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Local weather


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30th Oct

A quiet day on both land and at sea. A trickle of birds passed overhead including 67 Siskins and a Dartford Warbler, a Firecrest, 14 Goldcrests were seen in the bushes. Two Arctic Skuas and an Arctic Tern were of note offshore.

Moths continue to provide the excitement with a Red-headed Chestnut (second Observatory record of this rare migrant), three Palpita vitrealis, a Vestal, 12 Scarce Bordered Straws and a Cosmopolitan., In a brief spell of better weather another Crimson Speckled was also found. An adult Mediterranean Stick-insect was found this evening.

Red-headed Chestnut Conistra erythrocephala   Dungeness   30th October 2022

29th Oct

Very quiet on the land and passing overhead with just a Dartford Warbler, a Firecrest, three Fieldfares, a Mistle Thrush, two Rock Pipits, 1465 Goldfinches and 45 Siskin of note. Over 3.5 hours of seawatching produced two Gadwall, a Great Northern Diver, 276 Kittiwakes, 125 Mediterranean Gulls, 32 Little Gulls, an Arctic Skua, two Arctic Terns and 797 Razorbills of interest. 

Two Porpoise and a Grey Seal were feeding offshore, a Brown Hare was seen in the Desert and Badger spent much of the evening in the Observatory garden, 

There was little doubt about the highlight of the day though with the finding of a remarkable 12 Crimson Speckled moths during the day and our first record of the rare pyralid Antigastra catalaunalis. Further exciting moths included Caloptilia rufipennellaTuta absoluta (new for the Observatory), nine Palpita vitrealis, two Vestals, nine Scarce Bordered Straws and a Delicate.  A Birch Shieldbug was found on the Observatory wall and two Western Conifer Seed-bug came to the lights.

Crimson Speckled Utetheisa pulchella   Dungeness   29th October 2022

Antigastra catalaunalis   Dungeness   29th October 2022

28th Oct

Just under five hours of seawatching produced six Mediterranean Gulls, 17 Sandwich Terns and the bird of the day in the form of a Puffin passing west. Grounded migrants were few and far between with just four Firecrests of interest but there was a reasonable overhead passage with 25 Swallows, five Rock Pipits, two Bramblings, 30 Redpolls, 1200 Goldfinches and 43 Siskins. A Barn Owl was heard in the evening.

Two Porpoises and a Grey Seal were seen offshore.

An excellent arrival of migrant moths occurred overnight with two Cosmopolitans of great note along with six Olive-tree Pearl Palpita vitrealis, a Box-worm Moth Cydalima perspectalis, a Vestal, a White-speck, three Delicates and a Scarce Bordered Straw. A nymph Mediterranean Stick-insect was found in the Observatory garden.

Cosmopolitan Mythimna loreyi   Dungeness   28th October 2022
Two individuals trapped overnight were the 6th and 7th Observatory records.

27th Oct

Strong southerly winds brough a bit more variety to the seawatching where seven hours of coverage eventually produced a Sooty Shearwater, 630 Kittiwakes,159 Little Gulls, 35 Mediterranean Gulls, 18 Sandwich Terns, an Arctic Tern, nine Arctic Skuas, 1521 Razorbills and the highlight in the form of a Grey Phalarope. Grounded migrants were relatively scarce although three Dartford Warblers, two Firecrests and a Wheatear were of note and passage overhead included two Great White Egrets, 21 Swallows, 470 Starlings, three Rock Pipits, 1060 Goldfinches and 73 Siskins.

Three Porpoises and a Grey Seal were feeding offshore.

Moths provided much of the days excitement with a remarkable total of five Crimson Speckled being found during the day and two Palpita vitrealis, a Vestal, two Scarce Bordered Straws and a White-speck trapped overnight. Six Ornate Shieldbugs and two Forest Bugs were seen from around the Observatory and a Tree Cricket was heard singing at dusk.

Crimson Speckled Utethesia pulchella   Dungeness   27th October 2022
One of the five Crimson Speckled seen in the DBO recording area today.

26th Oct

Very little to be seen on both the land and at sea. The best on the land were two Dartford Warblers, two Firecrests and a Wheatear while ten Little Gulls, three Mediterranean Gulls and six Sandwich Terns flew west offshore.

A Porpoise was feeding offshore, two Brown Hares were seen during the day and a Badger came into the garden again.

Moths in the traps included two Palpita vitrealis, a Delicate and two Scarce Bordered Straws but the highlight was found during the morning with a superb Crimson Speckled. Two Ornate Shieldbugs were still present in front of the Observatory.

Crimson Speckled Utethesia pulchella   Dungeness   26th October 2022

25th Oct

A few birds passed overhead but it was otherwise fairly quiet. Visible migrants included 67 Skylarks, 27 Swallows, three Tree Sparrows, three Rock Pipits, 12 Bramblings, eight Redpolls, 680 Goldfinches and 25 Siskins. Over three hours of seawatching produced just an Eider, 26 Kittiwakes, 34 Little Gulls, 13 Sandwich Terns and 480 Razorbills. A Short-eared Owl was seen in the Desert and 14 Chiffchaffs, three Dartford Warblers and Firecrest were seen in the bushes.

The moth traps produced three Palpita vitrealis and a Scarce Bordered Straw of interest.

24th Oct

Fresh SW winds and frequent heavy rain made things difficult. Most of the interest was offshore where over three hours of watching produced two Balearic Shearwaters, 873 Gannets, a Little Stint, 214 Little Gulls, seven Mediterranean Gulls, 75 Sandwich Terns, an Arctic Tern, two Arctic Skuas and 517 Razorbills. A Hen Harrier and two Short-eared Owls were also seen. Other birds passing overhead included 14 Swallows, 80 "alba" Wagtails, 190 Meadow Pipits, two Rock Pipits, a Brambling, 590 Linnets, 1960 Goldfinches and 19 Siskins. Grounded migrants were almost non-existent.

Two Porpoises and a Grey Seal were seen.

23rd Oct

With strong winds and frequent heavy showers most of the interest was offshore where there was a record-breaking movement of Little Gulls with 1125 birds passing west. Over nine hours of watching also produced a Pintail, three Velvet Scoters, a Great Northern Diver, a Leach's Petrel, a Balearic Shearwater, 178 Mediterranean Gulls, four Great Skuas, a Pomarine Skua, two Puffins and 1475 Razorbills. Three Caspian Gulls were also loafing around the beach and fishing boats.

Coverage of the land was limited but the Yellow-browed Warbler and a Dartford Warbler were seen again during a brief spell of nicer weather and birds passing overhead included 44 Swallows, a Rock Pipit, five Redpolls and 250 Goldfinches.

A Grey Seal and three Porpoises were seen offshore.

The weather overnight was appalling but the moth traps still produced four Palpita vitrealis, a Delicate and two Scarce Bordered Straws. Four Ornate Shieldbugs were also found.

22nd Oct

The highlight on the land was a Yellow-browed Warbler in the trapping area although it was hard to see. Other grounded migrants included ten Chiffchaffs, seven Firecrests and two Wheatears. Birds passing overhead included 34 Skylarks, 25 Swallows, a Tree Sparrow, three Rock Pipits, 20 Redpolls, 500 Goldfinch and 24 Siskins. The sea was quiet but first-winter Caspian and Yellow-legged Gulls were seen on the beach.

Two Porpoises were seen offshore and a Badger came into the garden again this evening.

Despite strong winds the moth traps produced some migrants with our seventh record of Ni Moth and two Palpita vitrealis. A Mediterranean Stick-insect was seen in the garden again.

Ni Moth Trichplusia ni   Dungeness   22nd October 2022

21st Oct

A day of strong winds and some rain. There was a good overhead movement of finches with 16 Redpolls, 5040 Goldfinches and 40 Siskins as well as 100 Skylarks, 30 Swallows, two Tree Sparrows and 260 Meadow Pipits. Grounded migrants included a Short-eared Owl, two Dartford Warblers and four Firecrests. Seawatching produced three Velvet Scoters, a Red-breasted Merganser, five Little Gulls, 17 Mediterranean Gulls, a second-winter Caspian Gull, an Arctic Tern and 1080 Razorbills.

Three Porpoises and a Grey Seal were feeding offshore.

The moth traps were very productive with a Dewick's Plusia of great note along with three Vestals, a Scarce Bordered Straw and 140 Rush Veneers. The undoubted highlight though was a Crimson Speckled found this afternoon near the Sanctuary.

Dewick's Plusia Macdunnoughia confusa   Dungeness   21st October 2022

20th Oct

Grounded migrants were fairly scarce but did include an excellent total of 29 Firecrests and two Dartford Warblers and a late Wheatear were also seen again. There was a decent overhead passing passage which included 73 Skylarks, 24 Swallows, 129 Fieldfares, 240 Redwings, 50 Song Thrushes and five Mistle Thrushes, late Yellow Wagtail and Tree Pipit, 14 Bramblings, 49 Redpolls, 540 Goldfinches and 103 Siskins

Seawatching produced 31 Pintail, 29 Teal, a Scaup and 942 Common Scoters, a Sooty Shearwater, an excellent total of 186 Little Gulls, 11 Mediterranean Gull and five Sandwich Terns.

Singles of Porpoise and Grey Seal were seen offshore, a Brown Hare was seen in the Desert and a Badger made an evening visit to the Observatory garden.

19th Oct

Fresh easterly winds brought a small arrival of migrants on the land with 18 Firecrests and nine Goldcrests of particular note. Limited overhead passage included 29 Fieldfares, 21 Redwings, four Grey Wagtails, five Rock Pipits and six Bramblings. Five hours of seawatching saw 2387 Brent Geese, 180 Wigeon, three Pintail, 27 Teals and 15 Knot passing west and three Goldeneyes and 22 Mediterranean Gulls passing east.

Two Porpoises and a Grey Seal were seen offshore and a Badger was feeding in the Observatory garden this evening.

Two Ornate Shieldbugs and 20 Brassica Bugs were seen in front of the Observatory. Of even greater significance though was the confirmation that a bug occurring in large numbers on a dead Tree Mallow plant in the Observatory garden is Oxycarenus lavaterea and is the first known breeding aggregation to be seen in Britain.

Oxycarenus lavaterea   adults and various nymphal stages   October 2022

18th Oct

The morning was dominated by a decent vizmig with high counts of 160 Skylarks, 20 Redpolls, 145 Goldfinches, 127 Siskins and 20 Reed Buntings and scarcer species in the form of six Tree Sparrows, three Rock Pipits and three Bramblings while grounded migrants included 35 Chiffchaff, five Blackcaps, 21 Goldcrests and 11 Song Thrushes. A Barn Owl has been recorded calling on several nights recently and this morning one was finally seen in the flesh.

Very quiet offshore with just four Mediterranean Gulls, five Sandwich Terns, an Arctic Skua and 47 Razorbills of interest.

Moth trapping produced two Vestals and a Radford's Flame Shoulder from the Observatory but the clear highlight was a Death's-head Hawk-moth caught at Southview Cottage.

17th Oct

A fairly quiet day on both land and sea. Razorbills continue to pass west in good numbers while other bits and pieces included five Teal, two Pintails and four Mediterranean Gulls. The best of a very small passage overhead included a Rock Pipit and 19 Siskins.

Three Porpoises and two Grey Seals were seen offshore.

A Vestal was the best from the moth traps.

16th Oct

Two Great White Egrets and a flock of six Wood Larks flew over the Long Pits and were the highlights of the visible migration along with 115 Skylarks, 430 Swallows, 16 Tree Sparrows, 55 'alba' Wagtails, two Rock Pipits, three Bramblings, 23 Redpolls, 700 Goldfinches, 160 Siskins and 55 Reed Buntings. Grounded migrants included 65 Chiffchaffs, a Firecrest and 12 Goldcrests and two Dartford Warblers were seen again.

Seawatching produced 1047 Gannets, 42 Kittiwakes, five Mediterranean Gulls, 19 Sandwich Terns, a Great Skua and 401 Razorbills.

Two Porpoises and a Grey Seal were feeding offshore.

Shieldbugs continue to provide interest with three Ornate Shieldbugs and lots of Brassica Bugs at the front of the Observatory and a Mottled Shieldbug on the wall of the Railway Cafe.


15th Oct

A quiet day on both land and sea. A trickle of birds passed overhead including 36 Skylarks, three Grey Wagtails, four Rock Pipits and 300 Goldfinches. The first (very late) Ring Ouzel of the autumn made a brief appearance. Three Egyptian Geese flew over the north end of the recording area. Several looks at the sea produced 370 Gannets, a Grey Plover, 13 Bar-tailed Godwits and a Mediterranean Gull.

Two Porpoises and a Grey Seal were seen.

The moth traps were productive with three Vestals, a Gem and a Delicate of note.

Another search for shieldbugs produced four Ornate Shieldbugs and a Forest Bug at the front of the Observatory.

14th Oct

With a fine and clear morning most of the interest involved birds passing overhead including a Wood Lark, 124 Skylarks, 115 Swallows, 343 House Martins, 31 Tree Sparrows, six Grey Wagtails, two Rock Pipits, 214 Chaffinches, 12 Bramblings, 570 Goldfinches, 170 Siskins and 73 Reed Buntings. Grounded migrants were much scarcer but with five Great Spotted Woodpecker, 45 Chiffchaffs, two Dartford Warblers, a Firecrest and 15 Song Thrushes. The sea remains quiet but six Mediterranean Gulls and 209 Razorbills flew west. 

Three Porpoises and a Grey Seal were feeding offshore and a Badger came into the Observatory Garden this evening.

Another Palpita vitrealis and a Red-green Carpet were the best from the moth traps. Six Ornate Shieldbugs were found in front of the observatory.

13th Oct

A miserable day of cloud and rain which produced very little. Three Dartford Warblers were the highlight on the land and 223 Swallows and five Rock Pipits also passed through. The sea was very quiet but three Caspian Gulls made brief appearances at the fishing boats and eight Mediterranean Gulls were feeding offshore in the evening.

Four Porpoises and a Grey Seal were feeding offshore.

The moth traps were surprisingly productive with a Palpita vitrealis, a Clancy's Rustic and a Scarce Bordered Straw of note and a Mediterranean Stick-insect was in the bramble bush next to the trap.

12th Oct

A surprisingly quiet morning with very few grounded migrants, a trickle of birds overhead and virtually nothing of note offshore. Migrants passing overhead included 23 Skylarks, 28 Swallows, 37 "alba" Wagtails, three Rock Pipits, four Bramblings, 750 Goldfinches, eight Siskins and 12 Reed Buntings. while the best of the grounded migrants were just 25 Chiffchaffs, four Blackcaps, a Firecrest and seven Redwings.

Four Porpoises were feeding offshore.

11th Oct

Very quiet in the bushes but a bit passing overhead with 45 Skylarks, 40 Chiffchaffs, four Dartford Warblers, five Firecrests, nine Song Thrushes, nine Bramblings, 30 Siskins, two Corn Buntings and 40 Reed Buntings. A seawatch in the afternoon produced a Scaup, five Velvet Scoters and nine Mediterranean Gulls of note.

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

Four Clouded Yellows, ten Ornate Shieldbugs and two Mottled Shieldbugs were also of note. 

10th Oct

There was a small arrival of migrants before a short spell of heavy rain curtailed activities followed by a brief relocation to Sandwich where a Yellow-browed Bunting had been caught. Of note on the land here were two Yellow-browed Warblers and a Dartford Warbler along with 65 Chiffchaffs, two Firecrests and 13 Song Thrushes while two Rock Pipits, 427 Chaffinches 300 Goldfinches, 90 Siskins and 19 Reed Buntings flew over. Birds moving offshore included 280 Brent Geese, six Eider and a Shag.

A small catch of moths included a Scarce Bordered Straw.

9th Oct

A day of quality rather than quantity with a Yellow-browed Warbler seen briefly the Moat and two Dartford Warblers in the area followed by a superb juvenile Sabine's Gull and a first-winter Caspian Gull offshore at the fishing boats and two Sooty Shearwaters moving west. Goldfinches dominated overhead passage with 1420 seen along with 59 Skylarks, two Sand Martins, 250 Swallows, 410 Starlings and 15 Siskins.

Sabine's Gull Xema sabini   juvenile   Dungeness   9th October 2022

Two Porpoises and a Grey Seal were feeding offshore.

The highlight from the moth traps were two Chestnuts and a Scarce Bordered Straw.

8th Oct

A fairly quiet day but with the highlight of four Dartford Warblers in the area along with 90 Chiffchaffs, 12 Blackcaps and three Redwings. In addition, nine Stock and four Collared Doves, four Great Spotted Woodpeckers. five Grey Wagtails, 50 Chaffinches, two Bramblings, 200 Goldfinches, 23 Siskins and 40 Reed Buntings flew overhead.

Four Porpoises and a Grey Seal were feeding offshore and a Badger came into the garden this evening.

Fire Bugs and Ornate Shieldbugs continue to be seen around the Observatory in good numbers. 

7th Oct

Most of the interest was offshore but even here the numbers were low. Over six hours of watching produced five Balearic Shearwaters, five Sooty Shearwaters, 80 Sandwich Terns, three Arctic Skuas and 241 Razorbills passing through and four Caspian Gulls and two Yellow-legged Gulls around the beach. Finches moved through in decent numbers with 850 Linnets, 1350 Goldfinches and six Siskins along with 450 Swallows, 66 Pied Wagtails and a Rock Pipit.

Three Porpoises and a Grey Seal were feeding offshore.

6th Oct

No question about today's highlight with a super Red-breasted Flycatcher found in the moat in the early afternoon and which then gave excellent views until dark. Other migrants were pretty scarce with just two Golden Plovers, a Snipe, 65 Skylarks, 400 Swallows, 165 House Martins, two Rock Pipits, 18 Chaffinches, 260 Goldfinches, 35 Siskins and 45 Reed Buntings overhead and just 15 Chiffchaffs and a late Wheatear on the land.

Red-breasted Flycatcher Ficedula parva   Dungeness   6th October 2022

Three Porpoises were feeding offshore. 

5th Oct

A fairly quiet day with seawatching producing three Balearic Shearwaters, 681 Gannets, three Caspian Gulls, 195 Sandwich Terns, 19 Arctic Skuas and 89 Razorbills of note. A Hobby, 2210 Swallows and 220 House Martins flew out to sea. Three Firecrests were seen in the bushes.

4th Oct

Most of today's recording involved looking at the sea in fresh southerly winds though it was generally disappointing with just 112 Brent Geese, a Pintail, two Balearic Shearwaters, two Ruff, a Little Gull and five Arctic Skuas. A first-winter Caspian Gull was seen at the fishing boats where a Hobby also went out to sea. There was a large movement of hirundines with 6900 Swallows and 1090 House Martins moving through. 

Black-headed Gull Larus ridibundus   Dungeness   4th October 2022
Our regular Polish-ringed bird.

Caspian Gull Larus cachinnans   first-winetr   Dungeness   4th October 2022

Five Porpoises and two Great Seals were feeding offshore.

Five Ornate Shieldbugs were found in a brief search this morning.

3rd Oct

There was another considerable drop of Chiffchaffs this morning with 120 seen and also a Siberian Chiffchaff trapped along with 15 Blackcaps, four Firecrests, a Mistle Thrush and a Spotted Flycatcher. Large numbers of hirundines passed through with 3050 Swallows and 2500 House Martins counted as well as a Yellow Wagtail, ten Grey Wagtails, four Rock Pipits, two Bramblings, three Redpolls, 322 Goldfinches, six Siskins and 28 Reed Buntings. Ringing ceased as the wind increased and attention turned to the sea in the afternoon where 812 Brent Geese, 46 Common Scoters, a Little Gull and five Arctic Skuas were seen and two first-winter Caspian Gulls were on the beach.

Siberian Chiffchaff Phylloscopus tristis   Dungeness   3rd October 2022

A Porpoise and a Grey Seal were feeding offshore and a Weasel was seen on the land.

A check for insects around the Observatory produced 20 Ornate Shieldbugs and also a Bee-wolf which is only my second sighting in the Observatory recording area.

Bee-wolf Philanthus triangulum   Dungeness   3rd October 2022

2nd Oct

A Dotterel which flew over the Trapping Area during the morning was the highlight of the day. Other bits and pieces of note were a Hobby, 2500 Swallows, 35 Chiffchaffs, a Dartford Warbler a Wheatear and a Tree Pipit.

Shieldbugs provided plenty of interest with 21 Ornate Shieldbugs, 87 Brassica Bugs and a Mottled Bug of interest. 

Mottled Shieldbug Rhaphigaster nebulosa   Dungeness   2nd October 2022

1st Oct

A Yellow-browed Warbler was heard but not seen in the Trapping Area this morning although the strong westerly wind made further observations difficult. The only other grounded migrants appeared to be a few Chiffchaffs and a Spotted Flycatcher. A Greenshank, 720 Swallows, 800 House Martins, three Grey Wagtails and six Rock Pipits flew over the area. There was little of interest offshore other than 1154 Gannets west during the day and a first-winter Caspian Gull on the beach.

Two Porpoise and a Grey Seal were feeding offshore.

Six Ornate Shieldbugs were found in front of the Observatory and a Green Shieldbug was found at the north end of the recording area.

30th Sep

A fine morning produced another large arrival of Chiffchaffs with at least 120 in the area along with 15 Blackcaps, a Firecrest, 12 Song Thrushes, a Pied Flycatcher in the Moat, a Yellow Wagtail, six Grey Wagtails, a Brambling, eight Siskins and 30 Reed Buntings. Around 22 Sand Martins, 900 Swallows and 200 House Martins were also feeding over the Point.

As the weather deteriorated this afternoon 105 Brent Geese and 760 Gannets flew west and a Little Gull, three first-winter Caspian Gulls and five Yellow-legged Gulls were seen on the beach.

Two Ornate Shieldbugs were found at the Observatory.

29th Sep

Chiffchaffs continue to pass through n large numbers along with smaller numbers of Blackcaps and Reed Buntings and a Dartford Warbler, a Firecrest, a Wheatear, 15 Grey Wagtails, a Yellow Wagtail, two Rock Pipits and a Brambling, two Redpolls and six Siskins. Swallows arrived in good numbers this evening with 500 feeding over the Point.

28th Sep

There was a small arrival of Chiffchaffs and Reed Buntings on the land along with two Firecrests and a Wheatear. A trickle of migrants also passed overhead including three Buzzards, two Tree Sparrows, nine Grey Wagtails, three Rock Pipits and five Siskins. A Caspian Gull was seen on the beach.

Another two Harvest Mice were caught at the Long Pits and two Porpoises and a Grey Seal were seen offshore.

The fine weather brought out a few interesting insects with hundreds of Fire Bugs in the Observatory garden and eight Ornate Shieldbugs (including a nymph) and ten Brassica Bugs. in the rough ground in front of the Observatory.

Fire Bugs Pyrrhocoris apterus   Dungeness   28th September 2022

Ornate Shieldbugs Eurydema ornata   nymph and adult   Dungeness   28th September 2022

A couple of flowering plants of Vervain were also found.