Tuesday 24 January 2023


 With January already nearly over I have already seen 3 different butterfly species. This includes my earliest ever Brimstone that I saw at High and Over on an icy day of January 11th along with a Peacock, both in a sunny sheltered area. This followed on from the Red Admiral that I saw in the same area on the 8th.

I also had a great trip with David to Dungeness on the 18th. Unfortunately, the birds were rather quiet and our hoped for Bearded Tits were nowhere to be found. The highlight was 5 Whooper Swans showing rather nicely on the ARC pit. A great finish to the day with Jennie cooking another fabulous meal.

Whooper Swans on ARC.

I've also had several great days with Lisa including seeing several Hawfinch and a Goshawk at West Dean and on another day we saw the sunrise at Burton Mill Pond and the sunset at The Burgh with sightings of Short-eared Owls and Barn Owls and a ring-tailed Hen Harrier for good measure in between.

Yesterday Pete and I went for our annual trip to see the Purple Sandpipers on the pier. I'm not sure if it is a bad year for them this year but for the first time I can remember we didn't see any at all. We were entertained though by several Ruddy Turnstones that were hanging around the fishermen hoping for little titbits. Mostly they were running around but one did stop briefly to give me the chance of a few shots. The light was really poor so no flight shots were possible.

Ruddy Turnstone.

Tuesday 10 January 2023

2023 Butterfly Season Starts.

 January 1st brought my first encounter with lepidoptera for the year in the form of a couple of Wall Brown larvae that I managed to show Lisa. as well as my first moth of the year, the scarce micro moth Agonopterix pallorella. On a walk around the patch we also had a couple of Brown Hares and towards the end some epic views of a pair of Firecrest.

Agonopterix pallorella. (picture from 2017).

On January 5th I finished a long walk with a casual search for Wall Brown larvae and was surprised to find 15 in just over 30 minutes. This included one that was approaching half grown. Certainly the largest I have found this early in the year.

The following day I started my conservation clearing work on the Lace Border site and in full sunshine on arrival I had a macro moth flying around that I think was a Silver Y. Unfortunately, it failed to settle in view. The weather soon went downhill and as I left the site a little over 2 hours later the rain had started again.

My first adult butterfly then turned up unexpectedly on the 8th when another session clearing scrub I had a Red Admiral flying nearby. It was very windy and the butterfly soon got caught up in a strong gust and that was the last I saw of it. After finishing the clearance work I looked for the large Wall Brown larva from the 5th and fortunately I found it very quickly. It showed very well and a few photos were taken, although the wind made it quite difficult.

Wall Brown larva.

Wind Direction, Westerly!!

Saturday 7 January 2023

Argiope trifasciata.

 My trip to Fuerteventura back in November brought a very good find in the form of several Argiope trifasciata, a close relative of our Wasp Spider.

Looking on the internet it appears the first sighting of this spider on the island was only back in 2016, so it is a recent colonist by the look of it and therefore is probably still quite a scarce species.

I first spotted the quite large spider from some distance and after getting closer a group of 5 were seen over quite a small area. It certainly is a smart creature with its silvery, but was not the easiest one to photograph despite it sitting very still. It was one of my favourite finds during the trip and I was amazed that I had forgotten to post these photos before!!

Argiope trifasciata (Banded Garden Spider).

I also seemed to have missed posting any pictures of the Sahara Bluetail damselflies. I did see many of these on both of my trips over the past couple of years, but this damselfly is a very smart insect and worthy of posting my best shot from this latest trip.

We did also see a couple of Vagrant Emperor Dragonflies, but the only one that sat and posed was when my camera was not with me. However, we did see plenty Red-veined Darters and a few Scarlet Darter, or Broad Scarlet as its called over in Fuerteventura.

Sahara Bluetail.

Red-veined Darter.

Scarlet Darter.