Yesterday and today I’ve been recce’ing routes around East Guldeford Level, walking tracks along old embankments, across sheep fields and around arable land. As evidence of their great decline, in over 10 miles I found just 2 pairs and 6 other male Yellow Wagtails, 4 Corn Buntings (two pairs?) and a single pair of Tree Sparrows. Even Skylarks were few and far between, and only Reed Warblers and Reed Buntings seem to be holding their numbers. Other wildlife of note included close encounters with a Fox and a Hare, 2 Painted Ladies, 2 Red Admirals and a pair of Mute Swans with 7 cygnets.
Archive for the 'Butterflies' Category
A few highlights from today, at least 480 Mediterranean Gull at Ternery Pool, several Swallows, 22 Avocet, 9 Ruff and a Little Ringed Plover on Harbour Farm. At Castle Water two Sedge Warbler were in song near the viewpoint and plenty of insect and butterfly interest in the same area. Five of the big six Bombus species were present (hortorum missing), butterflies on the wing included Orange-tip, Red Admiral, large White, Peacock and Small Tortoiseshell. Hoverfly interest was provided by the furry bee mimic Eristalis intricarius, Eristalis tenax and of course Cheilosia grossa.
Eristalis intricarius on willow flower at the viewpoint.
Well, it felt like summer! This afternoon I found 3 Holly Blues on the cherry laurel just coming into flower at Playden Church, plus one in a holly at the end of Love Lane, Rye. I can’t remember ever seeing Holly Blues in March. But not the first in Sussex - one was at Chichester on 22nd, with a few others since. Typically hard to photograph, fluttering high, landing in the sunshine and folding their wings; the gleaming silvery-blue underwings ‘burn out’ on the image. Anyway, my first ‘emergents’ of the year and a true sign of spring.
Highlights from a day at Castle Water included Firecrest, 2 Raven, Common Buzzard, 3 Marsh Harrier and 10 Avocet, insects on the wing included 2 Small Tortoiseshell, Common Carder Bee, Buff and White-tailed Bumblebee, and at least 6 of each Common Bee-fly and the hoverfly Cheilosia grossa. This distinctive early hoverfly can be seen around the short grassy areas near the viewpoint flying low to the ground as it searches out its host plants, in this case young Spear Thistles.
Cheilosia grossa on cut willow stump.
Today my first 4 Wheatears, all males, were on a sandy/gravelly patch of the Rother saltings opposite the sewage works, with 23 Avocets on the mud bank opposite. And yesterday, 2 Small White butterflies in my Rye garden were my earliest ever by 11 days.
Highlights over the past few days have included, 1500 Golden Plover and 700 Lapwing roosting on Flat Beach and the new saltmarsh area, a Merlin has been regular along Shore Ridges along with a flock of around 25 Greenfinch, less expected were 6 Brambling which passed overhead near the Red Roofed Hut, up to 18 Little Grebes are split between Ternery Pool (they can give very close views infront of Crittall Hide), Quarry and Harbour Farm Pools. At Castle Water highlights have been Barn Owl, Kingfisher, Marsh Harrier, 3 Ruff, 135 Teal, 200 Wigeon and 11 Fieldfare. Several Migrant Hawker have still be active during warm sunny periods along with a few Red Admiral and Small Tortoiseshell.
UPDATE - a late Swallow flew eastward along the shore today and a late Wheatear near River Mouth on 16th.
Little Grebe from Crittall Hide at Ternery Pool
A Clouded Yellow butterfly was frequently settling on ragwort along the high bank at the back of Bourne’s (Harbour Road) this afternoon.
There has not been much insect news from here of late. I don’t know if others feel the same but it seems that hoverflies, dragonflies and butterflies seem to have been rather thin on the ground this year. Anyway, highlights from Castle Water recently have been 50+ Migrant Hawker (probably due to an influx), several Ruddy Darter, very small number of Common Darter, Emperor and a Southern Hawker. Butterflies on the wing have included Small Copper, Painted lady, Red Admiral and Meadow Brown.