Archive for September, 2009

30th September 2009, Wednesday

Late Darters

I tried looking for Sam’s Red-Veined Darter adults today at Castle Water, but could find only Common Darters. There were several pairs egg-laying in the late summer sunshine. The male holding the female behind her head with his claspers. Whilst in tandem she flicks eggs into the water amongst vegetation.

29th September 2009, Tuesday

Gold-speckled fields

Following my posting last Friday (“30+ Clouded Yellows”), Brian Banks and I carried out a careful count in the first 3 fields behind East Guldeford Church on Sunday afternoon. We found a minimum of 85 Clouded Yellows, including a paler-winged individual (not the white helice form of the Clouded Yellow). Today I couldn’t find this one, but there seemed to be even more Clouded Yellows. A single scan with binoculars of flying butterflies in the second field revealed 42. Considering that many more were settled, and this was just one field, the total must be well over 100. However, Brian had heard a report of 600 estimated around Birling Gap on Friday!

29th September 2009, Tuesday

Rye Harbour

Highlights this morning have included, 44 Corn Bunting, 2 Raven, 6 Stonechat, 2 Whinchat, 150 Curlew and 2 Black-tailed Godwit from the Beach Reserve/Harbour Farm. At Castle Water 70+ House Martin, Marsh Harrier and 2 Great Spotted Woodpecker. Insects on the wing include Clouded Yellow (at least 8), Small Copper, Common Blue, Peacock and Small Tortoiseshell, Migrant Hawker, Common and Ruddy Darter.

27th September 2009, Sunday

Fine-leaved water-dropwort

One of the more characteristic plants of the grazing marsh ditches at East Guldeford is fine-leaved water-dropwort Oenanthe aquatica, a species that in early spring has divided leaves that look very much like an aquatic plant, but as the summer progresses it emerges above water level with a characteristic swollen stem that has fine ridges running down it, with cross joints where the leaf stems emerge. The flowers are packed into white umbels.

 

Right now flowering is mostly over and Read the rest of this entry »

27th September 2009, Sunday

Hastings Country Park


Lots of Chiffchaffs around Warren Glen and Place Farm on this still and sunny morning, several Wheatears, 3 Stonechats and a Whinchat, as well as hundreds of House Martins whirling overhead. As I sat on the edge of the landslip below Lovers’ Seat, I heard a Dartford Warbler buzzing and a short while later it burst into song from the tops of bushes nearby, before being joined by a grey female or juvenile. But as I moved to get a better view, a QUAIL burst up from the rough grass at my feet and whirred off downhill uttering odd little piping noises. Although I’ve heard them before in this country, this was the first time for many years that I’d actually set eyes on one. It might even be the first record for the Country Park.
A short while later, I came across 2 Firecrests at the eastern end of Fairlight Glen.
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27th September 2009, Sunday

Rye Harbour

A few highlights from this morning: Redstart, Kingfisher, 2 Green Sandpiper, 100+ Meadow Pipit and Peregrine at Castle Water, from the Beach Reserve 270 Golden Plover, 15 Corn Bunting, Lesser Whitethroat and Marsh Harrier.

27th September 2009, Sunday

Mystery photo

This weekend I revisited the dry grazing marsh at Rye that I walked over last week, and as I passed a rare puddle of water in one of the ditches my attention was drawn to a commotion on the surface of the water. Large numbers of bubbles were rising to the surface, agitated by something moving under the very turbid water. Read the rest of this entry »

26th September 2009, Saturday

Vapourer Moth


This amazing animal has featured twice on RX Wildlife as the caterpillar (click here or here), but until yesterday I hadn’t seen an adult. Sam found one in Rye Harbour village and let me have it to photograph. This is a male with enormous antennae that are used to find the wingless female by “scent”. It reminded me of a Long-eared Bat.
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25th September 2009, Friday

30+ Clouded Yellows!

Yesterday Mary and I walked from East Guldeford to Moneypenny and Camber. In the first small field NE of East Guldeford Church we found 3 Clouded Yellows, then scanning the next field I counted at least 16, mostly flying around the large patches of autumn hawkbit and dandelions. There were no more all the way to the eastern end of Camber. This morning I had a longer look and took some photos. Again 3 in the first field, then from various vantage points I scanned the second field several times, counting all those I saw flying. It’s a long field, 550 x 120 metres – but luckily Clouded Yellows are very easy to spot in flight, though much harder when settled low down. The highest count was 27, but walking past the patches of flowers a high proportion were settled, so there could be 50 in this one field. I found a pair mating and one female of the white-winged helice form which seemed to be laying eggs on the flowers and was often being chased by males. The top photo shows one of the usual deep yellow form, with the mating pair and the helice female shown below. I could find none of the rarer Pale or Berger’s Clouded Yellows.

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25th September 2009, Friday

Exhibition at RSPB Dungeness

An exhibition of prints and original paintings by Stephen Message will run from Saturday 26th September to Saturday 10 October in the reserve Visitor Centre. 10 am – 5 pm. Admission free.