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Beach Reserve

Not much to report of late, but highlights from daybreak today included 4 Avocet, 4 Whimbrel, 3 Greenshank, 5 Common Sandpiper, 115 Curlew, 12 Turnstone, 28 Dunlin, Kingfisher and Barn Owl. A small flock of around 25 Sandwich Terns have been roosting on Flat Beach and 50+ Common Terns have been regularly roosting on the new saltmarsh area. Also of note this week two fledged Marsh Harriers at Castle Water (the first fledged Marsh Harrier I noticed this year was on the 28th of June at the viewpoint).


fancy pants

I carried out the first of this months bumblebee transects yesterday, counting the eastermost strips north of the bund and on the bund itself. There were good numbers of bumbles, mainly red-tailed bumblebee but also including a couple of brown-banded carder bee, one of the main target species for the management, on an extensive patch of tufted vetch north of Ternery Pool. I also came across this handsome beast, a pantaloon bee (Dasypoda hirtipes) so-called because of the large, bright yellow pollen baskets on the hind legs. The species can be fairly common in southern Britain (less so in the north) and in the end I saw 10 or so individuals yesterday, all feeding on fleabane and all at the eastern end of the sea-defence bank.


Who needs a tv?

I spent a fascinating hour or so yesterday observing the comings and goings at Barry's 'bee hotels' at Watch Cottage. Bee hotels are artificial nest sites for solitary bees (around 220 species in Britain) which in this particular case involved several blocks of wood with holes of varying sizes drilled into them to cater for different species. The commonest species yesterday was large-headed resin bee (Heriades truncorum, see here), a small dark bee with white bands on the abdomen which as the name suggests often uses pine resin in the construction of its nest. This bee has been something of a rarity in the past, though apparently it has been spreading, and this was the first time we have recorded it on the reserve.

One of Barry's bee hotels. You can see a resin bee at its nest entrance on the right

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Wildlife News

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Are you lost mate?

I carried out this weeks butterfly count today and it was not at all bad; species seem to have caught up a bit from the slow start. We are now entering meadow brown season and this was the commonest species recorded, followed by red admiral and small heath. There were also a few small tortoiseshell and a comma near the viewpoint along with small numbers of marbled white. I also found this attractive beetle behind Bourne's, a species called Leptura quadrifasciata. This is a long-horned beetle and in common with many of its relatives the larvae live within trunks, stumps and logs. It is therefore usually associated with woodland and I expect it is quite common in the local woods, so it was a bit of a surprise to see it here though and this turns out to the first record for the reserve. Just goes to show you, walk about in a place long enough and you'll find something different.