It seems to be a very good year for the pea family and there is plenty of Sea Pea, Common Vetch, Subterranean Clover and Grass Vetchling flowering now. One of our uncommon vetches has been located close to Camber Castle by Frank Palmer. There is a large patch of Yellow Vetch within 20m of the castle walls to the north east, but don’t be fooled into thinking the flowers are yellow!
Archive for May, 2009
Highlight in the Lime Kiln trap this morning was a super female Pale Tussock (below). This is a common species, though less than annual at Lime Kiln. The larvae feed on a wide range of trees and shrubs and used to be a pest on Hop when this was more widely grown, and an alternative name for the furry larvae is ‘Hop Dogs’. Though it looks distinctive to our eyes, the silvery colouring apparently mimics a silk mass, camouflaging it from predators
Pale Tussock female
For the second day running, the weather was perfect for this low-tide event, which attracted more than 30 people. The water in Rye Bay is often cloudy with sand and silt washed from the nearby cliffs, so it’s difficult to see the creatures that live in the shallows. Last year, Rye Harbour Nature Reserve purchased shrimp-nets in a range of sizes so that the public could fish for shrimps, crabs and small fish. These were put to good use this morning to bring in a variety of marine wildlife, which was returned to the sea after a short inspection.
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This event in the RX Wildlife Festival emphasised the hands-on recreational opportunities of the Rye Bay coastline. Families were encouraged to build sculptures based on RX wildlife, but the real aim was to get children working with sand. Of course, the adults bring children as an alibi, so that they can do some digging.
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A fine selection of dragonflies are now on the wing at Castle Water, 2 male Downy Emerald were patrolling the small pool north of the view point this morning, it was good to see the return of this species after the first sightings of adults last year (two exuviae have been found this year). Emperor, Broad-bodied Chaser, Hairy Hawker, Four-spotted Chaser, Black-tailed Skimmer, Red-eyed, Blue-tailed, Common Blue, Variable, Azure and Large Red Damselfly can also be seen. Butterflies on the wing include Painted Lady, Common Blue, Brown Argus, Small Heath, Peacock and Large White. Bird highlights today included Hobby, Marsh Harrier, Garganey, 40 House Martin and 80 Swift.
Male Downy Emerald
On 23 May there was a 3-hour guided walk through Brede High Wood with a good turn out as the picture shows. The group started from the main car park and headed east through Coneyburrow and Pond Woods. One of the aims of the day was to see some spring butterfly species and we recorded several but, sadly, the grizzled skipper no longer seems to be present in the woods. We also found a black-headed cardinal beetle, the rarer of our two British species, and disturbed a badger having a sleep outside its set at 11 in the morning – quite unusual. We heard numerous willow warblers but, although we listened out, no nightingales which are said to be doing well in the woods this year.
Patrick Roper by e-mail
Highlights today included a pair of Garganey and eight Avocet (with chicks) on pools at the western end of Harbour Farm and a singing Corn Bunting, a pair of Yellow Wagtail and a pair of Grey Partridge on the fields next to Lime Kiln Cottage.
Wetland enhancement at Castle Water at Rye Harbour Nature Reserve has led to an award from the Campaign to Protect Rural England. Click here for more info.
Perhaps 35 individuals of 15 species in the Lime Kiln moth trap this morning, mainly Common Swift, Heart and Dart and Shuttle Shaped Dart. The highlights were White Colon, a rather local species of dry/sandy, largely coastal habitats, and a lovely Poplar Hawkmoth, one of the commonest hawk moths in Europe! One fact I learnt recently about this latter species is that while the larvae feds on a range of shrubs and trees, the adults do not feed at all during their short life!