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Corona Virus Update

We are very pleased to be accepting booking at the Observatory. In order to keep staff and visitors as safe as possible, we will be requesting that you take a Lateral Flow Test (provided) before you first come in. The hides will be open for 'Friends of DBOT'. However, we would request that you continue to observe safe practises and sanitiser and spray will continue to be provided to clean down the handles and closures in the hide after you have used it.

Please forward any Dungeness recording area records to the Warden.
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16th Sep

At long last there was a nice arrival of Chiffchaffs this morning along with a few Blackcaps although admittedly not a great deal else in the bushes. Birds passing overhead included two Marsh Harriers which flew over the Observatory and out at the Point shortly after first light, 750 House Martins, 200 Swallows, a Tree Sparrow, ten Yellow Wagtails, four Grey Wagtails and two Tree Pipits. There was very little movement offshore but six Arctic Skuas continued to pester the feeding Sandwich Terns.

Nine Porpoise and a Grey Seal were feeding offshore.

The moth traps were fairly quiet but another two Hoary Footman were noteworthy along with a single Delicate and Bulrush Wainscot.

15th Sep

A little bit more around on the land this morning with a Hobby, ten Chiffchaffs, the first Firecrest of the autumn in the Moat and four Tree Sparrows in the Observatory garden and 20 Yellow Wagtails, two Grey Wagtails and a Tree Pipit overhead. In the late afternoon a Honey Buzzard flew over the Point.

There were hundreds of Sandwich Terns and 120 Kittiwakes feeding offshore and these in turn were attracting some excellent numbers of Arctic Skuas with at least 30 lingering and chasing them. Genuine passage remains slow but did include two Balearic Shearwaters and 18 Whimbrel.

At least 15 Porpoises and four Grey Seals were feeding close inshore.

More searching through the Small Coppers produced another aberrant individual - this one appearing to be a better example of ab.radiata. A Clouded Yellow was also seen in the Moat.

Small Copper Lycaena phlaeas ab.radiata   Dungeness   15th September 2021

Moth numbers in the traps were not great but included our first Vestal of the year, another Delicate and a Pearly Underwing of note.

A late afternoon visit to the Trapping Area produced two Sickle-bearing Bush-crickets.

14th Sep

Birds passing through during the day included 500 Swallows and a Grey Wagtail whilst grounded migrants included 20 Blackcaps

Offshore passage was very slow with the first two two Red-throated Divers of the autumn and a Balearic Shearwater passing through of note but there were excellent numbers of skuas loitering with around 20 Arctic Skuas and a Great Skua.

In the evening a large flock of gulls including 100 Mediterranean Gulls descended on the Point to feed on flying ants.

Six Porpoises and two Grey Seals were seen offshore.

Another nocturnal visit to the Trapping Area for orthoptera produced six Large Coneheads and nine Sickle-bearing Bush-crickets.


13th Sep

A Great Skua and 18 Arctic Skuas were seen offshore but the startling lack of birds on the land continues with just four Wheatears and a Grey Wagtail of any note at all.

Six Porpoises and a Grey Seal were feeding offshore.

The moth trap produced a fairly small catch but it did include this Convolvulus Hawkmoth which is in much better condition than yesterdays individual.

Convolvulus Hawkmoth Agrion convolvuli   Dungeness   13th September 2021

More searching through the masses of Small Copper butterflies around the Observatory produced another aberration which looks to be somewhere along the gradient between ab.radiata and ab.obsoleta

Small Copper Lycaena phlaeas ab.radiata-obsoleta   Dungeness   13th September 2021

12th Sep

The lack of  migrants continues despite another decent feeling morning and seawatching was also hard work but a Sooty Shearwater was seen along with a few Arctic Skuas and 34 Kittiwakes. The few migrants on the land included a Buzzard, a Merlin, ten Willow Warblers, four Wheatears, 20 Tree Sparrows, 18 Yellow Wagtails, five Grey Wagtails and two Tree Pipits. However, a White Stork was seen flying over the RSPB Reserve in the late morning and was easily visible from the Moat. This was then eclipsed by a remarkable flock of 45 birds which circled over the peninsula in the late afternoon for about 40 minutes before heading away in a NE direction. It appears that these were birds from the introduction project at Knepp.

The fine and hot afternoon saw vast numbers of Small Coppers on the wing with at least 600 at the front of the Observatory alone and including an aberrant form believed to be fuscae. A Clouded Yellow, plenty of Small Heath and two Brown Argus were also seen.

Small Coppers Lycaena phlaeas   Dungeness   12th September 2021

Small Copper Lycaena phlaeas ab fuscae   Dungeness   12th September 2021 

Brown Argus Aricia agestis   Dungeness   12th September 2021

The moth traps produced a few goodies including a very worn Convolvulus Hawkmoth, a Cypress Pug, our third Hoary Footman of the autumn and a Delicate.
Hoary Footman Eilema caniola   Dungeness   12th September 2021
The fifth Observatory record and the third this autumn.

Another evening visit was made to look for Orthoptera, Despite the decent conditions there was very little singing but cold searching still produced three Large Coneheads including the first two females of the season and 19 Sickle-bearing Bush-crickets with 12 being found at new stations for this species.

Large Conehead Ruspolia nitidula   female   Dungeness   12th September 2021

11th Sep

It remains incredibly quiet on the land with just three Grey Wagtails passing through being the only birds of note. It was also slow going offshore as well with a party of three Little Terns feeding close inshore and 12 Arctic Skuas passing west during the day being the highlights.

A White-speck and a Delicate were the best from the moth traps.

White Speck Mythimna unipuncta   Dungeness   11th September 2021

An evening visit to the Trapping Area was productive with seven Large Coneheads and eight Sickle-bearing Bush-crickets seen but the surprise sighting was that of a Common Toad

Large Conehead Ruspolia nitidula   Dungeness   11th September 2021

Sickle-bearing Bush-cricket  Phaneroptera falcata   Dungeness   11th September 2021

Commo Toad Bufo bufo   Dungeness   11th September 2021

10th Sep

Another ideal morning for a few migrants to arrive but yet again there was barely a grounded migrant to be seen and just a trickle of birds passing overhead. The best on offer were a paltry Common Sandpiper, nine Grey Wagtails and a Tree Pipit. The sea also continues to disappoint with just two Mediterranean Gulls, 168 Sandwich Terns and three Arctic Skuas of any note.

Two Porpoises and a Grey Seal were feeding offshore.

The moth traps were not as busy as the previous night but the catch did include our second-ever Marsh Mallow Moth

Marsh Mallow Moth Hydraecia osseola   Dungeness   10th September 2021

9th Sep

Conditions seemed ideal for a few migrants to drop in this morning but it was not to be with the pitiful numbers of common migrants continuing. The only birds of note on  the land were singles of Merlin, Hobby, Spotted Flycatcher and Whinchat and 17 Wheatears. The sea was also pretty devoid of birds with just a couple of Arctic Skuas of note.

The overnight conditions did however make for a very decent catch in the moth traps with singles of the pyralids, Nephopteryx angustella (11th Obs record), Anania verbascalis (12th Obs record), and Cydalima perspectalis (3rd Obs record), two Cypress Pugs, a Narrow-winged Pug (4th Obs record), a Dusky Thorn and two Hoary Footman (3rd and 4th Obs records).

Anania verbascalis, Nephopteryx angustella, Narrow-winged Pug Eupithecia nanata and Hoary Footman Eilema caniola   
Dungeness   9th September 2021

8th Sep

Very quiet on the land with just six Willow Warblers, three Spotted Flycatchers, a Pied Flycatcher, two Redstarts, a Whinchat and 20 Yellow Wagtails of note. Singles of Mediterranean Gull, Great Skua and Arctic Skuas were the best of the meagre offerings offshore. 

Although the area was not checked for crickets this evening the Tree Crickets were clearly audible from the Observatory, a distance of around 400metres.

Elsewhere, three Spoonbills were new in on the Reserve and the three Cattle Egrets and a Glossy Ibis continue their stay there. Three Garganey were present and the first first-calendar Caspian Gull of the autumn was seen.

7th Sep

Grounded migrants continue to be scarce but ten Willow Warblers, a Spotted Flycatcher, two Pied Flycatchers, two Redstarts and two Whinchats were of interest while birds passing overhead included 100 Swallows, 30 Yellow Wagtails, 12 Grey Wagtails and a Tree Pipit. One Arctic Skua was seen offshore.

Another evening visit for Orthoptera was very successful with nine Large Coneheads and six Sickle-bearing Bush-crickets found and thousands of Tree Crickets creating an incredible chorus even audible from the Observatory garden. Earlier in the day a single Southern Oak Bush-cricket was found.