Archive for July, 2006

31st July 2006, Monday

Dungeness Wildlife and Countryside Fair

Just a reminder that the Fair will take place on Saturday 12 and Sunday 13 of August from 9am to 5pm.  A great day out for all the family.  Stalls include: wildlife art and photography, wood turining and other crafts, cards and gifts, local conservation organisations, outdoor clothing and natural history books. Artists and photographers exhibiting their work include Stephen Message, Dave Featherbe, Norman McCanch, Darren Chaplin and Ian Kent.  Plus: optics demo, free guided walks, pond-dipping and lots more.  Admission free to all.

31st July 2006, Monday

News from RSPB Dungeness

Sightings of interest during the past few days include: red-crested pochard (female), marsh harrier, hobby, whimbrel, black-tailed godwit, litle stint,common, green and wood sandpipers, greenshank and little gull.

31st July 2006, Monday

Pannel Valley NR

The scrape and the flooded grassland at Carter’s Flood are both beginning to dry out. This has however made both areas attractive to waders. On Sunday the species present included two Ruff, nine Green Sandpiper, a Wood Sandpiper, two Common Sandpiper and twelve Snipe. The run of Garganey records continues with one on the scrape, there having been a maximum of six at the end of last week.

The moth trap is still proving interesting with several unusual migrants. The last couple of nights have produced our fourth Tree-lichen Beauty of the year, several Bordered Straw and a Dewick’s Plusia.

Dewick's Plusia

Further interest was provided by a White Admiral, the first on the reserve for several years.

31st July 2006, Monday

Dungeness Bird Observatory

Three Balearic Shearwaters, a Greenshank and an Arctic Skua flew west during the morning whilst a juvenile Mediterranean Gull and three Yellow-legged Gull were feeding at the Patch.

David Walker (from DBO website)

31st July 2006, Monday

Damselflies

While out on the Reserve on Sunday I came across another colony of Small Red-eyed Damselfly on Castle Farm, which is now the third known site within the SSSI, a male Emerald and Blue-tailed were also present.

RXSMALLREDEYED.jpg

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30th July 2006, Sunday

White Admiral – Barley Lane, Hastings Country Park

This white admiral (which is scarce at Hastings Country Park) was present along Barley Lane yesterday afternoon.

White Admiral

The sun-lit track was alive with butterflies including many gatekeepers and holly blues as well as smaller numbers of speckled wood, painted lady, red admiral, meadow brown, small skipper, large white, green-veined white, common blue, comma, and another country park rarity – a silver-washed fritillary.

30th July 2006, Sunday

Summer Butterflies

A walk around Castle Water this morning found many butterflies in the lee of willows near the viewpoint, escaping the very strong winds. In the hot sun most seemed to be keeping their wings closed and with patience it was possible to get the camera very close.

Painted Lady

Painted Ladies were common…

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30th July 2006, Sunday

Summer Wasps

The paths and south facing banks of short grass around Hastings Country Park offer excellent opportunities to watch and photograph many of the solitary wasps that are out in numbers at the moment. Different species of wasp specialise in hunting particular groups of insects to stock their nests ready for their larvae to feed on.

One of the most conspicuous at Hastings Country Park, especially on the south-facing bank and new path below the coastguard station, is the bee-wolf (Philanthus triangulum). They can be seen flying into their nest holes heavily laden with their bee prey.

Philanthus triangulum

Bee-wolf wasp with prey.

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30th July 2006, Sunday

Website fixed.

The website has been fixed. Apologies for any inconvenience caused.

29th July 2006, Saturday

Hummingbird Hawkmoth

The small patch of Lady’s Bedstraw in my garden at Westfield is currently supporting 5 fine larvae!  I first checked the plants 10 days ago without success, after finding my first ever larva of HBHM on Lady’s Bedstraw in Surrey!   Then, today, my wife reported seeing a hornet in the garden yesterday, feeding on the remains of a large green caterpillar on the path – right next to the Ladies Bedstraw plants!  I immediately suspected HBHM and bingo! quickly found 5 larvae, plus the evidence of a well-eaten stem without caterpillar, but plenty of large droppings underneath.  There really must have been 6!  I also saw what was probably the same hornet patrolling over the same plants, but luckily failing to detect another caterpillar before flying off again. After a good number of sightings of the moth earlier in the year, I think we should expect a bumper autumn.

Hummingbird Hawkmoth
Ralph Hobbs