Archive for the 'Rye Harbour Nature Reserve' Category

27th June 2012, Wednesday

Rare weevil

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One of the rarest species in the RX area is the endangered beetle, Limobius mixtus. It is a 2-3mm weevil that feeds on stork’sbill (a fairly widespread plant) growing on sand, but the only modern records in the UK are from Castle Water (? we think). It wasn’t recorded there last year, so I looked for it yesterday and failed, but today Chris found three. The background colour varies, but most have a dark triangle on the midline of the wing cases. For a video of it feeding on a flower bud of stork’sbill …. Read the rest of this entry »

26th June 2012, Tuesday

Orchid time

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The three common species of orchid are all out now in good numbers – pyramidal, common spotted and bee orchids. Most people’s favourite is the bee orchid and a close up of the flower above shows why…

26th June 2012, Tuesday

Some fine weather at last!

Insect numbers have certainly been better the last couple of days, and I have noticed an upturn in the number of species in the Lime Kiln moth trap after what can only be decribed as a dismal start. Highlights have been bordered ermel, oblique striped and rosy wave, while easily the most photogenic (in my opinion anyway) is Catoptria pinella, a rather attractive micro with larvae that feed on various grasses growing in damp habitats.
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Catoptria pinella
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23rd June 2012, Saturday

Spiny

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One of the shingle plants not eaten by rabbits is viper’s bugloss… because it is covered in small, sharp, glassy spines – on the stem, the leaves and the flower buds. This also helps to deter people from picking the pretty blue flowers…
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23rd June 2012, Saturday

Rare plant rarer beetle

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If your life depends on a rare plant you are vulnerable to its disappearance. The Endangered flea beetle, Dibolia cynoglossi (3mm) is found on and eats red hempnettle (a BAP species), making characteristic scars on the leaf surface (see above). In the last few years rabbit grazing has reduced the amount of red hempnettle and the beetle, but they can still be found in good amounts in and around the rabbit exclosures – especially the small exclosure west of the Mary Stanford lifeboat house.

21st June 2012, Thursday

Malachite beetle

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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.

20th June 2012, Wednesday

When is a bee not a bee?

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.
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Long-horned general on biting stonecrop

19th June 2012, Tuesday

Blue

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Today there were masses of blue viper’s bugloss flowers and blue sky.

19th June 2012, Tuesday

Jaws

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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Broscus cephalotes
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15th June 2012, Friday

Sea pea monitoring

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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 barryates@sussexwt.org.uk with location and area covered by the plant.