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Ticking Along

Marpissa muscosa

Things have been ticking along nicely in the last couple of weeks, depsite the poor weather. While I am still struggling to run my moth trap and the technical term for butterfly numbers is 'pants' there have been plenty of other things to keep me interested. Spider records have included more Pellenes tripunctatus on the Beach Reserve (I am recording this weekly to find out at what times of the year it occurs here) and Marpissa muscosa at Castle Water. This latter has been photographed for RX several times before but it one of those species which I think always deserves another showing! 

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Bombus hypnorum in Hastings

The tree bumblebee, Bombus hypnorum, seems to be well established in Hastings now. This bumblebee was recorded as new to Britain in 2001 from Landford, Wilts. Marline Valley Nature Reserve, Hastings was one of the first places it was recorded in Sussex but it has been rarely recorded in Hastings since until this year.

Bombus hypnorum, Filsham Reedbed

I've seen the species in a number of sites this year. It has occurred in numbers foraging from Hebe in gardens along West Hill Road where I live and a record of a nest was sent to me from nearby in Maze Hill. I've also seen the species at Filsham Reedbed and Hastings Country Park Nature Reserve over the last couple of months and the most recent record was from Elphinstone Road near the ridge last week.

If anyone has seen this species elsewhere in Hastings please add a comment with the record. It is easy to identify with it's ginger thorax, black abdomen and white 'tail'.


RSPB Dungeness sightings

The highlight of the week was provided by a black kite seen on both Thursday and Friday by a handful of lucky visitors.  The bird was seen from the Hooker's pits viewpoint, being mobbed by our resident marsh harriers.  A few returning waders (common sandpiper, dunlin and black-tailed godwit) were spotted on Burrowes pit and at the ARC site.  A black redstart was also seen at the ARC site. 


Thistle disease

Creeping thistle is causing us many headaches at Rye Harbour. Despite its value for a wide range of invertbrates, we feel it has become too dominant and are controlling it with herbicide on large areas of grassland. The bleached tops of creeping thistle are a widespread sight, and it does seem to limit this plant that is so invasive. It is caused by the phytoparasitic bacterium Pseudomonas syringae, so we leave the affected plants and hope it will do the control in the long term...


Beach Reserve

Highlights this morning, flat beach flood attracted 28 Avocet, a Spotted Redshank, 10 Dunlin, 26 Redshank, 12 Curlew and a Whimbrel. On Harbour Farm three Green Sandpiper, 6 Little Ringed Plover and 2 Black-tailed Godwit were on the pools, Yellow Wagtail, Wheatear and several Grey Partridge were feeding in the nearby grassy areas.

Grey Partridge lurking around the pool margins on Harbour Farm