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From the Clifftop

seawatching  has been very quiet these last two days, and with nothing of note on an early walk along the cliffs to Warren Glen, it was down to a Cuckoo at our Winchelsea allotment to provide the bird of the day.

Fortunately, and despite clear cold nights, the moth trap has been more interesting. Yesterday I caught a Tawny Pinion, which was new to me, although I've caught half a dozen Pale Pinions in this area over the years. A rather brown moth it has to be said, so the picture is of a more exciting-looking Puss Moth , caught this morning



From the Clifftop

Moth trapping continues to be hard work during these cold nights, my year list has just crawled over twenty, the best addition being The Streamer, caught yesterday on the same date as my only previous record here last year.

Quiet also at sea, though an hour's watch early this morning produced a party of 9 Eiders including two males, the most I've seen past here and unexpected as virtually nothing else came past.


Rye Harbour

Bird highlight over the last couple of days has been up to three spoonbill seen on the Beach Reserve on the 30th and at least two at Castle Water on the 1st. Castle Water has also been good for hobby, with at least eight present today, as well as at least two cuckoo, singing lesser whitethroat near the viewpoint and Castle Water Hide, peregrine and raven. Elsewhere on the reserve, the male red-breasted merganser is STILL present on Harbour Farm, along with yellow wagtail, a couple of pairs of grey partridge visible from the bank near the barns, whimbrel and bar-tailed godwit, while on Beach Reserve there have been several sightings of little tern, at least six pairs of wheatear and at least two more cuckoo perching on the fencing near the rivermouth.


Variable Nomad

Peter Greenhalf found this interesting nomad bee at Castle Water on the 17th, which he identified as Variable Nomad Bee (Nomada zonata), an identification subsequently confirmed by bee expert Steven Falk. As with the large bear-clawed nomad bee I wrote about in an earlier post (see here), this species is also a recent addition to the British list, with the first records from Kent and Essex in 2016 (though it was recorded on Jersey in 2011). Peter's record seems to be the first for Sussex though and of course it's a new one for the reserve.

Image: Peter Greenhalf


Back to the Clifftop

We've been away in Chile for some time, returning to climatic extremes and jet lag. Sunny this morning though, so I took a quick walk along the Clifftop to Warren Glen.

A pair of Stonechats in the rabbit field suggests they will breed again this year, a singing male Dartford Warbler elsewhere probably won't though as they tend to move on. 5 singing Whitethroats were my first [none in yet when we left], as was a lone Swift over the house. The  4 Belted Galloways were dozing in the sun at the top of the Glen, I was interested to see two Jackdaws plucking "wool" for nest material from their backs-selecting only the white stuff from the middle band !

As I walked back to Fairlight a Siskin flew over, and then, remarkably, I heard a Bee-eater calling over Coastguards, then several times more out to sea. Frantically scanning the sky I was able to pick out its   silouhette distantly over the sea, apparently heading for France. A Wheatear dropped into the rabbit field further on, and the pair of Ravens flew over.