Archive for September 19th, 2007

19th September 2007, Wednesday

Rye bumblebees

A survey undertaken for the Friends of Rye Harbour Nature Reserve this summer produced a very limited list of bumblebees. Just two species, the buff tailed bumblebee Bombus terrestris and the white tailed bumblebee B.lucorum comprised 72% of the bumblebees encountered. These were particularly common on vipers bugloss. Next commonest was the velvety black Red tailed bumblebee B. lapidarius which was found most frequently on patches of birds foot trefoil. Small numbers of the common carder bee B. pascuorum, the garden bumblebee B. hortorum and the early-nesting bumblebee B. pratorum were also found. These are all the typical species you would expect to find commonly in the south-east. Highlights of the survey were the single queen of the recent colonist to the UK, B. hypnorum (reported here on 8 July 2007), and very small numbers of two uncommon species listed on the Governments Biodiversity Action Plan, the carder bees Bombus humilis and B. muscorum.

Bombus muscorum

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19th September 2007, Wednesday

Mellinus arvensis – Field Digger Wasp

Mellinus arvensis, a fly-hunting solitary wasp, is on the wing in numbers at the moment hunting wherever flies hang out. Good places to watch this wasp hunt are bushes of flowering ivy, sycamore leaves, fence posts, walls and particularly mammalian dung!

Mellinus arvensis with prey on gravestone

The photo shows a Mellinus arvensis with a cluster-fly ?Pollenia rudis which it had caught on a grave stone in Fairlight Church graveyard. In fact many of the gravestones had hunting Mellinus on them and the flowering ivy in the Firehills car park over the road also had many hunting Mellinus, in fact there were more Mellinus than their prey. I suspect the wasps were also nectaring from the ivy as well as hunting.
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19th September 2007, Wednesday

Pannel Valley NR

With less wind at dawn this morning, there were many Blackcap in the bushes with well over one hundred present. A few Goldcrest are now beginning to move through the site and this morning our first Siskin of the autumn flew in a westerly direction.
Yesterday the Osprey was watched fishing and has now been here for a few days. The Swallow roost attracted the attentions of both Hobby and a Merlin.