Author Archive

3rd February 2012, Friday

Bewick’s Swans

A flock of 52 including 5 immatures at Midley this afternoon.

19th January 2012, Thursday

One of each

Pale Brindled Beauty, melanicPale Brindled Beauty, normal form

Birds aren’t the only things flying in January; there are a few moths too. Today I trapped two Pale Brindled Beauties at Rye, one melanic (monacharia) and one the normal form. Both are males, as the females are wingless. Melanics were unknown in East Sussex until the 1960s but now comprise up to 5% of the population.

9th January 2012, Monday

Pett Level wildfowl and seabirds

Among c.80 Canada Geese and c.70 Greylags this morning, I counted 11 Dark-bellied Brents, 12 White-fronts, 4 Pinkfeet and the Bar-headed Goose that’s been going around with the Canadas this winter. The pools held a drake Pintail and 2 drake Ruddy Ducks, and a huge flock of scoter on the sea included a few Velvets with 7 more Velvets coming past. About 25 Red-throated Divers passed by, some landing on the sea, plus 2 Razorbills and a Guillemot, and single Gannet and Bonxie were reported.

4th January 2012, Wednesday

Common Sandpiper at Strand Quay

An out-of-season Common Sandpiper with a Redshank on the mud by St Margaret’s Terrace at midday.

2nd January 2012, Monday

2012 Blackcap

A male in my garden in North Salts, Rye, this morning.

31st December 2011, Saturday

Early Purple Orchids too!

Though not yet in bloom. But five prominent clusters of waxy, dark-purple-spotted green leaves in Knelle Woods, Beckley, today were in exactly the same small area where I counted 31 in flower last April. I never expected to see them before the New Year.

9th November 2011, Wednesday

Pale-bellied Brent at Rye

This afternoon on the saltings between Rye and Northpoint, a Pale-bellied Brent (B.b. hrota) with 40 Dark-bellied Brents and 30 Canadas. And the regular adult Common Sandpiper was in position by Monkbretton Bridge. Earlier today a Cypress Carpet by my moth trap was a nice surprise – yet another recent colonist since the first East Sussex record only 15 years ago.

4th November 2011, Friday

A rare micromoth in Rye?

tortrix-rye-41111-custom.jpg

Today in my trap I found this small moth of the family Tortricidae. Not recognising it, I posted the photo to the ukmicromoths Yahoo group. Majority opinion is that it is Acleris umbrana (a.k.a. Dark-streaked Button), which would be about the sixth Sussex record, all but one since 2006, so it’s another of those very recent colonists from across the Channel to southern coastal counties, nationally rare and proposed as Red Data Book Class 1. BUT, there are similar Acleris that can be highly variable, so closer examination is being arranged to confirm its identity.

17th October 2011, Monday

Dewick’s Plusia in Rye

Dewick’s Plusia, Rye, 17.10.11

Both the English and scientific names of Dewick’s Plusia (Macdunnoughia confusa) are quite bizarre, and it’s a pretty moth too, related to the familiar Silver Y but smaller and brighter with a gleaming silver mark on the wing. First found in the UK by A.J. Dewick at Bradwell-on-Sea, Essex, in October 1951, it remained a rare vagrant until the last decade. Now it’s thought to be well established with at least four colonies in Sussex alone. Chris caught one at Rye Harbour on 2nd October, the fifth reserve record, but the one in my trap this morning was my first ever.

13th October 2011, Thursday

Alien invader

Dark Bush-cricket

On the floor of my moth trap in Rye this morning was this uninvited guest, which according to Chinery’s Insects guide appears to be a male Dark Bush-cricket (Pholidoptera griseoaptera), a widespread species of rough verges, clearings and garden shrubberies that can be found as late as November. I’ve found crickets around the trap before but can’t recall finding one right inside!