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Local weather


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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.