Author Archive

9th October 2009, Friday

Dungeness – a great place for ants!

L.myops with aphid

Lasius myops with aphid

Recent surveys have confirmed Dungeness is a great place for ants; perhaps as many as four species will prove to be new for Britain. One of these (pictured) is Lasius myops, a yellow ant very similar to the common Yellow Meadow Ant L.flavus. The new ant was found and identified by Dr John Pontin and is currently only known in Britain at a small patch of disturbed shingle at the RSPB reserve, although John has very recently found specimens that may prove to be this species elsewhere on the reserve. Dungeness has well over 20 species of ant, a greater diversity than anywhere else in Britain. The reason it is so special is that large the areas of bare ground, warmed by the sun and not subject to plant succession provide ideal conditions for nests to become established and prosper. This interesting image of L.myops carrying an aphid was taken by Bob Gomes.

2nd September 2008, Tuesday

Dancing cranes

On most days since late August we have had two cranes visit the Dungeness RSPB reserve, often spending time on islands viewable from the ARC/Hanson hide. A lucky few observers have even witnessed their graceful courtship dances as captured yesterday in this photo by Bob Gomes.

1st September 2008, Monday

More damp sand beetles

I was very interested to see Sam’s picture of the beetle Elaphrus riparius (see lower on Read the rest). This species is also regularly encountered on the damp sand margins of the gravel pits here at Dungeness RSPB Reserve. Another species inhabiting the same habitat is Omophron limbatum (RDB1) (upper) – this is a much scarcer beast found in very few places in Britain – Rye Harbour and Dungeness being top sites. Maintaining these damp sand habitats free of encroaching vegetation is of high priority and it is a major challenge to stop natural succession. Both species are pictured here and were taken at Dungeness RSPB reserve by Bob Gomes.

Read the rest of this entry »