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Rye Harbour Moths

I've had a fantastic few days this week with the Lime Kiln moth trap, probably as good as it gets at this time of year. There has been an influx of migrant species, the highlights being maize moth (below), only the second reserve record and the first since 1998 (part of a major influx it seems as several were caught in the area) and the micro Italian tubic (bottom), a recent addition to the British list and the first one ever recorded here. Other 'nice' migrants included several dark sword-grass, scarce bordered straw and vestal one of my top ten moths. It was good for other invertebrates too, with a great silver water beetle, black-bellied water beetle  and the ichneumon Ophion obscuratus, this latter another addition to the reserve list, on the 16th.

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Walking the dog has become a good way to get to know my new 'patch' in Rye - it's not Rye Harbour but I've come across some interesting stuff! Last weekend it was this hornet on a patch of ivy behind where I now live. This is the largest of our social wasps (i.e. with a queen served by workers) and despite its impressive size and somewhat fearsome demeanour it is not particularly aggressive towards people. Hornets often nest in hollow trees, where they make a nest out of 'carton' (chewed wood pulp) like other wasps, so it was no surprise that this was an uncommon sight at Rye Harbour. I suspect there are a greater number of suitable nest sites around Rye though this is my first sighting here. Hornet are quite voracious predators feeding on all sorts of invetebrates which are chewed up and fed to their larvae. They will also happily hunt by moonlight and anyone who has run a moth trap in suitable habitat will be used to finding their traps full of hornets and very little else!

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Rye Harbour

Highlights today on the monthly Wetland Bird Survey count included spoonbill, still on Salt Pool throughout the day, red-throated diver at the river mouth and a black-necked grebe, and great white egret on Long Pit. Relatively few waders around, with only a couple of greenshank (on Ternery Pool and Salt Pool), two snipe on Harbour Farm around 30 ringed plover and perhaps three grey plover on Flat Beach Level. In addition, at least seven pintail (with a few males) and a wheatear were present on Flat Beach Level.


The Clifftop and East Guldeford Levels

There has been very little bird migration past the clifftop of late- a very quiet autumn so far.

Moths have been better, with some big catches and a steady trickle of new autumn species , of more note were my first Clancy's Rustics here.

Yesterday, some of us did one of our favourite walks-along the Rother from Rye, past Camber Sands and across the dunes to East Guldeford Levels. Highlights were a late Whimbrel on the saltings, at least 80 Pied Wagtails on the golf course; at EGL  my first Redwings, at least 12 Cattle Egrets and 35 Tree Sparrows. Continuing the theme of big white birds, we visited Flat Beach , where a Spoonbill and Little Egret were feeding together nearby [on Salt Pool]





Rye Harbour

Highlights at Castle Water over the last two days have included up to five great white egret, marsh harrier, three each of black-tailed godwit and green sandpiper and this morning an adult little gull loafing with common and black-headed gull on the islands out from the Halpin Hide. Duck numbers are creeping up at the moment with around 150 wigeon, 60 teal and 30 shoveler present at Castle Water today, while a couple of pintail (almost adult male and immature) also put in an appearance. Elsewhere on the reserve it has been a little quiet, though yesterday a couple of brent goose passed by offshore, a red-throated diver was at the mouth of the Rother and Alan Parker and co. had whinchat (see the entry below). 

Insect activity is winding down at the moment though there are still a few species active, with red admiral, comma, migrant hawker (below) and common darter all seen yesterday at Castle Water/Castle Farm. Also on Castle Farm a brown hare was flushed near the Castle while on the Beach Reserve one or two common seal were bobbing close inshore early afternoon.