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Rye Harbour Moths

The moth trapping has been rather good over the last few days, 40-50 species and lots of individuals (though most of those seem to large yellow underwing which is having a bit of a purple patch at the moment). I've also had my first rush veneer of the season, a couple of dark sword-grass (both migrants), a few oblique-striped and a rather tatty star-wort, but the highlight for me has been several chinese character (including four this morning). Many species mimic bird droppings as a form of protective mimicry, though this is one of relatively few macros that does it and it's one of the best, with fresh specimens appearing to glisten like a freshly deposited dollop! It's certainly one of my favourite moths.



Rye Harbour

Bird highlights over the last couple of days have included whinchat, garden warbler, yellow wagtail and wheatear at 'Cuckoo Corner' (the scrubby area just to the north-east of Ternery Pool), kingfisher on the new saltmarsh, six knot on Flat Beach Level, three each of greenshank and common sandpiper on Harbour Farm and today at Castle Water two great white egret, spoonbill, marsh harrier, buzzard, raven and another whinchat.


East Guldeford Levels

Still quiet on the clifftop, so I paid my first visit of the autumn to EGl yesterday morning.

There is a lot of unharvested wheat [spoilt ?] remaining, and in the first field of this I came to were at least 80 Corn buntings, in the stubble fields were a similar number of Linnets and Stock Doves. These autumn stubbles attract the usual feral geese, amongst these was a miniature Canada Goose. These turn up occasionally [I saw one at RHNR in March 2015] and are deemed escapes,  but it's interesting to try and assign them to one of the described races. However this bird doesn't seem to fit, being just like a scaled down Canada Goose plumage-wise,  but with a long bill and straight head profile.

Otherwise, a Greenshank flushed by a Marsh Harrier was a good site record, migrants were few other than 20 Yellow Wagtails-no Wheatears or Whinchats. 2 Ravens were working their way through a dead sheep


From the Clifftop

It's been a bit quiet on the clifftop since my last entry, with nothing new for the year in the moth trap, and just a couple of Arctic Skuas and fine flypast by 6 Ravens of note birdwise.

However things improved this morning, with a [well-named] Beautiful China-mark in the trap-this is the scarcest of the small aquatic China-marks in Sussex, I've caught just two in inland Fairlight before. An increase in Dark Sword-grass and Large Yellow Underwings is promising for migrant species.

After checking the trap I walked across the Firehills [now with cattle throughs, suggesting grazing is imminent], to the far side of Warren Glen. Four Stonechats on the Firehills were of interest as one was a fresh juvenile from a late brood, but I saw little else till I got to Warren Cottage. The high hedges here are one of the best places in HCPNR for migrants [and local birds] in autumn. Here were about 15 mixed Whitethroats, Lesser Whitethroats and Blackcaps actively feeding, also a Spotted Flycatcher and a nearby Wheatear. All these small birds attracted a Sparrowhawk which dived into a bush a few yards away from me-but didn't get anything .

20 Yellow Wagtails flew west, and 6 Swallows south.


Two western conifer seed bugs ten years apart.

This western conifer seed bug crawled in through the kitchen window yesterday. It is almost to the day ten years ago that the second only specimen for Britain dropped in on my moth trap in West Hill Road, Hastings on 30th August 2008. That specimen and the two that came to the Dungeness Observatory moth trap on the same night were also the first naturally occurring migrants to be found in Britain. The first record in 2007 was considered to be imported in timber.

Here is my RXwildlife blog post from that night in 2008, posted in the early hours of the morning! (The old RXwildlife archive is a bit janky and may not load properly.)

Andy Phillips