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Hairy Legged Bee

From Gordon Jarvis by e-mail. It has not been a good year for bees in my Peasmarsh Garden.  There has been little activity of  leaf cutters or  mason bees. Today though I found this attractive bee which I believe it is a Hairy Legged Bee (Dasypoda hirtipes). It is listed as a Notable species.  I have only had one previous record  which was last year again in my garden.


Cockle Feast

Once again the stormy weather has washed up large numbers of animals along the shore. This time it is cockles and the tubes of sand mason worms that dominate. The cockles are providing a feast for the big gulls and some of their leftovers is being enjoyed by the small group of turnstones that have summered at the river mouth. These birds are probably first year birds that would not breed even if they made the long journey north.

It's still noticeable that very few terns are fishing along the shore and in the river, and on their nesting islands no chicks are surviving. There are just the last few incubating common terns left that are hoping that with the promise of summer at the weekend there may be an influx of small fish....


Colourful perch

A goldfinch using an orchid as a perch to feed on lesser knapweed seed.  Knapweeds are a popular source of seed for these birds in our garden at this time of year.


Declining club-rushes

Like the reedmace species there are two species of club-rush that can be encountered in the RX area.  I mentioned the common club-rush Schoenoplectus lacustris earlier today.  The other species, grey club-rush Schoenoplectus tabernaemontani appears to be the more common species in the RX area, and can be encountered in ditches and gravel pits in our area.  That being said it has proved to be very scarce now in the Dungeness Open Pits, a series of natural wetlands where I have only managed to find one patch of plants this year.  So sparse were the stems, and so typically breezy was it that I failed to get a decent picture, so for a view of this plant click here

This species was once

Click to read more ...


Not so Common club-rush

Although reedmace are commonly also called bulrushes, in the past the true bulrush was this plant, now most commonly called common club-rush Schoenoplectus lacustris.  It can grow in deeper water than any of our other emergent plants, at depths up to 1.5 m, in flowing rivers or still water.  The brown flowers (termed spikelets) occur near the top of stately cylindrical green stems up to 3 m tall.  In the past it was also called bumble, and was used to stuff saddles, mattresses, and woven into baskets, rush mats and chair seats.

Although widespread nationally it appears to be a declining plant in our area and I am not sure if there are any stands of this plant, other than in our garden pond. (It does grow at Castle Water, Rye Harbour - Barry)