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28th May 2012, Monday

At last

There has been a big emergence of Hairy Dragonfly and Four-spotted Chaser at Castle Water in the ditch north of the hide, today I collected 64 Hairy Dragonfly and 86 Four-spotted Chaser exuviae. Teneral adults were easily found in the long grass nearby and it was a real pleasure to see so many dragonflies take to the air. Sadly there has to be some losers. I found several of each species that had failed to complete full wing expansion and strangely a Four-spotted Chaser larva that had completely failed to start the emergence process.


Female Hairy Dragonfly with one wing that has failed to expand. Read the rest of this entry »

25th May 2012, Friday

Castle Water

The warmer weather this week has encouraged a lot more dragon and damselfly activity around the margins and scrubby areas at CastleWater. Highlights at noon included three Downy Emerald patrolling the willows along the footpath north of the viewpoint, several Four-spotted Chaser could be found around the margins at the northern end of the main pit, small numbers of Large Red Damselfly were at the pond at the entrance to the hide. Hairy Dragonfly, Red-eyed and Variable Damselfly could be found around the bramble scrub near the viewpoint.


Four-spotted Chaser

25th May 2012, Friday

Nearly there

The black-headed gull chick that has featured in several posts recently is still going strong and is two weeks old now. It has lost the cute factor now (you can compare with the other chick in the picture which is only a few days old) but it is still in the size range to be an easy meal for any of the larger gull species that frequent the beach reserve.


19th May 2012, Saturday

Dragons and damsels

Still not exactly warm, but out of the wind in the sheltered scrubby areas near the viewpoint a good selection of damselflies had gathered. At least 50+ Variable Damselfly, 100+ Blue-tailed  Damselfly, 20+ Red-eyed Damselfy and 30+ Azure Damselfly were enjoying the warmth. Hairy Dragonfly and Downy Emerald were also patrolling the nearby bramble bushes. As the season progresses I keep expecting to find a bigger emergence of Hairy Dragonfly at Castle Water, so far I have only collected twenty exuvia and would expect a lot more by now if recent years are anything to go by. A selection of picture from this morning are below.


One of two male Hairy Dragonfly at stage 2 of emergence near the viewpoint this morning.

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19th May 2012, Saturday

Castle Water

Four Hobby gave a spectacular aerial display hawking insects around the viewpoint area this morning, prey items seemed to be mainly St Mark’s-flies although a Downy Emerald and a few damselflies were also on the menu. In between flights the birds gave great close views while roosting. A selection of pictures are below. (click on read the rest of this entry)


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18th May 2012, Friday

Rye Harbour

Black-headed Gull chick update first. Over a week old now and spending more time at the waters edge rather than in the nest, food still coming in and the regurgitated meal this morning was unidentifiable and looked revolting but Iam sure was pukka tukka for a growing chick. (see picture below)

Additional avian highlights over the past few days have included 8 Black-tailed Godwit and 5 Grey Pover on flat beach and 18 Little Tern have been high flying above shore ridges. On harbour farm good numbers of Avocet are still present and Little Ringed Plover are found on most of the pools. Obviously ternery pool is a hive of activity with 1800 pairs of Black-headed Gull, 650 pairs of Sandwich Tern and 55 pairs of Mediterranean Gull. Pairs of Common Tern are hard to judge at present but can been seen almost anywhere on the reserve. At Castle Water two Hobby are still hunting around the viewpoint, Marsh Harrier, Bearded Tit and a good selection of warblers can aslo been seen from there.


14th May 2012, Monday

More on the downy’s

A search for more signs of Downy Emerald emergence today revealed 8 exuviae and one adult at the point of taking its maiden flight. Trying to find all the exuvia can be a challenge, especially when its only a few spindley legs grasping a sprouting common reed stem showing, as shown in the third picture below.


On the verge of taking maiden flight Read the rest of this entry »

14th May 2012, Monday


I have been monitoring one of the Black-headed Gull nests infront of parkes hide at ternery pool. Last thursday and friday three chicks had hatched and were doing well. This morning there is only one chick left and at five days old is growing fast. While I was watching this morning a huge meal of earthworms was brought back to the nest which fed the chick and the brooding adult.


12th May 2012, Saturday

Downy Emerald

I can’t believe that it’s been five years since I first found Downy Emerald as a new breeding species of dragonfly at Castle Water. Last year I did not find any exuvia or see any adults on the wing, so thought it was just a  short term thing as the species had been expanding its range in the south east and had just used Castle Water as a stepping stone to find other woodland habitats. While at the viewpoint this morning I checked the margins to see if the sunny weather had encouraged any dragonflies to emerge, and was delighted to find 3 Downy Emerald in the process of emerging and 5 exuviae. Several Hairy Dragonfly and small numbers of Red-eyed Damselfly were also emerging in the margins.


Downy Emerald at stage four of emergence Read the rest of this entry »

12th May 2012, Saturday

Rye Harbour

Highlights over the past few days have included 33 Whimbrel and a Spotted Redshank in summer plumage on flat beach, the new saltmarsh area has attracted the first pair of Avocets with chicks (they had to walk a long way too get there), 90 Dunlin, 125 Ringed Plover and a  few Bar-tailed Godwit. This morning at least 54 Avocet and 6 Litte Ringed Plover were spread over several pools on harbour farm, Lapwings with good sized chicks were also present in the fields nearest the barns. At ternery pool Black-headed Gull chicks have started to hatch in good numbers now and are best seen from parkes hide. At Castle Water two or three Hobby have been regular at the viewpoint at day break, Bearded Tit and a Turtle Dove were also of note this morning.


Lapwing with chick on harbour farm Read the rest of this entry »