Archive for September 30th, 2005

30th September 2005, Friday

White Caterpillar

Yesterday morning we found this 5cm long, white caterpillar on our car windscreen parked at home. It looks like an Eyed Hawkmoth, but I have not seen one this pale. Is it an albino, or did it just have a fright before landing on our car (there are no trees for it to have fallen from!)
White caterpillar

30th September 2005, Friday

Rye Harbour Nature Reserve

Dispite the disturbance on Harbour Farm with the new sea deffence work,many birds still use the area for feeding. Yesterday 110 Meadow Pipit, 22 Skylark, 6 Corn Bunting, 300 Linnet and 150+ Goldfinch could be found. Two Merlin and 21 Grey Partridge were also present.
The new pits created by the sea defence work are already attracting birds. Over the past few days Snipe, Green Sandpiper, Lapwing, Mallard and Great Blacked Backed Gull have beeen seen using the new pools.

30th September 2005, Friday

Colletes hederae

The bee that has recently colonised Britian, Colletes hederae, was discovered for the first time in Sussex by Andrew Grace at Castle Hill, Hastings last year. Mike Edwards, Martin Jenner, Ted Benton and Peter Hodge visited the site on Wednesday to photograph the insect at the nest and collecting pollen on nearby flowering ivy.

The warm autumns we have been enjoying over the last few years has allowed this southern european bee to colonise northern Europe including southern Britian. It first reached the Channel Islands then the Isle of Wight, then Dorset and now Sussex.

We checked a number of possible sites for further colonies. We had no luck at Hastings Country Park and Glyne Gap Cliffs but just as we were heading back along Bexhill Road Mike caught site of the large sandstone exposure and large amounts of flowering ivy at the bottom of Harley Shute Road and was convinced that the species must be present there. We checked out the site and found literally thousands of the bees nesting in the exposed bank. We noticed lots of mating behaviour as up to a dozen males gathered outside each females nest hole waiting for her to emerge.

Look out for the species wherever there is bare sandy ground nearby lots of flowering ivy. The bee is quite a large solitary bee with very distinct yellow bands across the abdomen. If you think you have found the species in the Hastings or Rye Bay area please contact me and we can come and check to see if it is the species.

Colletes hederae - male
Colletes hederae Peter Hodge, Mike Edwards & Ted Benton at Castle Hill