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AES Meeting, Rye Harbour

Eleven souls turned out for an Amateur Entomologists Society field meeting yesterday and were treated to some almost Summer-like weather and some interesting invertebrates! Highlights were probably the spiders Lathys stigmatista, Sitticus inexpectus and the ant-spider Myrmarachne formicaria, all found by spider expert Evan Jones on the new saltmarsh, while Ralph Hobbs managed to find grey bush-cricket by the path leading from the caravan park towards Ternery Pool. A little bit quieter at Castle Water though we did turn up rather late meadow brown and small copper, speckled bush-cricket and sand-bear Arctosa perita (below), a camouflaged wolf-spider which lives in burrows in the sand.



Pett Pools

The highlight was a Great Skua found by Pete Rouse sat on the shingle. It was still present an hour later.

The pools held large numbers of duck particularly Gadwall with over a hundred present. Little Grebe and Pochard were also still here in good numbers.

A Marsh Harrier hunted at the back of the pools whilst a Kestrel dive bombed one of the local Buzzards. Both Curlew and Lapwing had increased in numbers from last week and there were at least six Ruff present.

The Goldfinches were heading west today with a few Linnets and Meadow Pipits. This was the expected direction as they like to fly into the wind.


From the Clifftop

The weather remains hit and miss, with some days of no migration and nights of no moth trapping. However yesterday was remarkably mild, ideal for the annual Friends of Hastings Country Park NR  Autumn Migration Watch event, expertly led by Andrew Grace as always. Although visible passage was quite light-about 100 Goldfinches being the commonest, there were plenty of birds feeding in the sunny sides of bushes and on open ground ,and the 20+ participants enjoyed close views of Goldcrests, Chiffchaffs, a Blackcap and 11 Stonechats along the Firehils. 8 Song Thrushes arrived, as did a lone Ring Ouzel at the 11th hour-maintaining the tradition of showing people these at this event, 10 Coal Tits were noted-were some continental ?

Later, while sitting on the terrace, I was able to listen to the growling calls of Gannets fishing and sitting on the water-about 100 today.

There is a national moth night[s] event running at present and I have run my Fairlight garden trap for the last two nights. Results have been unspectacular despite an apparently perfect night on Friday. However I have had a few more Flounced Chestnuts [picture], while Red -line Quaker and Yellow-line Quaker were new for the year, taking the list to 367



ivy bee

Peter and Morgan Greenhalf pointed me to a few of these ivy bees feeding on ivy flowers near the Rye Harbour gate yesterday, despite it being rather cold and drear! This species was only found in the UK for the first time in 2001 in Dorset and can now be found all along the south coast of England. It's also a species I have wanted to see for a couple of years! As the name suggests this species feeds almost exclusively on ivy flowers and as this is a late flowering plant can occur right into November!


Rye Harbour

Highlights today included 11 raven over the Beach Reserve mid-morning (the most I have seen at one time ever!), nine avocet and three greenshank on Ternery Pool, red-breasted merganser on Long Pit and bar-tailed godwit and wheatear on Flat Beach, while at Castle Water two or three little stint were seen along with three ruff, the adult little gull, two pintail and at least one marsh harrier. There were also at least two common seal in River Rother round about noon, with one seen heading upriver and another hauled out on the Rye Harbour side of the river just below the northernmost blockhouse.

Returning to Lime Kiln after completing the wetland bird survey counts I came across this little critter, a lesser thorn-tipped longhorn, a natty bird-dropping mimic beetle whose larvae live in the dead twigs of various deciduous trees, only the third record for the reserve.