Sunday, March 17, 2013

TQ6410 ..... springtime blues

The weather's unfortunately dominated proceedings in TQ6410 this week  but I can't really grumble, despite being Ashdown Forest-bound until Wednesday (nice snowdrifts). Back to the plot with a vengeance by Thursday to take advantage of a friend's offer of a day's brushcutting to try and clear some of the brambles before the migrant birds arrive (very soon hopefully). 
Thur 14th Mar:
306 - Bonfire Moss Funaria hygrometrica the old pots and trays and all around the plot.
307 - Common Lizard Lacerta  vivipara  Flushed from a sheltered spot, basking in amongst some brambles that were about to get the chop. They're very common around the plot in the spring .... but still unexpected given this past week's weather.

Fri 15th Mar:
308 - Siskin x 4 – in a silver birch along the bridleway around Herstmonceux Castle
309 - Merlin – female low overhead, flying SW circa 5pm. 
A real bonus bird as it's NOT on my '40 more birds to find in TQ6410 this year' list. Perhaps it should have been as I saw two locally back in October, one over the grazing fields 500m  north of the plot. Thursday's bird flew low and fast right over the top of me at about 25-30 feet .... and I'm sure it was eyeballing me on the way through. A very useful addition .... and I'm still waiting for SH and HS to turn up!

Sat 16th  Mar:

310 - Swan's-neck Thyme-moss  Mnium hornum (left) in the bluebell wood
311 - Field Rose  Rosa arvensis .... young green leaves on climbing stems under the budleiia, roadside front of plot
312 - Rhododendron Rhododendron ponticum ..... seedling in the wet ditch by the wet woodland

313 - White Climbing Fumitory Corydalis claviculata  (left) ....  a bit early but this is abundant in the little bluebell wood and now catching them up.
314 - Wood Sedge  Carex sylvatica (between the ditch and wet woodland)
315 - Western Hemlock Tsuga heterophylla (near the wet woodland)

316 - Daffodil .... (or is this an aggregate now?) naturalised right out in the middle of TQ6410's Nightingale bracken and bramble scrub  .... sadly now all totally grubbed out. But I'd rather be ticking Nightingale ..... 

Ahh ...... SNAILS (groan) ..... one of several achilles heels for me in this Challenge:
I'd very mistakenly identified this as one of the more obscure Door Snails but Mark T. soon put me straight  .... or at least confirmed the error of my ways. So maybe the Clausiliids were a red herring!?  It now looks much more like a Pointed Snail Cochlicella acuta ...... but then what do I know about snails (not as lot). For what it's worth, Devil's Bit Scabious and Ragged Robin are also in this pic .....      

I've already ticked Kentish Garden Snail Monacha cantiana but no idea where this one comes into the fray? The jury's still out  ...... my snail ID is wavering on the brink ....

317 - Pepperpot lichen  Pertusaria pertusa ..... deep breath before the lichen specialists put me straight .... I'm reasonably confident though.

318 - Lichen  Lecidella elaeochroma ..... but the slug is a still a bit of a mystery for the moment, esp. the black tentacles.
319 - Lichen  Hypoxylon nummularium
320 - Lichen Diatrype disciformis 
321 - Cormorant ..... Obviously a local bird -  flying south just S of the Castle .... but it turned round and flew north again when it reached the southern boundary of TQ6410. Remarkable ..... and never been so happy to see a Cormorant .... 
322 - Chestnut Slug  Deroceras invadens ..... I think. It moved pretty rapidly (for a slug) if that's a clue?

323 - Burdock Arctium minus (left)
324 - Field Forget-me-not  Myosotis  arvensis (both in the arable field by the farm)
325 - Field Woodrush  Luzula campestris .... flower buds just appearing in the mossy wild flower bank - a first for this plot. I was looking for early signs of Yellow Rattle but instead found the diminutive Woodrush and several tiny orchid shoots, quite possibly Common Spotted Orchid already!

On to 325 species .... subject of course to that Pointed Snail ID ...... and no doubt one or two others along the way.


  1. Agree with your Pointed Snail ID, mate. I've only ever seen them at Portland Bill - where they are positively abundant. I'm having a 10 day break from my square (on day 5 at the mo) so you may well overtake me soon :D

  2. How large was the glass snail, it has the look Oxychilus draparnaudi. I'm not to clever at these glass snails from photos...i find them confusing in hand.

    The dark tentacle slug (not the best angle to id a slug from) looks like Arion intermedius? Easier to id when found at rest.

    The Deroceras in the photo will be D. reticulatum

    Regards Chris. :)

  3. Thanks for that Chris. The (possible?) glass snail was smallish - no more than 14-15mm. Have got a side-on pic of the dark-tentacled slug on lichen so will look up A.intermedius and D.reticulatum also. Seth - cheers for that. I was starting to lose sleep with my dodgy door-snail ID! If your ten day lay-off is down to that damaged finger, I'll make sure I stop at 340 lol. Bit like kicking the ball out of play to get the physio on! Hold on - must dash - just seen a day-flying moth .....

    1. O. draparnaudi seems to be the more favorable then. Largest of the glass snails 11-16mm, that flared last whorl, slight wrinkled appearance to shell.

      Regards Chris...

  4. No problems with pepperpot, lovely little lichen. Only crusty anywhere near as beginner friendly is crab's eye - ocrholechia parella (normally on rocks/walls, sometimes trees).

  5. Thanks Chris - I've looked at other pics and descriptions on-line and it seems a good match. I'll update this post soon as I found what I think is Garlic Snail (Oxychilus alliarius) this afternoon ..... VERY garlicky! Also a tiny Amber Snail (Succinea putris). The Leicestershire & Rutland-based wildlife website has been really useful .....