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Castle Water

Late news for yesterday, an Osprey in flight over the main pit at 7.15 was the highlight from a mornings birding at Castle Water, additional interest was provided by a Common Buzzard over Castle Farm, Kingfisher, 3 Garganey, 2 Greenshank, a Ruff, 300 Swallows and 2 Whinchat.


Winchelsea Beach

I had not noticed previously the crescent of Sea Aster growing along the edge of the old ox-bow. I guess salt must be leaching through from old saltmarsh.

Lots of Whitethroats, Lesser Whitethroats, Blackcaps and Chiffchaffs in the scrub this morning, plus Yellow Wagtails, Willow Warbler, Spotted Flycatcher, Redstart, Whinchat & Wheatear.

Hundreds of Starlings & hirundines.

But the most unexpected bird was a calling Nuthatch, which flew across the Beach Field to the gardens of the Front Ridge.

Read more on RXbirdwalks.



Shrill carder bee on fleabane

One of the Lydd shrill carder bees photographed on fleabane.  We managed to collect DNA samples from 25 bees in N Kent and a further 25 more from Wales this week as part of an attempt to determine where the colonising stock of these insects on Dungeness originated from.



Pett Pools

A short trip to the pools resulted in few birds. The only hoped for migrants in any number were loads of Silver Y feeding on the grassy bank particularly on knapweed. There were a handful of Yellow Wagtail and one very small pulse of hirundine headed eastwards. Wigeon numbers are slowly increasing and there are still a fair number of Little Grebe and Tufted Duck on the pools. The sea was virtually empty but on the shore there were a number of juvenile Sandwich Tern and two Bar-tailed Godwit.


Organic red clover

Some of the arable fields to the west of Rye are sown with agricultural red clover, as a means of putting nitrogen back into the soil.  This landuse also favours bumblebees, with the disadvantage that when the crop is cut for silage the abundant pollen and nectar supply abruptly disappears.

This area has supported four species of Biodiversity Action Plan species in recent years, and is a useful stepping stone between the bumblebee-rich habitats around Dungeness and recently enhanced bumblebee habitat at Hastings.  One of the most impressive insects in this area is the large garden bumblebee Bombus ruderatus, which has recently recolonised the area.  For the last two years, when these fields have been cut for hay, this species has turned up on the Rye Harbour LNR within a week, presumably as bees have to forage more widely.

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