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Monster caterpillar! 

This exciting find is the full grown larva of Britain's largest moth - the Death's-head Hawk-moth.  It was discovered two days ago by Philip Newton as it marched boldly across his Three Oaks garden in the warm sunshine.  Philip already knew the species when I received his phone call, but its behaviour indicated it was not going to hang around and wait for me to arrive, and would soon be diving underground to pupate!  I wasn't about to miss this once in a lifetime sighting so Philip kindly placed it in a container, and within 10 minutes I was there, drooling, as well as taking lots of photos! 

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Pity lesser duckweed

I never thought I would say that.  Lesser duckweed Lemna minor is one of those plants I go out of my way to avoid getting in my pond because it's presence prevents you seeing anything going on under the  water.  However today I did feel a degree of sympathy as it seems this common wetland plant is now being given a run for it's money by another non-native plant, the even smaller least duckweed Lemna minuta.  This American plant is in the process of colonisng the Open Pits on the RSPB reserve, where lesser duckweed was decidedly uncommon.

Lesser duckweed is actually

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Common Seal

 This common seal is regular at the river mouth at low tide, but it often drifts up the river on the rising tide. Today's high tide is the highest of the month at 4.1m aOD just after 2pm, so all of the old and new saltmarsh habitats will be covered.


Pett Pools

Another quiet visit to the pools on Sunday. Most of the Tufted Duck broods appear to have been eaten, there were however at least three broods of Little Grebe. A few Yellow Wagtail messed around on the edge of the reeds and about 20 young Sandwich Tern roosted behind the roadside pools.


Wax Moth

Another decent night in the moth trap (though not quite as good as yesterday), with 69 species caught. Highlight for me was this greater wax moth (Galleria mellonella). The larvae of this species live on honeycomb in bee hives and can be something of a pest, though outside the beekeeping world it is considered quite useful, being reared for fish bait, bird food and use in research. This individual was a first for me, though it has been recorded on the reserve in the past.

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