Archive for July, 2011

31st July 2011, Sunday

Rye Harbour Moths

A good selection of moths have turned up in the Lime Kiln Moth trap in the last weeks or so. This has included the first of the years Pigmy Footman, Rosy-streaked Knot-horn and Starry Pearl, and as might be expected with all the caterpillars we saw earlier on in the year, there has been a good show of Pale Grass Eggar, with up to 10 in the trap. In addition, the closely related Oak Eggar has also put in an appearance, with a fine male this morning.
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Oak Eggar male
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29th July 2011, Friday

Rye Harbour

Avian highlights over the past few days at Castle Water have included 88 Little Egret, Hobby, Kingfisher, 11 Greenshank, 12 Green Sandpiper, 10 Common Sandpiper, 2000 Lapwing , 111 Curlew and at least 14 Little Ringed Plover. On the Beach Reserve 38 Golden Plover and 6 Whimbrel have roosted on Flat Beach, and 1000 Sandwich Tern have roosted on the Quarry out from Denny Hide.

28th July 2011, Thursday

Wildlife at Glyne Gap and Galley Hill Area

28/07/11: Rhizostoma Pulmo Jellyfish 300m offshore from Galley Hill. Numerous Sandwich Tern and Common Tern, with 13 Turnstones on shore. Wheatear at Glyne Gap in evening.

Also seen recently Red Admiral butterfly on Galley Common, 2 Common Seals off Galley Hill. Numerous House Sparrows and Chiffchaffs across Galley Hill and Galley Common

25th July 2011, Monday

RSPB Dungeness recent sightings

Garganey – a female on the ARC pit on 23rd. Wigeon – one on the ARC pit on 20th. Goosander – a female on the ARC pit on 25th. Black-necked grebe – near Makepeace hide on 22nd. Bittern – two nests with young at Hooker’s pits! Look out for the females making feeding flights. Great white egret – one still on Denge Marsh. Hobby – two over Denge Marsh on 23rd. Little-ringed plover – several at the ARC site on 25th. Dunlin – six at the ARC site on 24th. Golden plover – 20 at the ARC site on 25th. Pectoral sandpiper – at south end of ARC from 22nd to 24th. Curlew sandpiper – two on the ARC site on 19th. Common sandpiper – two on Burrowes pit on 22nd. Wood sandpiper – one on the ARC pit on 22nd. Green sandpiper – on the ARC pit on 22nd. Greenshank – on the ARC site on 22nd. Little stint – one on ARC site on 21st. Turnstone – one on Burrowes pit on 23rd. Little gull – one over the ARC site on 25th.

24th July 2011, Sunday

Hastings Country Park bumblebees

I have been recording numbers of bumblebees on timed walks at Hastings Country Park this summer, comparing numbers to Dungeness.  Not surprisingly, given the different habitat, the responses of bumblebees to the spring drought have been totally different.  For instance whilst at Dungeness the red tailed bumblebee Bombus lapidarius has been unusually scarce this summer at Hastings it has been abundant.  Back in May both species were equally common on timed walks in pasture managed for bumblebees, however by this month there were three times as many females of this species at Hastings.  Males (sporting an additional yellow band at the front of the thorax) can be seen at both sites now.

red tailed bumblebee male

Numbers of the widespread bumblebee species have benefitted from some excellent Read the rest of this entry »

22nd July 2011, Friday

A few more waders

The first returning Golden Plover, 8 still in breeding plumage, were on the new saltmarsh next to Lime Kiln Cottage and an adult Little Stint was with 3 Little Ringed Plovers on the small saline pool just inland of Ternery Pool late this afternoon. On Tuesday John Trowell reported 3 Knot in breeding plumage at the Quarry.

22nd July 2011, Friday

Beach Reserve

With most of my time spent on the Beach Reserve this week avian highlights have a wader bias. Yesterday in the wet and murky conditions fly over birds at Lime Kiln Cottage included 9 Green Sandpiper, 4 Common Sandpiper, 22 Dunlin, 17 Black-tailed Godwit and 11 Whimbrel. Elsewhere, 160 Curlew have roosted on Harbour Farm and 4 Little Ringed Plover frequented the pools, on the quarry out from Denny Hide 4 Grey Plover in summer plumage gave great views.

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Curlew

21st July 2011, Thursday

Tern failure

As I woke today I heard on the radio about swarms of jellyfish –click here – and later found this article – click here. It is worrying that all 3 species of tern nesting at Rye Harbour have had almost zero productivity this year, but I haven’t yet heard of jellyfish swarms in Rye Bay.

21st July 2011, Thursday

RSPB timed bumblebee walks July 2011

These monitoring walks were completed this week.  Numbers counted were lower than in June, due mainly to a drop in the numbers of common species, particularly the red tailed bumblebee which is having a very poor season.  Only 4 specimens were counted this month, compared to a previous July peak count of 72.

On the positive side the numbers of brown banded carder bee (see below) were relatively high at 13 bees.  The highest July count for this Biodiversity Action Plan species is 15, and only 1 specimen was recorded at this time last year.  The build up of workers by this species seems to have been delayed this year, most likely by drought conditions limiting the amount of food plant.

Although the shrill carder bee has been observed on the site it was not noted on the timed walks.

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20th July 2011, Wednesday

Parasitoid

Thanks to Dorothy Beck for passing on images of this Tachinid fly caught at Lydd on Sea yesterday.  It is one of Europes largest flies, Tachina grossa.   A smart insect with a black spikey body, yellow head, and yellow tips to the legs.  It is impressive too, measuring almost 2 cm in length.

Tachina grossa

Fascinating for us, but it is not Read the rest of this entry »