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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 !!]


The eyes have it!

The temporary visitor centre has turned out to be a very good fly trap, with individuals coming in though the door and then battering their head against the glass until I throw them out! Yesterday, it was something really special that needed rescuing, a levels yellow-horned horsefly (Hybomitra ciureai) a very rare fly which is largely restricted to coastal levels in the UK. This area does seem to be a bit of a stronghold for them, as I can remember Miriam who used to work here bringing me several flattened specimens from the area around the Isle of Oxney (they had tried to bite her horse!). This is, however, only the second record for this species on the reserve, the first, strangely enough, being found in the old visitor centre at Lime Kiln several years ago. In fact, this is only the third live individual I have seen and all were trapped behind glass in buildings.


From the Clifftop

Last night was slightly overcast an d less windy, resulting in a better moth catch than of late-though still about half the number of specied there should be. However amongst five species new for the year was this Northern Rustic, a target species for me; I've now caught four in Fairlight since 2009, two on the Clifftop and two further inland when we lived there. This was the earlest one , the latest being August 7th. It's obviously quite scarce here-but the only other Sussex site for these is to the west of Eastbourne, where the cliffs are chalk , unlike the acid and sandy clays here.

The picture shows the very "soft Focus " appearance of this moth.  Also NFY were V-pug, Beautiful Golden Y, Treble Brown-spot and Eudonia lacustrata-this latter was new for the house list.



The Brede Valley

Yesterday, four of "slow but sure" did one of our occasional walks from Brede village to Rye along the valley; 8 .2 miles.

Not a great deal birdwise-like most places, this area is much better in the winter, but we saw c10 Buzzards, a Hobby, Marsh Harrier, Raven and four Yellowhammers. A nice selection of dragonflies included both Demoiselles and Large red-eyed Damselfly, butterflies were rather sparse, but we ended up with a total of 10 Commas, and saw four Marbled Whites below Cadborough Cliff. In the river were some decent sized fish which were pronounced Chub-a new fish for me !

Excitement was provided by the discovery of a sheep , at first glance dead, but not, in the river under a vertical bank  which with considerable effort we got to swim to a less steep bank, managed to drag out and then four of us dragged it by inches, slowly but surely -a wet sheep is very heavy -up to level ground, where it was pronounced OK by a farmer we phoned.