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Shrill carder bee - Still here

On 2nd July I wrote about the quality of grasslands on Lydd Ranges for bumblebees. These have been managed by the Defence Estate to promote the flowering of legumes, and they have been looking good this summer.  Proof of their condition was found yesterday on a visit by Mike Edwards and myself.  Mike found a single shrill carder bee  Bombus sylvarum worker.  This species is restricted to around 5 populations in the UK and was not recorded for over 20 years on Romney Marsh, despite intensive survey effort.  Then small numbers of workers were found on the RSPB reserve in 2010, and a further generation was produced the following year.  It is thought that they have recolonised the area by a dispersing queen, possibly from the North Kent population.  I had been concerned that with such a small population the adversely wet summer my have finished them off, so it is good to see these insects are still with us.
I believe the last record of these insects on Lydd Ranges was in 1984, so it is good to see the species spreading out from the RSPB reserve.

Beach Reserve

A great vibe to the Beach Reserve this morning and a great time of year, Yellow Wagtail numbers are starting to build now with at least 80 birds present around shore ridges and Ternery Pool, Wheatears were also around in good numbers with 4 birds at the river mouth and 6 birds lingering around the Old Lifeboat House/West Beach. 300+ Swallows and Sand Martins gave a great display around the pools near the barns on Harbour Farm, 5 Common and 2 Green Sandpiper were also present there. Roosting Golden Plover numbers on Flat Beach are starting to increase daily with 54 birds there this morning along with 62 Ringed Plover, 70 Dunlin and 3 Grey Plover. Although our breeding Sandwich and Common Terns failed miserably this year small numbers can still be found roosting around Flat Beach Flood or feeding offshore.

Roosting Golden Plover on Flat Beach


Castle Water Hide

This morning the vegetation infront of the Castle Water hide had its annual ''short back and sides'' to improve viewing during the autumn and winter months. Before work started a Barn owl gave great views perched at several locations around the hide and nearby gate post. Also a nice selection of insects were present on the clumps of Common Fleabane infront of the hide (which were not cut), Brown Argus, Small Copper, Helophilus trivittatus, Eristalis sepulchralis and Eristalis arbustorum. The plendid Helophilus trivittatus was also on a clump of Common Knapweed near the viewpoint and is pictured below.

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Rye Harbour

At dawn today a low mist over the main pit made checking the Little Egret roost difficult but at least 49 birds left the roost, 2 Kingfisher, 3 Cetti's Warbler, 15+ Bearded Tit, Water Rail, 3 Green Sandpiper, 400 Lapwing and 3 Greenshank provided additional interest while waiting around in the rather chilly damp conditions. Additional avian highlights this week have included 21 Common Sandpiper spread around Castle Water and the Beach Reserve, 160 Curlew have roosted on the shingle ridges near the Old Lifeboat House, the new saltmarsh area has attracted 120 Dunlin, 46 Ringed Plover, 2 Greenshank and a Little Stint. An entry I put on at the start of the week about insects on Common Fleabane disappeared so I thought I would tag the pictures onto this post to complete my pick of the week.

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Bombus ruderatus

Last Sunday Nikki Gamman,  project leader of the subt project, and volunteer Nick Withers came down to Rye Harbour to lead a walk on bumblebees, but as no one turned up we decided to look for  some  in the Lime Kiln garden. Highlights were a black worker and a normal coloured male of Bombus ruderatus, the large garden bumblebee on shrubby horehound. This species was first found on the reserve by Sam a couple of years ago, but this is the first time it has been found at Lime Kiln, bringing my garden list up to 12 species, around half the British list! Is this the best garden for bumblebees in Britain?

Bombus ruderatus male

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