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Acknowledgements

A special thanks to Sussex Wildlife TrustFriends of Rye Harbour Nature Reserve and Flag Ecology for their contribution to the funding of the new RX-wildlife website.

Website design and maintenance by Andy Phillips.

threecubes@gmail.com

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6:43AM

FROM THE CHALK CURVE

 

 Towards the Reserve's western bouundary, the intersecting curves of a splayed wash of shingle from old storm incursions is contained by a low repair loop.

The fine skin of turf covering the pebbles is green for now but will soon be parched. It is studded with the hills of Yellow Meadow Ant, each supporting its own little emerald island of plants, perched on top or hanging on the sides, profiting from fine soil and moisture thanks to the endeavours of the colony within. Many are cracked open by foraging Green Woodpeckers.

Low tide, on the turn; purr of Beach Survey quad bikes

Continuous sounds behind me: the bass pulse of tankers passing beyond the horizon haze, Herring Gulls & Oystercatchers on the sands; before me, continuous Skylark song, twittering of migrant Linnets as they stream past.
Migrant bands of shining white, yelping Med Gulls are also passing through and a Greenshank is calling; black Cormorants take a diagonal path across to the sea

Up beyond them, in the blue, the Beauvais > Dublin flight crosses trails with Montego Bay > Brussels

Birds are on territory :Reed Bunting on an elder, a Dunnock on brambles, a tumbling Lapwing in the air, a Reed Warbler deep in the reeds.

As the flood tide flushes lug-diggers homeward, excited Sandwich Terns fish in the shallows, rifle fire starts at Lydd and, as the pond-water warms, Marsh Frogs begin to chug

 

11:38AM

Pett Level

Another beautiful morning at the back of the Levels with most of the common warblers in full song. The male Garganey, that has been present for three days appears to have moved on. The local Cuckoo is becoming more vocal.

The Lapwing are now settled. The one nest that I can see into with my telescope has four eggs. I was a bit surprised to find another pair tending four very small youngsters.

11:33AM

Rye Harbour Moths

Despite the title there were not many moths at all in the trap this morning, with two Hebrew character and a herald the only guests. Since my last moth post I have ran the trap several times and this is the first since then that have caught any moths, so it's something I suppose. I did however have my first great silver water beetle of the year which as is usually the case was nestled in the last few egg cartons at the bottom of the trap. This monster is the heaviest of British beetles and both it and its larval stages live in freshwater pools and ditches, the adults trapping a film of air to breath (which is silvery, hence the name). It's quite rare nationally, though not uncommon in this part of the south-east, and I expect to get a handful in the trap during the season. Normally when I get to photograph these all their appendages are pulled in, but this individual was more compliant, showing the very short antennae (with the 'clubbed' end) which is one of the characteristics of the family.

3:32PM

Rye Harbour

Most of our migrant warblers seem to be in now, a visit to the viewpoint this morning turning up at least two lesser whitethroat, whitethroat, several sedge warbler, reed warbler (one or two hesitant warbles) chiffchaff and blackcap. There were also a couple of willow warbler testing their vocal chords, though of course these don't hang around on the reserve and will move on in due course, and at least one cuckoo. Also at Castle Water, a male marsh harrier was quartering the reedbeds and a great white egret was also seen. Elsewhere, I saw my first swallow over Harbour Farm this morning (small groups have been reported regularly in the last week) and grey partridge again in the field to the west of Harbour Farm Barns, while the red-breasted merganser is still around, this time being sighted on Ternery Pool.

7:24PM

DUNGENESS WILDLIFE HIGHLIGHTS

Migration has begun. Although off to a slow start, we are now seeing numbers of swallows and martins coming in as well as the odd sighting of a whitethroat. Ospreys and harriers have been soaring over us to their breeding grounds further north and whimbrels have stopped here to rest and feed before they carry on their journey to north Scotland. The sounds of the cuckoo and the sedge warblers can be heard over the reserve as can the sound of the booming bittern. Insects are about with plenty of different bumblebee species seen on the reserve. We also have our Andrena vaga (or grey-backed mining bee) visible from the sandy bank by Dennis’ hide. These are one of the only colonies of this species of bee in the UK and it’s such a privilege to be able to see these bees so close. Please don’t stray from the path as you will destroy their habitat and nests. Watch in the wildlife garden for common lizards basking on the stone gabions and newts laying their eggs in the pond.