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Rye Harbour

July tends to be quite quiet bird wise - the breeding season for many species is over and the flood of migrants travelling south has not yet materialised. There does seem to a bit of an increase in migration though, especially waders, with good numbers of dunlin, quite a few common sandpiper and the odd snipe, ruff, greenshank, black-tailed godwit and golden plover, while roosts of curlew and whimbrel have peaked at 180 and 40 respectively. Dave King turned up good numbers of migrating warblers in the shingly field by the caravan park recently, including lesser whitethroat, garden warbler, willow warbler and blackcap. Other interesting birds recently have included up to four great white egret, spoonbill, marsh harrier, buzzard and treecreeper at Castle Water, red-breasted merganser, raven and yellow wagtail on Harbour Farm and avocet and peregrine on the Beach Reserve.


Rye Harbour Moths

I've been off for a week so Saturday/Sunday was the first chance I've had to run the moth trap for a while. Moths were surprisingly thin on the ground (I didn't actually open it until a moth event at 10am) though the catch did include a couple of pale grass eggar, crescent striped and rosy streaked knothorn. A little group of micros which I couldn't immediately identify and which were photographed and studied at leisure later on included a marbled piercer (not uncommon but few Rye Harbour records) and saltmarsh knothorn (below, rather uncommon and only a single record on the reserve in the last 10 years).

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Winchelsea Moths

A 20w blacklight Robinson moth trap was used last night in Winchelsea and numbers were down on the previous weeks with only 28 species. But that included 4 Jersey tigers ( 1st photo - previously only ever had 1 at a time), an Oak eggar (2nd photo - also 1st time at this site) and a canary-shouldered thorn (3rd photo - 1st time at this site). The profusion of dark arches that we have had of the previous weeks has disappeared.

from Michael Howard, National Trust Ranger by e-mail

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Pett Level and Dungeness

Not a word about moths today ! Yesterday, after the usual trap checking, I headed over to Pett Level in order to try and see the Southern Migrant Hawkers. I walked quite a lot of ditch without success, though there was a great display of flowering Arrowhead. The roadside pool is developing a nice muddy margin, attracting waders, yesterday 5 Ruff, 2 Black-tailed Godwits and a Spotted Redshank-a difficult bird these days.

Off to Dungeness, where the Hanson Hide is the place to go at the moment, here were 2 Wood Sandpipers, a Curlew Sand. had been seen and a Great White Egret was on show. We walked around to The Pines, wondering if we might see a SMH somewhere-but a dragonly flying over one of the pools near the Water Tower caught our attention, showing a bright blue patch at the top of the abdomen- a Lesser Emperor, a rare migrant recorded most years at Dungeness but which we had rarely seen.

Over the road, a Green Sandpiper was on Burrowes pit-these are difficult to find this year, also a Black Tern with resting Common and Sandwich Terns. We were apparently the only people braving the heat and walking round the trail, and were were rewarded with 3 Great White Egrets from the Denge Marsh hide, and at least four more Lesser Emperors in the Denge Marsh area. Hope the Hobby that was flying around didn't get any of those. On the way home I watched the car thermometer peak at 33.5C-it was much lower on the Clifftop.


Rye Harbour Moths

It's been a good few days moth wise on the reserve, the warm evenings perfect for moth trapping. The pale grass eggar caterpillars we were reporting a few weeks ago have now completed their development, and I'm starting to see the adults in the trap, with three during a moth event at the weekend. It also seems to be a good year for bordered ermel and starry pearl, two uncommon micros associated with viper's bugloss, which are regular in the trap at the moment, as are rosy-striped knothorn and the saltmarsh macro crescent striped, now almost extinct in Sussex but going strong at Rye Harbour. A pleasant surprise this morning was twin-spot honey (below) an uncommon micro which hasn't been seen on the reserve since 2003.