Yesterday, the weather not being awful for a change, I took an early walk from Fairlight through Hastings CPNR to Hastings.
As soon as got to Firehills, I was surprised to hear a singing Willow Warbler, and another further on-migrants presumably, as were a flock of 12 Crossbills which rose up from clifftop scrub and headed west. I record Crossbills most days, but they are usually invisible calling birds, these were close enough to see the bright red colour of the males with the naked eye.
Further along, a Dartford Warbler was singing from the same spot as the last one I recorded on June 6, and later I saw another male in an area where I thought they might be nesting last year. At Coastguards a pair of Peregrines pursued and captured a passing feral pigeon
By this time the wind was getting up, and I failed to get a decent picture of a Sabre Wasp-Britain’s largest Ichneumon Fly, but as usual Brakey Bank was calm and sunny and I lingered looking for insects. Here I soon found a new hoverfly for me- Xanthogramma pedissequum [great name, starts with X and has 2 consecutive u s !], a local species found mostly in southern England. The photo doesn’t do justice to this striking insect, in strong light the camera has bleached out some of the lemon yellow markings. Amongst all the Scorpion Flies– very common at present, were several green and black sawflies which I saw here last year, they were Tenthredo mesomelas, these are one of the carnivorous sawflies, but I didn’t see the tiny insect to the right of it when I was taking the photo, so I don’t know what happened to it.
The rest of the walk was fairly uneventful in increasing wind, Ecclesbourne Meadow is starting to look good though, with displays of Red Clover and Meadow Vetchling.
A check of Elm and Bramble areas behind All Saints Church for White Letter Hairstreak was unsuccessful -just a couple of Speckled Woods. Finally, a fine Lesser Black-backed Gull was preening at Swan Lake, showing off its red eye ring and egg-yolk legs -one of the local breeding birds no doubt