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From the clifftop and Autumn migration

I've recently been away in Devon for a week, returning to a noticeably chillier Fairlight clifftop, with a corresponding drop in moth numbers-I didn't bother last night as it was so cold, the previous two nights produced just 5 moths each. However these included Green-brindled Crescent and Red-green Carpet.

In my absence Sharon and Andrew continued to log birds migrating through the Hastings area, the number of visible migrants continues to be low, but here are some highlights:

A Merlin chasing migrating Pipits on 18th, a high count of 98 Skylarks in/W on 20th, a Woodlark on 19th, perhaps the last Wheatear on 18th, ditto Ring Ouzel 20th- the total this year to date is 210, 442 Goldfinches E on 23rd-no four figure counts of this usually abundant migrant as yet, a Short-eared Owl on East Hill on 14th, and A Lapland Bunting over West Hill on 19th.


Dung Beetles in Hastings Country Park.


Investigation of dung beetles that live in ecosystems created by grazing in Hastings Country Park has produced exciting results. The fields at the head of Warren Glen are grazed by Exmoor ponies and Belted Galloway cattle as part of a management plan to restore maritime heath from areas that were becoming a gorse or bracken monoculture. Dung produced by the grazing stock over two years has enabled a healthy ecosystem to develop, and the tally is currently 17 species of which 2 are Nationally Scarce. A couple of the beetle species are important bat food, an additional benefit that warrants investigation. The nationally scarce species are Aphodius vacca and Geotrupes mutator (Violet Dor Beetle). There has also proved to be a very good number of Minotaur beetles (Typhaeus typhoeus) with the males having impressive horns. The current list of species is:


Aphodius borealis

Aphodius consputus

Aphodius contaminatus

Aphodius erraticus

Aphodius fimetarius

Aphodius foetidus

Aphodius fossor

Aphodius haemorrhoidalis

Aphodius pedellus

Aphodius rufipes

Aphodius rufus

Aphodius sticticus


Onthophagus similis

Onthophagus vacca


Anoplotrupes stercorosus

Geotrupes mutator

Typhaeus typhoeus



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Rye Harbour

At least 85 Ring Ouzels in two flocks at Castle Water early this morning, 16 Fieldfares were also of note. Other highlights this week, 280 Glolden Plover, 1100 Wigeon, 4 Jack Snipe and 36 Bearded Tits.


From the Clifftop

Ring Ouzels continue to feature, with 13 across HCPNR on Tuesday, and 5 on the Firehills yesterday, Tuesday also saw the first Fieldfare [last year we recorded none on the migration watch !] Other birds of interest during the last two days included Firecrest and Dartford Warbler on the Firehills, 2 Tree Sparrows in Barley Lane, and a high count of 16 Stonechats in HCPNR

Visible passage of small birds continues to be modest, though 600 Goldfinches and 153 Pied Wagtails passed east yesterday.

At sea, late afternoon has been interesting, with a Great Skua and 2 Little Gulls past St Leonards yesterday, and 3 Mediterranean Gulls, 150 Common Gulls and a Kittiwake past Fairlight Cliffs.