Author Archive

17th April 2012, Tuesday

Some Spring Insects

Invertebrates seem to have been relatively thin on the ground over the last week – in that time I have seen one butterfly and my moth trap has been notable for its emptiness. However, while checking the fences yesterday I did turn up a few good things crawly wise. The biggest surprise was a knot of 15 Helops caeruleus , a rare ‘darkling’ beetle which I expect to see in small numbers every year, but this gathering was probably more than I have seen in the least two years combined!
Some of the 15 Helops caeruleus found today on the Beach Reserve
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19th March 2012, Monday

Not a Bad Day

I had a wander round the reserve yesterday with Graeme Lyons, the Sussex Wildlife Trust reserve ecologist. The intention was to collect some spiders and particularly beetles from Castle Water and the Beach Reserve, but of course we couldn’t avoid being distracted by other wildlife as well. Graeme showed me several species of snail including pointed snail, wrinkled snail and banded snail (these snail names seem very to the point), while I returned the compliment with the spring tachinid Gonia picea and the hoverfly Cheilosia grossa. One of the most interesting things he showed me was not an invertebrate however but a fungus, one of a group called stalkballs, which Graeme described rather accurately as ‘a puffball on a stick’. He thinks it may be winter stalkball (Tulostuma brumale) which apperently is very uncommon in Sussex, but will get it checked by an expert and get back to me. Whaetever it is there are no records of stalkballs for the reserve, so it is another addition to the list.
The mystery stalkball – ‘a puffball on a stick’
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11th March 2012, Sunday

Rye Harbour Sightings

Highlights today included, on Harbour Farm, a male garganey, a pair of goldeneye and four avocet on the pit by Harbour Farm Barns and the long staying spotted redshank on the pit behind Ternery Pool. On Ternery Pool itself two ruff were present along with around 50 golden plover, while at least eight bar-tailed godwit were present on Flat Beach. A visit to the viewpoint at dusk turned up bittern, hunting barn owl and a male marsh harrier. In addition, a slavonian grebe was reported on Long Pit mid-afternoon.

12th February 2012, Sunday

Rye Harbour Sightings

Highlights today were, on the Beach Reserve, seven smew (two drakes) at Ternery Pool and the spotted redshank on the Quarry, and 17 goldeneye (four drakes) on Long Pit. In addition, a visit to the viewpoint at Castle Water at Dusk found two marsh harrier, a barn owl, 17 fieldfare and a bittern, while on the way back a woodcock was flushed from long grass near the end of the viewpoint walkway.
Drake Smew

23rd January 2012, Monday

Great White Egret

A Great White Egret flew over the Beach Reserve at about 15:45 this afternoon. It was observed heading west for a while before dropping down in the region of Narrow Pit.

16th January 2012, Monday

Rye Harbour Sightings

Highlights at Rye Harbour over the last few days have included, on the Beach Reserve, Spotted Redshank and Merlin, and on Harbour Farm at least five Goldeneye (including one or two males) and three Bearded Tit in front of Watch Cottages. At Castle Water, highlights were six Black-tailed Godwit, five Ruff, three Marsh Harrier, three Red-crested Pochard (two males), at least two Bittern and a Barn Owl.
Red-crested Pochard

8th January 2012, Sunday

Rye Harbour Sightings

Highlights over the last couple of days have included, at Castle Water, two Bittern, two Marsh Harrier, six Black-tailed Godwit, five Ruff and a pair of Pintail, while best of the bunch today were at least two Merlin on Harbour Farm, the Spotted Redshank on Ternery Pool and a Bar-tailed Godwit on Flat Beach Level.

27th November 2011, Sunday

Short-eared Owl(s)

A Short-eared Owl was seen by Roy Gardner hunting on Harbour Farm to the west of the barns mid-afternoon, while what was undoubtedly a second bird was seen coming in off the sea a little later, before being mobbed by crows and going to ground near Ternery Pool.

25th November 2011, Friday

Rye Harbour Sightings

Highlights over the last week have included a Short-eared Owl and two Goldeneye on Harbour Farm, a male Scaup on Long Pit/Ternery Pool, and a pair of Pintail and a male Marsh Harrier at Castle Water. Offshore, a brief seawatch on 23rd found 20+ Razorbill, 10+ Kittiwake, three Red-throated Diver and a Gannet. On the Beach Reserve, around 1000 Golden Plover, 750 Lapwing and up to nine Little Egret were present on Flat Beach level, while a maximum of 33 Sanderling were present on the shore.

13th October 2011, Thursday

A Very Rare Fly

While counting butterflies at Castle Water at the end of June this year, I came across several of these strange looking parasitic flies. I sent a couple to Chris Raper, the national recorder, and he has identified them as Erynnia ocypterata, a very rare parasitioid of micro lepidoptera found in woodland or wetland. This is a Red Data Book 2 species in Britain, with very few sites. Another good one for Rye Harbour!
Erynnia ocypterata. Malcolm Storey