Author Archive

27th June 2012, Wednesday

Rare weevil

One of the rarest species in the RX area is the endangered beetle, Limobius mixtus. It is a 2-3mm weevil that feeds on stork’sbill (a fairly widespread plant) growing on sand, but the only modern records in the UK are from Castle Water (? we think). It wasn’t recorded there last year, so I looked for it yesterday and failed, but today Chris found three. The background colour varies, but most have a dark triangle on the midline of the wing cases. For a video of it feeding on a flower bud of stork’sbill …. Read the rest of this entry »

26th June 2012, Tuesday

Orchid time

The three common species of orchid are all out now in good numbers – pyramidal, common spotted and bee orchids. Most people’s favourite is the bee orchid and a close up of the flower above shows why…

23rd June 2012, Saturday


One of the shingle plants not eaten by rabbits is viper’s bugloss… because it is covered in small, sharp, glassy spines – on the stem, the leaves and the flower buds. This also helps to deter people from picking the pretty blue flowers…
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23rd June 2012, Saturday

Rare plant rarer beetle

If your life depends on a rare plant you are vulnerable to its disappearance. The Endangered flea beetle, Dibolia cynoglossi (3mm) is found on and eats red hempnettle (a BAP species), making characteristic scars on the leaf surface (see above). In the last few years rabbit grazing has reduced the amount of red hempnettle and the beetle, but they can still be found in good amounts in and around the rabbit exclosures – especially the small exclosure west of the Mary Stanford lifeboat house.

22nd June 2012, Friday

National Insect Week

Next week is click here for details and there are many activities in the south east – click here. If the weather calms down and warms up there might even be some insects to see!

22nd June 2012, Friday

Great British Insect Day

As part of National Insect Week, Great Dixter will host a Great British Insect Day on Saturday 30th June 2012, 10am-1pm. Three talks – see below. Places limited, so email to book…

22nd June 2012, Friday

Invasive plant tracker

Click here for a link to the new Environment Agency PlantTracker app which helps to track problem plants. Its only for 3 plants at the moment, including Himalayan balsam and Japanese knotweed but looks like it’s well worth downloading. From Fran Southgate.

21st June 2012, Thursday

Malachite beetle

Another insect feeding on the flowering biting stonecrop. This time it’s Clanoptilus marginellus, a Notable B malachite beetle (9mm) found locally on coastal habitats. It’s abundant at the moment along the beach, feeding on the pollen of several different flowers.

19th June 2012, Tuesday


Today there were masses of blue viper’s bugloss flowers and blue sky.

15th June 2012, Friday

Sea pea monitoring

This nationally scarce shingle specialist has declined dramatically during the last 10 years in the RX area. It used to be common along the Pett and Rye Harbour shore with a few plants at Camber and Dungeness. At Rye Harbour it has declined due to at least two pressures – human feet and rabbits – it is now only common on the seaward side of the tarmac road between the river mouth and the Mary Stanford lifeboat house. It was much more widespread, so I am mapping it this year and would like to know from anyone who finds it outside of the reserve – email me at with location and area covered by the plant.