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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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27th Sep

Very quiet. Seawatching produced jut nine Ringed Plovers, two Caspian Gulls and three Arctic Skuas of note. Migrants passing overhead included just 150 Swallows, a Tree Pipit and a Brambling and 46 Chiffchaffs and two Firecrests were seen in the Trapping Area.

Another two Harvest Mice were trapped overnight and singles of Porpoise and Grey Seal were feeding offshore.

26th Sep

A quiet morning with ten Red-throated Divers, nine Little Gulls, two Caspian Gulls, a Great Skua and six Arctic Skuas of interest at sea. Hardly a migrant to be seen on the land with just a Spotted Flycatcher of note and two Buzzards and 180 Swallows overhead.

A three-day small mammal trapping survey was started yesterday and two Harvest Mice were found this morning. Four Porpoises were seen offshore.

The moth traps were surprisingly good and produced two Vestals, a Clancy's Rustic, two Pearly Underwings and a Delicate

25th Sep

Grounded migrants included 85 Chiffchaffs, two Firecrests, five Goldcrests, 30 Redwings, nine Song Thrushes, two Spotted Flycatchers and a Whinchat while overhead passage was limited to 470 Swallows, 11 Grey Wagtails, three Rock Pipits, a Brambling and two Siskins. The sea was relatively quiet with just 48 Brent Geese, eight Wigeon, two Caspian Gulls, three Arctic Terns and five Arctic Skuas.

Five Porpoises and three Grey Seals were feeding offshore.

An evening search for orthoptera produced five Sickle-bearing Bush-cricket and a Clouded Yellow was seen in the Moat.

24th Sep

There were good numbers of birds around this morning but the strong winds limited ringing activities. Birds passing overhead included a Common Sandpiper, seven Yellow Wagtails, 16 Grey Wagtails, a White Wagtail, 500 Meadow Pipits, four Tree Pipits, two Siskins and 12 Reed Buntings. Grounded migrants included 55 Chiffchaffs, two Firecrests, two Spotted Flycatchers, two Song Thrushes, a Redstart and two Whinchats. There were also some good numbers of birds offshore with two Balearic Shearwaters, a Little Gull, an Arctic Tern, three Black Terns, 37 Arctic Skuas and 160 Razorbills of note.

Four Porpoises, two Grey Seals and a Common Seal were feeding offshore.

23rd Sep

Limited coverage today with many regular observers offsite and heavy rain from late morning. The best on the land were a Hobby, 2700 Swallows, 350 House Martins, a Whinchat and six Grey Wagtails.  A few brief looks at the sea produced two Mediterranean Gulls, five Arctic Terns, a Black Tern, a Great Skua and 11 Arctic Skuas.

A Grey Seal was seen offshore.

The best of the moths trapped overnight were two Vestals, two L-album Wainscots, a Delicate and a Box Tree Moth. A Southern Oak Bush-cricket was also caught.

22nd Sep

It was surprisingly quiet this morning. A Kingfisher was seen at the Long Pits and 3000 Swallows, 100 House Martins, ten Grey Wagtails and five Siskins flew over and 14 Eider flew east offshore.

A Porpoise and a Grey Seal were seen offshore.

An Orange Sallow and a Scarce Bordered Straw were the highlights from the moth traps.

Of note from elsewhere was a first-year Night Heron which showed well at times at Lade Pit.

21st Sep

One of the highlights of the day was a Phalarope (presumed to be yesterday's bird) which came close enough to be identified as a Red-necked - only the second Observatory record. Other bits seen offshore included nine Shovelers, 11 Pintail, 84 Common Scoters, five Mediterranean Gulls and three Arctic Skuas. It was also a busy morning on the land with 12 Willow Warblers, 180 Chiffchaffs, three Reed Warblers, 12 Blackcaps, a Firecrest, two Redwings and a Spotted Flycatcher in the bushes and five Buzzards, 1200 Swallows, 550 House Martins, three Yellow Wagtails, five Grey Wagtails, two Tree Pipits and ten Reed Buntings passing overhead.

Twelve Porpoises and two Grey Seals were feeding offshore.

A Cypress Pug and two Pinion-streaked Snout were of note from the moth traps.

20th Sep

With a light NW wind during the morning there was a small arrival of birds on the land and passing overhead while the sea also provided plenty of interest with large numbers of birds attracted to some huge baitballs of fish. Of note on the land were an early but elusive Yellow-browed Warbler in the trapping area along with eight Grey Plovers, 1675 Swallows, 15 Blackcaps, a Firecrest, two Redwings, three Grey Wagtails and 20 Reed Buntings. The morning seawatch was fairly quiet except for 11 Wigeon, 390 Common Scoters, a party of six Curlew Sandpipers and 400 Sandwich Terns and a distant Phalarope species but among the masses feeding offshore in the afternoon where four Sooty Shearwaters, a Little Gull, 25 Mediterranean Gulls, at least 1000 Sandwich Terns and 100 Arctic Skuas

Ten Porpoise and three Grey Seals were seen offshore.

Our first Clancy's Rustic of the autumn and a Delicate were the highlights from the moth traps and five Clouded Yellows were seen during the day.

19th Sep

The run of north-westerly winds continues, reducing any passage over the land. There was 45 Chiffchaff, two Willow Warbler and two Firecrest in the bushes while a Golden Plover, a Snipe, 150 Swallow, a Yellow Wagtail, four Grey Wagtail, 45 Meadow Pipit, three Tree Pipit and ten Reed Bunting flew over. The sea once again provided the most interest, with some really spectacular bait balls just a few metres offshore, there was hundreds of Sandwich Terns, Gannets and gulls feeding over them. There was some passage at sea as well, the highlights being 110 Brent Geese, 115 Common Scoter, 55 Dunlin, a Little Tern and a Black Tern west however eight Sooty Shearwaters and a Little Gull flew east. 

20 Porpoise and two Grey Seal were feeding offshore.

18th Sep

Again another day with a fresh north-westerly winds, but with a slight increase in migrant birds. Visible migration included a Swift, a Hobby, 100 Sand and House Martin, 300 Swallow, seven Yellow Wagtails, three Grey Wagtail, 230 Meadow Pipits and two Tree Pipit. While there were 70 Chiffchaffs, a Willow Warbler and a Redstart in the bushes. Offshore passage again provided the interest with 18 Sooty Shearwaters, three Manx Shearwaters, a Balearic Shearwater, 300 Gannet, two Great Skua and nine Arctic Skua all flying east. While nine Ringed Plover, 19 Dunlin and 600 Sandwich Terns flew west. A first-winter Caspian Gull was again feeding in the frenzy.  

15 Porpoise, a Common Seal and two Grey Seal were offshore. 

A Willow Emerald Damselfly came in off the sea and rested on the shingle.

Sooty Shearwater Ardenna grisea     Dungeness 18th September 2022

Willow Emerald Damselfly Chalcolestes viridis     Dungeness 18th September 2022

17th Sep

Another day of chilly north-westerly winds didn't provide many new arrivals on the land, although 120 Chiffchaffs were notable. There was some light overhead passage including five Yellow Wagtail, eight Grey Wagtail and 120 Meadow Pipits. There was some offshore passage in the evening providing some nice highlights including 106 Brent Geese and ten Dunlin west also a Fulmar, five Sooty Shearwaters and four Manx Shearwaters were travelling east. A first-winter Caspian Gull and five Arctic Skuas were loafing about. 

15 Porpoise and two Grey Seal were seen underneath the flocks of feeding Gannets, gulls and Sandwich Terns as they hunted the fish shoals. 

16th Sep

Without doubt the most spectacular sight of the day was a flock of 50 White Storks, even if they are released birds, which came into Dungeness airspace from Brenzett and then flew out to sea. There were a couple of satellite-tagged birds in their midst and these have already been tracked to an area south-west of Paris.

White Stork Ciconia ciconias    Dungeness  16th September 2022

More typical fare featured a Swift, 500 Swallows, 750 House Martins, another 100 Chiffchaffs, 15 Blackcaps, 12 Yellow Wagtails and eight Grey WagtailsA check of the sea in the late afternoon produced a first-year Caspian Gull and seven Arctic Skuas.

Four Porpoises and a Grey Seal were seen offshore 

A Palpita vitrealis moth was the highlight from the moth traps.

15th Sep

There were good numbers of birds in the bushes this morning and also passing overhead throughout the day.  Of note on the land were 100 Chiffchaffs, 50 Blackcaps, two Garden Warblers, three Spotted Flycatchers, a Pied Flycatcher and two Redstarts whilst four Marsh Harriers, 20 Buzzards, 100 Sand Martins, 3,500 Swallows, 1950 House Martins, 55 Yellow Wagtails, a record day total of 35 Grey Wagtails, 835 Meadow Pipits and 35 Tree Pipits flew over. It was quiet offshore where just two Mediterranean Gulls, a Yellow-legged Gull and six Arctic Skuas were of note. 

At least 20 Porpoises, a Common Seal and two Grey Seals were feeding offshore. 

The best from the moth traps were a Pinion-streaked Snout, a Red Underwing and a Delicate.

The population of Fire Bugs in the Observatory Garden continues to increase with at least 500 being counted this morning.

Fire Bugs Pyrrochoris apterus   Dungeness   15th September 2022

14th Sep

Heavy rain throughout the morning hampered observations on the land but once it cleared there were decent numbers of migrants to be seen including a Hobby, 132 Chiffchaffs, six Reed Warblers, 70 Blackcaps, four Garden Warblers, 13 Lesser Whitethroats, three Spotted Flycatchers, a Pied Flycatcher, a Redstart, two Whinchats and 21 Wheatears. Of note, offshore were a Grey Heron and 16 Sanderling passing through and five Caspian Gulls, three Yellow-legged Gulls, ten Little Terns, two Black Terns and six Arctic Skuas lingering.

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

13th Sep

Rain on and off for much of the day resulted in a few migrants in the bushes including 37 Chiffchaffs, a Grasshopper Warbler and a Firecrest  and 1260 Swallows, 1500 House Martins, 15 Yellow Wagtails and eight Tree Pipits of note. It was very quiet offshore with just eight Arctic Skuas and four Yellow-legged Gulls of interest.

Three Brown Hares were seen on the land and two Porpoises were feeding offshore.

The moth traps produced a Loxostege sticticalis and three Delicates.

Loxostege sticticalis   Dungeness   13th September 2022
The eighth Observatory record.

12th Sep

The morning saw another arrival of Chiffchaffs and Blackcaps, 40 and 60 respectively, along with two Garden Warblers, singles Spotted and Pied Flycatchers, a Redstart and two Whinchats. Birds passing overhead during the morning included a Common Sandpiper, a Hobby, 2500 Swallows, 18 Yellow Wagtails and two Grey Wagtails. However, in the afternoon a flock of around 5000 Swallows descended on the Point and whilst we were watching this spectacular sight an Osprey and a Dotterel also flew over.

Swallows Hirundo rustica   Dungeness   12th September 2022

The moth traps were fairly quiet but yet another Convolvulus Hawkmoth was found roosting in the Heligoland Trap.

11th Sep

There was a decent arrival of migrants into the bushes this morning with 12 Willow Warblers, 30 Chiffchaffs, 70 Blackcaps, a singing Firecrest in the Moat, two Spotted Flycatchers and two Pied Flycatchers of note.  A Marsh Harrier and at least 15 Buzzards, a Swift, a Hobby, 250 Sand Martins, 2000 Swallows, 15 Yellow Wagtails, 14 Grey Wagtails, ten Tree Pipits and four Siskin passed overhead. A Black Tern and two Arctic Skuas were feeding offshore.

A few birds were recorded on the NocMig with the highlight being a Stone-curlew at 0312hrs.

Four Porpoises and a Grey Seal were seen.

A Delicate was of note from the Moth Trap.

10th Ssep

There were a handful of migrants on the land with 50 Blackcaps and a Redstart of note. An Osprey flew out to sea and five Buzzards flew over the area. Two Balearic Shearwaters and five Black Terns were the best of a meagre passage of birds offshore.

The best from the moth traps were singles of Scarce Bordered Straw and Delicate. A huge colony of Fire Bugs was found in the Observatory Garden.

Fire Bugs Pyrrhocoris apterus   Dungeness   10th September 2022
A range of instars shown here.

9th Sep

A Wryneck was the highlight of the day but it was only seen by three observers. Other bits and pieces on the land included a Hobby, 60 Willow Warblers, ten Blackcaps, four Garden Warblers, five Spotted Flycatchers, five Redstarts, five Whinchats, 65 Yellow Wagtails and five Tree Pipits. A Curlew Sandpiper also flew over. The early morning seawatch produced another five Balearic Shearwaters along with two Mediterranean Gulls, four Little Terns, three Black Terns and ten Arctic Skuas

A Grey Seal and four Porpoise were seen offshore and three Brown Hares were seen on the land.

8th Sep

The fresh SW continued and seawatching was again the order of the day. Balearic Shearwaters were the main event again with another 55 birds passing west during the day along with 95 Common Scoters, 1170 Gannets, 36 Ringed Plovers, six Mediterranean Gulls, an excellent total of 1729 Sandwich Terns, five Little Terns, 185 Common Terns, a Black Tern, a Great Skua and 40 Arctic Skuas. Two second-summer Caspian Gulls were seen on the beach.

Five Porpoise and two Grey Seals were feeding offshore.

7th Sep

With a fresh SSW wind blowing most of the days interest was offshore   A 12-hour seawatch produced our second-best ever day total of 106 Balearic Shearwaters passing west along with other highlights including three Manx Shearwaters, a Little Stint and a juvenile Long-tailed Skua while back up was provided by 430 Gannets, 24 Ringed Plovers, five Bar-tailed Godwits, seven Knot, 23 Sanderling, 50 Dunlin, eight Mediterranean Gulls, 1157 Sandwich Terns, three Black Terns, a Great Skua and 35 Arctic Skuas. Large numbers of gulls were also feeding along the tideline and included four Caspian Gulls, two Yellow-legged Gulls, a presumed hybrid Caspian Gull x Herring Gull and a German-ringed Lesser Black-backed Gull. Land bird interest was limited to a steady passage of Sand Martins and Swallows heading out to sea.

Caspian Gull Larus cachinnans   juvenile   Dungeness   7th September 2022

Caspian Gull Larus cachinnans   second-summer   Dungeness   7th September 2022

Presumed Caspian x Herring Gull hybrid   first-winter   Dungeness   7th September 2022

Lesser Black-backed Gull Larus fuscus   second-summer   colour-ringedH049T
Dungeness   7th September 2022

Fourteen Porpoises and three Grey Seals were feeding offshore.

6th Sep

Most of the interest remains offshore in stormy conditions and where 7.5hours of watching produced another 17 Balearic Shearwaters, 465 Gannets, four Bar-tailed Godwits, four Knot, 100 Dunlin, 20 Mediterranean Gulls, a Caspian Gull, five Yellow-legged Gulls, 447 Sandwich Terns and four Arctic Skuas. A Merlin and two Hobbies, 1060 Swallows, 440 House Martins, a Spotted Flycatcher, two Pied Flycatchers, three Whinchats, 27 Yellow Wagtails and three Grey Wagtails were of note on the land.

Balearic Shearwater Puffinus mauretanicus   Dungeness   6th September 2022
A typical, early morning view.

 Eight Porpoises and two Grey Seals were feeding offshore.

5th Sep

Most of the days interest continued to be offshore where over seven hours of watching produced eight Balearic Shearwaters, 32 Dunlin, a first-year Little Gull, 46 Mediterranean Gulls, two first-year Caspian Gulls, two Yellow-legged Gulls, three Black Terns and four Arctic Skuas of note. Of interest on the land were a Hobby, 650 Swallows, 260 House Martins, 12 Willow Warblers, 25 Yellow Wagtails, eight Grey Wagtails and two Tree Pipits.

Gannets Morus bassana    Dungeness   5th September 2022

Mediterranean Gulls Ichthyaetus melanocephalus   Dungeness   5th September 2022

Sandwich Tern Thallaseus sandvicensis   Dungeness   5th September 2022

At least 20 Porpoises and two Grey Seals were feeding offshore.

Grey Seal Halichoerus grypus   Dungeness   5th September 2022

4th Sep

A quieter day in the bushes but plenty of birds moving overhead and also offshore. The most significant birds from the sea were an excellent total of 25 Balearic Shearwaters along with six Mediterranean Gulls, two Black Terns and five Arctic Skuas. Birds passing overhead included an Osprey, a Greenshank, two Hobbies, 175 Sand Martins, 2100 Swallows, 200 House Martins, two Tree Sparrows and 15 Grey Wagtails. Grounded migrants included 25 Willow Warblers, ten Reed Warblers and a Redstart.

Eight Porpoises and two Grey Seals were feeding offshore. A Badger was seen in the Observatory Garden.

A Bloxworth's Snout was the highlight from the moth traps.

Bloxworth's Snout Hypena obsitalis   Dungeness   4th September 2022

Waders continue to provide plenty of interest on the RSPB Reserve where the highlight was a short-staying Temminck's Stint from the Hanson Hide.

3rd Sep

A good day with birds on land, at sea and overhead. Migrants in the bushes included 50 Willow Warblers, 12 Chiffchaffs, 50 Blackcaps, 25 Lesser Whitethroats and ten Whinchats but the highlight was an all-too-brief Hoopoe seen in the evening at the Old Lighthouse. Birds passing overhead included a Honey Buzzard, eight Common Buzzards, a Greenshank, 895 Sand Martins, 2250 Swallows, 125 House Martins, a Tree Sparrow, 60 Yellow Wagtails, 12 Grey Wagtails and four Tree Pipits. Seawatching was slow but with 30 Ringed Plovers, 15 Bar-tailed Godwits and two Mediterranean Gulls of interest.

Four Porpoises were feeding offshore. A Brown Hare was seen on the land.

The moth traps were quite productive with two Vestals, a Cypress Pug, a Shore Wainscot, three Neophopteryx angustella, ten Ancylosis oblitella and a Scrobipalpa ocellatella. A Willow Emerald Damselfly was also seen in the Trapping Area.

An evening search for othoptera proved excellent with 15 Large Coneheads and 15 Sickle-bearing Bush-crickets found and a superb chorus from the Tree Crickets being heard. A Mediterranean Stick-insect in the Observatory Garden was the final goodie of the day.

2nd Sep

The highlight of the day was a Dotterel which flew over the northern end of the Long Pits this morning though sadly it was seen by only one observer. Other migrants of note included a Kingfisher, 300 Sand Martins, 350 Swallows, 25 Willow Warblers, a Spotted Flycatcher, five Whinchats, 25 Yellow Wagtails, two Grey Wagtails and a Tree Pipit. Four Mediterranean Gulls and four Yellow-legged Gulls were feeding offshore in the afternoon.

Sand Martins Riparia riparia   Dungeness   2nd September 2022
A small flock gathered at the Point this evening 

Three Porpoises were seen offshore.

The moth traps were productive with another Convolvulus Hawkmoth, three Vestals, two Bordered Straws and the pyrale Palpita vitrealis.

1st Sep

The month started quietly with a Common Sandpiper and a Kingfisher at the Long Pits and six Mediterranean Gulls and five Arctic Skuas offshore. A Spotted Flycatcher and two Grey Wagtails were the only birds of note on the land. 

Three Porpoises and a Grey Seal were feeding offshore.

Of note from elsewhere was the Pectoral Sandpiper which was still showing at Dengemarsh. 

31st Aug

There was a reasonable arrivals this morning with 70 Willow Warblers, a Sedge Warbler, ten Lesser Whitethroats, 15 Whitethroats, a Pied Flycatcher, two Whinchats, 15 Wheatear, five Tree Sparrows, 15 Yellow Wagtails and a Grey Wagtail. It was very quiet offshore with just a Mediterranean Gull and an Arctic Skua of note.

Two Porpoises and a Grey Seal were seen offshore.

Elsewhere, the Pectoral Sandpiper was seen again at Dengemarsh and a Dotterel was seen on a couple of occasions as it flew over Galloways on the Lydd Ranges in the morning.

30th Aug

It was hard work again on the land with just a Hobby, 280 Sand Martins, 85 Swallows and 25 Willow Warblers of note. Two first-winter Yellow-legged Gulls were seen at the fishing boats and nine Arctic Skuas were seen offshore during the day.

Three Porpoises, two Common Seals and a Grey Seal were feeding offshore.

Four Large Cone-heads (including two brown forms) were seen and a Convolvulus Hawkmoth was found in the Heligoland Trap.

The Pectoral Sandpiper was seen again at Dengemarsh.

29th Aug

A day with fresh NE winds limited birds on the land and the sea remained quiet. A juvenile Caspian Gull and a juvenile Yellow-legged Gull were seen at the boats and five Arctic Skuas and a Black Tern passed through.

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

More nocturnal surveying produced eight Large Cone-heads (one brown form) and just two Sickle-bearing Bush-crickets in the trapping area and a Southern Oak Bush-cricket in the Observatory garden.

Elsewhere, a first-winter Pectoral Sandpiper was seen at Dengemarsh.