Archive for May, 2010

31st May 2010, Monday

Sightings his weekend at RSPB Dungeness

A male red-footed falcon was seen from the Hooker’s pits viewpoint at about 5 pm on Sunday but not seen again.
There were brief sightings of purple heron and bittern throughout the weekend. A spoonbill paid a visit to Burrowes pit again on Saturday. Also of note were eight hobbies, several bearded tits and two singing lesser whitethroats.

31st May 2010, Monday

Rye Harbour

Avian highlights over the past few days have included Red Kite, Buzzard, Marsh Harrier, Hobby, Peregrine, Spoonbill and Bittern at Castle Water. On Harbour farm Pools Little Ringed Plover, lots of Avocets many with chicks, Greenshank and Green Sandpiper. Two Little Tern can still be found along Shore Ridges or on the Quarry, an Arctic Skua was chasing terns offshore.

31st May 2010, Monday

Merodon equestris

These hoverflies are bumblebee mimics and come in many colour variations, over the past week I have found them at several locations around the reserve. The red or white tailed forms appear to be the most common in my garden at the moment. The larva of these hoverflies live in the bulbs of daffodils, bluebells and other plants and can cause serious damage, english names for this hoverfly include Narcissus-fly and Greater Bulb-fly

30th May 2010, Sunday

Bumblebee monitoring May 2010

The lawn in my front garden is covered in red clover, but there are surprisingly few bees on it.  This seems to be a general trend across our RX area.

The impact of the cold winter and late spring can be seen in the meadows on Dungeness at the moment.  Delayed growth of vegetation means that flowers have been slow to open, and there are even fewer bumblebees than at Northiam to feed on them.  Over the past week Read the rest of this entry »

30th May 2010, Sunday

Latest from the nest box, 30 May

Two weeks ago I marked 4 worker red-tailed bumblebees using a bird nest-box in our Northiam garden so that I could recognise individuals and try to see how hard they were having to work to gather food.  A plastic tube, rudely placed over the entrance hole forces the bees to halt allowing the colour, and number of the disc to be recorded on the way in and out of the nest.

For the past two weeks two bees have been observed regularly leaving the nest box, with a third making an occasional trip.  The fourth has not been seen, either the disk has fallen off, it is staying in the box, or it has died.  It may yet put in an appearance.

This morning saw Read the rest of this entry »

29th May 2010, Saturday

Robber Fly

I went for a stroll through Cock Wood, Peasmarsh yesterday looking for butterflies but found only a solitary ‘Speckled Wood’. I did however I find this robber fly which I believe is a female ‘Neoitamus cyanurus’ devouring a click beetle.

28th May 2010, Friday

Helophilus trivittatus

A good selection of hoverflies were feeding on Alexanders near the entrance to the reserve this morning. The most striking being the handsome Helophilus trivittatus. This is a large species and the lemon-yellow abdominal markings are distinctive compared with the buff colour of  Helophilus pendulus which is common on the reserve at the moment, when feeding they can be confiding and are worth looking out for in your gardens.

Read the rest of this entry »

28th May 2010, Friday


At about 11.00 a Red Kite was spotted circling the windmill. An hour later this was re-found feeding on a dead rabbit. Whilst watching this bird we became aware of a further eight. Whilst the first bird stayed, the remainder drifted eastwards towards Winchelsea.

28th May 2010, Friday

White Out

The RX countryside is turning white – with several flowers dominating some areas. Thousands of Daisies in horse grazed fields at Winchelsea Beach, Hawthorn flowers in full bloom along the hedgerows, great mounds of creamy white Sea Kale flowers on the shingle near the shore, and Sallow (or Grey Willow) shedding masses of fluffy white seeds… as if it is snowing.

Read the rest of this entry »

27th May 2010, Thursday

John Gooders

John died on 18th May 2010, aged 73. Eminent ornithologist and writer and Chairman of the Friend of Rye Harbour Nature Reserve for ten years. Funeral Service took place on Thursday 27th May, 2.30 p.m. at the Church of St. Thomas The Martyr, Winchelsea, East Sussex. Donations in his name to St Michael’s Hospice, St Leonards-on-Sea, in thanks for John’s care. Payable to: St Michael’s Hospice c/o Ellis Bros, 3 Ferry Road, Rye, TN31 7DJ. Tel: 01797 222394.
Full obituary here.