Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Dipping around TQ6410

An unscheduled visit to my plot yesterday .... so time for a brief walk around the TQ6410 block (Herstmonceux Castle) on a bright and breezy but decidedly chilly morning. First things first - a hidden woodland pond and a flock of 15 Teal .... which gave me an idea to belatedly try pond-dipping when I got back. And yet another Woodcock .... but no more bird ticks yesterday.

As ever, there were more plants to jot down en route: Bird’s-foot trefoil  Lotus Corniculatus leaves barely visible now at the plot, Creeping jenny Lysimachia nummular (left) carpeting the wet woodland, Water mint Mentha aquatica just showing above the flooded woodland edge and Smooth sow-thistle Sonchuss oleraceus around the edge of a small arable clearing next door.

 I suspect there's two for the price of one here but can't yet be too sure what the white stuff is behind the King Alfred's Cakes fungus (left) on this sycamore stump ..... possibly Cylindrobasidium evolvens .... but there are two or three very similar fungi? Also found Blushing Bracket  Daedaleopsis confragosa on willow at the wet woodland edge.

Just off the bridleway, some fresh stems of Greater Stitchwort Stellaria-holostea. Also came across Kentish Garden snail Monacha cantiana and Pill-bug woodlouse  Armadillidium vulgare, both  amongst rubble under my plant benches back at the plot.

And so to pond-dipping:  Caught this little Pond skater-like thing which could well be, er ..... a Pond skater Gerris lacustris (?) but it WAS tiny ....

..... and the inevitable Smooth newt Asellus aquaticus  as well as a Waterlouse Lissotriton vulgaris or three ......  And just for good measure, I fished two more Common toads out of the cattle trough 'well' inside the barn.

Last but not least, the now essential diversion via the churchyard on the home leg ......  This looks very much like Aspicilia calcarea according to my elderly guide book (and supposedly a limestone lichen) .... but then this was on one of the tombstones .... 


Lots of mosses in there too - this looks like  Bryum capillare (left) ..... again, according to the good book. And I also managed to confirm Cladonia coniocraea from last week's woodland forage. 

But no idea what this one is .... yet ..... on the wall of this ancient church. One or two others still to identify too.

Also added:  Hard Fern  Blechnum spicant, and Chestnut worm Lumbricus castaneus from around the churchyard .....
And finally ..... Pevensey Levels and the South Downs above Willingdon from the churchyard (All Saints Church,  Herstmonceux). The maize field is still inside the square ..... just. But no farmyard birds there yet (house sparrow will do).  So another 15 to add to the list yesterday.

Which leaves me stumbling along in the Gibster's slipstream with 220 species.



  1. The pond skater is a mirid bug. Perhaps a Stenodema sp.?

    1. Thanks Rob. It looks most probably like Stenodema laevigatum now you come to mention it but I wasn't expecting a grass-dweller in amongst the pond stuff. The base of the antenna is certainly different from pond skater and this bug is about half the size too. Can see I'm going to have fun with the smaller inverts ....

  2. Think your creeping jenny is opposite-lvd golden saxifrage. Bug is one of the Stenodemini as Rob said but wouldn't like to say which.

  3. Thanks Mark .... I'm going to have to put my glasses on more often when I go out on these ambles round the square. Either that or go back to Specsavers. The bug was just about forgivable (not my strong point) but I ought to have more than one tick deducted for a mistaken plant ID. I now have an unconfirmed orchid - one of six I found on my plot today - which looks like it might be Green-winged (a first here in twenty years) .... can I send you a pic to ID?

  4. Hi Mike, I'm not going to be much help with your orchid nor many plants really. I only know Opp-lvd GS as I'm still checking them in the hope one day I'll find Alternate-leaved!

  5. Church wall-moss looks like Tortula muralis, Wall screw-Moss