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Local weather

Update

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18th July

A Flying Ant day resulted in hundreds of airborne gulls over the point throughout the day. 80 Mediterranean Gulls were feeding amongst the far more numerous Black-headed Gulls. There was also some visible migration with 300 Sand Martins and six Yellow Wagtails flying over. Three Yellow-legged Gulls were at The Patch.

A Grey Seal and 11 Porpoise were feeding offshore.

17th July

 A quiet day with five juvenile Yellow-legged Gulls at The Patch the only sighting of note.

A Brown Hare was seen on the land and four Porpoise and two Grey Seals were feeding offshore.

A Norfolk Hawker was seen in the Trapping Area.

16th July


Blustery conditions brought an increase of terns and gulls offshore. A Roseate Tern was feeding at The Patch early evening where 11 juvenile Yellow-legged Gulls were also present. The highlight of a short seawatch were two Little Terns.


Roseate Tern Sterna dougallii  The Patch  16th July 2024


Three Porpoise and two Grey Seals were feeding offshore.


15th July

Hirundine numbers increased today with 413 Sand Martins and 45 Swallows passing through along with four Yellow Wagtails.  Eight juvenile Yellow-legged Gulls were feeding offshore.

Two Porpoises and two Grey Seals were seen.

Moth numbers have not been great of late but last night produced 11 Sussex Emeralds and a Brussels Lace of note.

14th July

Visible migration was the main event today with 55 Swifts, three Buzzards, 210 Sand Martins and a Yellow Wagtail over. Four juvenile Yellow-legged Gulls were seen at The Patch.

A Grey Seal was feeding offshore.

Three Norfolk Hawkers were seen in the Trapping Area again.

13th July

A few birds overhead again today including 50 Swifts, 20 Sand Martins and two Yellow Wagtails. At The Patch there were four Mediterranean Gulls and four juvenile Yellow-legged Gulls

Seven Porpoise were feeding offshore and a Common Pipistrelle was flying around the Observatory and 0030 hours.


12th July

Forty Swifts and 50 Sand Martins passed through. Mediterranean Gulls increased to 18 birds and four juvenile Yellow-legged Gulls by the evening 

Five Porpoises and a Grey Seal were also feeding offshore and a Common Pipistrelle was flying around the Observatory in the early hours.

11th July

A Mediterranean Gull and a Yellow-legged Gull were seen at the Patch and 50 Sand Martins and a Yellow Wagtail flew over.

A Grey Seal was seen offshore and a Brown Hare was seen on the land.

Eight Norfolk Hawker dragonflies were seen in the Trapping Area.

10th July

Some overhead movement today with 100 Swifts and 200 Sand Martins passing through. Three Mediterranean Gulls and three (two juveniles) Yellow-legged Gulls were feeding offshore.

Five Porpoises and a Grey Seal were seen offshore.

9th July

Eight Mediterranean Gulls and the first three juvenile Yellow-legged Gulls of the year were seen at the Patch and a Cattle Egret flew over the power station.

Three Porpoises and singles of Grey and Common Seal were seen.

8th July

 Nothing of note was seen.

7th July

A Mediterranean Gull was seen at the Patch and 43 Sand Martins passed through.

A Brown Hare was seen on the land.


6th July

Thirty Swifts flew over as did three Grey Herons and an Arctic Skua was seen offshore.

Two Brown Hares were seen in the Desert.

A Norfolk Hawker dragonfly was seen at the Long Pits.

5th July

Seventeen Swifts overhead were the birds of note.

A Roseate Tern spent a few minutes in view from the Hanson Hide at ARC.

4th July

A Teal was seen on the Long Pits and seven Sand Martins, two House Martins and a Yellow Wagtail flew over.

Five Lunar Hornet Moths and three Norfolk Hawkers were seen at the Long Pits.

3rd July

Five Mediterranean Gulls were feeding at the Patch but very little else was seen.

A Brown Hare was seen on the land.

2nd July

Two Mediterranean Gulls were seen offshore and a Hobby was seen on the land.

Three Norfolk Hawkers were seen in the Trapping Area.

1st July

A big movement of Swifts occurred this afternoon with 1800 birds moving south-east. Two Mediterranean Gulls were seen offshore.

A Grey Seal was feeding offshore.

A Beautiful Marbled was trapped overnight. Another Ornate Shieldbug was found at the Observatory.

30th June

Three Mediterranean Gulls were feeding offshore and two Sand Martins flew over.

Five Porpoises and two Grey Seals were feeding offshore.

A Bright Wave was an excellent find at the Long Pits and a Pine Hawkmoth was trapped overnight.

29th June

The highlight of the day was an Osprey which flew over the area and eventually departed to the north-west.  Seventy Swifts and two Yellow Wagtails flew over and a Snipe was flushed.

Four Grey Seals and two Common Seals were feeding offshore and a Brown Hare was seen in the Desert.

A September Thorn was trapped overnight and was a new species for the Observatory and was the third area record.

Two Norfolk Hawkers were seen in the Trapping Area.

28th June

A breezy morning produced four Mediterranean Gulls and three Manx Shearwaters offshore. Fifty Swifts and 14 Curlews flew over the area.

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

An Ornate Shieldbug was found at the Observatory.


27th June

Forty Swifts and six Sand Martins flew over the area.

Three Porpoises and a Grey Seal were feeding offshore.

Six Norfolk Hawkers were seen in the Trapping Area.

26th June

Two Mediterranean Gulls were feeding offshore and two Yellow Wagtails flew over.

A Porpoise was seen offshore and a Common Pipistrelle was flying around the Observatory in the evening.

Six Norfolk Hawkers were seen in the area and a Holly Blue was seen in the Trapping Area. 

25th June

Eleven Sand Martins passing through were the only birds of note.

A Porpoise and a Grey Seal were feeding offshore.

Three Norfolk Hawkers were seen in the Trapping Area.

24th June

Very quiet with just a Mediterranean Gull of note.

A Brown Hare was seen.

Five Norfolk Hawkers and a Lesser Emperor dragonfly were seen in the Trapping Area. A sweep-netting session produced the shieldbugs Geotomus petiti and Ornate Shieldbug and two nymph Sickle-bearing Bush-crickets.

23rd June

Three Grey Herons, a Sand Martin, two Yellow Wagtails and a Grey Wagtail flew over.

Two Norfolk Hawkers and a Brown Argus butterfly were seen in the Trapping Area. Six Rest Harrow moths were seen at the Long Pits.

22nd June

Very quiet.

A Porpoise and a Grey Seal were feeding offshore.

21st June

A Whimbrel and 100 Swifts passed overhead.

A Beautiful Marbled moth was trapped overnight and an Ornate Shieldbug was found at the Observatory. Firebugs continue to be seen in large numbers. 

20th June

Very quiet.

A Norfolk Hawker was seen in the Trapping Area and an Ornate Shieldbug was found at the Observatory.

19th June

A Little Egret flew over the area.

A Brown Hare was seen in the Desert.

Five Norfolk Hawkers were seen in the Trapping Area.

18th June

Very quiet.

Twelve Porpoise were feeding offshore. 

17th June

A Little Egret, a Buzzard and three Sand Martins flew over the area.

Nine Norfolk Hawkers were seen in the Trapping Area and Long Pits.

16th June

Fewer Manx Shearwaters today but still a very respectable total of 62 being seen during the morning. A Great Skua, five Fulmars and 167 Gannets were also seen.

Two Porpoise and a Grey Seal were seen offshore.

Six Norfolk Hawkers were seen in the Trapping Area and a Lunar Hornet Moth came to a lure.

15th June

The strong wind continued as did the movement of Manx Shearwaters with 145 seen. A Spotted Flycatcher was seen on the land. 

Two Porpoises and a Grey Seal were feeding offshore.

14th June

A strong WxSW wind blew through the night and for much of the day and resulted in a surprisingly good movement of Manx Shearwaters with 298 passing west during the morning. Other bits on the sea included three Mediterranean Gulls and an Arctic Skua of note. Very quiet on the land with just a Cuckoo of interest.

The highlight on the mammal front was a Grey Squirrel seen in the trapping area  More typically, four Porpoise and a Grey Seal were feeding offshore.

Two Norfolk Hawker dragonflies and a Holly Blue butterfly were seen in the Trapping Area.

13th June

A party of Crossbills flew over but went unseen and six Mediterranean Gulls and an adult hybrid Mediterranean Gull x Black-headed Gull were feeding offshore.

A Grey Seal was feeding offshore and a Brown Hare was seen in the Desert.

Three Norfolk Hawkers were seen in the Trapping Area.

On the butterfly front, a Grizzled Skipper was seen along with both Large and Small Skippers.

12th June

A Grey Partridge was seen at the Long Pits while 45 Swifts, two Sand Martins and three Corn Buntings flew over.

A Grey Seal was feeding offshore.

One Scarce Emerald damselfly and three Norfolk Hawkers were seen. 

11th June

Very quiet on the land with just a Lapwing overhead of note.

A Brown Hare was seen in the Desert, three Porpoises were feeding offshore and several families of Foxes can be seen around the area.

Brown Hare Lepus europeaus   Dungeness   11th June 2024

Fox Vulpes vulpes   cub   Dungeness   11th June 2024

On the insect front a couple of Rest Harrow moths were seen during the day and a Scarce Emerald Damselfly and two Norfolk Hawkers were seen again.


10th June

A cloudy, damp morning produced 400 Swifts overhead and a Spotted Flycatcher in the trapping area. A pair of Great Crested Grebes have nested at the Long Pits and now have three young in tow.


Great Crested Grebe Podiceps cristatus   Long Pits   10th June 2024

Two Scarce Emerald Damselflies and three Norfolk Hawkers were seen in the Trapping Area.


Scarce Emerald Damselfly Lestes dryas   female   Dungeness   100624


9th June

A Cuckoo, a Hobby and a Bittern "booming" at the northern end of the recording area were the only birds of note.

Three Grizzled Skippers were seen in the Trapping Area whilst a remarkable five Norfolk Hawkers and an immature male Scarce Emerald Damselfly were of great note. 

Norfolk Hawker Aeshna isoceles   Dungeness   9th June 2024


Scarce Emerald Damselfly Lestes dryas   Dungeness   9th June 2024



8th June

 A Buzzard over the area was the only noteworthy bird to be seen.

7th June

Quiet with just two Mediterranean Gulls offshore and two Buzzards overhead.

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

At least five Norfolk Hawkers were seen around the Trapping Area.


Norfolk (or Green-eyed) Hawkmoth Aeshna isoceles  Dungeness   7th June 2024


6th June

The highlight of the day was another Black Kite which flew north along the beach. Three Egyptian Geese, a Mediterranean Gull and a Hobby also flew over.

Two Porpoises were feeding offshore and a Brown Hare was seen in the Desert.

Three Norfolk Hawkers and a Holly Blue butterfly were seen in the Trapping Area.

5th June

A Hobby flew over.

Three Porpoises were seen offshore and a Brown Hare was seen in the desert.

Two Norfolk Hawker dragonflies were seen. A Grizzled Skipper was also seen.

Norfolk Hawker Aeshna isoceles   Dungeness   5th June 2024


4th June

 Nothing to report on the bird front.

3rd June

Another Black Kite came in from the east in the morning, landed briefly in the Desert and then flew off to the west.

A late but very fresh Grizzled Skipper was seen.

A Golden Oriole was singing at Hookers pit this afternoon/evening.

2nd June

A Black Kite flew around the Point for 40 minutes before heading off to the west. A party of six Mediterranean Gulls flew over.

A Grey Seal was feeding offshore.

The first Black-tailed Skimmers of the year were seen at the Long Pits and a Holly Blue butterfly was seen at the Lighthouse Garden.

1st June

 Very quiet.

31st May

Very little to be seen on a thoroughly miserable day.

The highlight of the day though was outside of the Observatory recording area with two Bee-eaters showing very well for several hours at the ARC Pit.

30th May

A day of increasing cloud and rain saw a massive movement of Swifts with around 3,500 birds moving around the storm clouds. A Little Ringed Plover and 11 House Martins also flew over and there were two Reed Warblers singing from unlikely locations suggesting that they were newly arrived migrants.

Four Porpoises were seen offshore and two Brown Hares were seen in the Desert.

At least 40 Variable Damselflies were seen.

29th May

A very quiet day in the Observatory area with just 32 Swifts and a Hobby of interest.

Two Brown Hares were seen in the Desert.

A new plant for the area was found near the red and white gate in the form of a small clump of    Great Yellow Rattle Rhinanthus angustifolius although it has to be said it looks suspiciously like it has been planted.

Elsewhere, a Bee-eater made a brief appearance at Dengemarsh.

28th May

Extremely quiet. Thirty-three Swifts were the only birds of note.

Two Porpoises and a Grey Seal were feeding offshore.

27th May

The highlight of the day was a Red Kite which flew over the Observatory and then inland and a Spotted Flycatcher was seen at the Long Pits. Two Mediterranean Gulls were feeding at the Patch.


26th May

Still very quiet with just 60 Common Scoters offshore and a Corn Bunting on the land.

Two Porpoises and a Grey Seal were feeding offshore and two Brown Hares were seen in the Desert..

The highlight of the day without doubt though was a Willowherb Hawkmoth caught by Barry Banson on 24th May and hot on the heels of one caught at Folkestone. This is the fifth British record of this spectacular moth.



Willowherb Hawkmoth Proserpinus proserpina   Greatstone   24th May 2024


25th May

 A bright, sunny and calm day but extremely quiet on all fronts.

24th May

Fine weather and virtually devoid of migrants. A Hobby and 18 Swallows flew over while two Sedge Warblers and 15 Corn Buntings were of note on the land.

23rd May

Another very quiet day. Two Egyptian Geese and a Hobby flew over the area and11 Dunlin flew east offshore. A Spotted Flycatcher was seen at the Long Pits.

Four Porpoise were feeding offshore.

A male Orange-tip butterfly was seen in the Trapping Area.

Also of note, a Golden Oriole was singing on the RSPB Reserve at Hookers Pit and was seen on several occasions in the afternoon.

22nd May

A Little Egret, 118 Swallows, a Yellow Wagtail and a Siskin flew over and two Corn Buntings were seen at the Point.

A Water Shrew was seen at the Long Pits.

21st May

Rain for most of the day. The highlight of the day was a singing but very hard to see Marsh Warbler in the garden of Southview Cottage. A bit of overhead passage occurred and included 38 Swifts, a Hobby, 120 Swallows and 41 House Martins.

Eight Porpoise and two Grey Seals were feeding offshore and two Brown Hares were seen in the Desert.

20th May

A Hobby, 50 Swallows and a Yellow Wagtail flew over and a flock of 50 Corn Buntings were feeding around the Point and Desert.

Three Brown Hares were seen in the Desert.

The afternoon was spent building a new trap with Wes Attridge who brought it down in to us in an IKEA style flatpack design ready for reassembling on site. All it needs now is some extra wood preserver and netting. The trap has always been known as a Crow Trap but crows are far to clever and hardly ever get caught in it. I have tried to adopt a new name of Wheatear Trap but so far it hasn't really stuck.


Huge thanks to Wes for his brilliant construction.


19th May

Very little to report with just four Egyptian Geese and three Yellow Wagtails overhead and 60 Corn Buntings around the Point.

A Barred Red moth was a very unusual record for the Observatory.

Elsewhere, a super male Woodchat Shrike was found near Hooker's Pit in the afternoon and then watched until dark.

18th May

A Hobby flew over and two Spotted Flycatchers were seen in the bushes but the lack of common migrants is really starting to look very concerning. On the positive side the numerous pairs of Stonechats are now churning out lots of young birds.

A Brown Hare was seen in the Desert.

Two Holly Blue butterflies were seen.

17th May

Three Buzzards and a Yellow Wagtail flew over but grounded migrants were virtually non-existent yet again. A Black-throated Diver flew east offshore.

A bat trapping session at the Long Pits in the evening produced a male Nathusius's Pipistrelle which was subsequently Motus-tagged and also three Soprano Pipistrelles while a Noctule Bat flew over.

16th May

Rain for most of the day hampered observations but it was clear that very little in the way of migrants had arrived.

Two Brown Hares were seen on the land. 

15th May

Another day of decent conditions but very few migrants to be seen. Seawatching produced just seven Mediterranean Gulls and six Arctic Skuas. The Melodious Warbler from yesterday showed much better around the Moat in the dry and sunny conditions but the most intriguing report was of a female Cirl Bunting seen briefly and photographed at the Point. Whilst searching for this bird a flock of 15 Corn Buntings were also found.


Melodious Warbler Hippolais polyglotta    Dungeness   15th May 2024 (by Tom Wright)

A Porpoise and a Grey Seal were seen offshore and a Brown Hare was seen in the Desert.

Butterflies of note included a Grizzled Skipper and two Holly Blues.

14th May

A day of almost continuous light rain and light SE winds. Migrants remained very scarce on the land despite the conditions so an elusive Melodious Warbler in the Moat was a nice surprise. A Cuckoo, a Hobby, two Willow Warblers and a Garden Warbler were about the only other migrants to be seen. Seawatching was slow-going with just 107 Common Scoters, two Mediterranean Gulls, 41 Common Terns, an Arctic Skua and two Black-throated Divers of note.

Cuckoo Cuculus canorus   Dungeness   14th May 2024   (Tom Wright)

Five Brown Hares were seen.

13th May

Virtually the only migrant to be seen was a Bee-eater which spent a couple of  hours feeding from overhead wires along the road during the morning. A Firecrest was also seen.

Bee-eater Merops apiaster   Dungeness   13th May 2024   (Tom Wright)

Two Porpoises and a Grey Seal were feeding offshore.

12th May

A similar day to yesterday with a trickle of birds passing offshore but very quiet on the land. Birds seen offshore included 40 Brent Geese, five Whimbrel, five Sanderling, a Little Tern, 42 Common Tern, 32 Arctic Terns, eight Pomarine Skuas and four Arctic Skuas. A handful of birds on the land included a Cuckoo, a Common Sandpiper, two Willow Warblers and five Yellow Wagtails.

Three Porpoises and two Grey Seals were seen offshore.

Four Grizzled Skippers were seen.

11th May

Most of the interest was offshore today but hazy conditions made things quite difficult with a Velvet Scoter, 124 Whimbrel, eight Bar-tailed Godwits, 20 Sanderling, two Mediterranean Gulls, six Arctic Skuas and the highlight of 11 Pomarine Skuas. Very quiet on the land.

Four Porpoises and a Grey Seal were feeding offshore. 

10th May

Extremely quiet. A Redstart in the Desert, a Garden Warbler in the power station grounds and a Little Ringed Plover overhead were about the only birds of note.

The first Brown Argus butterfly of the year was seen at the Long Pits.

9th May

A brief Serin flew around the Point this morning otherwise it was quiet with just two Egyptian Geese, three Whimbrel and a singing Redshank. The seawatching was equally poor with over four hours of observation producing hardly anything of any interest.

Seven Porpoise and a Grey Seal were feeding offshore.

An Ornate Shieldbug was also found.

8th May

A return to "normality" with very little to be seen today. Seawatching produced just five Shelducks, two Shovelers, three Grey Plovers, 209 Whimbrels and eight Sanderlings of any interest. Hardly a migrant to be seen on the land.

Five Porpoise and two Grey Seals were feeding offshore.

7th May

After several days with little migration on the land there was an unexpected flurry of activity today with the highlight of a Melodious Warbler caught in the Moat. Also of note were a Little Ringed Plover, two Common Sandpipers, 28 Swallows, 25 Willow Warblers, five Garden Warblers, the first four Spotted Flycatchers of the spring while seven Yellow Wagtails, two Tree Pipits, three Redpolls and a Serin flew over the area. 

Melodious Warbler Hippolais polyglotta   Dungeness   7th May 2024


Spotted Flycatcher Muscicapa striata   Dungeness   7th May 2024

The sea was also quiet with just 58 Knot and two Black Terns of note.

A Brown Hare was seen on the land and eight Porpoises and two Grey Seals were feeding offshore.


6th May

With a light NNE breeze and rain for most of the day the sea was the best place to be w here the obvious highlight for two observers was an adult Whiskered Tern which flew east along the beach. Most of the other interest offshore involved mainly terns including 59 Little Terns, two Roseate Terns, 1500 Common Terns, 603 Arctic Terns and 14 Black Terns. Other bits and pieces included six Shovelers, three Gadwall and two Pintails, a Coot, 11 Grey Plovers and two Golden Plovers, a Little Ringed Plover, 19 Knot, 69 Sanderlings, five Mediterranean Gulls, only two Arctic Skuas and three Manx Shearwaters. A first-summer Caspian Gull and a third-summer Yellow-legged Gull were was also seen on the beach and a Common Sandpiper was seen at the Long Pits. .

Three Porpoises and two Grey Seals were feeding offshore.

5th May

Light SE winds encouraged a small movement of birds offshore and over nine hours of seawatching. The highlights were a Tufted Duck, three Grey Plover, 30 Whimbrel, 103 Bar-tailed Godwits, 58 Knot, seven Sanderling, six Little Terns, 720 Common Terns, 463 Arctic Terns, nine Pomarine Skuas and 12 Arctic Skuas. Very little to be seen on the land.

Very quiet on the land.

At least ten Porpoises, two Grey Seals and a Common Seal were feeding offshore and three Brown Hares were seen on the land.

4th May

A bright and sunny day with a light SSW breeze resulted in a mere trickle of migrants on the land although a flock of 23 Buzzards was particularly noteworthy. Other bits from the land included 21 Swallows, a Whinchat, four Yellow Wagtails and singles of Redpoll and Siskin. Despite the conditions the sea was disappointing with 7.25hrs of watching producing just 219 Common Scoters, two Avocets, 33 Whimbrel, 81 Bar-tailed Godwits, five Little Terns, a Black Tern, a Pomarine Skua and five Arctic Skuas.

Fifteen Porpoises and singles of Common and Grey Seals were feeding offshore.

A few butterflies were on the wing with two Brimstones and an aberrant Small Coppers (probably radiata) of interest. 


Small Copper Lycaena phlaeas abb radiata   Dungeness   4th May 2024


3rd May

A Red Kite over the area was the best on offer on the land while 5.5hrs of seawatching produced nine Whimbrel, nine Arctic Skuas, a Black-throated Diver and four Manx Shearwaters of note.

Four Porpoises and a Grey Seal were feeding offshore.

2nd May

Flat calm, cloudy and misty all day and seemingly perfect for a few birds to arrive on the land and pass through on the sea. Sadly, it wasn't to be with the bushes virtually devoid of any new migrants and barely anything moving offshore. 

1st May

Very few grounded migrants but a few birds passed overhead including five Lapwings, an Osprey, five Buzzards and the first Tree Pipit of the spring. It was also slow offshore with just 25 Whimbrel, four Little Gulls, 20 Little Terns, 75 Arctic Terns, a Black Tern, a flock of four Pomarine Skuas at 1740hrs and seven Arctic Skuas.

The first warm weather for some time resulted in an emergence of dragonflies with three Downy Emeralds and 40 Variable Damselflies of note.

30th Apr

A slow day with 5.5hrs of seawatching eventually producing  405 Common Scoters, 128 Oystercatchers, 19 Whimbrel, four Mediterranean Gulls, 191 Sandwich Terns, two Little Terns, three Great Skuas, four Pomarine Skuas and nine Arctic Skuas. A male Hen Harrier also flew out to sea. Virtually birdless on the land.

29th Apr

Over six hours of seawatching produced 323 Common Scoters, 34 Whimbrel, 25 Sanderling, 93 Kittiwakes, two Mediterranean Gulls, 260 Sandwich Terns, three Little Terns, 85 Arctic Terns, three Great Skuas, a Pomarine Skua, 22 Arctic Skuas and two Black-throated Divers of note. There was a small arrival of birds on the land with 13 Willow Warblers, 18 Lesser Whitethroats, a Whinchat, 30 Wheatears and ten Yellow Wagtails.

Eight Porpoises and two Grey Seals were feeding offshore.

An improvement in the weather saw a few butterflies on the wing including the first Grizzled Skippers of the spring.

A search for shieldbugs produced three Rhomboid Shieldbugs and a Pied Shieldbug in front of the Observatory.

Elsewhere, a Hooded Crow made a brief appearance at Cook's Poll on the RSPB Reserve.

28th Apr

Hopes were high for a continuation of yesterdays massive movement of birds offshore but it wasn't to be. Despite seemingly ideal conditions nearly seven hours of watching produced just two Pintails, seven Knot, three Little Gulls, two Mediterranean Gulls, 201 Sandwich Terns, eight Little Terns (west), 35 Arctic Terns, six Great Skuas, three Pomarine Skuas, 11 Arctic Skuas, 106 Fulmars, two Manx Shearwaters (west) and 558 Gannets. It was also very quiet on the land with just two Ring Ouzels and 20 Wheatears of interest.

27th Apr

The flood gates finally opened offshore with a monster movement of mainly terns. An 11hr seawatch produced 397 Brent Geese, six Shelduck, two Pintails, a Velvet Scoter, 816 Common Scoters, four Red-breasted Mergansers, two Avocets, three Grey Plover,12 Knot, 11 Sanderling, nine Dunlin, 97 Whimbrel, 297 Bar-tailed Godwits, 45 Little Gulls, 389 Sandwich Terns, an excellent total of 154 Little Terns, a huge 16,330 Common/commic Terns, 3137 Arctic Terns, 48 Back Terns, two Great Skuas, 51 Arctic Skuas, seven Pomarine Skuas, a Black-throated Diver, 12 Fulmars, four Manx Shearwaters and 856 Gannets. On a much smaller scale there was also an arrival on the land with a Swift, a Cuckoo, two Sand Martins, 26 Swallows, 30 Willow Warblers, two Sedge Warblers, a Garden Warbler, 20 Lesser Whitethroats, a Firecrest, three Song Thrushes, a Pied Flycatcher, a Whinchat, 13 Yellow Wagtails, two Redpolls and two Yellowhammers

Pied Flycatcher Ficedula hypoleuca   Dungeness   27th April 2024

Ten Porpoises and a Grey Seal were seen offshore.

26th Apr

A small but varied drop of migrants on the land today resulted in the first Garden Warbler, Grasshopper Warbler and Whinchat of the year along with a Snipe, 20 Swallows, 30 Willow Warblers, a Ring Ouzel, a Redstart and seven Yellow Wagtails. Seawatching was fairly quiet in the morning but improved considerably in the afternoon with final totals of 142 Brent Geese, four Shovelers, three Eider, 523 Common Scoters, 26 Whimbrel, a Purple Sandpiper, 209 Sandwich Terns, 47 Little Terns, 210 Common Terns, 43 Arctic Terns, 1057 "Commic" Terns, the first Black Tern of the year and 11 Arctic Skuas

Four Porpoise and two Grey Seals were feeding offshore.

Spiders do not feature that often on this page but this impressive Segestria florentina was found on the back door frame of the Observatory and appears to be a new species for the area.

Segestria florentina   Dungeness   26th April 2024

On the flora front a small patch of Rue-leaved Saxifrage was found at the Lifeboat Station. It is a previously known location but as far as I can tell has not been seen here since 2000. Close-by the patch of Rock Soapwort was looking superb.

Rock Soapwort Saponaria ocymoides   Dungeness   26th April 2024

Rue-leaved Saxifrage Saxifraga tridactylites   Dungeness   26th April 2024


25th Apr

Nearly all the interest today was offshore where 7.5 hrs of watching producing 275 Brent Geese, a flock of seven Velvet Scoters, 353 Common Scoters, 169 Bar-tailed Godwits, two Mediterranean Gulls, 152 Sandwich Terns, an excellent 32 Little Terns, 11 Arctic Terns, a Great Skua, an Arctic Skua, three Black-throated Divers and 424 Gannets. A Hobby also arrived.

A Grey Seal was seen offshore.

24th Apr

Still pretty slow going with seven hours of seawatching producing 165 Common Scoters, a drake Long-tailed Duck, 162 Sandwich Terns, six Arctic Skuas and 252 Gannets. A Buzzard, three Sand Martins, 27 Swallows and a female Common Redstart were the best that could be found on the land.

Five Porpoises were feeding offshore.

23rd Apr

The highlight of the day was a Cattle Egret which arrived from the south along with 933 Bar-tailed Godwits, a Mediterranean Gull, two Arctic Skuas and 345 Gannets. It was very quiet on the land with a Yellowhammer being about the only notable bird.

Six Porpoises were feeding offshore. 

22nd Apr

A day with some quality but still low on quantity. Seawatching produced nine Whimbrels, 66 Bar-tailed Godwits, 137 Sandwich Terns, the first six Little Terns of the year, two Great Skuas and two Arctic Skuas. Of note on the land were a Red Kite and a Short-eared Owl, 20 Swallows, a Sedge Warbler, seven Lesser Whitethroats and 13 Wheatears.

The Roe Deer was seen at the Long Pits and four Porpoises were feeding offshore.

21st Apr

A trickle of birds passing offshore included four Shelduck, 106 Common Scoters, a Red-breasted Merganser, 54 Bar-tailed Godwits, two Mediterranean Gulls and 108 Sandwich Terns. Very slow on the land with just a Sedge Warbler, six Blackcaps and eight Lesser Whitethroats of note.

20th Apr

Very quiet as the northerly wind continues. Of note from the sea were just 167 Common Scoters, six Whimbrel, 111 Bar-tailed Godwits and 61 Common Terns. The best on the land was just four Blackcaps.

Two Porpoises were feeding offshore.

19th Apr

The cold, brisk NW wind continues and with barely any migration on the land to be seen. Seawatching improved slightly on recent days with 76 Brent Geese, five Shelduck, three Shovelers, 171 Common Scoters, eight Whimbrel, 50 Bar-tailed Godwits and two Mediterranean Gulls of interest.

Four Porpoises and a Grey Seal were feeding offshore. 

18th Apr

There was a noticeable increase in Wheatear numbers with at least 56 birds across the Point along with eight Willow Warblers, nine Lesser Whitethroats and the Ring Ouzel still in the Desert. A Yellow Wagtail, a Redpoll and seven Siskins flew over.

Three Brown Hares were seen in the Desert.

The first dragonflies of the year were seen with an Azure Damselfly and three Hairy Hawkers at the Long Pits.

17th Apr

Another cold day but with a few migrants on the land including the first Cuckoo of the year, 19 Willow Warblers, 17 Lesser Whitethroats, a Ring Ouzel in the Desert and 24 Wheatears scattered across the Point and a Yellow Wagtail and two Siskins overhead. Seawatching continues to be slow going with just three Egyptian Geese, four Red-breasted Mergansers, eight Whimbrels, two Mediterranean Gulls and 26 Common Terns of note.

Two Porpoises and a Grey Seal were feeding offshore.

16th Apr

With a cold, strong north-westerly wind blowing migration was at a virtual standstill. The only birds of any note were five Mediterranean Gulls west offshore and five Willow Warblers, ten Chiffchaffs, seven Lesser Whitethroats and two Siskins on the land.

Four Porpoises were feeding offshore and four Brown Hares were seen in the Desert.

Brown Hares Lepus europaeus   Dungeness   16th April 2024   (Tom Wright)


15th Apr

A difficult day for birding with a severe gale at times restricting most of the observations to the sea. Even here it was very poor with just 51 Oystercatchers, 30 Mediterranean Gulls, 89 Sandwich Terns, 15 Common Terns and two Manx Shearwaters of note. The first Swift of the year came in over the Point and a single Yellow Wagtail also flew over.

One Porpoise was seen offshore. Much more unusual was a Roe Deer reported from the Long Pits by fishermen.

14th Apr

What was presumably yesterdays Purple Heron was flushed from the Long Pits this morning and then made a couple of circuits of the Point before flying high and south-west and out to sea over the Power Station. A small arrival of migrants on the land included 13 Willow Warblers, the first Sedge Warbler of the spring, 13 Lesser Whitethroats, a Ring Ouzel at the north end of the Long Pits, three Yellow Wagtails and five Siskins. A Redshank, a Buzzard, seven Mediterranean Gulls and five Ravens also flew over the area.

Four Porpoises and a Grey Seal were feeding offshore.

13th Apr

Another very quiet day with just a Sand Martin, 13 Willow Warblers, a Yellow Wagtail and five Siskins of interest on the land and seven Garganey, three Mediterranean Gulls, 59 Sandwich Terns and seven Common Terns offshore.

A Porpoise was feeding offshore and a Brown Hare was seen in the Desert.

A Brimstone butterfly was seen on the beach in front of the power station.

Elsewhere, the Hoopoe was showing really well in the dunes at Greatstone again and a Purple Heron was reported from ARC.



Hoopoe Upopa epops   Greatstone   13th April 2024


12th Apr

A fairly quiet day. A handful of migrants on the land included three Redshanks, a Merlin, two Sand Martins, 11 Willow Warblers, our first Reed Warbler of the spring, five Blackcaps, five Lesser Whitethroats and a Redstart. Stonechats are breeding in good numbers with many of the males showing characteristics of the continental race rubicola as in this bird caught today.


Stonechat Saxicola rubicola ssp rubicola   Dungeness   12th April 2024 (Images by Tom Wright)

The sea was very slow with just 51 Sandwich Terns, four Common Terns and an Arctic Skua of interest.

A Porpoise was seen offshore and a Brown Hare was seen on the land.

The highlight of the day though was in the dunes at Greatstone where a Hoopoe showed really well.




Hoopoe Upupa epops   Greatstone Dunes   12th April 2024


11th Apr

Rain at first turning to fog from mid-morning resulted in a decent arrival of migrants with the highlight of five Redstarts along with a Snipe, two Sand Martins, 11 Swallows, 55 Willow Warblers, 21 Blackcaps, four Lesser Whitethroats, 16 Wheatears and 11 Siskins. The Ring Ouzel of recent days was still present at the northern end of the Desert.


Redstarts Phoenicurus phoenicurus   Dungeness   11th April 2024
Images of two birds trapped today.




A Brown Hare was seen.

10th Apr

A fine and calm but ultimately disappointing morning. Grounded migrants were thin on the ground with just 11 Chiffchaffs, five Blackcaps, two Lesser Whitethroats and the long-staying male Ring Ouzel at the northern end of the Desert. Three Siskins flew over and a cock Pheasant was also seen.

9th Apr

Gale-force south-westerly winds and rain made for a difficult day with seawatching producing just two Velvet Scoters, three Mediterranean Gulls, 25 Sandwich Terns and an Arctic Skua. Very slow on the land.

8th Apr

With a fresh SE wind blowing this morning it seemed to be good conditions for a seawatch but unfortunately it proved not be the case. Nevertheless a few bits of interest were seen during 6.5hrs of watching including a Garganey, two Goldeneyes, four Red-breasted Mergansers, 22 Whimbrel, five Mediterranean Gulls, 81 Sandwich Terns, an Arctic Skua, a Black-throated Diver and a Manx Shearwater. On the land the most notable sightings were of three parties of Ravens over the Point totaling 41 birds. A Buzzard, eight Swallows, 12 Siskins and three Corn Buntings also flew over and a small arrival of migrants in the bushes included 14 Willow Warbler and nine Blackcaps. The Ring Ouzel and Redstart were seen again. A very noisy Alexandrine Parakeet was also seen flying around the Point and seen feeding on tree buds in the trapping area.

Eleven Porpoises were feeding offshore. 

7th Apr

There was a small arrival of migrants on the land today with a Ring Ouzel and the first Sand Martin and Whitethroat of the spring of note along with a Little Egret, ten Swallows, two Willow Warblers, 20 Chiffchaffs, four Blackcaps and a Redpoll. The sea was fairly disappointing with 3.5hrs of watching producing just two Little Gulls, 25 Mediterranean Gulls, 142 Sandwich Terns, three Common Terns, an Arctic Skua and a Black-throated Diver of note.


Wheatear Oenanthe oenanthe   and   Whitethroat Sylvia communis   Dungeness   7th April 2024   (images by Tom Wright)