Archive for March 19th, 2012

19th March 2012, Monday

Castle Water

Highlights from a day at Castle Water included Firecrest, 2 Raven, Common Buzzard, 3 Marsh Harrier and 10 Avocet, insects on the wing included 2 Small Tortoiseshell, Common Carder Bee, Buff and White-tailed Bumblebee, and at least 6 of each Common Bee-fly and the hoverfly Cheilosia grossa. This distinctive early hoverfly can be seen around the short grassy areas near the viewpoint flying low to the ground as it searches out its host plants, in this case young Spear Thistles. 

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Cheilosia grossa on cut willow stump.

19th March 2012, Monday

Redwing

During the heavy rain on Saturday night I was at Fairlight at 23.15 and could hear a good movement of Redwing  overhead. The surprise to me was that it was pouring down and had been most of the evening. I always thought that birds would not migrate during heavy rain with no moon or stars visible. On Sunday morning there were certainly more Redwing in the lanes around Icklesham with separate flocks of 120, 80 and 60 present.

19th March 2012, Monday

Not a Bad Day

I had a wander round the reserve yesterday with Graeme Lyons, the Sussex Wildlife Trust reserve ecologist. The intention was to collect some spiders and particularly beetles from Castle Water and the Beach Reserve, but of course we couldn’t avoid being distracted by other wildlife as well. Graeme showed me several species of snail including pointed snail, wrinkled snail and banded snail (these snail names seem very to the point), while I returned the compliment with the spring tachinid Gonia picea and the hoverfly Cheilosia grossa. One of the most interesting things he showed me was not an invertebrate however but a fungus, one of a group called stalkballs, which Graeme described rather accurately as ‘a puffball on a stick’. He thinks it may be winter stalkball (Tulostuma brumale) which apperently is very uncommon in Sussex, but will get it checked by an expert and get back to me. Whaetever it is there are no records of stalkballs for the reserve, so it is another addition to the list.
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The mystery stalkball – ‘a puffball on a stick’
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19th March 2012, Monday

Pot Beetle

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I found this rather interesting larva emerging from its ‘pot’. It was one of a considerable number all emerging a few days ago on fence posts around woodland in Peasmarsh. I have often seen the sealed ‘pots’ and wondered what they were. I had thought they might just be splats of mud. Ispot has revealed it as a larva of a species of ‘Crytocephalus’ (a pot beetle). All I have do now though is work out which of the 20 or so British species it is.