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From the Clifftop

The moth trap finally got going after a warm night-16 species this morning including another Great Prominent, a Poplar Hawk and a White-point. While noting these I could hear a Cuckoo calling inland.

Yesterday was very quiet at sea, I thought today was going to be better when the first bird I saw was a Great Skua, however this wasn't the forerunner of a skua passage; it sat around on the sea, and nothing else came past...


From the Clifftop

Following a change of bulb in my Fairlight moth trap-now much brighter-I've caught a few new species despite chilly nights. These included a Great Prominent this morning, the largest moth so far this year. Yesterday saw the first dragonfly of the year for us-a newly emerged Large Red Damselfly round one of our small ponds.

Out at sea, an Arctic Skua yesterday enlivened a very quiet couple of hours, but more birds this morning: 48 Scoters, 20 Whimbrels and 50 Bar-tailed Godwits moved east-rather distantly, closer were my first 3 Swifts of the year passing east along the clifftop.


from the Clifftop

Having returned from a couple of weeks in much sunnier climes, I find it's still too cold-no moths at all. Quite a lot of seawatching turned up just one bird of interest-a Manx Shearwater going west this morning, only the third one I've seen here. Strong winds stopped spring movement, though 10 Common Scoters and few adult Med Gulls persevered, heading east. 30 + Fulmars flew west this morning.


Pett Level

The pools were very quiet with few duck present. There were however ten Whimbrel feeding in the fields just east of the pools.

There was a trickle of Mediterranean Gull moving eastwards along the coast. Virtually all of them were adults. In half an hour at least sixteen flew past. A couple of Swallow came in off the sea, as did six Yellow Wagtails.  A few Linnet and Goldfinch also passed through.


Cliff Nesting Bees - Galley Hill

We are quite blessed in RX land with some outstanding bee habitat including the shingle of Dungeness and Rye Harbour, the sand dunes of Camber, the soft rock cliffs from Pett to Hastings and Bexhill and the meadows and woodland within the High Weald. At Galley Hill and Little Galley Hill over the last few days there has been a conspicuous showing of an assemblage of large cliff nesting bees. The noisy aggregations of hairy-footed flower bees (Anthophora plumipes) are attended by numerous common mourning bees (Melecta albifrons), which is a cleptoparasite of Anthophora plumipes. A few dark form Melecta specimens were also present amongst the more common white spotted form (below). 

Melecta albifrons (Photo: Ian Phillips) 

Amongst the numerous cliff mining bee (Andrena thoracica) and yellow-legged mining bee (Andrena flavipes) are smaller numbers of black mining bee (Andrena pilipes), buffish mining bee (Andrena nigroaenea), tawny mining bee (Andrena fulva) and most importantly grey-backed mining bee (Andrena vaga). About 8 females were seen with full pollen loads of Salix pollen nesting in the cliff at Little Galley Hill, as well as 3 males attempting to mate with females returning to their burrows. This is the first proved breeding of the species in Hastings.

Andrena vaga (Photo: Ian Phillips) 

The spring plasterer bees (Colletes cunicularius) are still on the wing at Galley Hill with c.150 nests present in one small area of cliff. They seem to prefer nesting in the landslip spoil (much of it produced by nesting Anthophora plumipes) near the top of the cliff edge.

Andy Phillips


edit: Also recorded was a Nomada sheppardana amongst an aggregation of Lasioglossum morio. This appears to be a first record for the Hastings area.