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Allotment Wildlife

This is my first entry on RX, I post regularly on Wild Hastings, but hope to make regular contributions here from outside the Hastings/Fairlight area, in particular from the Winchelsea area, where we have an allotment.

This is of course managed organically, and is filled with interesting insects and other wildlife. We have a large manure pile, made of the finest horse dung from Denge Marsh road, contained within pallets it has a protective piece of carpet over the top. For several weeks , every time I lift it, there have been Slow Worms, up to 15 in a coiled mass, often with a Grass Snake.

We have seen no Frogs or Toads [though we can hear Marsh Frogs below], but occasionally unearth newts, most recently a small Smooth Newt, avoiding the dry conditions inside a potato hollowed out by slugs, several inches underground.Slow Worms and Grass Snake on dung pile


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.