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Seawatching at Dungeness

27th August - The day began a with fresh southerly breeze which produced an excellent spell of seawatching. The main movement was between 0630 and 1300hrs during which time an Observatory record total of 11 Long-tailed Skuas had flown west along with  four Pomarine Skuas, 130 Arctic Skuas and six Great Skuas and also an adult Sabine's Gull. Terns were also moving in large numbers with an excellent 294 Black Terns of particular note whilst tubenoses were represented by 16 Balearic Shearwaters, single Manx and Sooty Shearwaters and 17 Fulmars. From Dungeness Bird Observatory website.


Moss Carder Bee

Highlight on my Buddleia so far this year has been this queen moss carder bee (Bombus muscorum), one of three pale carder bees which occur on the reserve. Very similar to the brown-banded carder bee (Bombus humilis), this species is much rarer on the reserve and in the south-east of England, being a mainly northern and western species in Britain. Both species need extensive ares of flower-rich grassland to support their colonies, though moss carder likes somewhat damper conditions. 

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Benefits of a wet summer?

Difficult to think of many but I get the impression from my Northiam garden that the small tortoiseshell has had a better than usual summer, at least compared to the previous four years.

Another insect that has

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There are two types of edible plant growing on the RX coast called samphire. The one above is rock samphire, an umbellifer that is now in flower at a very few locations along the shore (one is TQ945176). This is the plant referred to by Shakespeare - click here for more detail. The "other" local samphire is marsh samphire or glasswort that grows in muddy parts of saltmarsh (there are 5 species at Rye Harbour!) and has minute, almost invisible flowers - click here for more detail.


Rye Harbour

The wind and rain overnight and this morning has mixed things up a bit and produced 14 Ruff, 9 Greenshank and 2 Black Tern at Castle Water. Offshore 4 Arctic Skua headed west and passed very close inshore out from Crittall Hide. Late news for yesterday 5 Wood Sandpipers passed overhead while I was on Harbour Farm and I assume they had been flushed from one of the pools. Mottled Grasshoppers have also been evident during the week at Parkes Hide and on the sunny drier habitats at Castle Water. This little grasshopper has many colour varitions which help them blend in with their surroundings.