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From the Clifftop


Absolutely nothing to say about birds I'm afraid-other than that our most recent visit to Dungeness was the worst ever !.

Moth trapping continues to entertain-though Friday night was too windy to put the trap out. Best species have been tiny micros-Acleris Kochiella and Coleophera mayrella both appear to be good East Sussex records, but here is a picture of a rather larger and more obvious Blotched Emerald caught a few days ago-it's not worn, it's supposed to look like that.




Sweltering on the Clifftop

Not much to say about birds during this current heatwave, but of course great for insects. A visit to our small garden pond by a male Broad-bodied Chaser dragonfly inspired me to excavate a second one next to it-an ideal occupation during this heat. BBC's are known to be attracted to newly established ponds, and a female duly appeared while we were filling it with water. On this day in our clifftop garden we recorded four species of odonata-Large Red, Azure and Blue Tailed Damselfies, 62 species of moth in the trap, and a miserable one species of buuterfly-a lone Meadow Brown in our unmown grass.

The 62 species included two nice green ones I've never trapped anywhere previously-the beautiful little Cream-bordered Green Pea, and the strangely marked Blotched Emerald. Although this hot weather encourages plenty of moths, it also encourages them to fly out of the trap when you take the lid off-I wonder what I missed ? [Sorry, can't upload pictures at present]



Rye Harbour Bees

I spent a couple of hours near the viewpoint yesterday looking at solitary bees nesting in the path. The main focus of my attention was a colony of little flower bee strung out along the sandy edges of the path parallel to Harbour road, but the visit also turned up  a few bee-wolf (a large solitary wasp which as the name suggests stocks it nest with honeybees) and silvery leaf-cutter bee (below). This species is the smallest of several species of leaf-cutter bee (though I couldn't find any information to indicate that this one actually cuts leaves) and nests in sandy soils, usually near the coast. It apparently can occur in quite large colonies, though I only saw the one yesterday.


Pett Level

It was good to see the pools holding so many broods. There were at least four Pochard broods in addition to Mallard, Gadwall and Shoveler broods. The Mute Swans have seven youngsters and there were also broods of Great Crested and Little Grebes. A single Garganey was found plus a single female Ruddy Duck.

Small groups of Swift headed east and were almost certainly migrants rather than local birds. They were not feeding as they flew through. A Yellow Wagtail was also present plus the pair of local Marsh Harrier.

There were seventy plus Common Scoter on the sea and a few Great Crested Grebe. Both Sandwich and Common Terns were fishing and there were three seals present.