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Local weather


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29th July

A quiet day on the land although 950 Sand Martins and four Yellow Wagtail flew through and three Green Sandpipers and a juvenile Cuckoo seen at the Long Pits.. A check of the gulls feeding at the Fishing Boats proved worthwhile with a colour-ringed juvenile Caspian Gull appearing among them along with two juvenile Yellow-legged Gulls and ten Mediterranean Gulls.

Caspian Gull Larus cachinnans   juvenile   Dungeness   29th July 2022

Three Porpoises and a Grey Seal were feeding offshore.

A male Lesser Emperor was seen on the Northern Long Pit.

28th July

Very quiet on the land with just a couple of Willow Warblers, a Grey Wagtail and just four Yellow Wagtails.. A few waders passed overhead including Golden Plover, Whimbrel and two Common Sandpipers.

The gull flock at the fishing boats provided plenty of interest with 15 Mediterranean Gulls, three juvenile Common Gulls and five Yellow-legged Gulls.

Mediterranean Gulls Ichthyaetus melanocephalus   Dungeness   28th July 2022

Common Gulls Larus canus   third-calendar year and two juveniles   Dungeness   28th July 2022
The top bird was only photographed as it flew by but it was bearing a white colour-ring and is probably Norwegian in origin.

Yellow-legged Gulls Larus michahellis   juveniles   Dungeness   28th July 2022 

Six Porpoises and two Grey Seals were feeding offshore.

An after-dark session in the Trapping Area produced three singing Large Coneheads, 19 Sickle-bearing Bush-crickets and lots of singing Tree Crickets. On return to the Observatory an adult Mediterranean Stick-insect was found in the garden.

Sickle-bearing Bush-cricket Phaneroptera falcata    Dungeness   28th July 2022

On a different note the lack of rain is really starting to affect the vegetation in the area badly. Brambles are being particularly hard hit with many bush dried out, brown and fruitless. Some of the Gorse bushes are turning brown and Willows, Aspens and Birches are already dropping their leaves.

27th July

There was another small arrival of migrants on the land with 15 Willow Warblers, a Sedge Warbler and 20 Reed Warblers and the highlight of a Grasshopper Warbler. A Grey Wagtail was seen at the Sewage Works and 12 Yellow Wagtails passed overhead.

Grasshopper Warbler Locustella naevia   Dungeness   27th July 2022

A Southern Oak Bush-cricket was found inside the Observatory.

26th July

A short spell of drizzle this morning dropped in a few small migrants with 12 Willow Warblers, three Sedge Warblers and 15 Reed Warblers of interest. Birds passing overhead included a party of three Little Egrets, three Buzzards and 14 Yellow Wagtails. A Common Sandpiper flew over the Observatory after dark. At sea, an Arctic Skua flew west and three Mediterranean Gulls and three juvenile Yellow-legged Gulls were feeding offshore.

A pair of Sparrowhawks which nested in the Trapping Area fledged three very noisy juveniles this morning. 

Two Porpoises were seen offshore.

Given the overnight conditions the moth traps were fairly disappointing with just a Bordered Straw of note.

25th July

An excellent total of 1045 Swifts passed overhead along with eight Sand Martins and six Yellow Wagtails but there was very little else on the land. There was very little movement offshore with just five Whimbrel of note but a resurgence of the Patch attracted 68 Mediterranean Gulls and 14 Yellow-legged Gulls.

Two each of Porpoise and Grey Seal were seen offshore.

24th July

Twenty Mediterranean Gulls and two juvenile Yellow-legged Gulls were seen offshore and 105 Sand Martins and 18 Yellow Wagtails passed overhead.

Six Porpoises and two Grey Seals were feeding offshore,

The moth traps were disappointing but with a Jersey Tiger of note while four Southern Oak Bush-crickets were found around the Observatory. 

23rd July

A Common Treecreeper trapped in the Moat this morning was an unexpected highlight of the day. Land migrants were difficult to find but 50 Yellow Wagtails flew over. A spell of bread-throwing at the fishing boats in the afternoon produced seven juvenile Yellow-legged Gulls, 12 Mediterranean Gulls and five Turnstones.

Common Treecreeper Certhia familiaris   Dungeness   23rd July 2022

Six Porpoises and two Grey Seals were feeding offshore.

The moth traps were fairly quiet but did produce a Channel Islands Pug and a Black Arches. A Dark Crimson Underwing came to over-ripe fruit put out in the garden. A Lesser Emperor dragonfly was seen at the north end of the Long Pits.

22nd July

Very quiet on the land with just six Yellow Wagtails of interest. An offering of bread at the fishing boats produced a juvenile Yellow-legged Gull and 15 Mediterranean Gulls. Two Common Sandpipers flew over after dark. A Polish colour-ringed Black-headed Gull (Yellow TJVV) ringed at Sominskie on 6th June 2020 and first seen at Dungeness on 19th October 2020 and then to 20th March 2021 and again between 11th November 2021 and 27th February 2022 reappeared back at the fishing boats today.
Black-headed Gull Larus ridibundus   cr TJVV   Dungeness   22nd July 2022

Mediterranean Gull Larus melancocephalus   juvenile   Dungeness   22nd July 2022

Yellow-legged Gull Larus michahellis   juvenile   Dungeness   22nd July 2022

A Porpoise, a Grey Seal and two Common Seals were feeding offshore..

With a fresh wind blowing last night the catches were much reduced but did include this second Observatory record of Ethmia quadrillella.

Ethmia quadrillella   Dungeness   22nd July 2022

21st July

A quiet day on the land but 40 Yellow Wagtails passing overhead was a significant total for the date and a Grey Wagtail also flew over. An adult Cuckoo was seen in the Moat. A flock of at least three Little Ringed Plovers flew over in the early hours and 15 Mediterranean Gulls were seen offshore.

Fortunately it was an excellent night for moths with six traps set at the Observatory and in the Trapping Area catching at least Common Lutetstring208 species. Of note were our fifth Dark Crimson Underwing of the week, a Jersey Tiger, a Bordered Straw, a Starwort, a Dog's Tooth and two Delicates. Notable pyralids included Evergestis limbata, Euzophera pinguis and our third record of Dioryctria sylvestrella.

Dark Crimson Underwing Catocala sponsa  Dungeness   21st July 2022

Dioryctria sylvestrella   Dungeness   21st July 2022

Jersey Tiger Euplagia quadripunctaria   Dungeness   21st July 2022

20th July

After thunderstorms overnight it was another very hot day again. Migration was limited to 12 Yellow Wagtails and 11 Mediterranean Gulls offshore. A juvenile Yellow-legged Gull came into the offerings at the fishing boats.

Four Porpoises were feeding offshore.

Moth trapping was very good again although there no major surprises and with Black Arches (ninth Observatory record) and Common Lutestring of note. 

Black Arches Lymantria monacha  Dungeness   20th July 2022

Searching for interesting orthoptera produced two late-stage nymph Large Coneheads, an adult Sickle-bearing Bush-cricket as well as a few nymphs and a few Tree Crickets. An adult example of the Mediterranean Stick-insect was found in the Observatory garden.
Large Conehead Ruspolia nitidula   late nymph female  Dungeness   20th July 2022
Sickle-bearing Bush-cricket Phanoptera falcata   male   Dungeness   20th July 2022

19th July

With extreme temperatures it was not surprisingly very quiet on the bird front with just 15 Mediterranean Gulls offshore of note. 

With very high overnight temperatures the moth traps continue to provide plenty of note with yet another Dark Crimson Underwing, Brussels Lace, Orange Footman and a Gypsy Moth (third record from the Observatory traps).

Dark Crimson Underwing Catocala sponsa   Dungeness   19th July 2022
The fourth individual to be caught since 14th July.

A Southern Oak Bush-cricket was also caught in one of the traps.

18th July

As the heat continues to rise birding was hard work today but 445 Sand Martins, 14 Swallows, 36 Yellow Wagtails and a Crossbill flew over. Five Mediterranean Gull flew west offshore.

Three Grey Seals were feeding offshore.

Moth trapping provided plenty of interest with another Dark Crimson Underwing, (a second individual was found at Southview Cottage), a Beautiful Marbled and two Channel Islands Pugs, and also the micro Lyonetia clarkella.

Dark Crimson Underwing Catocala sponsa   Duungeness   18th July 2022

Beautiful Marbled Eublema purpurina   Dungeness   18th July 2022

A Lesser Emperor was seen on the northern Long Pit.

Tree Crickets were singing in the Trapping Area and six nymph Sickle-bearing Bush-crickets were also seen. A mid-stage nymph Large Conehead was also found.

Large Conehead Ruspolia nitidula   nymph   Dungeness   18th July 2022
Not sure whether this is brown because it is a nymph or will mature into a brown adult.

17th July

Three Gadwalls flew east along the beach and two Little Egrets came in. There was a decent "Patch" for the first time in a while and among the large numbers of gulls attracted to it were 25 Mediterranean Gulls and four juvenile Yellow-legged Gulls. At least 215 Sand Martins were flying around the Point this evening while earlier in the day 19 Yellow Wagtails and a Grey Wagtail also passed overhead.

One Porpoise was feeding offshore and three Brown Hares were seen in the Desert.

The best of a fairly small moth catch was our sixth record of Barred Rivulet.

Barred Rivulet Perizoma bifasciata   Dungeness   17th July 2022

16th July

Three Mediterranean Gulls, 25 Sand Martins and 16 Yellow Wagtails passed overhead on an otherwise quiet day.

A Common Pipistrelle bat was feeding around the Observatory in the early hours and a Porpoise and a Grey Seal were feeding offshore.

The highlights from the moth traps were the "micro" Bisigna procerella and our ninth record of Plumed Fan-foot.

15th July

A juvenile Yellow-legged Gull and nine Mediterranean Gulls flew past the fishing boats. Forty Sand Martins, ten Yellow Wagtails and a Grey Wagtail flew over.

Three Porpoises and two Grey Seals were feeding offshore.

Although the moth traps were not that busy there was still a major surprise in the form of a superb Dark Crimson Underwing.

Dark Crimson Underwing Catocala sponsa   Dungeness   15th July 2022

14th July

A Teal, a Whimbrel, two Dunlin passed west while 19 Mediterranean Gulls flew east and a Buzzard flew over the area. Eleven Yellow Wagtails also flew over.

Singles of Porpoise and Grey Seal were seen offshore.

The moth traps were very quiet.

Four Small Red-eyed Damselflies were seen at the southern end of the Long Pits and sweep-netting produced another Heath Shieldbug, ten Bishop's Mitre Shieldbugs, 15 Tree Cricket nymphs and six Sickle-bearing Bush-cricket nymphs.

13th July

Thirty Swifts passed through during the morning and three Mediterranean Gulls flew west in the evening.

Most of the morning was spent sorting through the moth traps were we ended up with a remarkable total of 178 species (plus a couple to be confirmed).  Despite the huge numbers there was actually not a great deal of migrant activity with highlights including the pyralids, Gymnancyla canella, three Evergestis limbata and six Sitochroa palealis, a Vestal, 20 Sussex Emeralds, our fifth record of Brussels Lace and our sixth record of The Fan-foot.

Brussels Lace Chleorodes lichenaria   Dungeness   13th July 2022

12th July

A Brent Goose flying east along the beach was an unusual sighting and a Whimbrel flew west. A Great Spotted Woodpecker was seen in the Trapping Area and 49 Sand Martins, 29 Swallows and a Grey Wagtail flew over.

In the evening we hosted a Butterfly Conservation meeting which involved some of the local Brownies and Guides coming to see the moths we catch with an emphasis on Sussex Emeralds. The kids are involved with a scheme to improve some local sites for Sussex Emeralds but they had never seen the actual moth before so it was great for them to see the moths they are helping to protect.

Moth trapping overnight saw some big numbers coming in which included our first record of Caloptilia honoratella as well as two Metalampra italica and seven Sussex Emeralds.

Caloptilia honoratella   Dungeness   12th July

Six Porpoises were feeding offshore.


11th July

Singles of Whimbrel and Curlew and seven Yellow Wagtails overhead were about the only migrant birds to be seen in the Observatory area.

There were hundreds of moth in the traps last night but the only moths of note were an Engrailed, 13 Sussex Emeralds and a Silky Wainscot.

Silky Wainscot Chilodes maritimus f.bipunctata   Dungeness   11th July 2022

10th July

In very hot conditions there was very little to report in the way of birds except for the finding of two just hatched Ringed Plover chicks and another evening gathering of 550 Sand Martins at the Point.

Ringed Plover Charadrius hiaticula   Dungeness   10th July 2022

Six Porpoises and a Grey Seal were seen offshore.

Despite good numbers of moths in the traps there was very little of note other than six Sussex Emeralds.  Two Small Red-eyed Damselflies were seen on the southern Long Pit and a sweep-netting session produced another Heath Shieldbug Legnotus picipes (this one from Lady's Bedstraw), a Rhombic Shieldbug Syromastes rhombeus, two very small Tree Cricket nymphs and six Sickle-bearing Bush-cricket nymphs.

9th July

A Bee-eater was seen over the Point from the Observatory at 0900hrs and over the next 90 minutes or so it was seen on numerous occasions but was typically highly mobile. A Marsh Harrier, 50 Swifts, four Ravens, 250 Sand Martins and three Yellow Wagtails also passed overhead and 70 Mediterranean Gulls passed offshore.

The best from the moth traps were a Small Rivulet and13 Sussex Emeralds.

Sussex Emerald Thalera fimbrialis   Dungeness   9th July 2022

8th July

A gathering of 500 Sand Martins at the Point this evening provided plenty of entertainment and while there a Little Egret came in off the sea and a second-summer Caspian Gull came in to an offering of bread. Single Grey and Yellow Wagtails flew over the Observatory during the morning.

Sand Martins Riparia riparia   Dungeness   8th July 2022

Five Porpoises were feeding offshore and a Common Pipistrelle was feeding over the moth traps in the early hours.

Our third record of the micro Bisigna procerella was probably the best from the moth traps but a remarkable aberrant Single-dotted Wave ran it a close second.

Single-dotted Wave Idaea dimidata   aberration   Dungeness   8th July 2022

 A nymph Southern Oak Bush-cricket was also caught in the moth trap.