Archive for March 16th, 2010

16th March 2010, Tuesday

Startling aggression

I’m used to watching territorial disputes between blackbird and robin.  What I have not witnessed before if the level of ferocity that starling can indulge in, until today.  Somewhat annoyingly a pair of these birds have been showing interest in nesting in the outlet vent from one of our extractor fans, and as the fight took place directly below this I assume it involved one of these birds.

A pair of birds were observed locked together by one of their feet, attempting to peck around the head, and particularly the beak of their rival, perilously close to the eyes, though at times they attacked other parts of the body.

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16th March 2010, Tuesday

Eye of frog and toe of newt

One of the advantages of being a newt is the potential to regenerate severed limbs, something that frogs and toads are unable to do.  One of the disadvantages of being a newt is that your fellow newts have the propensity to bite off bits of your limbs if they get too close!

I found this beautifully marked, and otherwise very healthy looking male smooth newt in my pond yesterday.  The toes on the left hind foot were noticeably smaller than normal.  Was this animal a victim of toe nibbling, or was it suffering from some sort of infection?


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16th March 2010, Tuesday

First butterfly

Well, I’m sure it’s not the first butterfly of 2010 to be seen locally, but it’s my first (very late) and I don’t remember any recent butterfly photos on this forum. This was one of 4 Small Tortoiseshells I found today – a mating pair by Playden Church, and then two chasing each other (including this one) on the sunny slopes below Rye Cemetery. With more sunshine this week I expect many more will be reported.

16th March 2010, Tuesday

Little Dragon

This 15cm long fish was found dead this morning on the tide line near the Mary Stanford Lifeboat House. It appears to be a Common Dragonet Callionymus lyra, which lives a life on the sandy sea bed trying to remain hidden and ambush prey – its eyes and gill openings are both on top of the head.

dragonet-side

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16th March 2010, Tuesday

Rye Harbour Moths

With the promise of warmer weather this week (at last!) I decided to give the Lime Kiln moth trap its first run out of the year. The trap attracted only a couple of guests, a Yellow Dung Fly and, first moth of the year, a lovely male Oak Beauty, only the second one I have had in my time at Rye Harbour. This species is active from around February to April, with the larvae feeding on a range of deciduous trees.

Oak Beauty at Lime Kiln Cottage this morning