Beauty but it was high up on the wall and evaded capture.

29th Aug

Another day of few birds. Several seawatches during the day produced a Sooty Shearwater, eight Mediterranean Gulls, 183 Sandwich Terns, two Great Skuas and eight Arctic Skuas of note. A handful of birds on the land included a Cuckoo, 100 Sand Martins, a Redstart, four Whinchats, 15 Wheatears and six Yellow Wagtails.

Three Porpoises and a Grey Seal were feeding offshore.

Butterflies seen included a Clouded Yellow and three Holly Blues and four Hummingbird Hawkmoths were seen sunning themselves on the power station this morning.

An adult and a nymph Fire Bug were netted in the Moat.

28th Aug

Another day of few birds but with some quality in the form of a Wryneck in the Desert/Teasel Bank area although for the most part it was very elusive and a Pied Flycatcher in the Moat. A Buzzard flew over and a Short-eared Owl arrived and a Whinchat and 15 Wheatears were also seen. There was very little movement offshore but a couple each of Great and Arctic Skua were loitering with intent.

At least two Porpoises were feeding offshore.

Elsewhere, a second Wryneck was seen at Galloways on the Lydd Ranges, the Glossy Ibis remains at ARC along with two Black-necked Grebes. A Wood Sandpiper and three Black Terns were seen on Burrowes.

27th Aug

There was the thinnest scatter of migrants across the Point today but with a Common Sandpiper on the Long Pits, three Pied Flycatchers, a Whinchat and three Tree Pipits of note along with an Osprey which flew over and out to sea at 1120.

Elsewhere, the Glossy Ibis continues its long stay at ARC where up to four Black-necked Grebes have also been seen this week. Up to three Black Terns have also been moving around the various pits, a Garganey is present and a Cattle Egret has been seen on several occasions.

26th Aug

A very quiet day on both land and sea with just single Arctic Skua and Great Skua seen offshore and 45 Yellow Wagtails and a Grey Wagtail of note on the land.

Two Porpoises and a Grey Seal were seen offshore.

Despite the seemingly unpromising weather the moth traps still came up with the goods in the form of a Portland Ribbon Wave (2nd Observatory record) and a Channel Islands Pug.

Portland Ribbon Wave Idaea degeneraria   Dungeness   

25th Aug

A Common Sandpiper flew west and five Mediterranean Gulls, a Great Skua and four Arctic Skuas flew east. A small arrival of migrants on the land included 15 Willow Warblers, a Garden Warbler, a Pied Flycatcher, two Whinchats and seven Wheatears while 45 Yellow Wagtails and a Tree Pipit flew over. 

Five Southern Oak Bush-crickets were found in the Observatory garden at lunchtime and an evening visit to the Trapping Area produced eight Large Coneheads and ten Sickle-bearing Bush-crickets and large numbers of singing Tree Crickets.

Sickle-bearing Bush-cricket Phaneroptera falcata   Dungeness   25th August 2021 

24th Aug

Four Whinchats, five Wheatears and 72 Yellow Wagtails were of note on the land while 34 Mediterranean Gulls, a Little Gull and a Yellow-legged Gull were feeding offshore.  

Three Porpoises were feeding offshore.

A Holly Blue was seen at the Long Pits.

23rd Aug

With the wind veering NE overnight and a bit of cloud first thing there was a decent arrival of migrants with 55 Willow Warblers, 75 Whitethroats, three Pied Flycatchers, a Spotted Flycatcher, three Whinchats, a Redstart, 15 Wheatears, 35 Yellow Wagtails and a Tree Pipit of note.

Yellow Wagtail Motacilla flava    Dungeness   23rd August 2021 (Gill Hollamby)

A Badger came into the garden in the early hours of the morning.

The moth trap wasn't too inspiring for moths but it was still well worth running as it did produce another male Southern Migrant Hawker. Later in the morning the Heligoland Trap came up trumps again with a female Lesser Emperor in the catching end.

Lesser Emperor Anax parthenope   female   Dungeness   23rd August 2021

Southern Migrant Hawker Aeshna affinis   male   Dungeness   23rd August 2021.

22nd Aug

Although it was pretty quiet there was still some migrant interest with two Pied Flycatchers and 20 Wheatears of note along with a Snipe, a Green Sandpiper, a Greenshank and three Redshanks. A Little Gull flew east into the bay and 12 Mediterranean Gulls and five Arctic Skuas were feeding offshore.

The moth traps weren't very inspiring but did produce a Cydia amplana and a Rest Harrow of note.

Dragonflies stole the show in the evening when a couple of checks of the Heligoland Trap produced two Southern Migrant Hawkers.

Southern Migrant Hawkers Aeshna affinis   Dungeness   22nd August 2021
Top two images show a female and lower three show a male.
An alternative name for this species is Blue-eyed Hawker - you can see why in the case of the male..

21st Aug

A handful of birds were seen on the land with a Dunlin, a Snipe, a Green Sandpiper, 1050 Sand Martins, 18 Swallows, eight House Martins, 40 Yellow Wagtails and two Grey Wagtails while grounded migrants included a couple of Garden Warblers, a few Reed Warblers, six Wheatears and a Whinchat.

Seawatching remains fairly slow going but 5,5 hours of observation produced a Balearic Shearwater, four Redshank and a Little Gull along with 18 Mediterranean Gulls and six loitering Arctic Skuas offshore.

There was an increase in Porpoise numbers with at least 12 offshore along with two Grey Seals and a Common Seal. A Badger was feeding in the garden just before midnight.

There was a bit of interest in the moth trap with two Rest Harrows, a Rosy Wave and another Clouded Buff (the fourth Observatory record).

20th Aug

There was a bit of visible migration with 650 Sand Martins, nine Yellow Wagtails and three Grey Wagtails passing through during the morning while after dark two Dunlin and a Green Sandpiper were heard. Although offshore passage was virtually non-existent there were still 60 Mediterranean Gulls and two juvenile Yellow-legged Gulls feeding at the Patch.

Four Porpoise were feeding offshore.

An evening foray for crickets produced five Large Coneheads and 12 Sickle-bearing Bush-crickets.

19th Aug

Still just a handful of Willow Warblers scattered across the Point and very little else in the way of migrants. The Patch was attracting plenty of gulls this morning and included an excellent total of 84 Mediterranean Gulls and also two juvenile Yellow-legged Gulls. A Black Tern passed through this afternoon.

Five Porpoises were feeding offshore.

Our second Cydia amplana and  of the autumn was caught in an otherwise fairly poor night.

Elsewhere, an Osprey showed well on the RSPB Reserve along with a Glossy Ibis and three Great White Egrets. There were lots of birds on Lade Sands including a Little Stint and 600 Mediterranean Gulls 

18th Aug

Very quiet on the bird front with just a Balearic Shearwater offshore and 12 Willow Warblers, four Wheatear, seven Yellow Wagtails and a Tree Pipit of note on the land.

Four Porpoises and a Grey Seal were feeding offshore.

The highlights from a decent catch of moths overnight were two Cydia amplana, a Pine Hawkmoth and The Ear. A tap of the Tree Mallows in the front garden produced eight Southern Oak Bush-crickets.

17th Aug

Despite the continuing general lack of birds on the land a Wood Warbler was seen in the Trapping Area along with 40 Willow Warblers, a Garden Warbler and two Spotted Flycatchers. and a distant Osprey flew over the area. Seawatching produced a Balearic Shearwater, two Black Terns and an Arctic Skua. A Greenshank flew over along with 35 Swifts, 50 Sand Martins, six Yellow Wagtails, a Grey Wagtail and a short-staying Corn Bunting

This evenings Orthoptera watch produced 11 singing Large Coneheads and 16 Sickle-bearing Bush-crickets in and around the Trapping Area.      


16th Aug

Three Mediterranean Gulls and an Arctic Skua flew sea whilst overhead passage on the land included 120 Sand Martins, 12 Swallows, nine Yellow Wagtails and the first three Tree Pipits of the autumn. Grounded migrants were almost non-existent.

Five Porpoises and a Grey Seal were feeding offshore and a Brown Hare was seen on the land.

Moth-trapping overnight produced a Box-worm Moth of note while a short sweep netting session in the Observatory Garden resulted in five Southern Oak Bush-crickets being caught.

15th Aug

A total of 11 Whimbrel, 50 Sand Martins and 22 Yellow Wagtails passed overhead while ten Willow Warblers and ten Wheatears were seen in the bushes but the highlight of the day was an Osprey which flew over the Point and eventually out to sea. 

Another Thresher Shark was seen breaching this afternoon in what it is turning out to be a remarkable summer for sightings.

Overnight moth-trapping produced a Brussels Lace and a Black Arches, (the fourth and eighth observatory records respectively) and a Jersey Tiger was seen in the Desert.

A Slender Groundhopper was caught in the Desert while an evening search for Orthoptera proved highly successful with seven singing Large Coneheads and 15 Sickle-bearing Bush-crickets (seven adults and eight nymphs) being found. A few Tree Crickets were also singing.

14th Aug

The highlight of the day was a Honey Buzzard which flew over the Point at mid-day. Earlier in the morning a Greenshank, 70 Sand Martins and seven Yellow Wagtails flew over while 30 Willow Warblers, a Whinchat and a Grey Wagtail were grounded. A juvenile Mediterranean Gull was also seen offshore.

A Clouded Yellow and three Hummingbird Hawkmoths were seen and a nymph Sickle-bearing Bush-cricket was found.


13th Aug

Another very quiet day with just four Willow Warblers at the Long Pits and 90 Sand Martins and a Yellow Wagtail passing overhead.

Two Porpoises were seen offshore.

Another two Fire Bugs were found in the Moat.

12th Aug

 Very quiet on both land and at sea.

Six Porpoises and a Grey Seal were feeding offshore.

The best of the moths were another two Loxostege sticticalis, a Rest Harrow and a Bordered Straw.

A late night search for crickets produced four Large Coneheads and six Sickle-bearing Bush-crickets including the first three adults.

11th Aug

The first decent arrival of autumn migrants on the land was dominated by Willow Warblers with at least 50 seen. Five hours of seawatching produced a Balearic Shearwater, 185 Gannets, two Grey Plovers, a Whimbrel, a Mediterranean Gull, 165 Sandwich Terns, five Black Terns and three Arctic Skuas.

Three Porpoises and a Grey Seal were feeding offshore.

10th Aug

Most of the days avian interest was offshore although even here it was fairly slow going. Several watches during the day eventually produced a Balearic Shearwater, 149 Gannets, 51 Kittiwakes, eight Mediterranean Gulls, 109 Sandwich Terns, four Little Terns and an Arctic Skua of note. Four Willow Warblers were seen in the Trapping Area and 75 Sand Martins passed overhead.

Four Porpoises and a Grey Seal were feeding offshore.

A mid-day search of the Trapping Area produced two nymph Sickle-bearing Bush-crickets and a few, mostly nymphal, Tree Crickets and a few taps of the Privet bushes in the front garden dislodged seven Southern Oak Bush-crickets.

Southern Oak Bush-cricket Meconema meridionale   Dungeness   10th August 2021

As darkness fell another visit was made to the Trapping Area and this proved very successful with a total of seven Large Coneheads found (two seen well). A couple of Tree Crickets were heard singing and another three Sickle-bearing Bush-crickets were seen.

Large Conehead Ruspolia nitidula   Dungeness   10th August 2021

9th Aug

Yet more seawatching with coverage for most of the day producing eight Balearic Shearwaters, 230 Gannets, 14 Mediterranean Gulls, 108 Sandwich Terns, an excellent total of 26 Little Terns and 446 Common Terns of note

Four Porpoises and a Grey Seal were feeding offshore.

8th Aug

Little change in the weather so very limited coverage on the land but plenty of seawatching. The Sooty Shearwater remained the star bird which was feeding at the Patch in the morning before debunking to the fishing boats where it gave great views at times and even come to bread thrown out for the gulls at times. Birds passing through included seven Fulmars, two Mediterranean Gulls, 121 Common Terns and a Great Skua. A juvenile Yellow-legged Gull was also on the beach.

Three Porpoises were also feeding offshore.

7th Aug

Another day of strong south-westerly winds and frequent rain made observations on the virtually pointless but provided some decent movement of birds offshore. The latter included a remarkable Sooty Shearwater which flew in from the east and then continued to spend the rest of the day feeding amongst the gulls and terns at the Patch. More conventional records from 10.5hrs of watching included 58 Common Scoters, a Manx Shearwater, three Balearic Shearwaters, 453 Gannets, 81 Kittiwakes, nine Mediterranean Gulls, 238 Sandwich Terns, a Little Tern, 509 Common Terns and three Arctic Skuas. A juvenile Yellow-legged Gull was also feeding at the Patch.

Sooty Shearwater Puffinus griseus   Dungeness   7th August 2021

Four Porpoises and two Grey Seals were feeding offshore and a Badger visited the Observatory garden at both ends of the day.

6th Aug

A wet and very windy morning meant plenty of seawatching with 7.25 hours of observation producing three Balearic Shearwaters and 12 Black Terns of note along with three Shovelers, seven Fulmars, 428 Gannets, two Knot, two Mediterranean Gulls, seven Little Terns, a Great Skua and an Arctic Skua

Five Porpoise and a Grey Seal were also feeding offshore.

5th Aug

A few waders flew over during the morning including a Golden Plover, three Ringed Plovers and a Green Sandpiper. A Great Spotted Woodpecker, seven Willow Warblers and five Reed Warblers were seen in the Trapping Area and 200 Sand Martins and two Yellow Wagtails also flew over. Two juvenile Yellow-legged Gulls were feeding at the Patch but there was very little sign of any offshore movement.

Four Porpoises and two Grey Seals were feeding offshore and a Thresher Shark also breached.

A Channel Island Pug was caught last night and is the seventh record for the Observatory traps  and a brief check for orthoptera produced two nymph Sickle-bearing Bush-crickets.

Channel Island Pug |Eupithecia ultimaria   Dungeness   5th August 2021

4th Aug

Seven hours of seawatching during the day produced three Balearic Shearwaters along with two Grey Herons, 11 Shelducks, 30 Mallard and 188 Sandwich Terns along with a steady flow of Sand Martins going out to sea. A juvenile Marsh Harrier and a Golden Plover flew over the trapping area and a Merlin, four Willow Warblers and three Yellow Wagtails were also seen.

Six Porpoise and two Grey Seals were feeding offshore and another Thresher Shark was seen breaching on a couple of occasions..

Highlights from the moth traps were a Pine Hawkmoth, a Sussex Emerald and another Loxostege sticticalis

Three Sickle-bearing Bush-crickets were found and a few swishes of a sweep net produced 50 nymph Tree Crickets. 

The pyralid moth Loxostege sticticalis and a Pine Hawkmoth Hyloicus pinastri

3rd Aug

Thunderstorms overnight failed to produce very much in the way of grounded migrants with just a handful of Willow Warblers in the bushes although an Osprey which flew out to sea this morning was noteworthy. In the late afternoon a flock of 300 Sand Martins were gathered and feeding at the Point. The sea was relatively calm this morning but four Balearic Shearwaters and two Arctic Skuas were still seen.

The Audiomoth was deployed last night but was fairly unproductive with just three flocks of Dunlin recorded.

Three Porpoises and two Grey Seals were feeding off the fishing boats and a Thresher Shark breached a couple of times off the Point. A Common Pipistrelle bat was flying around the Observatory this evening.

The highlight from the moth traps was another example of Loxostege sticticalis.

Loxostege sticticalis   Dungeness   3rd August 2021

2nd Aug

Another 15 very early Brent Geese passed through offshore and a Buzzard and a Marsh Harrier flew over. A juvenile Little Egret feeding along the roadside in front of the power station was an unusual sight. One Redshank flew in off the sea in the morning and a party of at least three birds flew over the Observatory just after dark. A Sedge Warbler and 14 Willow Warblers were seen on the land. 

Three Porpoises and four Grey Seals were feeding offshore.

A sweep netting session in the Moat proved highly successful with the catching of a Fire Bug Pyrrhocoris apterus - the first Observatory area record of this once very rare species but which is now more frequently recorded and with records from Lydd and Lydd-on-Sea. 

Fire Bug Pyrrhocoris apterus   Dungeness   2nd August 2021

Elsewhere, the clear highlight of the day was a Caspian Tern which was present at Dengemarsh for five minutes this afternoon before flying off in a NW direction.

1st Aug

The best of the morning seawatch were three Balearic Shearwaters along with 305 Gannets, 53 Kittiwakes, a Mediterranean Gull and an Arctic Skua. There was a small arrival of migrants on the land with 13 Willow Warblers of note.

Five Small Red-eyed Damselflies were seen at the Long Pits.

The moth traps at the Observatory produced the pyralid Gymnancyla canella, a Sussex Emerald and a Langmaid's Yellow Underwing but the best moth came from additional traps set in the trapping area in the form of the rare migrant pyralid Loxostege sticticalis

31st July

There was a very small arrival of migrants on the land this morning involving just three Willow Warblers and singles of Sedge and Garden Warbler along with 14 Sand Martins overhead.

Seawatching was also hard work but six Whimbrel, 14 Sanderling, 12 Dunlin, two Mediterranean Gulls, four juvenile Yellow-legged Gulls and two Arctic Skuas were eventually noted. A Wood Sandpiper flew over the Observatory calling as it went not long after dark.

Three Porpoises and two Grey Seals were feeding offshore and a Badger came into the Observatory garden for a feed.

Three Clouded Yellows were seen.

A search for orthoptera produced a singing male Great Green Bush-cricket at the northern end of the Long Pits whilst eight Sickle-bearing Bush-crickets nymphs and four Tree Cricket nymphs were found in the more usual location. A couple of Common Groundhoppers were also found.

Ten Bishop's Mitre Shieldbugs were also found at the northern end of the estate 

30th July

A day of strong to near-gale force westerly winds meant that most of the interest was offshore and where 9.25 hrs of observation included an excellent total of 21 Balearic Shearwaters. Other notable birds were 107 Common Scoters, 475 Gannets, 13 Whimbrel, 17 Mediterranean Gulls, a juvenile Yellow-legged Gull, two Little Terns and four Arctic Skuas.

The only birds of note on the land was a large movement of 1500 Swifts head south and west over the area during the worst of the weather.

Four Porpoises and a Grey Seal were feeding offshore and a Badger came into the garden just after midnight.

One Sussex Emerald was trapped overnight.

A Cattle Egret was seen with the cattle in the fields between Boulderwall Farm and Hookers Pit.