Author Archive

22nd February 2012, Wednesday

Yellowhammers

Yellowhammer

For the last few weeks I have been putting out grain in my small field near Staplecross. Initially I was only rewarded with Pheasants but now a flock of Yellowhammers has built up. The highest count so far has been 34, but it is rare to get more than 10 feeding together, the rest watching from a safe distance in the nearby hedge. Yellowhammer is a Red List species, but maybe there are more in East Sussex than we think.

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’.

14th September 2011, Wednesday

Pale Eggar

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According to Colin Pratt’s excellent 3 volume book on Butterflies and Moths of Sussex, the Pale Eggar has a patchy distribution and the maps show few records from the east. This specimen was one of the few moths caught in my Robinson trap near Staplecross last night.

4th September 2011, Sunday

Rhododendron leafhopper

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This beautiful leafhopper Graphocephala fennahi was found in my moth trap this morning near Staplecross. It is a native to the USA where it is called the Scarlet and Green leafhopper and was introduced into Europe in the early 1900s. It is one of the few insects to use rhododendrum as a foodplant, hence its English common name of Rhododendrum leafhopper.

23rd September 2010, Thursday

Not one but two

Clifden Nonpareil
It’s been a rather quiet few weeks for moth trapping, but the appearance of Clifden Nonpareils on consecutive nights of the 10th and 11th September near Staplecross was exceptional. There has been some speculation that maybe a small breeding population has recently become established in this area as such records are becoming annual, although the last confirmed breeding record for Britain was back in 1964. We can only hope. Sorry for the late posting of this record – better late than never.

21st July 2010, Wednesday

Another migrant

Orache Moth
The Orache Moth used to be a resident in the east of England until 1915 but is now a rare immigrant. The rather tatty specimen above was caught near Staplecross on the night of the 19th July, but to show what they can look like I have also shown a fresh specimen which was caught in SW France earlier this year. Read the rest of this entry »

13th July 2010, Tuesday

My favourite moth

The Lappet

Although listed in most moth guides as ‘common’, in my experience the Lappet is seldom encountered at light traps. This one was caught on the 11th July at Cooden Beach Golf Club on the edge of Pevensey Levels, and although not the rarest moth caught that night it was certainly the most weird looking.

9th July 2010, Friday

Moths abound

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The hot warm evenings are ideal for ‘mothing’ and last night was exceptional. In 2 Robinson traps in a garden near Staplecross I caught over 900 moths of 117 species (including 29 easily identified micros). The highlights were 2 new species for the garden – Heart and Club (common at Rye Harbour) and The Lackey (above), but there were many other nice species including both Green and Scarce Silver-lines and another 26 hawkmoths. The only migrant was a single Diamond-back Moth.

7th July 2010, Wednesday

Hawkmoth bonanza

Hawkmoth bonanza

There seem to be a lot of hawkmoths around at the moment with 3 x Privet, 3 x Poplar, 16 x Elephant and an Eyed Hawkmoth all in the same moth trap left overnight near Staplecross on the 4th July. It was difficult to get them all to sit still on the wall for a team photo, but it was fun trying.

5th February 2010, Friday

Recent sightings at Newenden

Late afternoon today there were 9 Ruff amongst the 526 Lapwing on the flooded fields by the station at Newenden – the first record for TQ82I. Other birds present included 3 Golden Plover, 97 Shoveler, 11 Wigeon and 37 Gadwall. These fields turn up some nice birds, and the resident Whooper Swan is still regularly being seen on the fields on the station side of the road.