Another insect feeding on the flowering biting stonecrop. This time it’s Clanoptilus marginellus, a Notable B malachite beetle (9mm) found locally on coastal habitats. It’s abundant at the moment along the beach, feeding on the pollen of several different flowers.
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When it’s the Red Data Book soldierfly Long-horned General (Stratiomys longicornis). The clue is the fact that this only has two wings (bees have four) and the antennae are made of only three segments (10 plus in bees). Still it’s a pretty good solitary bee mimic which had me fooled for a moment. You can also tell that this is a male due to the fact that eyes meet in the middle. In Britain this species largely occurs on the coast in the south-east, the larvae being associated with brackish pools. It’s a few years since I’ve seen it here (and there have been very few records) so it was nice to see this one outside Lime Kiln today feeding on biting stonecrop.
Long-horned general on biting stonecrop
Ox-eye daisy is prolific on our lawn this year – responding really well to growing a hay crop each summer, and bringing in the hoverflies.
The stand of purple toadflax to the right of
Some fields behind Pett Level are now showing very good cover of red clover as a result of applying green hay to the fields. Great for the scarce bumblebees found in the area.
The graph below
Yellow is the dominant colour on parts of the Dungeness RSPB reserve – around the margins of some of the gravel pits, and around the edges of the shingle beach where shingle grades into alluvium. This is due to the abundance of bird’s-foot trefoil Lotus corniculatus, providing a bonanza for pollen and nectar feeders.
While walking the dog yesterday evening I came upon this beast under a piece of driftwood. It is called Broscus cephalotes, one of a small group of rather parallel-sided ground-beetles that make burrows in the soil. Most of these are less than 1cm long, but Broscus can be more than twice that and combined with a ferocious set of mandibles this makes it a formidable predator (these same mandibles are also used to dig and maintain the beetles burrow which is made in loose, sandy soil). Food is largely shore-line crustaceans such as sand-hoppers and the like, but it will attempt to eat almost any suitably sized creature that comes within range of its jaws.
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This nationally scarce shingle specialist has declined dramatically during the last 10 years in the RX area. It used to be common along the Pett and Rye Harbour shore with a few plants at Camber and Dungeness. At Rye Harbour it has declined due to at least two pressures – human feet and rabbits – it is now only common on the seaward side of the tarmac road between the river mouth and the Mary Stanford lifeboat house. It was much more widespread, so I am mapping it this year and would like to know from anyone who finds it outside of the reserve – email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with location and area covered by the plant.
When I arrived at the Parkes Hide this morning to hopefully get some last pictures of the five week old fledged Black-headed Gull it had gone. But before I left the hide it flew in being chased by several aggressive unfamiliar adults and made a rather hurried landing in the water near the nest. Not long after returning the youngster received a meal from one of the parents, so despite leaving the nest site for long periods it knows were to head for when food is needed. I don’t suppose I shall actually find out at which point the young bird is left to fend for itself. As previous posts have shown growing up on Ternery Pool is a bit of a lottery, I hope the youngster has a winning ticket for the difficult weeks ahead.
Arrived back at the nest site, although in rather a hurry. Read the rest of this entry »