Archive for October, 2011

30th October 2011, Sunday

Grey Seal

On Saturday afternoon a large Grey Seal was hauled out for about an hour on the shore at Rye Harbour, despite a small crowd of onlookers and dogs. It looked unwell and was a potential risk to the onlookers, so I called Mallydams RSPCA. Then, almost immediately the seal turned and loped off into the receding tide… and I was able to cancel the RSPCA call out! Photo by Mike Slavin.

27th October 2011, Thursday

Rye Harbour

Birds heading west offshore have produced most of the highlights so far this week, 6 Great Skua, 3 Arctic Skua, 2 Pomarine Skua, 190 Kittiwake, 250 Gannet, 4 Red-throated Diver, 12 Little Gull plus good numbers of Guillemot and Razorbill. Elsewhere 2 Water Rails gave good views at Crittall Hide, at Castle Water a Firecrest has been frequent in the scrub around the viewpoint, from the hide Bittern and Barn Owl.


26th October 2011, Wednesday


The 2 Common Cranes were seen again last evening – flying over Rye towards the Brede Valley at dusk.

25th October 2011, Tuesday

RSPB Dungeness sightings

It’s always lovely to welcome the smew back to Dungeness but it is also a sign that winter is just around the corner. Hard to believe today, mind you, as it has been sunny and really rather warm with only a gentle breeze. A single redhead (female or young male) was seen on the ARC pit briefly this afternoon. I’ve had no news of the penduline tit yet today but it was seen well over the weekend and yesterday afternoon just to the left of the Hanson-ARC hide. Bittern sightings are increasing with almost daily reports from the ARC site or Denge Marsh.

A spoonbill was seen yesterday – first at the ARC site and then on Denge Marsh. We were also treated to the unusual sight of 11 grey herons lined up along the far bank of Burrowes pit. Even more unusual, however, has been the appearance of a lesser spotted woodpecker, seen flying to and from the willow trail on a couple of occasions in the last few days. This is the first ever record of this species on the reserve.

One or two ring ouzels have been seen over the past few days near the viewing screen and one flew past the Hanson-ARC hide this afternoon. Other birds on the move have included redpolls, siskins, goldfinches and (on 23rd) three crossbills.

20th October 2011, Thursday

Rye Harbour

Highlights so far this week have included, 2 Pintail, 130 Wigeon, Barn Owl, Marsh Harrier, 20 Fieldfare and 30 Redwing at Castle Water, at least 350 Curlew have roosted on Harbour Farm/West beach, 570 Golden Plover have frequented Flat Beach/Wader Pool. Waders feeding along the shore have included, 65 Dunlin, 8 Knot, 11 Grey Plover and 4 Bar-tailed Godwit.


Golden Plover on the Wader Pool

17th October 2011, Monday

Ivy bee – have you seen one?

Should you happen to walk past a clump of ivy in flower keep a watch for this insect.

Colletes hederae

It is the bee Colletes hederae, a species that was first seen in the UK in 2001, and whose spread is being monitored by the Bee, Wasp and Ant Recording Scheme (BWARS).  They are interested in studying the progress of this attractive bee as it colonises the UK. 

They can also be observed on bare ground where they make their nests.  With broad pale bands on the abdomen this is the only solitary bee that is likely to be flying now, so identification is not too problematical, if you find one foraging on ivy.

It seems to be getting quite well established in southern England and is spreading inland in places, but records in the RX area would be useful.  We know it occurs in Hastings and at Pett but is it elsewhere?  For more information on this insect, including details of where to send any records if you have seen one (ideally sending a photographic record of the insect) click here

Thanks to Ian Hunter for use of the above photograph.

17th October 2011, Monday

Dewick’s Plusia in Rye

Dewick’s Plusia, Rye, 17.10.11

Both the English and scientific names of Dewick’s Plusia (Macdunnoughia confusa) are quite bizarre, and it’s a pretty moth too, related to the familiar Silver Y but smaller and brighter with a gleaming silver mark on the wing. First found in the UK by A.J. Dewick at Bradwell-on-Sea, Essex, in October 1951, it remained a rare vagrant until the last decade. Now it’s thought to be well established with at least four colonies in Sussex alone. Chris caught one at Rye Harbour on 2nd October, the fifth reserve record, but the one in my trap this morning was my first ever.

14th October 2011, Friday

Peasmarsh jumping spider

It was a nice sunny day for a short walk through the woods in Peasmarsh today. The brighter weather brought out quite a number of species of insects and spiders including this attractive little jumping spider Pseudeuophrys lanigera.

14th October 2011, Friday

Castle Water

Highlights today included two Buzzards soaring low over the hide, 2 Green Sandpiper and 50 Wigeon. Dragonflies on the wing along the footpath to the hide included Brown Hawker, Southern Hawker and several Migrant Hawker.


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13th October 2011, Thursday

Alien invader

Dark Bush-cricket

On the floor of my moth trap in Rye this morning was this uninvited guest, which according to Chinery’s Insects guide appears to be a male Dark Bush-cricket (Pholidoptera griseoaptera), a widespread species of rough verges, clearings and garden shrubberies that can be found as late as November. I’ve found crickets around the trap before but can’t recall finding one right inside!