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Local weather

Update

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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.