Archive for May 1st, 2012

1st May 2012, Tuesday

Sparrow weather?

I participate in nestbox challenge, a BTO initiative that encourages people to record the use of nestboxes, and the survival of eggs and chicks.  During this last month we had four house sparrow nests supporting  chicks for more than a week in late April. All of the nests contained young birds for at least 7 days and survival during this wet period was just 55%.

male house sparrow

At first this figure did not seem particularly high and I blamed

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1st May 2012, Tuesday

Lapwing weather

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Today there were several broods of tiny lapwing on view at Rye Harbour Farm, especially in the central and western fields that have many ponds and scrapes in. I can’t make my mind up if the recent cold, wet and windy weather has been good or bad for lapwings. The weather deteriorated on the very day the first chicks hatched, but being small they can easily find warmth and shelter under their parents. BUT they must find food, and cold weather probably means there hasn’t been so many insects about and the chicks have to be brooded for longer. BUT, the wet weather has created more ideal feeding areas for chicks – wet muddy margins – that should now last long enough to see the birds fledge… lets hope todays mild weather continues.

1st May 2012, Tuesday

Castle Water

A couple more species of damselfly this morning in the margins near the viewpoint, Blue-tailed and Variable. Also of interest an Orange-tip, 2 Small Copper and the hoverfly Rhingia campestris.

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Male Variable Damselfly

1st May 2012, Tuesday

After the Deluge

Yesterday I took the opportunity to carry out my first butterfly count of the year, and after the wet weather it was good to get out in the sun! Truth be told there was little in the way of butterflies, with several peacock, a speckled wood in the scrub around Castle Water hide and a green-veined white the only species recorded, though there were plenty of other things to see. Highlight for me was the rare jumping spider Marpissa muscosa at Castle Water Hide, a species only recorded for the first time on the reserve in 2007 and now seen annually. Also seen on the the route were several hundred St Mark’s fly – every bush seemed to have its attendant group flying lazily round the branches – the spring hoverfly Epistrophe eligans and red-tailed bumblebee, buff-tailed bumblebee and common carder bee (the first ones I have seen at Rye Harbour this year).
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Common carder bee
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