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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.

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Dark Sky

Last night's clear sky and early setting moon meant the sky was really dark and full of stars. So I set up my camera on a tripod and took a 30 second exposure to reveal even more stars! The RX area has fairly low levels of light pollution so the Milky Way is easy to see (below).

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Saltmarsh Spiders

Last year I found a female of the rare saltmarsh spider Enoplognatha mordax near Lime Kiln Cottage. This afternoon I decided to check to see if I could find any more, and was rewarded by around 10 females, all with their fluffy white egg-sacs. This is a species which tends to occur at the top of the saltmarsh (that part that is less often inundated by the sea) and at Rye Harbour appears to be confined to a narrow strip of bank to the east of the road past Lime Kiln, though I suspect that as the new saltmarsh develops it will become more widespread. 

Enoplognatha mordax female with egg-sac


Castle Water

A female and 4 juvenile marsh harriers were flying around the reedbed today and this young bird flew quite close and then paniced when it saw me... Water levels are still very high and most islands remian submerged. The flocks of moulting lapwing were roosting knee deep on islands and between them a moulting male ruff was feeding. A few broods of tufted duck and a couple of green sandpipers, but no other waders seen... most of the wet mud is now covered with New Zealand pigmyweed - Crassula helmsii, which doesn't seem to be good for wader feeding.

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A Reversal of Fortunes

While leading a walk on spiders today I came across this unusual tableau, something which I have read about but not seen before. The fly is the robber-fly Leptogaster cylindrica, a highly predatory species like all members of this family, while its prey is a young male Zygiella x-notata, an orb-weaving spider! 

 Leptogaster cylindrica and prey


All very quiet

First light along the beach was all very quiet with hardly any terns or waders, so the highlight was this summering drake eider at the river mouth. Ternery Pool was also very quiet, now that all the breeding seabirds have finished there. But the Quarry remains interesting with the last few common terns still incubating and a very few chicks surviving. Another highlight was my first grasshopper warbler of the year!!!