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Even I think this is a creepy little critter!

Regular as clockwork in early July this species appears on the walls of Watch Cottage. This is the wonderfully named sheep nostril fly (Oestrus ovis), a rare species which belongs to a group of insects known as 'bot' or 'warble'  flies. These sinister beasties are all internal parasites of mammals in one form or another and there is even a human bot fly whose larvae develop under the skin of their host causing painful, weeping pustules (not a grouping of words you want to see very often!). While there have been cases of human infection by Oestrus, as the name suggests it's usual host is the nasal cavities of sheep, where it can cause quite a bit of irritation and even occasional death!



From the Clifftop

Not so long ago, I was complaining about poor moth catches due to windy, cool nights, but the last three days have put an end to that, with this morning's haul of 72 species [so far] , being the most I've ever caught in an actinic trap.

These included these four species of Hawkmoths, the aptly named Bordered Beauty and  Large Emerald as examples of big, showy moths that are great for public events. However it's the micro moths that are really coming in now, and are keeping me busy naming them-one I got this morning is the smallest moth I've ever seen-in fact I can't really see it !. There are very few migrant moths turning up as yet, but a new species for me this morning was Fen Wainscot, a wanderer from the Pett Level reedbeds.

I still don't have much to say about birds-a Siskin flew over while I was bent over the trap though.


Butterflies and Moths

We have avoided Dungeness for a few weeks-summer birding doldrums-but returned yesterday. Main target was White-letter Hairstreak at Greatstone, thanks to Paul Trodd's blog for the site, which we had never been to before. After about half an hour searching Elm/Bramble scrub at the end of Dunes Road, we located at least one- only the third place in the world I've seen them , the others being Northward Hill RSPB in Kent, and Torfield ; hope they are there this year.

It felt pretty warm last night, so I was at the moth trap by 0400 to safeguard any moths outside on walls or plants-Sparrows and Magpies can be a problem. It was by far the best night this year, with 49 species so far -odd ones often surface in the garden during the day. Of these no less than 19 were NFY, while Hoary Footman, the attractive tortrix Lozotaeniodes formosana, Yarrow Plume and Haworth's Pug were new for the house list, the latter being new to me.


Rye Harbour

The hot, dry weather at the moment has the feel of the Mediterranean, and so did the birds to some extent at Castle Water today,  with two spoonbill, two great white egret and several little egret feeding on the main pit. Also present were a male ruff, greenshank, common sandpiper and at least four little ringed plover (including an immature bird), while both male and female marsh harrier were quartering the reedbeds.

Monday Evening update: Roseate tern in amongst the Sandwich terns from the Parkes Hide on Ternery Pool at about 8:45pm photo by John Willsher.


East Guldeford Levels

Yesterday, we drove back from Faversham, watching the car thermometer rise as we approached RX land-it peaked at 32C at East Guldeford. This boded well for moth trapping, and despite too clear a night my Fairlight trap held 37 species , the most this year,  also more individuals. Nothing remarkable though, so I made an early morning visit to East Guldeford Levels, to see how the Yellow Wagtails were doing.[ I just did the short circular walk out from Moneypenny.]

There was a great deal of activity, with at least six pairs in spring wheat, welcome proof of breeding included two birds carrying food to nests and three fledged juveniles. A couple of pairs of Tree Sparrows included one nesting in an old brick building, as usual there were three singing Corn Buntings, a Little Owl was near Moneypenny. The skies were less empty than usual, with 15 House Martins over the edge of Camber,, and 10 Swallows, a Sand Martin and a Swift over the levels.

Non avian interest came from hundreds of Darters-both Ruddy and Common, and a spectacular show of the Baobab- stemmed Fine-leaved Water Dropwort in some of the ditches. [I dont why the site is rotating the photo-turn your head through 90 degrees to view !!]