Today at Playden church,Â theÂ flourishingÂ laurel and other shrubs on the east side were attracting hordes of insects, including 3 Hairy Hawker dragonflies, 30+ Azure Damsels, a Large Red Damsel, many Red Admirals,Â Holly Blues,Â Speckled Woods and Small Whites and the odd Peacock. Plus lots of unidentified beasties, an entomologist’s dream!
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Archive for April, 2007
Today at Playden church, two Verlusia rhombea shieldbugs onÂ a rampantÂ hedge of what I think is cherry laurel. Chinery gives a local southern distribution but his habitat details are very different from Playden church!Â However, seems little doubt about the i.d. -Â see www.pbase.com/alb123/image/29159882.
Walking in Brede high wood, along the line of the pylons, I came across a Fungus Weevil – Platystomos albinus a notable B species. Penny Green at the Sussex Biodiversity Record Centre informs me that it is the first to be recorded at this location, although a friend, Patrick Roper, has recorded one, only about a mile away in 2000. That was the last, most recent record for this species in Sussex. Although, exactly a dozen record exist for it, from Sussex in total. The larva feeds within decaying wood in ancient broad-leaved woodland. The recent work that has been done in Brede high wood clearing trees and opening up the woodland, but still being careful to leave wood debris scatter throughout, could well be beneficial to this species, along with many others.
The reserve joined in the Bar-tailed Godwit fiesta with 98 feeding on the scrape mid morning, many in full summer plumage.Â Two Common Sandpiper and three DunlinÂ were the only other waders of any interest.
There were also three Marsh Harrier quartering the reedbeds and the Bearded Tit were very active with several ‘pinging’ loudly.Â
Out on Harbour Farm today I came across this Skylark nest containing four (yes, there are four!) recently hatched chicks. These look as though they have probably hatched within the last day, so it’s going to be about two-and-half to three weeks before they fledge. During this period they are very vulnerable to ground predators, so the new grazing fences on the farm should greatly increase the chance of these little mites surviving!
Bar-tailed Godwits continue to dominate the Beach Reserve, at high tide 211 birds were roosting at Ternery Pool and Flat Beach Quarry, while 47 birds were feeding on the Wader Pool. Close inshore, another 330 Bar-tailed Godwit headed east along with 43 Whimbrel and 2 Arctic Skua.
Despite the very dry conditions, a nesting pair of Blackbird near Lime Kiln Cottage are still managing to find enough worms. The male seems to do most of the feeding, the female is already collecting nesting material to start another nest.
Bar-tailed Godwits have dominated the Beach Reserve this morning, 500+ birds left Flat Beach Quarry at dawn and headed in an easterly direction. Later, around 7am, 186 birds were feeding along the shore, 68 Sanderling and 5 Knot also. 228 Whimbrel left the roost, and srangely 70 birds headed eastwards after the Godwits.
Twelve members of the Sussex Ornithological Society braved the surprisingly cold weather for one of their bi-annual outings to Rye Harbour Nature Reserve this morning. The walk down to the shore produced a flock of about 25 Whimbrel in flight over Camber golf-course, seven Bar-tailed Godwit and a Greenshank on the new excavations opposite limekiln, and several Wheatear all along the fence line, as well as singing Skylark, Meadow Pipit and Linnet. A quick sea-watch produced a single Gannet, a small raft of Common Scoter, a couple of Great Crested Grebe and a (very, very) distant Avocet. While here we were also treated to good views of at least 25 Little Tern which had been roosting on the shore below the site of the colony.