Archive for October, 2011

13th October 2011, Thursday

A Very Rare Fly

While counting butterflies at Castle Water at the end of June this year, I came across several of these strange looking parasitic flies. I sent a couple to Chris Raper, the national recorder, and he has identified them as Erynnia ocypterata, a very rare parasitioid of micro lepidoptera found in woodland or wetland. This is a Red Data Book 2 species in Britain, with very few sites. Another good one for Rye Harbour!
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Erynnia ocypterata. Malcolm Storey www.bioimages.org.uk

13th October 2011, Thursday

Rye Harbour

Pick of the week since last Sunday: 14 Great Skua, 6 Arctic Skua, 622 Brent Geese and 71 Kittiwake all offshore, Short-eared Owl and Merlin on Harbour Farm, 300 Goldfinch heading east overhead along Shore Ridges, ringtail Hen Harrier, Barn OwlFirecrest and Bittern at Castle Water, a few Redwing and Fieldfare passed overhead at the viewpoint. There has been a good selection of waders on the Beach Reserve please refer to earlier postings.

LATEST – 8:55am 2 Cranes flew over Castle Water heading east.

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12th October 2011, Wednesday

Buff-breasted Sandpiper

One seen among the other waders on the flooded Flat Beach at Rye Harbour this afternoon.

9th October 2011, Sunday

Rye Harbour Waders

During yesterday’s Bird Race there were 16 species of wader recorded at Rye Harbour – Green and Common Sandpipers and Curlew at Castle Water, then at the flooded Flat Beach Oystercatcher, Lapwing, Golden, Grey and Ringed Plovers, Snipe, Redshank, Ruff, Sanderling, Dunlin, Little Stint and Buff-breasted Sandpiper, then Turnstone along the river.
And then today at the flooded Flat Beach there was no sign of the Buff-breasted Sandpiper, but in looking there were 2 extra species – Curlew Sandpiper and Purple Sandpiper. The latter species is the rarest of these waders at Rye Harbour and it’s about 10 years since I have seen one here…

9th October 2011, Sunday

RX Bird Race

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Yesterday 8 teams tried to see as many bird species as possible within the RX area to raise funds for Mallydams RSPCA and Friends of Rye Harbour Nature Reserve. It was cold, but dry and an amazing 133 species were logged (and there were an extra 10 or so species recorded in the area, but not seen by any of the teams). There was a dead heat with 104 species between Westfield Wildlife (who used a car and travelled widely – read Ralph and Dave’s account here) and the Pett Levellers (who walked to Fairlight, Pett and Rye Harbour – read Cliff’s account of the day here), so the prestigious trophy will be shared until next year’s event…
Back at Mallydams in the evening the teams enjoyed refreshements and a raffle and the whole day raised £350 and all the teams enjoyed the challenge. A BIG THANK-YOU to the sponsors – BLT Hastings, Phil Newton, Bob Greenhalf, In Focus, Feathers Wild Bird Care, Martyn Channons Country Store, Red Lion pub Brede, Rye Cycle Hire and Jempsons – and to all the teams that took part.

9th October 2011, Sunday

Dotted Chestnut

Dotted Chestnut

The last few days of September and early October have been good with four Clifden Nonpareils, a Scarce Bordered Straw and a Vestal in my garden trap near Staplecross, but last night this Dotted Chestnut was the highlight. This Nationally Scarce B species seems to be expanding its range and is described by Colin Pratt in his book as ‘a Sussex speciality, but even here it has always existed at a low density, and has been very local, elusive, and episodic in appearance’.

6th October 2011, Thursday

Shrill carder bee

Shrill carder bees Bombus sylvarum have continued to be found in small numbers on the RSPB reserve throughout the summer.  The most recent sighting I am aware of was by Will George on 17 September 2011 and was of a somewhat darkened individual.  Thanks to Will for allowing use of this link.  There should be a pale band at the front and rear of the thorax (where the wings emerge), separated by a band of black hairs.  In this specimen the darks hairs infiltrate the pale bands, making them difficult to pick out clearly.  Note the orange tail which is typical of this species.

It’s pleasing to note that this very threatened species managed to survive through the breeding season at the RSPB reserve and hopefully means that some queens were produced this year to continue the recolonisation of Romney Marsh in 2012.

6th October 2011, Thursday

False Ladybird

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It is not difficult to see why this beetle Endomychus coccineus is often called the False Ladybird Beetle. I found it on a rotting log in Malthouse woods, Peasmarsh.

5th October 2011, Wednesday

des. res.

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On grassy shingle banks at this time of year there are frequent piles of small stones mounded outside of small holes. The photo shows a new one in my garden with a pile, about 40cm across, of small stones (there is a 50p coin in the photo and the entrance is top centre). I have often wondered what made these and a Trail Camera has provided the answer. It is a pair of Long-tailed Field Mice but I find it hard to imagine them moving these 1,000+ stones one by one from under the ground to outside their front door. The video shows them in front of the entrance and one is taking in nest material, so it looks like the main construction phase is over and they are now fitting it out with nest material. Read the rest of this entry »

4th October 2011, Tuesday

Dragons and buzzards on the marsh

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Spent a pleasant hour by the lake at Moneypenny (East Guldeford) yesterday morning searching for possible Willow Emerald damselflies (Lestes viridis). This is a very recent marginal colonist from the Continent, now present at Strumpshaw Fen RSPB in Norfolk and at several sites in Suffolk. There’s a small colony in north Kent but I don’t know of any yet in Sussex. It’s a very late damselfly, quite robust, with a long green abdomen. A bit of a long shot!  But a dozen or more Migrant Hawkers (Aeshna mixta) were swarming round the reeds and willows, and here’s a photo of one. There were similar numbers of Common Darters and a glimpse of a very late blue damsel of some sort. Meanwhile a couple of Common Buzzards were circling low over the trees – I’ve seen several over the levels recently in such unexpected surroundings.