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Monthly Beach Clean

Our next monthly litter pick at Rye Harbour will be Wednesday 22 August; this time we will complete the Marine Conservation Society's litter survey, where every single piece of litter is identified and recorded within a survey area.

This information is vital for MCS to continue to campaign for less marine pollution, including banning balloon releases, reducing single-use plastics and encouraging fishing fleets to 'hold on to their tackle'!

To take part please meet at 10am at the Rye Harbour car park on Wednesday 22 August.


From the Clifftop

We have been away for a couple of weeks for a "Special Birthday " trip to the wonderful Cook Islands, still recovering from the flights !.

Naturally the moth trap was deployed straightaway on return , with good results despite some windy weather. I managed two new species for the house-the attractive micro. Evergestis extimalis, and, yesterday, a new macro for me, Dusky Hook-tip. Formerly a very rare immigrant, with just three county records by the end of the 20th Century, this species is now more regular, eg. five published records for 2014, but still a good one to see.

Not much to report birdwise- just a couple of Gannets during a fairly short seawatch, and a couple of Yellow Wagtails passing over early yesterday morning.


Death's Head

I took the 102 bus to Dungeness again today, got off at Boulderwall at about 10.30 and walked into the ARC car park. There, surrounded by a group of admirers, was a Death's Head Hawkmoth in a large box, only the second migrant one I've ever seen. It was impressive!  I understand it was found on a scaffold board this morning on a house being renovated in Lydd-on-Sea, and was being taken to the RSPB visitor centre and to the bird observatory. Pure luck that I was there at just the right time!  Birds on the reserve included 4 or 5 Garganey (in eclipse), 4 Wood Sandpipers and 4 Black Terns. And yes, the bus back did stop for me at Boulderwall.


The Killer House-fly

Jim Barrett came over on Sunday to help out on the monthly WeBS counts, but while he was here he snapped this photo outside the visitor centre. This is Lispe caesia, an uncommon relative of the house-fly and a species I haven't seen on the reserve for a few years. Unlike most of it's relatives L. caesia is a predator, catching small invertebrates, piercing them with its tough mouthparts and sucking them dry! The silvery lobes at the bottom of the head are palps, in most flys long, narrow and sensory, but in this and related species flattened and spoon-shaped and used to help it hold and manipulate prey.


Tiger bonanza

My garden in North Salts, Rye, has gone tiger-mad this year. I won't post a photo of a Jersey Tiger as one was put on this site only a few days ago (unmistakable zebra stripes) but I've been photographing every one I've trapped, as in previous years. Comparing photos, last year I trapped 17 different individuals between July 10th and August 15th. Since July 12th this year there have been 38 different, including a huge catch of 16 on August 7th when it was the commonest moth in the trap!  The many sharp-edged white stripes on black make this one of very few species for which photos can be compared in this way. My longest-known survivor was one I trapped on both July 12th and August 4th 2018, apparently none the worse for wear.