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.
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’.
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.
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.
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 »
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.
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.
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.