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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 May

No real change in the weather. Seawatching produced nine Grey Plover, 18 Sanderling, a Knot, 80 Kittiwakes, two Mediterranean Gulls, 180 Common Terns, two Black Terns and five Fulmars.

Three Porpoises and three Grey Seals were seen offshore.

Three Brown Argus and a Grizzled Skipper were seen.

30th May

And so it goes on and on and on with a near-gale, cold NE wind for most of the day. Seawatching produced just six Grey Plovers, a Little Ringed Plover, five Sanderlings, 44 Kittiwakes, four Mediterranean Gulls, 62 Common Terns, a flock of five Black Terns and nine Swifts.

Two Porpoises and three Grey Seals were feeding offshore.

29th May

When will this wind drop?. It is making observations on the land very difficult but there was a trickle of birds on the sea. Over 3.5hrs of watching produced nine Grey Plovers, seven Sanderlings, 11 Mediterranean Gulls and a Manx Shearwater of note.

Two Porpoises and a Grey Seal were feeding offshore.

28th May

A reasonably calm morning for a change but wind increasing rapidly to near-gale by the evening. Seawatching remains surprisingly productive with nearly five hours of coverage bringing 110 Common Scoters, ten Mediterranean Gulls, 406 Common/ic Terns, 17 Arctic Terns, an Arctic Skua and a Black-throated Diver of note. Two Buzzards flew over the Observatory.

Six Porpoises and a Grey Seal were feeding offshore.

Insects also remain fairly sparse but two Grizzled Skippers and two Brown Argus were of note as was this Ornate Brigadier - a fairly scarce soldierfly.

Ornate Brigadier Odontomyia ornata   Dungeness   28th March 2023

27th May

The strong NE winds continue and limit most of the observations to the sea. Todays minor highlights were 13 Shovelers, eight Knot, nine Sanderling, 16 Mediterranean Gulls and 92 Common Terns.

Six Porpoises and two Grey Seals were feeding offshore.

Butterflies remain in short supply but two Brown Argus were seen.

26th May

Another day of strong, cold NE winds. A seawatch this morning produced a Little Ringed Plover, 18 Mediterranean Gulls, eight Black Terns and an Arctic Skua of note. There was little sign of any movement on the land.

Six Porpoises and three Grey Seals were feeding offshore.

Butterflies were restricted to spots sheltered from the wind with a Grizzled Skipper and four Brown Argus of note. Five Variable Damselflies were also seen.

25th May

 Unbelievably quiet with just a Cuckoo at the Long Pits of note.

24th May

Very little to report except for a Black-tailed Godwit heading over the trapping area and towards the Point in the evening.

Three Grey Seals were seen offshore.

A Grizzled Skipper, three Brown Argus, a Denticulate Shieldbug and a Mottled Shieldbug were of note on the insect front.

Brown Argus Aricia agestis   Dungeness   24th May 2023

Mottled Shieldbug Rhaphigaster nebulosa   Dungeness   24th May 2023

23rd May

Two Red Kites flew down to the Point before heading inland again this morning and a Little Ringed Plover also flew over. Two Mediterranean Gulls and a Manx Shearwater were the best of some very quiet seawatching.

Five Porpoises and two Grey Seals were feeding offshore.

A female Orange-tip in the Trapping Area was an uncommon sighting for the area along with a Grizzled Skipper and three Brown Argus

Orange-tip Anthocharis cardamines   Dungeness   23rd May 2023
A very scarce species in the Observatory recording area.

22nd May

There was a surprising late movement of terns with the highlight of a White-winged Black Tern in the morning and 16 Little Terns and four Black Terns later in the day. A few waders were also on the move including four Greenshanks of note. It remains very slow on the land for common migrants but a Bee-eater made a brief appearance over the Point.

Eight Porpoises and a Grey Seal were feeding offshore.

21st May

Still very quiet. A couple of Siskin flew over the Trapping Area.

A Grizzled Skipper was seen.

20th May

It remains very quiet with just 18 Swallows of note. 

A search for insects produced a Denticulate Leatherbug, five Brassica Bugs and two Brown Argus in front of the Observatory of interest.

Elsewhere, the Purple Heron was seen again on the RSPB reserve (but very elusive) and along with a Honey Buzzard in the afternoon.

19th May

Very little to be seen on the bird front.

Insects provided some interest with a Grizzled Skipper and a Holly Blue of note although butterfly numbers in general remain very low. A search of the ground in front of the Observatory produced two Ornate Shieldbugs.

Ornate Shieldbug Eurydema ornata   Dungeness   19th May 2023 

18th May

Very quiet yet again. Two drake Eiders were the best from the sea but barely a hint of a migrant on the land.

Six Porpoises and a Grey Seal were feeding offshore.

A Holly Blue, a Brown Argus and two Grizzled Skippers were of note among the very few butterflies to be seen.

Elsewhere, a Purple Heron was seen at Dengemarsh but was generally elusive.

17th May

It remains very quiet on both land and sea. A Corn Bunting was probably the "highlight".

Eight Porpoise and two Grey Seals were seen.

Elsewhere, a party of four Black-winged Stilts on the RSPB Reserve were a superb sight.

Black-winged Stilts Himantopus himantopus  Dungeness RSPB   17th May 2023

16th May

Another quiet day. An Arctic Skua passed through during the morning and two Egyptian Geese flew around the Point in the evening. A Budgerigar was also seen and continuing the recent run of parrots in the area.

Eleven Porpoise and three Grey Seals were feeding offshore.

15th May

A Cuckoo, two Yellow Wagtails and the first Spotted Flycatcher of the spring were the only birds of note.

Spotted Flycatcher Muscicapa striata   Dungeness   15th May 2023

Three Porpoise were feeding offshore.

14th May

Still disappointing with the continuing cool NW wind. A Little Ringed Plover flew over the area and a Common Sandpiper was seen at the Long Pits. At sea, five Sanderlings, 12 Whimbrel and two Mediterranean Gulls flew through.

Four Porpoises and a Grey Seal were feeding offshore.

A Grizzled Skipper and the first Common Blue butterfly of the year were seen.

At least 20 Variable Damselflies were found at the Long Pits.

13th May

Still quiet in fresh NW winds. The best of the seawatching were just a Red-breasted Merganser and three Arctic Skuas and 30 Sandwich Terns also feeding offshore. The only migrants of note on the land were three House Martins.

Six Porpoises and a Grey Seal were feeding offshore.

Highlights among the insects included a male Red-veined Darter and a Green Tiger Beetle in front of the power station and two of the very rare shieldbug Geotomus petiti were found in the Moat

12th May

Coverage was limited to some extent by poor weather but there appeared to be very little around. A breeding bird survey in the restricted power station area produced a minor surprise in the form of a Turtle Dove but the overall impression was of much reduced breeding numbers. A brief check of the sea in the afternoon revealed a feeding flock of 80 Common Terns and three Arctic Terns.

One Porpoise was feeding offshore.

11th May

Another day which was virtually devoid of migrants. The only birds of note were two Buzzards, a Ring-necked Parakeet and a few Swallows passing through.

Four Porpoises and a Grey Seal were feeding offshore.

In the fine conditions the insects on view improved with three Downy Emerald dragonflies of particular note. Two were freshly emerged from the Long Pits and thus breeding was confirmed. Other dragonflies seen today included Four-spotted Chasers, several Hairy Hawkers and a few Variable Damselflies. Singles of Grizzled Skipper and Brown Argus were also seen. 

10th May

There was a bit of movement offshore and overhead but grounded migrants remain in incredibly short supply. Over five hours of seawatching produced 118 Common Scoters, a Red-breasted Merganser, two Mediterranean Gulls, 19 Manx Shearwaters and a Hobby of note. Two Egyptian Geese flew around the Long Pits, a Honey Buzzard flew north over the area at 1040hrs and 110 Swallows moved through during the day. A Whinchat in the Moat this morning was also of note.

Two Porpoises and a Grey Seal were seen offshore.

The most exciting find of the day though was a group of four Green-winged Orchids flowering in the restricted area inside the Power Station perimeter fences. As far as I can tell the only previous record of this species in the area was in 1961.

Green-winged Orchids Anacamptis morio   Dungeness   10th May 2023 

9th May

Very quiet. A Garden Warbler was caught in the Moat and two Arctic Skuas offshore were the only birds of note.

One Porpoise was feeding offshore.

8th May

Still very quiet. A Mediterranean Gull and two Arctic Skuas were the best to be seen offshore. Passage migrants on the land were virtually non-existent.

Two Porpoises and a Grey Seal were feeding offshore.

7th May

Calm and cloudy again this morning but still barely any migrants to be seen. Just one Arctic Skua was of note offshore.

Eight Porpoises and two Grey Seals were feeding offshore.

A Variable Damselfly and a few Red-eyed Damselflies were seen at the Long Pits. A Geotomus petiti shieldbug was found in the Moat.

6th May

Calm and overcast conditions this morning seemed to promise much but actually delivered very little. The morning seawatch saw just a Great Skua, a Pomarine Skua and three Arctic Skuas of note while a Turtle Dove and a Firecrest were of note on the land.

Singles of Porpoise and Grey Seal were feeding offshore.

5th May

The clear highlight of the day was a Short-toed Treecreeper in the garden of Southview Cottage. It was very elusive during the morning but eventually showed very well in the late afternoon/evening. Migrants on the land were otherwise much the same as in recent days with a few Swallows passing through and a handful of Lesser Whitethroats and just four Willow Warblers in the bushes. Seawatching was also quieter today but still produced five Pomarine Skuas along with singles of Velvet Scoter, Black Tern, Great Skua and Black-throated Diver and three Manx Shearwaters of note.

Short-toed Treecreeper Certhia brachydactyla   Dungeness   5th May 2023

Two Porpoises and a Grey Seal were feeding offshore.

A Brimstone butterfly was an unusual record whilst there was a significant arrival of Painted Lady's, Red Admirals and Silver Y's during the day.

4th May

All eyes were on the sea today where 12.5hrs of coverage was achieved. The obvious highlights were an excellent total of 54 Pomarine Skuas along with 14 Velvet Scoters, a party of four Avocets, 124 Knot, six Little Terns, 23 Arctic Skuas and a Black-throated Diver. A good variety of other species were seen including 111 Brent Geese, six Shovelers, three Gadwall, three Pintail, ten Teal, 427 Common Scoters, nine Red-breasted Mergansers, 43 Grey Plover, 48 Ringed Plovers, 82 Whimbrel and a Black Tern. Terns in general remain in remarkably short supply though. Four Swifts and 36 Swallows came in and a Whinchat was seen around the Old Lighthouse.

Six Porpoises and a Grey Seal were feeding offshore.

3rd May

Another cold and windy day with just a trickle of birds east offshore but very little on the land. Several watches during the day totaling 5.5hrs produced just 12 Shelduck, 15 Shoveler, six Teal, 32 Whimbrel and two Black-throated Diver of note. A Little Ringed Plover and a Greenshank flew over the area and ten Lesser Whitethroats were seen in the bushes.

Two Porpoises were feeding offshore.

2nd May

A very quiet day. Over 4.5hrs of seawatching produced just three Red-breasted Mergansers, 40 Whimbrel, 108 Bar-tailed Godwits and two Arctic Skuas of note. Very quiet on the land.

A Porpoise was seen offshore.

1st May

A small arrival of migrants occurred this morning but with just ten Willow Warblers, five Lesser Whitethroats, a Whinchat, two Yellow Wagtails and a Redpoll of note. Seawatching was very poor. 

A Porpoise was seen offshore.

A  search of the Moat eventually produced one of our rarest shieldbugs - Geotomus petiti.

Geotomus petiti   Dungeness   1st May 2023

30th Apr

Most of the interest today was offshore where birds were passing throughout the day but with a noticeable increase in numbers in the evening. Eight hours of watching produced 2 Whimbrel, two Knot, nine Little Terns, 64 Arctic Terns, four Black Terns, a Great Skua, four Pomarine Skuas and 22 Arctic Skuas and a Black-throated DiverA second-winter Yellow-legged Gull was also feeding at the fishing boats. A White Stork flew over the Point again but grounded migrants were pretty scarce. 

Two Porpoises were seen offshore.

Elsewhere, two superb Black-winged Stilts were feeding in the flooded hayfields at Dengemarsh.

Black-winged Stilts Himantopus himantopus   Dengemarsh, RSPB   30th April 2023

29th Apr

With a very light SW wind and overcast skies this morning there was first small arrival of migrants in what seems like ages. At least 30 Willow Warblers, six Chiffchaffs, 15 Blackcaps, two Garden Warblers, six Lesser Whitethroats and a Redstart were scattered across the Point. There was also some significant passage overhead with a White Stork (of unknown origin but likely to be a Knepp bird) along with at least 16 Buzzards, 30 Swallows, a Yellow Wagtail and a Siskin. A Hooded Crow was also seen on the beach. Passage offshore was fairly limited but did include seven Whimbrel, three Arctic Skuas and a Black-throated Diver.

The rare beetle Hister quadrimaculata was found in the Moat.

Hister quadrimaculata   Dungeness   29th April 2023