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5:43PM

Hydra

Several green hydra from my garden pond.  Amazing what you can photograph with a phone these days!

5:25PM

Ouch!

A more seriously infected animal, after the lesions started to be shed from the skin, leaving craters.  This animal looked particularly ill yesterday but is still alive.  These infections have been reported in the UK for nearly 100 years, but are more regularly seen these days, possibly because more people look for these amphibians.

5:17PM

Lumps and bumps

A male palmate newt, found in Peasmarsh that was infected with a Dermatocystid disease, one of two that affect this species, but which don't seem to affect smooth or great crested newts, as far as I am aware.  The condition gives rise to blister-like lesions on the skin of aquatic newts, these ringed in red on the photo, with a swollen area, ringed blue, that went on to develop a lesion in time.  These eventually fell off this animal and it recovered after three weeks, but some newtss are more seriously affected, and may die.  Should you see this infection it can be reported to the Institute of Zoology on the Garden Wildlife Health project page.

 

The parasite lies somewhere on the divide between Fungi and Protozoans

3:25PM

Rye Harbour

Bird highlight over the last few days was a nightingale which was heard singing near the viewpoint on the 24th. For a few years we had a run of several birds singing in spring near the Narrow Pits, but it's not often that we get one on the reserve itself, so a good record. Apart from this, the red-breasted merganser is still around on Ternery Pool and Harbour Farm, a pair of peregrine, marsh harrier and yellow wagtail have been present at Castle Water and a pair of raven have been on the Castle. In addition, we've had small numbers of swallow, sand martinlittle and common tern, up to 13 whimbrel on Harbour Farm and the first swift of the year yesterday. Sure doesn't feel like spring though.

2:48PM

More Bees!

Despite the cold and sometimes damp weather over the last two days the moments of sunshine in sheltered spots have brought out more bees for me to photograph! Today it was this female tawny mining-bee sunning itself on alexanders near the Rye Harbour gate. This is a common spring species in the UK and is unmistakable, with bright orange hair on the top and black underneath (you can just see the black hairs peeping out at the side of the thorax). Nests are dug in the ground, producing a little 'volcano' of earth and often upsetting people striving for that perfect lawn in the process.

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