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Tiny Moths

On Thursday, walking through a buttercup meadow near Battle, we noticed many of the flowers were covered in tiny insects -flies ?- no; on close inspection these proved to be very small moths. These were Micropterix calthella , one of our smallest moths with a wing length of just 3.5 mm [M. aruncella is even smaller, 2.5 mm].

I've never noticed these before, although they are common. As I am not doing any trapping in Hastings Country Park NR this year, I am keeping an eye out for day flying moths instead, and decided to look for M. calthella on buttercups yesterday morning, while doing some bird census work. Despite the early hour I found a few on on some buttercups at the top of Warren Glen, and also saw the longhorn moth Adela reamurella  sunning itself on a bramble bush. This is also common, but on consulting the records, neither of these have been formally recorded in HCPNR since the early 90's.

I was also pleased to see 2 fledged young Ravens on East Hill cliffs.


Ringed Plover Flocks


It seems strange to see flocks of Ringed Plover at this time of year, but it's become a regular pattern since the saltmarsh habitat was created in 2011. Today at high tide there was a flock of about 60 that were being moved around by territorial Avocets. These will be birds detsined for breeding areas much further north where there is 24 hour daylight to feed in and fewer predators. I didn't get good views but many of these birds are probably the Tundra Ringed Plover that nest in Northern Scandanavia and Russia. They are a smaller and darker race than our breeding birds, but probably only noticeable if they stand side by side. Anyway they seemed grateful for the food on offer, but not for the attention of the Avocets!


8 out of 8, all first-of-year

It's been generally a very poor year for moth trapping – too many cold nights and cool, dry, windy days. However, today's catch in my Rye garden, very meagre for late May, was 8 moths of 8 species, all new for the year. The photo shows the Scorched Carpet (which I don't get every year) and the others were Brown House Moth, Common Swift, Common Marbled Carpet, White Ermine, Heart & Dart, Flame Shoulder and Rustic Shoulder-knot. Nice to sort of meet up with old friends, and what wonderful names they have!


Grey Partridge

Another declining farmland bird that is only just holding on in the RX area. At Rye Harbour they are still quite common, but often difficult to see, so it was good to see this pair feeding on the shingle quite close to the shore early this morning. There is often a pair near the Denny hide, but it's time the females were incubating... I suspect they will be a little late this year. Please let us know if you have seen any elsewhere in the RX area.


Asparagus Beetle

Even if I had not seen one once before in our garden, identification of this attractive little beetle was easy, as two of them fell out of a bag of asparagus spears from our local farm shop onto our scarred chopping board.

 Asparagus Beetles  are a pest of that seasonal treat, adults hibernating under stones in plant debris, emerging in May to feed on the young shoots; small brown eggs are laid on the leaves in June , soon hatch and the larvae feed for a couple of weeks before pupating in the soil in cocoons. One or two further generations develop during July to October, whereupon the adults hibernate. Various organic methods of control are recommended, including using garlic spray. see