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From the Clifftop

Some milder weather at present, so out with the moth trap again. Seven species yesterday, not bad for mid-November, included another Merveille du Jour.

At sea, a Fulmar two days ago signalled their return from their usual autumn break, otherwise the usual Gannets -20-30 can be seen each morning, a few Red Throated Divers, unidentifiable auks , a few Brents going west  and yesterday my first Porpoise for a couple of months.


Rye Harbour

There's quite a wintery feel to reserve at the moment, with masses of wigeon, quite a few shoveler, big flocks of starling and, in the last few days, several hundred golden plover wheeling over Flat Beach. Highlights from a quick scoot around the reserve this morning included three great white egret on Long Pit (there have apparently been up to five at Castle Water this week), the black-necked grebe on Ternery Pool (between Crittall and Parkes Hide) and surprisingly calling bearded tit on the reedy pool to the west of the path from the gabions inland. 


From the Clifftop

With autumn migration having come to a halt, and the moth trap largely in hibernation [though one mild night recently produced six common species including  Brick and Pine Carpet ], the best thing to do at the moment is stare out to sea.

Nothing startling, but a bit of variety yesterday : the ever present Gannets, a few auks, a couple of Red-throated Divers, a few Brents and Shelducks and a Mediterranean Gull. The previous few days added Great Skua and up to 15 Kittiwakes.


Rye Harbour

Interesting birds over the last few days have included great white egret on the Beach Reserve, Castle Water and Long Pit, Dartford Warbler on Harbour Farm ('Cuckoo corner', where the path north from Parkes and Denny hides diverge), merlin over the Beach Reserve (giving a crow a very, very hard time!), black-necked grebe on Ternery Pool and a covey of nine partridge near the Mary Stanford life boat House. Also regular sightings of marsh harrier at Castle Water and on Harbour Farm, five black-tailed godwit on Castle Pit, 500+ golden plover and several pintail on Flat Beach and around 20 snipe on the new saltmarsh opposite Lime Kiln Cottage


An Unwelcome Arrival

I have been identifying a few specimens for Simon Young who is looking at the invertebrates of Cliff End Wood near Fairlight and recently I came across this little lady, a spotted wing drosophila (Drosophila suzukii). The spot is only found in the male (it's on the end of the wing) and this one is a female with clear wings. This is another recent addition to the British list (it's originally from Asia), with the first record in 2012, but a somewhat unwelcome one as the larvae have the potential to be a serious pest of soft fruits.

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