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Tales from the trap

Ichneumons wasps are a very difficult group to identify, with several thousand British species, additions to the list every year and keys which are in general out of date. Consequently, in about 30 years as an entomologist I have managed to reliably name about five species! In the last couple of years however I have had access to the 'UK bees, ants and wasps' Facebook  group which is frequented by some knowledgable hymenopterists, including a few specialising in parasitic wasps, and this has helped me make some progress with these difficult critters. This wasp was taken in the pitfalls on the new saltmarsh in August last year and was provisionally identified as a Lissonota by Jaswinder Boparai of the Natural History Museum (though I've still got to run it through the keys to confirm). This is a large genus which parasitises a range of lepidopteran hosts, so I'm still not guaranteed to get it to species but it's a start!



Rye Harbour

Highlight in the last few days was undoubtedly a peregrine hunting lapwings over Flat Beach. It gave excellent views from the hide as it pursued its prey (though in the end it didn't manage to come away with a meal). Apart from this, today saw black-necked grebe and a super male goldeneye on Long Pit and great white egret and an immature male marsh harrier at Castle Water, while a kingfisher was seen whirring along nook drain to the south of the caravan park mid-afternoon. After last months big flocks golden plover numbers have been much lower recently (perhaps due to regular disturbance from marauding raptors), though at least 1500 were present on Flat Beach late yesterday afternoon. 


Rye Harbour

Largely the usual suspects over the last few days, with up to two spoonbill on Harbour Farm, marsh harrierblack-tailed godwit and great white egret at Castle Water, up to 1500 golden plover on the Beach Reserve and lots and lots of ducks everywhere! Highlights were a spotted redshank on Harbour Farm and a  short-eared owl over Ternery Pool on the 8th and merlin over Harbour Farm today. 


From the Clifftop and East Guldeford Levels

An early visit to the Levels this morning, as rain forecast later, finally produced  a decent count of Corn Buntings-65, but Tree Sparrows were down to 40. Otherwise the morning was notable for feral waterfowl-Black Swan and Bar-headed Goose !

In the afternoon, 6 Razorbills, 4 Kittiwakes and a Black-throated Diver were on show from the clifftop


Rye Harbour

Highlight today were three spoonbill, with two on Ternery Pool and one on the new saltmarsh briefly. Apart from that, plenty of wildfowl, though the presence of quartering marsh harrier at both Castle Water (female) and Harbour Farm (male) precluded accurate counts due to the constant panic! Wigeon numbered around 500, an incomplete count of gadwall at least 200 (a good count for the reserve) and there were perhaps 100 pochard on Long Pit, while small numbers of pintail were present on Flat Beach and Harbour Farm and at least two great white egret were at Castle Water. Also at Castle Water, at least eight black-tailed godwit, three ruff (though Barry had nine here recently) and 10 or 20 twenty fieldfare. Golden plover numbers were quite low today, though up to 2500 have been present over the last few days.