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Gold-fringed Mason Bee

Out on the Beach Reserve yesterday with my knapsack I noticed several bees busily moving from flower to flower of ivy-leaved toadflax near Ternery Pool. On closer examination I realised they were all gold-fringed mason bee (Osmia aurulenta, below), a very attractive little bee which is most typical of coastal habitats such as sand dunes and shingle beaches but also occurs inland on chalk grassland and brownfield sites. Interestingly I also had one of this species nest parasites, white-spotted sapyga (Sapyga quinquepunctata, see here), one of only four records for the reserve.

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From the Clifftop

Far too cold !  With these northerly winds there has been very little moving at sea, just 5 Whimbrel past this morning. It being slightly less cold last night I gave the moth trap a go, this morning there were five moths in it, including a Frosted Green. My garden year moth list is now a humble 40...


Rye Harbour

Nineteen people turned for a very early (and cold!) wader watch this morning. Highlight was bittern heard booming from the direction of Castle Water around dawn and a hobby which came in off the sea over the Beach Reserve before heading inland, while soon afterwards a pair of raven were spotted over Flat Beach and Harbour Farm and a little tern was heard calling in the same area. Also on Harbour Farm, a little ringed plover was found at the western end of Salt Pool and thirteen bar-tailed godwit, a grey plover and a whimbrel were present on the new saltmarsh. Passerines included wheatear, yellow wagtail, linnet, several whitethroat and a single lesser whitethroat at the close. All in all a very good mornings birding!


From the Clifftop

The moth trap finally got going after a warm night-16 species this morning including another Great Prominent, a Poplar Hawk and a White-point. While noting these I could hear a Cuckoo calling inland.

Yesterday was very quiet at sea, I thought today was going to be better when the first bird I saw was a Great Skua, however this wasn't the forerunner of a skua passage; it sat around on the sea, and nothing else came past...


From the Clifftop

Following a change of bulb in my Fairlight moth trap-now much brighter-I've caught a few new species despite chilly nights. These included a Great Prominent this morning, the largest moth so far this year. Yesterday saw the first dragonfly of the year for us-a newly emerged Large Red Damselfly round one of our small ponds.

Out at sea, an Arctic Skua yesterday enlivened a very quiet couple of hours, but more birds this morning: 48 Scoters, 20 Whimbrels and 50 Bar-tailed Godwits moved east-rather distantly, closer were my first 3 Swifts of the year passing east along the clifftop.