Archive for June, 2009

30th June 2009, Tuesday

Beach Reserve

Obviously the hundreds of Sandwich Terns and fledged young are demanding attention at Ternery Pool, not so much a highlight more a wildlife spectacle. The views from Crittall Hide are fantastic as the full drama unfolds, the interaction between adult birds and fledged young, the mobbing of returning adults for their fish by Mediterranean and Black-headed gulls can all be seen only a few feet away. Don’t miss out – it ends soon.

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29th June 2009, Monday

A different world – meadow by night

A meadow is a different place at night.  The hum of bees is replaced by the hum of midges, and a totally different suite of animals come out to forage.  Slugs and snails are abundant, one of the reasons why slow-worm do so well in this habitat.  At this time of the year newts are also common here, with three smooth newts observed clambering over the plant stems this evening in a surprisingly three dimensional way.

They do well in this habitat because it offers shelter from desiccation and predators.  The base of the lawn is surprisingly Read the rest of this entry »

29th June 2009, Monday

Glorious instability – a meadow by day

Meadows vary down the years, dependent on conditions that influence survival of the plants in the sward over the preceeding year – variables influencing seed set, survival of seedlings and mature plants all introduce an element of unpredictability about these habitats.  Last year this grassland in Northiam was dominated by red clover Trifolium pratense.  This year it features abundant smooth hawk’s-beard Crepis capillaris which has produced an over-whelming dominance of yellow, rather than pink flowers. These are popular with a number of species of solitary bee and abundant small beetles at the moment.

This is a Read the rest of this entry »

29th June 2009, Monday

Rare longhorn beetle


I was on my way to do a survey for Butterfly Conservation’s Rother Woods Project. To get to the survey location I passed through Brede High Wood. Always looking around, wherever I am walking, I spotted, sitting on bracken at the side of the path. Not having see this particular beetle before, I clicked off a few photos, and continued on my way. With help from Maxwell V L Barclay, Head Curator, Coleoptera Department of Entomology, The Natural History Museum, I now have a name for the beetle. It is Mesosa nebulosa and is classed as Rare RDB3. The beetle is associated mainly with oak and is thought to prefer the top most branches of Oak trees. The larvae develop in dead wood, and therefore, require deadwood to be left within the woods. So this is another pat on the back for the Woodland Trust and its management of the area it has recently purchased. The Sussex Biodiversity Record Centre have no previous records for this beetle.

29th June 2009, Monday

Grasshopper time

As mid-summer passes it becomes a good time to look out for “grasshoppers”. At the Castle Water hide there is now a good selection of species if you sit on the bench and watch: Field Grasshopper, Short-winged Conehead and Roesel’s Bush-cricket (photo). This last species was uncommon ten years ago, but is now widespread on the reserve. Sadly I can no longer hear them without the aid of a bat detector.


29th June 2009, Monday

Another Nice Surprise!

On the 21st of June, I posted an article about a female Lesser Stag Beetle (see here) that had (I assumed) been attracted to the moth trap, the first record for the reserve. Yesterday I was sitting relaxing in the garden when I saw another ambling towards me! This turned out to be a male, with a more massive head and thorax and larger mandibles. Larvae of those species which live in dead wood tend to take several years to develop, and I suspect that these have emerged from some firewood which was brought in from Pannel Valley three or four years ago and has now become very rotten.

Male Lesser Stag Beetle

29th June 2009, Monday

Brede High Wood

A visit to Brede High Wood yesterday to search for more dragonfly exuviae found another nine Southern Hawker had emerged around the small muddy puddle which featured in the last post, with the recent spell of dry weather it is drying up fast, it’s amazing how so many dragonfly larvae can survive in such a small body of water. One Golden-ringed Dragonfly exuvia was found along the stream and at least five patroling males were encountered along the footpaths, sometimes giving incredibly close views as they checked what was entering their territory. Four Silver-washed Fritillary also gave great views along the paths and in the woodland clearings.

Male Golden-ringed Dragonfly cooling down

28th June 2009, Sunday

Shrimping at Pett Level

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28th June 2009, Sunday

Good Year for Avocets!

Pett Pools Sunday 28th June 09,6.15am to 11.45am. This morning started off with patchey sea mist rolling in from the south east, which lasted for about an hour before clearing. On the sea there was about 150/200 Common Scoters and there are still good numbers of G.C.Grebes on the sea for this time of the year. On the Pools there were large numbers of young birds around mainly B.H.Gulls and 48 Avocets, with upto seventy percent being this years young. Other waders at the Pools Common Sand, Lapwing, Curlew, Redsank, Osyterscathers. Not much else to mention apart from 3 Ravens just before I left. Good bird watching Pete.

28th June 2009, Sunday



The adult Sandwich Terns are bringing in lots of fish for their young at Ternery Pool, but many are being mugged by waiting Black-headed Gulls who have found an easy way to feed their own young.

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