Archive for May, 2005

31st May 2005, Tuesday

More Wader Chicks

It is now a good time to see the chicks of many different waders on the reserve. Lapwing, Redshank, Ringed Plovers and Oystercatchers (below) are all possible from the hides where you can watch them in close-up.
Oystercatcher chick

31st May 2005, Tuesday

Rye Harbour Moths

Moth trap catches are picking up nicely now that the weather has warmed up somewhat. Last nights catch in the Lime Kiln Cottage, while not notable in terms of numbers (34 individuals from 14 species) did turn up a few interesting species. These included more individuals of the rare micro Ethmia bipunctella, a White Colon (pictured below), an uncommon species which feeds on a wide range of coastal plants, and the first specimens of Elephant Hawkmoth, Mullein Wave and Light Brocade.
White Colon

30th May 2005, Monday

Velvet Scoters

There were about 15 Velvet Scoters off Pett Level at 18.30 this evening.

30th May 2005, Monday

Sea spurge

Sea spurge, Euphorbia paralias, is now flowering close to the sea on the Rye Harbour Nature Reserve. This strictly coastal species is generally uncommon in Sussex. On the coast of Picardy just across the Channel I have seen it being devoured by large spurge hawk larvae. The usually dark brown caterpillars are spotted with yellowish white and have a red stripe and tail. There are plenty of on line pictures if you search on the scientific name Hyles euphorbiae. The moth does occasionally cross the Channel, but I think breeding is a rarity here.
Sea spurge on Rye Harbour NR

30th May 2005, Monday

Pett area: Saturday May 28th

It was just 10 days ago that I noticed the first noisy broods of young Starlings out of the nest at Doleham, but now there are dozens and their skirling dominates the soundscape, replacing the earlier trilling of Greenfinches.
Chaffinches, Wrens and Blackbirds are everywhere. They are the most conspicuous species at the moment. Read the rest of this entry »

30th May 2005, Monday

Guestling Wood

Sunday May 29th
Great Spotted Woodpeckers are suddenly easy to track down, their young so noisy in the nest that they can be heard 500m away. I found 3 nests and another 2 sites in the N end of the wood. Unfortunately, their little cousins are not so conspicuous. Read the rest of this entry »

29th May 2005, Sunday

Red-legged robberflies

The common red-legged robberfly, Dioctria rufipes, is currently on the wing in Brede High Woods and probably elsewhere along sunny woodland edges where it hunts for smaller insects. It is thought that it particularly likes small ichneumon wasps as prey. This species can be recognised in the field by the reddish orange colour of its four front legs and the silvery mark on the side of the thorax.
Dioctria rufipes, Brede High Wood

29th May 2005, Sunday

Brown tail larvae

At Rye Harbour and, no doubt, elsewhere close to the coast, brown tail moth larvae are reaching maturity and wandering away from their webs to seek pupation sites (I swept one from sea kale the other day). Brown tail larvae are notorious for their irritant hairs, for the way they can defoliate bushes and small trees and for their supposedly unsightly larval webs. However, it is not a very common moth except in suitable areas and it is a pity if it is uneccessarily persecuted. Provided the caterpillars are not handled, no one is likely to come to any harm.
Brown tail larva on web, Rye Harbour NR

29th May 2005, Sunday

Shingle Flowers

Today was the first time to see all four of our popular shingle flowers in bloom – Sea Kale, Sea Pea, Viper’s Bugloss and Yellow Horned Poppy (below).
Yellow Horned Poppy

28th May 2005, Saturday

Green Hairstreaks – Hastings Country Park

Green hairstreaks are on the wing at Hastings Country Park and can be seen within Warren Glen, Firehills, Norths Seat and on the East Hill. Speckled yellow moths are also very numerous at the moment within Warren Glen and Firehills.

Green Hairstreak, Warren Glen