Sunday, 20 July 2008

Seeking out rarities

As a long-staying White-Winged Black Tern was just off my route this weekend, it had to be twitched - a lovely bird but only seen distantly, but at least it was found. Rye Harbour is a large reserve in which to find a single bird.
Fortunately there was plenty else to see, with the Common and Sandwich Terns and Black-Headed and Med Gulls bringing up their chicks (or bringing up for their chicks might be a better phrase. There was a constant flight of fish over our heads.

Common Terns and Black-Head youngsters?

We chatted with a couple of other tern-watchers, who said they were going to try to find some Least Lettuce plants. Well, I could hardly hold SteveR back - firstly however we found a couple of tiny Stinking Hawksbeards, which had become extinct in the late 1990s, but had been reintroduced from stored seed here at Rye. Personally I think that there are quite enough Hawkbits, hawkbeards and hawkweeds but that is quite a success story.
An amusing appendix to the reintroduction is told here by Brian Banks who tried some of the seeds in his garden and now has covered the village with them.
Near the Stinking Hawksbeards we eventually found two tiny plants which were identified as Least Lettuce. Not yet flowering, unfortunately, this very rare plant has of course been protected from rabbits by fencing.
SteveR missed a treat, but found a nearby Redshank to pass the time, while outside the hide a Painted Lady enjoyed the unexpected sunshine and some Valerian.
Later, also en route, I stopped off at Brede High Woods to see if I could track down any Silver-Washed Fritillaries.
These turned out to be fascinating mixed woods, owned by the Woodland Trust, with a good range of butterflies and it wasn't long before the large fritillaries were seen flying fast around the clearings when the sun appeared.

They apparently lay their eggs on tree trunks......
can't see any here though. The walk alternated with sunny periods (when the butterflies fluttered by), and cloud (when they dived for cover) so it was pleasing when a Silver-Washed Fritillary found cover about 10 feet away as the clouds came over.
The silver wash can't easily be seen at this distance, but it was still an unforgettable sight.



Dark Bush Cricket (don't mention the cricket!)


Mary said...

OK...won't mention the cricket...oops. I can't believe you even located that Least Lettuce...well named. Looks like dandelion greens. Nice birds on the harbour. Glad you saw the one you wanted to see. Nice butterflies. They are so hard to get pictures of!

Greenie said...

Sounds like another good day . Glad you got the Silver Washed Fritillaries , they are at their best just now . Re. your tree/egg photo , the eggs are round the other side , SWF females always lay their eggs on the shaded side of the tree . I agree with your Hawkweed/bit/beard comment , we do have enough and they are a nightmare to identify .

Warren Baker said...

Another interesting read steve. Thanks