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Small Red-eyed Damselflies

Not sure how much this site is read now what with Facebook, What's App, etc., but it still seems a good place to mention that yesterday I found a male and 3 mating pairs of Small Red-eyed Damselflies (Erythromma viridulum) on the "Serpentine" drainage channel by the Rother just north of the railway bridge. They used to be on the Military Canal behind Pett Level but not this year as the water is clear with none of their required algae, though you will see Red-eyed Damselflies (E. najas) there on their usual lilypads.


From the Clifftop

My Fairlight garden moth trap continues to pull in loads of moths during the hot weather [though the day described below remains a record] Although cooler yesterday, the night was overcast and the trap contained a remarkable 20 Elephant Hawk Moths this morning ,as well as the daily Privet and a couple of Poplars. As a result of the last week's weather, my year list is now 250.

A few Siskins continue to pass over, both Raven and Peregrine were around yesterday-I was alerted to the latter by the alarm calls of the up to 25 Sparrows using our front garden pond.

Of interest at Rock-a-Nore yesterday were an exceptional 29 Cormorants on the harbour arm, and four Cuckoo Wrasse for sale in one of the black huts. I bought one, not cooked it yet.


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.