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A special thanks to Sussex Wildlife TrustFriends of Rye Harbour Nature Reserve and Flag Ecology for their contribution to the funding of the new RX-wildlife website.

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Yet another fantastic migrant

As I was writing the monarch post below an e-mail arrived from Phil Jones over at Icklesham informing me that he had trapped a lace border in his moth trap the night before. This super moth is a species of calcareous grassland in the UK, with populations in several southern counties, but according to Colin Pratt the county moth recorder, this is the first East Sussex record since 1976!


Oh my!

Driving out of the reserve at the Rye Harbour gate this afternoon I was amazed to see this monarch butterfly sunning itself on the brambles. This species is an irregular migrant to the UK, with around 500 records in total, and this is the first one I have ever seen. Initially it was recorded just outside the reserve, but then obligingly flew inside, so it is also the first record for the reserve! In America this species is known for its long migrations, taking it from Mexico to as far north as Canada, though as this species also occurs in southern Europe we can't really be sure where our migrants come from.



Rye Harbour Moths

A very poor few days for moths at Lime Kiln, with very few and usually run-of-the mill species, so it was real surpise this morning to find a purple marbled in the trap. This species is a scarce migrant in Britain, usually along the south coast, which according to the Sussex Moth Group website has only been recorded in Sussex eight times (see here). It's also the first time it has been recorded on the reserve and it appears to be a first for the Sussex Wildlife Trust reserve network as a whole so a good find! Unfortunately the specimen flew away before I could get a photo so I have had to steal this one off the interweb.

Image: gailhampshire


From the Clifftop to Rye Harbour

 A good catch in the moth trap yesterday morning included the first Canary-shouldered Thorn of the year, and the Sussex rarity Batia lambdella, whose larvae feed on dead gorse-plenty of that around; I had a couple last year. The only bird visible on a calm sea was my second Balearic Shearwater distantly resting on the water [over 20 past Dungeness]

Then two of us did the usual Slow But Sure walk from Cliff End to Rye Harbour, hoping for some waders, encountering an unusually approachable Brown Hawker on Pett seawall.   We saw no waders  at all until we got to Castle Water, where a good selection included 8 Greenshanks, 4 Green Sands and A Ruff. A juv Spoonbill suddenly appeared, flew around a bit and dropped out of sight behind Castle Water. 

Back on the clifftop, a lot of Herring Gulls were feeding close inshore, with them were 3 Kittiwakes and 10 Common Terns. 



Rye Harbour updates

If you're feeling a little lost without regular Rye Harbour postings on this site, you'll be delighted to find wildlife blogs from there on the Sussex Wildlife Trust website.

In the meantime here are two different first year Common Terns from the Denny Hide yesterday... they might be mistaken for Roseate Terns if you just went on bill colour!