August 31st – a light NW breeze then a fresher SW and remaining hot with some cloud.
South Saxons 6.45
1 Reed warbler, 3 Willow warblers and a Common whitethroat.
Grey wagtail 1 W and 1 circling then flew north.
Combe Haven to Pebsham 7.30
7 Robins, 1 Lesser whitethroat,6 Common whitethroats and 1 Willow warbler.
Sand martin 1 N, Swallow 12 N and Great spotted woodpecker 1 W.
Galley Hill 8.50-9.20
7 Robins, 4 Wheatears, 2 Common whitethroats, 1 Lesser whitethroat and 3 Willow warblers.
Swallow 82 W.
Two Wheatears flying above the prom this morning as I waited for a bus.
In the early evening looking from the window a Lesser whitethroat made a brief appearance in the Sycamore.
Hot, with birds sheltering in cover during another late walk. North’s Seat to East Hill with a total of 3 Wheatears (two of which were reported by a resident), 7 Willow warblers and 2 Chiffchaffs.
Remaining hot or warm.
August 27th ENE gusty breeze 4/8ths cloud. South Saxons 9am.
1 Lesser whitethroat, 1 Whitethroat and 2 Willow warblers. a Swallow E.
St Leonards 10.30.
watching from the window the garden Sycamores which were thinned out last year as I had noticed some Blue tits when a male Redstart in full summer plumage flitted across the lawn and perched for a while before flying off into neighbouring shrubs.
A walk via South Saxons to Pebsham and Galley Hill at noon. Little noted in warm breezy conditions;-
Sedge warbler 1, Lesser whitethroat 3, Willow warbler 3, Whitethroat 2 and a flock of 8 or more Swallows flew in over Bexhill Road.
A torrential storm in the early hours but then dry, with mist patches and some cloud but becoming often sunny and hot. A light north breeze then sometimes a fresh se or sw if not calm.
East Hill 8-9 am. Sharon. 3 Wheatears. Swallow 20 N, House martin 15 W and Yellow wagtail 5 W.
Hastings Cemetery. 8.20.
migrants in cover then showing as the sun began to clear cloud and mist. 9 Spotted flycatchers, mostly heading north after feeding for a while, 1 Pied flycatcher, 5 Willow warblers and 2 Wheatears.
North’s Seat 10 am.
3 Willow warblers, 1 Blackcap, 17 Whitethroats, 2 Tree pipits, 2 Redstarts, 1 Whinchat and a Wheatear.
Barley Lane 11 am.
2 Spotted flycatchers, 4 Willow warblers and 5 Whitethroats.
Willow warblers were singing occasionally at the three areas where they were recorded today.
Bird passage notes;-
August 12th St Leonards to Galley Hill. A strengthening SW breeze. Pebsham marsh. 2 Lesser whitethroats, 1 Blackcap, 1 Reed warbler and 3 Willow warblers.
St Leonards. Sand martin 6 W. Pebsham. 3 Swifts.
St leonards. Black-headed gull 12 W and Sand martin 1 W.
South Saxons. 1 Willow warbler.
St Leonards. A Pied flycatcher in the Sycamores from the front window at 7.
South Saxons. 1 Willow warbler.
Bulverhythe fields-Pebsham 10 am. Whitethroat 2 and Willow warbler 4.
Hot weather now.
White Rock. 2 Wheatears.
South Saxons. 1 Willow warbler and 1 Whitethroat.
Combe Haven 8.20. 1 Reed warbler, 2 Lesser whitethroats and 1 Reed warbler.
Pebsham.1 Reed warbler and 4 Whitethroats.
Galley Hill. 1 Swallow, 1 Wheatear, 1 Blackcap, 2 Willow warblers and 7 Robins.
5 Clouded Yellow butterflies.
August 24th St Leonards. Black-headed gull 48 W after 4.30pm.
Very hot again. Some passage over Marina with Yellow wagtail 3, Swift 1, Sand martin 2 and Swallow 9.
2 Willow warblers also noted but quiet until Filsham to Pebsham when noted Redstart 3, Garden warbler 1, Grasshopper warbler 2, Reed warbler 4, Blackcap 1, Whitethroat 8 and Willow warbler 3.
Galley Hill. Wheatear 8 at midday.
South Saxons Meadow and the areas around, the Local Nature Reserve, footpaths, streams, waterbodies and fields constitute a rich natural and community resource for Hastings. In a small area loved and visited daily by many there is a superb variety of plants and insects and a yearly tapestry of different bird visitors.
In some recent summers I have sometimes looked at the Red Bartsia growing there. Red Bartsia is a grassland hemiparasite which means it takes some of it’s nutrition from the roots of the grasses it grows amongst. Today was a special one for me as for the first time I saw both females and males of the bee Melitta tricincta visiting the Bartsia flowers. This bee is an oligolege of Red Bartsia, meaning it collects pollen only from this plant.
I have found populations of Red Bartsia in three areas of Hastings;- St Helens Down, a small area near the Pebsham lagoon, and here at South Saxons. The Melitta is present at all three sites.
Red Bartsia grows throughout Britain in suitable areas – however, looking at the distribution map of the Melitta shows it is confined mainly to the South East of Britain. Checking in the Stace Handbook to the flora I see that there are three subspecies of Red Bartsia in Britain. The Botanical Society of the British Isles has mapped the subspecies.
Without the mapping work on the plants and the bees this kind of pattern would not be known. Now we can ask, what is the relation between the Melitta and the types of Red Bartsia?
Let’s hope the developers are prevented from building over the precious places along our coast that still remain as open spaces for all to enjoy.
Melitta tricincta distribution Britain. NBN.
Summer visiting birds begin to pass through as the breeding season comes towards a close in the north.
July 31st. South Saxons. Willow warbler 2.
August 1st. A Grey heron passing West over the prom.
August 5th. Willow warbler 3 at North’s Seat.
August 8th. Galley Hill Willow warbler 2. Common whitethroat 1. Sand martin 3 S.
August 10th. Excellent close views of a Grasshopper warbler at South Saxons. It appeared in a small Hawthorn on the edge of the Willow reserve marsh. 3 Willow warblers and 3 Lesser whitethroats also counted there and a Common buzzard passed inland high overhead. 6 Willow warblers were also at Galley Hill and 4 at Pebsham. 6 Swallows and 2 Sand martins flew quickly westwards.