Poor old Gilbert is getting restless. Despite the fact that there is more interest in wildlife than ever before, it seems that most of the so-called conservation organisations are losing interest in species. Instead they prefer to babble on about landscape scale conservation and ecosystem services (whatever they are). Could this be because most of their staff don't have any knowledge about species if they don't have four legs?
This is my attempt to encourage an interest in good old-fashioned natural history.

Thursday, 24 October 2013

Wandering in the Weald

I had to visit several woods in the western Weald in late September. There was a purpose to my visits but it meant that I could just have a relaxed explore around the woods and look at whatever I saw. Several of the sites were places that I'd never visited before and I love exploring new places.

Among the new species that I came across were a fairly common plant; Small Balsam (still plenty of common plants that I've not seen), a sawfly; Croesus septentrionalis and the gall-causing fungus Taphrina tosquinetii.

Small Balsam
Croesus septentrionalis larvae feeding on Alder
The gall caused by Taphrina tosquinetii on Alder leaves
One of my favourite finds was the amazing parasitic fly Phasia hemiptera. This isn't a new species for me but it is one that I only see occasionally.

At a couple of sites I came across large numbers of the micro-moth Prochoreutis sehestediana. Prior to this year I had only seen this species once - a specimen so worn that I had to dissect it to even be able to tell which family it was in. I came across a few in the New Forest during their first flight period but at a couple of the Wealden sites they were really common. I suspect that they are having a good year but that I am also becoming more aware of how to find them.

Fungi seem to be really abundant this autumn but they are a group that I know virtually nothing about. I did however manage to identify the Porcelain Fungus Oudemansiella mucide which seemed to be on every piece of dead Beech that I came across.


  1. Your top pic is "Small Fleabane"???? I'm not 'avin THAT lol :D

    1. Yeah ok, writing it too late at night! It was correct in the text, just the picture caption was wrong