Archive for October 16th, 2008

16th October 2008, Thursday

Ahem, whoops

Last year I wrote about one of my favourite garden plants for wildlife, Verbena bonariensis . I did express some concern about its potential to spread, and last week my eye was drawn to a blog by Ralph Hollins who reported the plant in the countryside, far from any garden (see record for 8 October in the plants section).

With a little more web browsing I found this plant listed on the Global Invasive Species Database listed as Verbena brasiliensis.   It has the potential to displace native species throughout most of its non-native range and is a significant pest species in Mid – South USA. Whether or not it becomes such a pest over here remains to be seen, but caution might be the best policy.

In my previous post I referred to its value as a nectar source. This year it has proved to be successful in attracting comma  and red admiral, but once again we have seen no hummingbird hawkmoths on the plant, and only 1 painted lady. Evidently these insects have been scarce or non existant in Northiam this summer.

PS Yesterday (25 Oct) we had only our 2nd painted lady of the year. Rubbish

16th October 2008, Thursday

Western Conifer Seed Bug Update

Since the records of the Western Conifer Seed Bug from Hastings and Dungeness on the night of the 30th/31st August, which were the first records of this insect in Britain since it’s first British occurrence at Weymouth College in 2007, there has been a number of subsequent records especially in recent days.

Below is a list of the records of this insect that have been published so far. The coastal bias would indicate a natural immigration of this species from the continent. The species was introduced into Italy but has now colonised most of Europe and is spreading north into Britain.

Hastings 30th August
Dungeness 30th August (x2)
Boulderwall 30th August
Portsmouth 6th October
Rye Harbour NR 12th October
Lydd-on-sea 12th October
Greatstone 13th October
Portland Bill Observatory 13th October
Rye 13th October
Dungeness 14th October

Icklesham 16th October

also records from the Isle of Wight, London, Kendal, Liverpool and Redditch in recent days.

Leptoglossus occidentalis, St Leonards, East Sussex

16th October 2008, Thursday

North Salts update

The very high spring tide today flooded the saltings opposite North Salts. As it ebbed, a Grey Wagtail was feeding with 15 Pied Wagtails and 3 Little Egrets, while below on the mud 2 Common Sandpipers bobbed about by the waterline. Yesterday a couple of Goldcrests were among the Blue Tits flitting along the hedge by the tennis courts, while yesterday morning Clancy’s Rustic (see photo), Red-line Quaker, L-album Wainscot, Silver Y and a very late Straw Dot were among the 14 species in my moth trap. Clancy’s Rustic (Platyperigea kadenii) is a very recent colonist from the Continent. Since the first British example, trapped by Sean Clancy in 2002 at his home in New Romney, many more have been caught at Dungeness and Rye Harbour, elsewhere along the south coast and up the east coast to Suffolk and inland. The RX area is well placed for “firsts for Britain”!

16th October 2008, Thursday

Beach Reserve

Highlights this morning, Marsh Harrier, Peregrine, Merlin and 2 Raven all in flight over the Beach Reserve, the raptors doing their best to upset the 600 Golden Plover roosting on Flat Beach Level. Along the shore 27 Brent Geese were roosting on the low water sand amongst 95 Oystercatcher and 70 CurlewSkylarks feeding on Harbour Farm have increased in number over the past few days, at least 60 were present behind Ternery Pool and the back of west Beach.