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Six-spot burnet

I have been allowing our lawns to grow a hay crop for wildlife for the past 13 years.  This year for the first time we have six-spot burnet moth cocoons attached to stems in the hay.

The grass contains a lot of bird's-foot trefoil (the larval food-plant) and common knapweed (used by the adults as a nectar source).


Watch out for the all blacks

What was almost one of our nationally extinct bumblebees, Bombus ruderatus the large garden bumblebee, is making a strong return to the western half of the RX area from its nadir in the late 1990s.  So much so that I have had bees foraging on purple toadflax in the garden at Northiam this week.

This individual, a worker collecting pollen, was the all black form of the species.  Note the characteristically short neat fur.

The next picture shows the long face of this bumblebee.  Other all black bumblebees such as the field cuckoo bee and darkened forms of the buff-tailed bumblebee have a short face.

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One of the very few survivors...

The terns are struggling to find enough fish to raise their chicks and nearly all of the Sandwich (600 pairs), common (155) and little (13) have failed at the early chick stage. The photo above shows one of the very few Sandwich tern chicks to have survived (and one of the very few Meditteranean gull chicks, top right). So although predation appears to be the big problem at the moment the underlying issue appears to be lack of food and the almost endless very windy weather is not helping!

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Under the washing line!

For some reason one of the best places on our lawn for orchids is under the washing line!  This is one of several self-sown plants.  I assume the water dripping off the clothes is what favours them, and they are at their best at the moment.


Nettle beds

Common Nettle beds are a good place for a wide variety of insects to hang out. This afternoon at Castle Water I had no trouble finding 17 species in a short space of time. A female Ruddy Darter, Large Skipper and a gravid female Scorpion Fly were the most obliging for pictures.

 Gravid female Scorpion Fly 

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