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Migration Time.

Staying at the Observatory

Autumn migration is here. As well as birds there are moths and crickets to enjoy. Why not join us for a few nights and experience it for yourself. Spaces available, just check out the website for details. 

23rd August

Most of the interest was of birds passing overhead including nine Common Buzzards, singles of Redshank, Green Sandpiper and Common Sandpipers, 12 Swifts, 208 Sand Martins, 120 Swallows, 40 Yellow Wagtails and a Grey Wagtail. Grounded migrants were pretty scarce but included 25 Willow Warblers.
Singles of Balearic and Manx Shearwater, nine Black Terns and four Arctic Skuas were of note offshore.

At least 17 Porpoises were seen offshore today but more significant was the fact that one of them was a white individual. Has this individual been seen anywhere else? Two Grey Seals and a Common Seal were also still present.

The clear highlight from last night's moth trapping was the catching of a Dark Crimson Underwing. - the first Observatory record. In addition, An uncommon  tortrix, Cydia amplana, was also trapped. A Clouded Yellow butterfly was seen in the moat.

Dark Crimson Underwing Catocala sponsa   Dungeness  23rd August 2019

22nd August

There was a small but varied arrival of migrants this morning with 12 Willow Warblers, a Spotted Flycatcher, three Pied Flycatchers and two Whinchats on the ground and a Snipe, 80 Sand Martins, 39 Yellow Wagtails and three Tree Pipits passing overhead. The sea remains very quiet although several hours of watching eventually produced 513 Sandwich Terns, 120 Common Terns, three Arctic Skuas and a Great Skua. The prize for the most unlikely bird though goes to the Coot which floated by on the sea this afternoon.
Whinchat Saxicola rubetra   Dungeness   22nd August 2019
A Porpoise was seen offshore.

The Blue-eyed Hawker made another brief appearance at Southview Cottage this morning.

At least 11 Wasp Spiders are residing in and around the moat area.

A visit after dark to the "Desert" produced seven adult Sickle-bearing Bush-crickets and lots of singing Tree Crickets although the latter had almost ceased singing by the time I was leaving as the temperature was falling rapidly.

21st August

A calm but clear morning produced a small arrival of common migrants with 50 Willow Warblers, a Sedge Warbler, seven Reed Warblers, 17 Blackcaps and 40 Whitethroats while two Whimbrels, a Redshank, two Swifts, 139 Swallows, 89 Sand Martins, 33 Yellow Wagtails, a Grey Wagtail and three Tree Pipits flew over,

The sea remains fairly quiet with over six hours of watching produced just eight Shelducks, three Mediterranean Gulls, 626 Sandwich Terns, two Black Terns and an Arctic Skua of note.

Six Porpoises and two Grey Seals were feeding offshore and Common Pipistrelle bats were recorded on the Echometer this evening.

A Blue-eyed Hawker Aeshna affinis made a brief visit to the garden of Southview Cottage. This is the first Observatory area record of this recent colonist to southern England.

Seven Wasp Spiders have now been found in and around the moat. One web also had an egg case attached.


20th August

With the first calm morning in a while there was a small drop of migrants with 35 Willow Warblers, eight Reed Warblers, 65 Whitethroats, 50 Yellow Wagtails and 15 Tree Pipits of note. Three Buzzards also flew over.
Seawatching was fairly slow going again but five hours of observation produced 16 Mediterranean Gulls, 507 Sandwich Terns and four Arctic Skuas while two juvenile Yellow-legged Gulls feeding at the fishing boats were joined for a few minutes by a juvenile/first-winter Caspian Gull this evening.




Caspian Gull Larus cachinnans   first-winter   Dungeness   20th August 2019

A Porpoise and two Grey Seals were feeding offshore.

Two male Small Red-eyed Damselflies were seen at the southern end of the bottom Long Pit.

A Red-eared Terrapin was also seen at the Long Pits.

19th August

Very quiet on yet another breezy day. One juvenile Yellow-legged Gull was seen at the fishing boats.

18th August

A damp morning resulted in a few birds in the bushes and overhead with singles of Spotted and Pied Flycatchers, 37 Yellow Wagtails and 11 Tree Pipits being the highlights. Two Marsh Harriers and two Buzzards also flew over the area.
Increasingly windy conditions also meant plenty of seawatching but it was generally poor with 6.5hrs worth producing just 32 Bar-tailed Godwits, four Mediterranean Gulls, 460 Sandwich Terns and four Arctic Skuas of note.

A Grey Seal and a Porpoise were feeding offshore.

The overnight moth catch was surprisingly good with singles of Scarce Bordered Straw and Bordered Straw and the very scarce micro Metalampyra italica of note.
Scarce Bordered Straw Helicoverpa armigera and Bordered Straw Heliothis peltigera 
Dungeness   18th August 2019
Metalampyra italica   Dungeness   18th August 2019

17th August

Most of the interest was offshore again with 5.5hrs of seawatching producing a Balearic Shearwater, 271 Gannets, a juvenile Yellow-legged Gull, a juvenile Caspian Gull, 257 Sandwich Terns, two Little Terns, eight Arctic Terns, two Arctic Skuas and a Great Skua.

A Porpoise and a Grey Seal were feeding offshore.

A male Small Red-eyed Damselfly and a Wasp Spider were seen in front of the Observatory.

16th August

Another wet and windy day with 4.25hrs of seawatching but not much else in the way of coverage. The best from the sea were 642 Gannets, six Avocets, eight juvenile Yellow-legged Gulls, a juvenile Caspian Gull, 432 Sandwich Terns, six Black Terns and three Arctic Skuas

15th August

Not a great deal to report on another breezy day. The best on offer on the land were 21 Willow Warblers, a Sedge Warbler, 12 Blackcaps, 17 Robins and nine Wheatears. There was very little movement offshore but feeding birds included three Mediterranean Gulls, four juvenile Yellow-legged Gulls and an Arctic Skua.

Two Porpoises and a Grey Seal were also feeding offshore.

Four Hummingbird Hawkmoths were seen.