Archive for March, 2012

30th March 2012, Friday

Dotted bee-fly

Previous postings here have shown photos of these amazing spring flies click here and here and here. But today I wondered what they sound like, so put a microphone in among their favourite flowers in my garden – grape hyacinths.
Listen to these “mini hummingbirds” by clicking here.
And while I was bee-flying my first common tern of the year flew overhead.

29th March 2012, Thursday

Rye Harbour

A few highlights from today, at least 480 Mediterranean Gull at Ternery Pool, several Swallows, 22 Avocet, 9 Ruff and a Little Ringed Plover on Harbour Farm. At Castle Water two Sedge Warbler were in song near the viewpoint and plenty of insect and butterfly interest in the same area. Five of the big six Bombus species were present (hortorum missing), butterflies on the wing included Orange-tip, Red Admiral, large White, Peacock and Small Tortoiseshell. Hoverfly interest was provided by the furry bee mimic Eristalis intricarius, Eristalis tenax and of course Cheilosia grossa.


Eristalis intricarius on willow flower at the viewpoint.

29th March 2012, Thursday

Changed event

Unfortunately we have had to change one of our childrens events over the Easter holidays…

Mud Exploration will now become Bugs and Birds on Tuesday 3rd April.

This is due to the works along the River Rother stopping access to the saltmarsh. For details of this and other events at Rye Harbour Nature Reserve please see

27th March 2012, Tuesday

Rye Harbour

A few highlights from around the reserve at day break, Little Ringed Plover on Harbour Farm pools, on Flat Beach at least 28 Avocet, 33 Brent Geese and 100 Golden Plover. At Castle Water several Sand Martin, Sedge Warbler, Green Sandpiper, Barn Owl and a Bittern

26th March 2012, Monday

The summertime blues

Well, it felt like summer!  This afternoon I found 3 Holly Blues on the cherry laurel just coming into flower at Playden Church, plus one in a holly at the end of Love Lane, Rye. I can’t remember ever seeing Holly Blues in March. But not the first in Sussex – one was at Chichester on 22nd, with a few others since. Typically hard to photograph, fluttering high, landing in the sunshine and folding their wings; the gleaming silvery-blue underwings ‘burn out’ on the image. Anyway, my first ’emergents’ of the year and a true sign of spring.

26th March 2012, Monday

First Swallow?

My first Swallow flew over Playden, near Rye, heading inland on Sunday at 4.30 pm. From Bob Greenhalf by e-mail.

26th March 2012, Monday

Breakfast-time bullfinches


Every morning lately this male Bullfinch (and his mate) have been entertaining us from our kitchen window in Rye. The bins are on the table first thing!  A pair have frequented the Military Road gardens for some years but have only recently been coming to our feeder. We must be using the right seed mix.

25th March 2012, Sunday

RSPB Dungeness sightings

The first little ringed plover of the season was spotted at the eastern end of the ARC pit yesterday morning. The long-tailed duck was on Burrowes pit and a drake garganey was on the Denge Marsh flood – visible from the gate on the bridle track to the left of Denge Marsh hide. A bittern was seen but not heard at Hooker’s pits and a firecrest was in the bushes across the track from Christmas Dell hide.

25th March 2012, Sunday

Hairy-footed flower bee

The hairy-footed flower bee Anthophora plumipes has been active in Northiam this week.  The males (see here) could be mistaken for common carder bees Bombus pascuorum, although they are smaller than the queens you would expect to see in the spring, and I have not seen any of the latter species flying yet this year.  The sexes of this species show different colour patterns, with the females being all black in colour, with yellowish hairs on the back legs.  They have a more rapid flight than a bumblebee darting in an out of stands of flowering plants.  More information is available on this bee here.

24th March 2012, Saturday

Short-eared owl

A short-eared owl was present just west of harbour barns at 5.00pm on Friday, by the time I had the camera out it was heading South West towards Dogs Hill being mobbed by gulls. From Andrew Killick by e-mail. [and again this evening!]