Thanks to the elite of Sussex Pan-species listing for the invite to join them at Castle Hill NNR! One of the aims was to see Early Spider Orchid and we did manage to find one although we would have expected more.
Other interesting plants included Chalk Milkwort and Early Gentian. Apparently the latter is genetically identical to Autumn Gentian but it is distinct both in terms of morphology and flowering time so I'm not sure where that leaves us. Still, as I've never seen Autumn Gentian it was new for me whatever!
I also saw a number of new spiders, thanks to Graeme, and the nationally scarce ground beetle Licinus depressus but the highlight for me at Castle Hill was not actually a new species but the Dotted Bee-fly Bombylius discolor which Graeme managed to catch and then charm into posing for photos. My previous views of this species have always been fleeting glimpses before it shoots off, never to be seen again.
To round off a great afternoon we went to Shoreham fort where a Wall Lizard posed obligingly - my first non-avian vertebrate tick in years.