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Rye Harbour Bees

I spent a couple of hours near the viewpoint yesterday looking at solitary bees nesting in the path. The main focus of my attention was a colony of little flower bee strung out along the sandy edges of the path parallel to Harbour road, but the visit also turned up  a few bee-wolf (a large solitary wasp which as the name suggests stocks it nest with honeybees) and silvery leaf-cutter (below). This species is the smallest of several species of leaf-cutter bee (though I couldn't find any information to indicate that this one actually cuts leaves) and nests in sandy soils, usually near the coast. It apparently can occur in quite large colonies, though I only saw the one yesterday.


Pett Level

It was good to see the pools holding so many broods. There were at least four Pochard broods in addition to Mallard, Gadwall and Shoveler broods. The Mute Swans have seven youngsters and there were also broods of Great Crested and Little Grebes. A single Garganey was found plus a single female Ruddy Duck.

Small groups of Swift headed east and were almost certainly migrants rather than local birds. They were not feeding as they flew through. A Yellow Wagtail was also present plus the pair of local Marsh Harrier.

There were seventy plus Common Scoter on the sea and a few Great Crested Grebe. Both Sandwich and Common Terns were fishing and there were three seals present.


Beach Reserve

An Osprey in flight over the Beach Reserve at 04:30 am was an unexpected record for mid June, the bird headed straight out to sea and eventually disappeared in the early morning haze. I don't want to jinx the season with breeding bird news but things are at the moment going well..............


From the Clifftop

A lot warmer  and those strong winds have ceased, so it's more comfortable  on the clifftop now . Birdwise, we are in the summer doldrums, just the odd thing flying over early in the morning  while I check the moth trap. Best was a group of 5 Crossbills a few days ago, otherwise odd Siskins, Grey Wagtails and Yellow Wagtail. At least 400 Herring Gulls were milling about at sea this morning, with them 15 Gannets, 20 Sandwich Terns, 3 Med Gulls and a Kittiwake.

The moth trap was heaving this morning, with over 50 species-as always during warm weather quite a few intesting little 'uns escape when you take the top off. However Variegated Golden Tortrix, Broken-barred Carpet and Beautiful Hook-tip [pictured; I'm not sure that name is entirely merited !] stayed put  were all new for the house list.


One to look out for

Yesterday Gordon Jarvis sent me this picture of a longhorn beetle which he found in Peasmarsh on 10th June. It is a large black longhorn (Stictoleptura scutellata, identification confirmed by Peter Hodge, Sussex beetle recorder) an uncommon species with larvae that feed in the deadwood of broad-leaved trees, where they can take up to four years to mature. Peter also confirmed that this is the first record for Sussex, so a good find and one to look out for in the future.