Archive for May, 2012

25th May 2012, Friday

Castle Water

The warmer weather this week has encouraged a lot more dragon and damselfly activity around the margins and scrubby areas at CastleWater. Highlights at noon included three Downy Emerald patrolling the willows along the footpath north of the viewpoint, several Four-spotted Chaser could be found around the margins at the northern end of the main pit, small numbers of Large Red Damselfly were at the pond at the entrance to the hide. Hairy Dragonfly, Red-eyed and Variable Damselfly could be found around the bramble scrub near the viewpoint.

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Four-spotted Chaser

25th May 2012, Friday

Nearly there

The black-headed gull chick that has featured in several posts recently is still going strong and is two weeks old now. It has lost the cute factor now (you can compare with the other chick in the picture which is only a few days old) but it is still in the size range to be an easy meal for any of the larger gull species that frequent the beach reserve.

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24th May 2012, Thursday

Cuckoos in the mist

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Since my last posting about cuckoos see here – I have been trying to get a photo of them eating the hairy caterpillars. Today in the early morning mist a got a distant shot of one eating a pale grass eggar and using the fence posts for convenient perching places. The best area to watch this is the western part of the Beach Reserve.
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23rd May 2012, Wednesday

White flowers

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There are lots of white flowers out at the moment – hawthorn, field mouse-ear, cow parsley… but which are these?
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22nd May 2012, Tuesday

At Last!

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A lovely warm Spring day with masses of insect activity – my phone says it reached 23 Centigrade. There was an early gathering of 500+ swift over Castle Water and then 8 hobbys (rather than hobbies?) took over catching small (invisible from the ground) insects quite high up (above). Then the Mediterranean and black-headed gulls started hawking for insects and the sky was filled with their calls.
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21st May 2012, Monday

Pett Pools

The pools were again quiet this weekend. There are still three drake Wigeon, and eight tardy Curlew have still not left for their breeding grounds. A single Little Gull hawking over the pools was probably the highlight. There were quite a few low flying Swift and Swallow and a single Hobby appeared to be struggling to find food.

20th May 2012, Sunday

Dock Bug

Though still a bit windy and chilly in the open there has definitely been a bit more inveretebrate activity over the last few days compared to previously. One of several species abroad in my garden at Lime Kiln Cottage was this dock bug (Coreus marginatus) a species which unsurprisingly gets its name from the fact that it feed on various docks and sorrells. Common in southern Britain, this is a ‘true bug’ with piercing and sucking mouthparts and relatives of this species which occur in America can be a pests of squash plants. Consequently one of the umbrella names for the groups of insects to which this species belongs is ‘squash bugs’
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Dock bug

20th May 2012, Sunday

Aerobatics

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Lapwing are trying to squeeze in a late nesting attempt after the cool wet May. They haven’t got much time because they will start their annual moult soon and the large moulting flocks usually start building in the first week of June. So, as the chicks from the early nesting pairs are about to fledge, there is a flurry of aerobatic display from pairs that failed… best seen all along Rye Harbour Farm. Read the rest of this entry »

19th May 2012, Saturday

Ooh, it’s the ladies!

With the good weather today I decided to have a look around the Beach Reserve for some spring spiders. I started with a search near Wader Pool hide for more of the rare jumping spider Pellenes tripunctatus and was rewarded with a total of five individuals, including two females, the first I have found here. While instantly recognisable they are not as brightly coloured as the males, with largely brown instead of black ground colour and lacking the red markings around the eyes. So far all the individuals I have found of this species have been in the same place so I think over the coming weeks I will have to search other suitable areas of the reserve to see if it is more widespread here.
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Pellenes tripunctatus female

19th May 2012, Saturday

Dragons and damsels

Still not exactly warm, but out of the wind in the sheltered scrubby areas near the viewpoint a good selection of damselflies had gathered. At least 50+ Variable Damselfly, 100+ Blue-tailed  Damselfly, 20+ Red-eyed Damselfy and 30+ Azure Damselfly were enjoying the warmth. Hairy Dragonfly and Downy Emerald were also patrolling the nearby bramble bushes. As the season progresses I keep expecting to find a bigger emergence of Hairy Dragonfly at Castle Water, so far I have only collected twenty exuvia and would expect a lot more by now if recent years are anything to go by. A selection of picture from this morning are below.

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One of two male Hairy Dragonfly at stage 2 of emergence near the viewpoint this morning.

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