Country Park walk

After a tour round our Fairlight garden looking at hoverflies-including this mating pair which are probably the common but nicely marked Sphaerophoria scripta, and releasing a nice moth caught there- the Blood-vein, Jill and I walked slowly through Hastings Country Park NR.

There were a few migrant Willow Warblers in the Firehills, but no sign of any Dartford Warblers- a recent fire near where I last saw them may have moved them; a Swift flew E, these will soon be gone. Two adult Ravens croaked over Warren Glen, where we encountered an obliging predatory Bee-wolf, here in an unusual pose , perhaps as the camera was very close.

Further on, young Sparrowhawks were calling constantly, eventually flying out of the trees and dashing about, at one point there were 4 sparrowhawks together, so at least 2 fledged young.

Some weeks ago we had spotted a Violet Helleborine, a long way from flowering, checking  this today we found several spikes as well as the commoner Broad leaved Helleborine,but still not in flower.

Pausing to do a 15 minute count for the Big Butterfly Count-just 4- we saw a large orange hoverfly on a bramble bush- Volucella inflata, which I’ve only seen once before.  While admiring the flowers in Ecclesbourne Meadow, we checked the flowerheads of Hogweed for interesting insects, without result until the very end of the meadow, where these and other flowers were covered in the attractive blue/black and yellow sawfly Arge pagana [or something similar !]. Finally, struggling up the steps of Ecclesbourne Glen to East Hill we had a close view of the very large hoverfly Volucella zonaria,which unfortunately zoomed off while we fumbled with our cameras-the first one I’ve seen in Sussex.





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