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Marbled Whites are flying

Today I counted 9 Marbled White butterflies between Northpoint Pit and the river bank, a location they colonised a few years ago, no doubt from the Castle Water meadows just across the river. But my first Marbled White was early this morning when I found one on clover at the Love Lane allotments in Rye!  This was really unexpected as around here I've only ever seen them much nearer the coast.


Turning over a new leaf (cutter)

I spent a couple of hours last week looking at Barry's bee hotels and as with last year's visits (see here) they didn't fail to disappoint, with masses of large-headed resin bee using the holes and the odd little dark bee, it's rather sinister nest parasite lurking around the edges. Some large leaf-cutters nesting in holes in railway sleepers managed to elude me last year, but I managed to pin them down this time as wood-carving leaf-cutter, a very large species which as the name suggests nests largely in dead wood, using the cut leaves to line the cavities which are filled with nectar and pollen. I also netted a small solitary wasp from around the sleepers which turned out to be Ectemnius dives (no English names for these I'm afraid), another dead-wood nester, but this time provisioning it's nest with paralysed flies. What's more, neither of these species seems to have been recorded on the reserve before, so another success for the bee hotels! Apologies for the tortured pun though.

A female leaf-cutter bee doing it's thang. This is probably patchwork leaf-cutter, a common species often found in gardens where it cuts the leaves of roses (as here)


From the Clifftop


Absolutely nothing to say about birds I'm afraid-other than that our most recent visit to Dungeness was the worst ever !.

Moth trapping continues to entertain-though Friday night was too windy to put the trap out. Best species have been tiny micros-Acleris Kochiella and Coleophera mayrella both appear to be good East Sussex records, but here is a picture of a rather larger and more obvious Blotched Emerald caught a few days ago-it's not worn, it's supposed to look like that.




Sweltering on the Clifftop

Not much to say about birds during this current heatwave, but of course great for insects. A visit to our small garden pond by a male Broad-bodied Chaser dragonfly inspired me to excavate a second one next to it-an ideal occupation during this heat. BBC's are known to be attracted to newly established ponds, and a female duly appeared while we were filling it with water. On this day in our clifftop garden we recorded four species of odonata-Large Red, Azure and Blue Tailed Damselfies, 62 species of moth in the trap, and a miserable one species of buuterfly-a lone Meadow Brown in our unmown grass.

The 62 species included two nice green ones I've never trapped anywhere previously-the beautiful little Cream-bordered Green Pea, and the strangely marked Blotched Emerald. Although this hot weather encourages plenty of moths, it also encourages them to fly out of the trap when you take the lid off-I wonder what I missed ? [Sorry, can't upload pictures at present]