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Carpocoris purpureipennis in Hastings Country Park.

Searching for invertebrates in the margins of the old quarry in Hastings Country Park can produce unexpected rewards. Whilst checking a reasonably large patch of spear thistle for the presence of lacebugs, two shieldbugs were found. One was the Hairy Shieldbug Dolycoris baccarum, an attractive native species that can be found in good numbers on margins of woodland everywhere. The second shieldbug warranted more than a second glance. It was a species that is reasonably common in France but does not occur in this country. There are no more than one or two records of it getting across the Channel to our shores, and this was the first record for Sussex.

Many photographs were taken so as to get sufficient detail to allow accurate identification as there is taxonomic debate about certain species in this difficult genus. A note was sent to the national recorder for heteroptera to ask for confirmation that this was Carpocoris purpureipennis, and after some discussion and reference to specific details the identification was confirmed, The county recorder was included in the discussion, and he confirmed it to be a first record for Sussex.

As many species of shieldbug are at the northernmost edge of their range in this country, the prospect of global warming gives potential for some european species to cross the Channel. A site such as the quarry which provides sheltered warmth close to landfall after migration might be considered to have potential for a colony to establish. Further observations will be made as the summer progresses to see if this shieldbug is a lone record or not.



Cloud Appreciation from the Clifftop


 After a very clear night, moth numbers returned  to single figures again, just a Small Square-spot being new for the year. It was quite warm in the sunshine so I sat in the garden for some time to see what might be passing; a Yellow Wagtail and a couple of Siskins flew by. However the highlight was the manificent cloudscape over the other side of the Channel, including this classic towering  Cumulo-Nimbus formation, which gradually broadened and shrank as I watched.






Clifftop Moths

It seems only a few days ago that I was moaning about chilly nights and single figure moth catches, not so yesterday though, when after a warm and overcast night I found 48 species in and around my Fairlight garden trap-more like a good day in July.

These included seven species of Pug-I find these very difficult and release any worn ones but identified Double-striped, V, White-spotted, Foxglove, Lime-speck, Mottled and what seems to be Channel Islands Pug-not as exotic as it sounds- "currently well established along the length of the  Sussex coast "; the food plant, Tamarisk,  grows close to our house.

Other good ones were Cream Spot Tiger [the spots really are creamy, but cameras render them white], Grey Birch, Water Carpet, the tiny Monopis weaverella, and, for a bit of spectacle, this Eyed Hawk.

Last night it rained hard, so down to 23 species, but these included 3 Cream-spot Tigers, a Tawny Shears, and a distinctive micro that I haven't been able to identify so far...


Rye harbour Moths

Still very poor moth-wise for the time of year, but this was my best morning yet of 2017, with around 20 species. Firsts for the year included, yellow belle, cinnabar and nutmeg, with the commonest species being shears and light brown apple moth, both with two individuals each!Highlights were star-wort, an uncommon coastal moth with larvae that feed largely on sea aster, and eyed hawk moth and cream-spot tiget moth (below), not rarities by any means but always good to see just for 'wow' value!





The Friends of Hastings Country Park Nature Reserve are delighted to welcome Karen Hammond of the National Trust to give a talk all about bats and bat behaviour. Karen is based at Bodiam Castle which is home to several important bat colonies and she also runs a local rescue service for injured and orphaned bats. Karen led a very informative and popular workshop on bats for the Friends a couple of years ago at Place Farm and in the larger venue of All Saints Church Hall in the Old Town we hope that even more people will be able to enjoy her talk.