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Scarce Chocolate-tip

This scarce chocolate-tip (Clostera anachoreta) was caught last night by James Nye and Luci Collings at Winchelsea Beach, just down the road from Watch Cottage and unfortunately just off the reserve! The only populations of this rare moth in the UK are at Dungeness and possibly around Sandwich and Ramsgate in Kent, though occasional individuals do wander, and this is only the second record on our database (the first was just a few hundred metres west of this spot in 2008). Larvae feed on various willows and poplars and it would be nice to think there is the potential for this species to establish itself at Rye Harbour. Thanks to James and Luci for giving Barry and myself the chance to see this little beauty!



From the Clifftop and Rye Harbour

 A busy day yesterday. With news of a Broad -billed Sandpier at Rye Harbour NR the previous evening, I was up before first light, but could see lots of moths fluttering round the trap-no time to look though !

I got to Rye H at 4.45 and was shocked to find nobody else there for such a good bird, so a solitary hour spent going through the waders on the new saltmarsh, buit to no avail. However, while peering through the scope I heard an unfamilar call, and picked out 3 Black-winged Stilts heading east perhaps 100m up. A walk round Flat beach revealed a nice selection of waders-red Knot, Sanderlings, a couple of Greenshanks and , back at the new saltmarsh, a Little Stint. By this time just 8 people had turned up-and four were Slow but Sure Members ...

Back at home, the trap contained 26 species, the best so far, nothing outstanding but a good showing of micro-moths for the first time, including a Diamond Back, and another classic bird dropping mimic ; Notocelia cynobastella. Some time spent in the garden revealed tiny  Mullein moth caterpillars on our only Mullein-first time this has happened-a Southern Hawker exuvia in one of our three small ponds, and a Siskin flew over.


From the Clifftop

The last two days have been quite hot in the afternoons, and insects have responded, with Flea Beetles in abundance, and 14 species in the moth trap yesterday morning. These included the first of probably a series of exotic-looking Cream-spot Tigers [pictured]  a White-point and two classic bird dropping mimics-Lime-speck Pug and Chinese Character. [I tried using a borrowed Emperor Moth pheromone lure in our front garden, but , not surprisingly, no luck !]. Back to normal this chilly morning though, just 6 species, but again three Tigers.

Not nuch bird news from the clifftop, the first noisy youg Starlings appeared two days ago, when no less than four Swallows flew east-hirundines and Swifts really are scarce.

Further afield, c10 Crossbills flew over Winchelsea on 21st, and 4 Sanderlings flew E along the coast at Glyne Gap yesterday


Beetlemania (Part 2)

I had a couple of rather natty beetles this week while finishing off the last of my breeding bird surveys at Castle Water. The first of these was this red-headed cardinal beetle. This small family contains only three British species (see here), all of which are predominantly red (hence 'cardinal beetle') though this is the only species with a red head. The larvae live under the bark of dead trees and are apparently easy to find, though I have never managed to see one! We usually get a few records of this every year, and I also had another one near the visitor centre on the same day.

Click to read more ...


Rye Harbour

Bird highlights over the last couple of days (excluding the Terek and curlew sands which I didn't get to see!) were up to two spoonbill on Harbour Farm (one was still present today on the pits behind Ternery Pool), a male ruff close to breeding plumage on Harbour Farm and a male garganey at Castle Water (my first for a couple of years I think). On Flat Beach today there were seven knot, five bar-tailed godwit and two or three super grey plover in their summer finery, while red-breasted merganser and great white egret and raven were seen at Castle Water.