Archive for July, 2010

30th July 2010, Friday

Castle Water

Its been an excellent year for seeing the migrant hoverfly Scaeva pyrastri, yesterday I found it everywhere, even on one of the island at Ternery Pool. While checking through some Creeping Thistle at Castle Water I came across a female of the species lacking the distinctive comma shaped markings on the abdomen, checking through British Hoverflies I found this to be a rare variation found in the females (var.unicolor). Additional hoverfly highlights yesterday included finding two Volucella zonaria feeding on a small patch of Hemp Agrimony next to the footpath just north of the viewpoint. I know these mighty hoverflies have featured before, but they are the most fantastic things. 


Female Scaeva pyrastri (var. unicolor)

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29th July 2010, Thursday

Rye Harbour

Avian highlights over the past few days have included 7 Greenshank, 6 Green Sandpiper, 9 Common Sandpiper, 15+ Bearded TitHobby, Common Buzzard and Marsh Harrier at Castle Water. On the Beach Reserve 120 Dunlin , 54 Curlew and 14 Little Tern along the shore, 3 Little Ringed Plover, 3 Avocet and at least 11 Common Sandpiper split between Ternery Pool and Harbour Farm Pools.

27th July 2010, Tuesday

Something to watch out for

Bombus ruderatus is one of several bumblebee species that used to occur on Romney Marsh but which now appear to be extinct here.  When entomologists started to search for it about 10 years ago there was a great deal of confusion because, as it was so rare, few of the surveyors had actually seen it and it looks superficially similar to the garden bumblebee Bombus hortorum.  It came close to being eliminated from the list of Biodiversity Action Plan species, when, fortuitously a surviving population was found in the Ouse Washes and was proved to be a good separate species by DNA analysis.

Bombus ruderatus male

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26th July 2010, Monday

At last something to report from Pett

Sunday 25th July 2010. Arrived at Pett about 6.15 am, I started at Carter’s Flood, the reeds have been lowered, or eaten by the cattle that have been  there, the water level looks good at the moment. There was 5 Green Sands,1Common Sand,2 Greenshanks 2Avocet, 4 Bl.T.Godwit, 3 L.R.Plover on the wader front, on the birds of prey front 1 Buzzard, 1 Marsh Harrier ( adult male),2 Kestrel and a Barn Owl, also, there has been 2 Little Owls seen in,or near the dead tree to the left of the hide, on the old sea cliff. Also of note was a G.S. Woodpecker which flew along the tree line to the right of the hide. On the marsh and pool side there was 64 Curlew and 1Whimbrel, the Pochard is doing very well, with all 6 young still alive. Well thats all for this week Good Birdwatching Pete.

(On the previous morning, I’d counted 15 Green Sandpipers on the Pannel Scrape, along with a lot of Avocets, a few LRPs and Common Sands and a Greenshank. The strongly patterned m Marsh Harrier was about all morning, at one point chasing off a Sparrowhawk, and I heard a Kingfisher – the first for months – on the canal at Toot Rock. A Whimbrel flew over (though my first was on July 8th) and a flock of 6 s/p Sanderling flew up from the shoreline – Cliff Dean)

25th July 2010, Sunday

Chalkhill Blue !

I had a good afternoon yesterday recording butterflies in Beckley Woods and to my surprise I found a group of blues amongst which were at least two Chalkhill Blues. Silvery underwing shows dark veins crossing the white fringe, the milky blue upperwing shows broad black margin.
Chalkhill Blue
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25th July 2010, Sunday

Convolvulus Hawkmoth – at last!


I’d seen several Convolvulus Hawkmoths in other people’s traps but never caught one myself, so this 2-inch long monster, dwarfing everything else, was a very welcome sight in my trap in Rye this morning. It’s an immigrant mainly to southern and eastern coastal counties and more often in autumn, the numbers varying a lot from year to year. I’ll release it at dusk, so if anyone wants to see it please phone me today – my number’s in the book!

25th July 2010, Sunday

Rye Harbour Sightings

Highlights this morning included a Little Stint among 97 Dunlin on the Quarry, two Raven over the Beach Reserve heading east early morning and four Common Sandpiper on Ternery Pool. Still a few Avocet with young fledglings on Harbour Farm, while up to 10 Little Tern were present over Flat Beach.

24th July 2010, Saturday

Castle Water

A search through some Creeping Thistle this morning provided a few highlights, the rather large Nowickia ferox just took the top spot, this fly is very similair in appearence to Tachina fera but can be seperated by the colour of the legs and antennae. Hoverfly highlights included at least 6 Helophilus trivittatus, a rather handsome male Helophilus hybridus, Eristalis Intricarius and the superb Eristalinus aeneus. Dragonflies were represented by Migrant Hawker, Emperor, Brown Hawker, Ruddy and Common Darter.


Nowickia ferox

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23rd July 2010, Friday

Waved Black

Waved Black, Rye 23-7-10

A surprise in my moth trap in Rye this morning was this Waved Black, a new species for me. Despite appearances it’s actually a noctuid, in the same subfamily as the common Straw Dot but classed nationally scarce. Waring’s field guide says “The earliest records were from slime moulds on rotting wood in docks and cellars in London. The main food is fungi growing on rotting trees, particularly birches and pines …”. The two main areas of distribution are now the Severn valley and the south-east, though everywhere very local, and a few immigrants have also been recorded on the Channel coast. As if this wasn’t enough, my first Satin Lutestring for the garden provided the icing on the cake.

23rd July 2010, Friday

Big Butterfly Count

At some point over the coming week (24th July – 1st August) please consider taking part in our BIG BUTTERFLY COUNT, a nationwide survey aimed at helping us assess the health of our environment. It’s really simple and I’m certain you’ll find it enjoyable and rewarding.