Author Archive

13th October 2008, Monday

St Leonards Moths

The current mild nights are producing some good light trap records, the best moth this morning in my roof terrace trap in St Leonards was this golden twin-spot.

Golden Twin-spot, St Leonards, East Sussex

Other migrants in the trap were a silver y and 2 rusty-dot pearl. The best of the local moths was a cypress carpet and a beaded chestnut (a very scarce moth in Hastings).

29th September 2008, Monday

Hastings Country Park Nature Reserve

Less visible migration today with only 130 goldfinch east and smaller numbers of meadow pipit and siskin. Grounded migrants reported included 16 redpoll, 3 wheatear, 11 stonechat, 2 reed bunting, 9 yellow wagtail and 2 tree pipit. Two common buzzard were seen hunting along field margins and hedgerows.

Reported by Andrew Grace with more information on wildhastings.

28th September 2008, Sunday

Hastings Country Park Nature Reserve

The early morning overhead migration continues with counts of 250 siskin, 100 goldfinch, 50 linnet, 2 tree pipit, 2 grey wagtail and 2 yellow wagtail flying east. Grounded migrants included 50 chiffchaff, 14 goldcrest, 7 blackcap, a whitethroat and a lesser whitethroat. 3 eider were close inshore at Rock-a-nore.

Reported by Alan Parker and Tim Inskipp on wildhastings. Photo by Mali Halls.

27th September 2008, Saturday

Hastings Country Park Nature Reserve

Early morning overhead migration produced counts of 580 siskin, 400 swallow, 300 meadow pipit, 150 goldfinch, 5 tree pipits and a yellow wagtail east. There was an obvious fall of goldcrests with 50 counted. Other grounded migrants included a redwing at Ecclesbourne Meadow and grasshopper warbler at Warren Glen. Also 4 raven reported.

During late morning and early afternoon a count of 16 common buzzards was made using cliff generated thermals and moving east.

Reported by Alan Parker, Andrew grace and Tim Inskipp on wildhastings.

26th September 2008, Friday

Ivy Bees at Castle Rocks, Hastings

Spent a fascinating hour or two yesterday watching Ivy Bees (Colletes hederae) with entomologist Simon Saxton who is researching the bee at Castle Rocks, Hastings. The video below shows some mating behaviour which is quite unusual but a feature of this species mating strategy and other Colletes species that form large aggregations.

Ivy Bees at Castle Rocks, Hastings, East Sussex from Andy Phillips on Vimeo.

When a new female emerges or is dug out by a male she produces a scent that attracts the males that tirelessly patrol the burrows. This scent also seems to rub off onto the successful male and any other attendant males which attracts more males, which pick up the scent themsleves attracting more males etc. producing these mating balls which can become quite large. You can see the successful male at the bottom of the mating ball with his legs tucked tightly into its body and antennae held tightly backwards over the head.

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25th September 2008, Thursday

Hastings Country Park Nature Reserve

Records reported for Thursday include an arrival of 7 song thrush and 6 redwing in the North’s Seat/Picnic Site area. Also 12 chiffchaff there and a passage of 54 meadow pipit, and single tree pipit, grey wagtail and pied wagtail overhead. Also overhead migration of skylark and chaffinch noted in small numbers over coastguard fields area of Hastings Country Park Nature Reserve.

Also redstart seen near Warren Cottage on Wednesday.

Reported by Andrew Grace on wildhastings.

21st September 2008, Sunday

Hastings Country Park Nature Reserve (Update)

Overhead visible migration was dominated by siskin (450 east), meadow pipit (250), house martin (200) and swallow (100). Smaller numbers of other species were also recorded including 20 pied wagtail, 15 yellow wagtail, 5 grey wagtail, 3 tree pipits, 20 goldfinch, and 10 reed bunting. Migrant raptors reported included a common buzzard and sparrowhawk.

Notable records of grounded migrants included the second record of Cetti’s warbler for the site in Warren Glen, 5 crossbill in the Barn Pond area, two redstarts (Fairlight Road Picnic Site & Rocklands Lane) and a spotted flycatcher at Fairlight Road Picnic Site.

For a map showing official places names within the nature reserve click here or on the map below.


Reported by Cliff Dean, Andrew Grace & Alan Parker

13th September 2008, Saturday

Hastings Country Park Nature Reserve News

There was some raptor movement visible over Warren Glen late morning with two marsh harrier and a hobby flying west. Seven sparrowhawk were counted either coasting along the cliff-top or soaring over the farm fields. Two peregrine also flew west low over Rock-a-nore Beach in the afternoon, probably local birds flying into town to hunt.

A few hundred hirundines, mainly house martin, were feeding over the farm fields and a flock of 30 yellow wagtail and 50 meadow pipit gathered feeding around the Highland cattle in the Coastguard fields. Hirundines were also on the move flying west as well as a few siskin, yellow wagtail, meadow pipit and goldfinch. A few chiffchaff, willow warbler, blackcap and garden warbler were present around Warren Glen late morning/early afternoon but a lot more migrants were present early morning as the ringers had a record morning in the quarry with good numbers of chiffchaff and willow warbler ringed and an unusually large number of house martin caught and ringed in the arable margin nets.

Colletes hederae, Hastings Country Park Nature Reserve

The ivy is in flower along Barley Lane and was attracting large numbers of the ivy bee, Colletes hederae. This recent colonist nests in huge colonies at Castle Rocks and on the HCPNR cliffs. The species is moving further east each year so it’s worth looking for the species at Cliff End. It’s an impressive bee, females being honey bee sized, with it’s rich brown thorax and pale brown ‘painted’ stripes on the abdomen. It specialises on collecting ivy pollen and times it’s nesting activity during September and October while ivy is in flower.

2nd September 2008, Tuesday

RXwildlife Flickr Group

A RXwildlife Flickr Group has been set-up to provide a pool of wildlife and landscape photos & video clips taken within the RXwildlife area. Please join the RXwildlife Photos & Videos Group if you are a Flickr* member and want to include some of your wildlife and landscape pictures of the coast and countryside from Hastings to Dungeness and Romney Marsh.

Some of the best photos in the group will be showcased on the website (with the photographers permission of course).

*( is one of the most popular photo sharing websites on the internet and is acclaimed for the quality of the photographers and photographs on the site, which includes some of the most stunning wildlife and landscape photography you are likely to find on the internet.)

Created with Admarket’s flickrSLiDR.

31st August 2008, Sunday

Goat Moth record from Hastings Country Park NR

A goat moth caterpillar was reported (with photo) from Firehills, Hastings Country Park NR on 21 August. Originally posted on wildhastings.

(The blackberry was placed for size comparison)