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.

Friday, 22 November 2013

No dodgy title

Well what a surprise, the slightly dodgy title to my last post produced by far the highest number of page views this blog has ever had. I wonder what proportion of visitors were interested in natural history and how many very severely disappointed. No sympathy, saddo's.

Spent a great day in West Sussex recently with the aim of looking for a few plants that I've not seen before but at a relaxed pace and looking at anything else of interest that we saw. On the way to meet my friends I stopped in at some allotments in Havant where there was Common Ramping Fumitory growing up the fence and Weasel's Snout nearby.

Common Ramping Fumitory
Weasel's Snout
We started off on a ridiculously steep slope on the downs hunting for Limestone Fern. No luck with that but we found various other things of interest including a couple that have defied identification so far.

Unknown slime mould
Unknown lichen
We still have high hopes of finding out what the lichen is as a specimen has been sent to an expert.
The next stop was a site further along the downs where out target was Fly Honeysuckle. As well as the plant itself we found leaf mines of the moth Phyllonorycter emberizaepennella and vacated mines of the fly Aulagromyza luteoscutellata. The fly was first discovered in Britain in 2007 and according to the main web sites, had only been seen in Hampshire and Kent and had not been found on Fly Honeysuckle in Britain. Of course this proved to be wrong on both counts and it has now been found as far north as Cheshire.

Vacated mine of Aulagromyza luteoscutellata
We then moved to Arundel Park to look for White Horehound. I had looked for this a couple of weeks previously and both sites had been destroyed so it was good to actually find it but the area had been topped (presumably because the disturbed ground that suits this plant also suits nettles and thistles) so few plants had managed to flower or set seed. I can see why it's so rare. A few other bits and pieces there included the first spider I've ever managed to identify (and as it was identified on the internet, I got someone who knows what the are doing with spiders to confirm the ID).

Araneus diadematus
Finally we went to Cocking. Plenty of potential for a dodgy title there but I can live without those readers. Our target was Dwarf Elder and we found about 200 plants in a very non-descript hedgerow. In complete contrast to the White Horehound, it is very difficult to understand why this plant isn't all over the place.

1 comment: