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Wild Rye: Discover Our Wetland Wildlife

Black-tailed Skimmer dragonfly

What to Look For

May

At the Beach Reserve the flowers of coastal shingle specialities provide a rich display of colour. Late in the month a profusion of white sea kale flowers

sea kale

will add to the blue of viper’s bugloss, mauve mats of ivy-leaved toadflax and the yellow flowers of yellow-horned poppy. Others to look for include herb robert and sea pea. The mauve flowers of salsify can be seen near Lime Kiln Cottage, but only in the morning before they close up. On the grassland of the shingle ridges around Camber Castle common storksbill and dovesfoot cranesbill will be flowering and others, such as sand spurrey and shepherd’s cress, flower before the soil dries out.

This is the best time to see a great variety of bird species, with many wandering individuals and late arriving species like spotted flycatcher and swift. Waders normally pass through in good numbers, including hundreds of whimbrel at the start of the month. It’s also a good month for many of our scarcer migrants such as black tern and little gull. Some birds such as coot, mallard and little grebe will already have young and blackbirds may be caring for their second brood. Others such as the rare little tern will not start to lay their eggs until mid month. They nest on bare shingle, along with ringed plover and oystercatcher, relying on camouflage to prevent predators discovering their eggs, so please take care not to disturb their nests when walking near shingle areas.

ringed plover nest

The islands of Ternery Pool may be alive with the activities of nesting black-headed and Mediterranean gulls and common and Sandwich terns

During warm days the first dragon- and damselflies will be flying such as hairy dragonfly and variable damselfly and there is an increase in the number and variety of butterflies, including common blue and wall and day flying moths, such as silver Y, cinnabar and burnet moths.

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