Starling stuck!

A starling stuck head first in a fat ball feeder! I managed to get it out o/k and it flew off making a churring noise.

Ron in Greenacres

We’ve never seen that happen before, presumably because the lid’s missing /broken it managed to get in through the top. A warning to others maybe!  Happy ending is nice🙂

Ralph — Dave

Which woodpecker?

A woodpecker visited our fatball station on Friday 7th 0ctober around 9.30 am. Not sure if greater, lesser or middle spotted although quite large around 7-8 inches in height. It flew off before we could take a photo, sorry.

Cheryl Wright

Thank you Cheryl. This would have been a Great Spotted Woodpecker which regularly visits garden feeders, particularly fatballs, peanuts, and sunflower hearts. Here’s one photographed by Brok Morgan in his Westfield garden back in June this year.


Lesser Spotted Woodpeckers are surprisingly small, as small as sparrows, and have become very scarce everywhere in the UK, and rarely visit gardens. Middle Spotted Woodpeckers are absent from the UK, but can be seen in France and most of Europe.

Ralph — Dave

Hummingbird Hawkmoth

On the 16th and 17th September I noticed a Hummingbird hawkmoth on the flowers on my patio. I last saw one on holiday in the Dordogne. Are they usual in these parts? I did take a short video using my iPad some distance away. It disappeared as soon as I tried to get close with a camera!  PS the moth was visiting Ceratostigma flowers.

Pat Hogg

Thanks Pat, these moths arrive here from across the English Channel in varying numbers each year and can turn up literally anywhere. They are regularly seen in gardens due to their liking for flowers such as Red Valerian, Buddleia, and Verbena bonariensis. They tend to move on after one or two days as they are great travellers. I haven’t see one this year myself yet, though most years I manage to see at least one hovering around the flowers in the garden.

The last one to be reported in Westfield was in September 2015 – see here



Chocolate Vine

This is Akebia quinata, common name Chocolate Vine. It is a climber in our garden and has tiny scented flowers, but this is the first year it has had fruit. Apparently the middle bit is edible!!
Min Stratford

Convolvulus Hawkmoth

This moth fell out of the clothes line this morning.  Had gone after 10 minutes or so.

Janice Bolton, Cottage Lane

The Convolvulus Hawkmoth is a migrant from northern Africa and southern Europe with its main flight period in September. Numbers vary each year, but due to their liking for flowers such as tobacco plant, they are regularly seen in gardens. They can be vulnerable to cats as they hover in front of low growing flowers at dusk, and every year there are reports of severely mauled individuals being found on the ground in the morning. This one looks perfect, and evidently made a quick get away!


Scarce micro moth

When I first saw this tiny moth it was flying in our bathroom [08.09.2016] and I suspected it was a ‘clothes moth’ that had found its way indoors from the birdbox just outside the open window! It then settled and I was about to swat it when I saw straight away it was the wrong shape and a dark purplish brown colour with yellow markings. I therefore captured it in a plastic pot to take a closer look.

Although I’m not so familiar with the micro-moths as the larger moths, I knew this was something I’d never seen before. Checking in the book ‘Field Guide to Micro moths of Great Britain and Ireland’ there was only one species it could be – Metalampra italica. The illustration below is from the book, where it is described as “Very local. First found in Britain in 2003, otherwise only known from Italy” – hence the species name. The larva lives “under the bark of dead trees and shrubs; in a slight web”.

I then looked in Colin Pratt’s volume 4 of ‘A Complete History of the Butterflies and Moths of Sussex’ and on page 103 he also says italica is scarce (in Sussex), and originally believed to have come into the UK via the horticultural trade (to Devon in 2003). It first appeared in Surrey in 2007, in both east Kent and W Sussex in 2011, and in west Kent and E Sussex in 2012, and is probably now resident here. The map and text below (click to enlarge) is from Colin’s book and shows all Sussex records up to the end of 2014. Clearly the last sentence in the text is now well out of date!

I submitted the record with two photos via ‘iRecord’ and I am pleased to say Colin Pratt the official recorder for all Lepidoptera in Sussex has now verified my record. I suspect we will be seeing more and more of this late summer species now that it has a foothold here in the UK.



9/9/16 The photo shows hops growing in the hedgerow near Sprays Bridge.
In the evening my husband & I went for a walk along the Brede River just off the A28. (We believe we were just within Westfield parish boundary). In the beautiful evening sunshine it was very special seeing Swallows & House Martins flying towards Rye, but best of all we saw a Kingfisher. The Kingfisher flew in a straight line over the reeds so we got a wonderful view of this special bird.

2016 Cuckoo report

One for all Cuckoo aficionados! In 2016 the Field Studies Council (FSC) organised a national survey of Cuckoo arrivals, movements, and declines, the results of which are now available for download here.

This is a very interesting and well illustrated report, with some local relevance right from the beginning – “the first record submitted to our survey was on the 13th April from Rye Harbour in Sussex”, despite the fact that “Some earlier records trickled in later on so the earliest Cuckoo heard and reported to the survey was actually of one on the 31st March from the RSPB Aylesbeare Common site in Devon.”

Ralph — Dave




Small Tortoiseshell butterflies

We have had an email from asking for recent sightings of  Small Tortoiseshell butterflies.

“Concern is growing as sightings of this previously common butterfly are significantly down across the UK.

The Small Tortoiseshell is an easy species to identify. The butterfly’s uniquely patterned orange and black wings are framed with a border of small blue crescents.

Small Tortoiseshell populations plummeted by 73% since the 1970s, but its numbers have risen over the last few years and hopes were high that it was on the path to recovery.

But this summer’s poor showing could mean the species is set for yet more years of decline.

We’re not sure what is causing the long-term decline of this familiar and much-loved butterfly. Theories involve climate change, pollution and parasitic flies that kill the butterfly’s caterpillars, but we need more information”.

Please submit your Small Tortoiseshell sightings to Westfield Wildlife, sightings are also welcome from outside the Westfield parish boundary.

Thank you.

Dave &  Ralph



Spotted a Wheatear on the fence along our drive this morning near Cottage Lane . Haven’t seen one for ages here. Female I think as brownish plumage but distinctive white rump. Driving so didn’t get it on my phone camera.


Westfield Wildlife does not receive many records of Wheatears in the parish, so this is a notable sighting. Juveniles are also brown like the adult female, including juvenile males.

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    WESTFIELD WILDLIFE has been created for Westfield residents and visitors to submit news and photos of any wildlife observed in the Parish. We also aim to post our own sightings and topical wildlife news as often as time allows.

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