Thursday, January 31, 2013

Globular Springtails ROCK!!!!!

Spent most of the daylight hours in TQ1960 today, desperately trying to hit 250 species by the end of January. Did I manage it? Not quite, dammit - but I came close.

Spent most of my time realising how crap a botanist I've become but managed to recognise a few 'new' plants. A Marsh Tit in a mixed tit flock was a very welcome sight. After several years of no sightings at all I've now seen a pair once and singletons about 4 times, all since last November. Good news!!

Found two of my favourite beetles today, a Glow Worm (larva) in an area previously unrecorded for them and a huddle of 15 Flat Bark Beetles, very flat beetles which I found under bark. Cool.

Two lifers for me were the woodlouse Haplopthalmus danicus (7 under a wet log) longitudinal raised ridges along the pereonites present, bumps on 3rd pleon absent, all on a 3.5mm beastie...and the absolutely STUNNING globular springtail Dicyrtomina ornata. Google it! What a crazy mad wee fella it is! The dark mark on its bum differentiates it from the very similar Dicyrtomina saundersi. I also rescued a Smooth Newt from 5ft up a sallow pollard (!) then found another one in a grass tussock. Some crazy amphibian antics going on around here...

245 - Purple Hairstreak - just 1 solitary egg found after 15mins search, Epsom Common. Worrying.
244 - Siskin - 1 overhead (heard only but 100%), Epsom Common
243 - Spear Thistle - Blake's Pond, Epsom Common
242 - Smooth Newt - 1 5ft up a pollard, 1 in grass tussock, Blake's Pond, Epsom Common
241 - Marsh Tit - near Highest Point, Epsom Common. Cool.
240 - False Brome - Epsom Common
239 - Curled Dock - Epsom Common
238 - Clustered Dock - Epsom Common
237 - Flat Bark Beetle Uleiota planata - 15 under loose bark, Epsom Common
236 - Glow Worm - under a log, Horton Heath grazing area, Epsom Common (good range expansion)
235 - DICYRTOMINA ORNATA - mental globular springtail, under fallen bark (A WOW LIFER)
234 - Even Scalewort Radula complanata - on tree trunks, Epsom Common
233 - Fairy Beads Microlejeunea ulicina - on a tree trunk, Epsom Common
232 - Walnut Orb-weaver Nuctenea umbratica - under loose bark, Epsom Common
231 - Holly Leaf-miner Phytomyza ilicis - finally found a tenanted mine, Epsom Common
230 - Leopard Slug - 2 under an abandoned tent (!), Epsom Common
229 - Cross-leaved Heath - Horton Heath, Epsom Common
228 - Pine Ladybird - 1 hibernating in fence cracks, Epsom Common
227 - Hairy Curtain Crust/Hairy Stereum - on logs, Epsom Common
226 - Turkeytail Fungus/Many-zoned Polypore - on trees/logs, Epsom Common
225 - HAPLOPTHALMUS DANICUS (a woodlouse) - 7 under wet log, Epsom Common (LIFER)
224 - Tachypodoiulus niger (a millipede) - under logs, Epsom Common
223 - Pill Millipede Glomeris marginata - under a log, Epsom Common
222 - Oxychilus draparnaudi (a snail) - 5 under logs, Epsom Common
221 - Common Knapweed - Epsom Common
220 - Dove's-foot Cranesbill - urban streets
219 - Henbit Dead-nettle - urban streets
218 - Petty Spurge - urban streets
217 - Firethorn Leaf-miner Phyllonorycter leucographella - larva in mine, urban streets

I've still a few mosses and 2 beetles to identify, so will probably hit 250 with those factored in. But I'm very pleased with the first month's results. It'll slow down drastically now until things start happening in the spring. Be nice to reach 300 by the end of February, but I've other commitments stopping me from recording what's out there next month.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Trip Two ST4039

Another trip out to my square this afternoon after Crane monitoring this morning. A few more of the common birds seen including Raven, Jay, Green Woodpecker, Little Egret and Common Buzzard. A Small Tortoiseshell was an unexpected bonus as it zoomed past me along a sheltered ride. The wind was fairly strong today so I concentrated on logs and ground dwelling stuff. I still have some invertebrates to do so my present total of 91 should rise before my next visit. Great White Egret seen not far outside my square was a frustration but it will visit eventually :-)

Slow progress....

...... but happy about any species added during the week!

The wall behind the back door of my house has produced again with this:

Lauria cylindracea as far as I can see - a tick for me. A Great Black-backed Gull was also a long overdue addition to the square as was any Spider species:

Pholcus phalangioides
Daddy Long Legs Spider was my first ever spider! Again, found by my son not me.....

Finally, another snail - Clausillia bidentata, or at least I think. Juveniles are apparently more conical.

Adults look like this:

This species was the one that tipped me over the edge into Pan Species Listing. Quite common outside my back door, I noticed the first last summer and couldn't believe that I knew so little about snails that I had never seen one this shape which made me think that I knew nothing about most of our wildlife.

Earwig-o, earwig-o, earwig-o

Yes, old joke, but someone had to make it. Forficula auricularia in my kitchen last night = 159. Nothing in the moth trap but a couple of flies - not confident about naming them though.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013


I have not been very active recently finding new species because we've had the "Science Inspectors" in school for the last couple of days. So rather than search for elusive invertebrates, I have had to spend my time collecting together as much smoke, mirrors and wool as I could find. But since there has been discussions of snails, I thought I'd post this photo from earlier, which I have (supposedly) ID'd as Cellar Snail from the book, unless anyone thinks I have made an error. Just reading through the recent posts, I have been so impressed by everyone's ID skills of some obscure organisms, I feel I shall soon be lagging behind.

SP5595ish - limping towards the 100 barrier

I was away in France last weekend, and the preceding week was busy at work and snowy so nothing doing square-wise. On the way home on Sunday evening I drove up the lane through the square and the headlights caught a brilliant Barn Owl perched on top of a hedge - no doubt one of the birds I've been watching just outside my square and hoping one would drift in whilst hunting. Over the weekend whilst I was away, the snow has thoroughly thawed and the garden has gone from frozen wasteland to flooded wasteland. I spent a few minutes in it late this afternoon poking around under my moth-trap slab - which produced two snails, a slug and a noctuid larva. I expect to spend a bit more time on this square challenge during Feb .......

Taxon Vernacular Date Added
99 Noctua pronuba Large Yellow Underwing (larval) 29/01/2013
98 Helix aspersa Garden Snail 29/01/2013
97 Tandonia budapestensis Budapest Slug 29/01/2013
96 Oxychilus navarricus Glossy Glass Snail 29/01/2013
95 Tyto alba Barn Owl 27/01/2013

Glossy Glass Snail

Smashing through the 200 barrier!

Spent a (mostly) dry day out on Epsom Common determined to break the 200 barrier. To be fair, I only needed two more species to hit it so I was quietly confident I'd manage it.

199 was a dead cert, Chamomile on Stamford Green cricket pitch. With the snow having finally disappeared the bright green patches were easy to find. A wander through the wooded areas added Thyme-leaved Speedwell before I arrived at Blake's Pond, one of the top hotspots in TQ1960. Despite the ridiculous flooding I managed to bag a couple of freshwater snails and waterplants whilst a bit of log-turning came up trumps with three Great-crested Newts hibernating beneath one log...which I very carefully replaced!!!

Returning home, I shed my pond-dipping gear before wandering the streets finding a few urban weeds for my troubles. Once more onto the Common where I discovered a few hibernating inverts and added a worm and slug to the tally by checking underneath yet more logs.

I've a few liverworts and mosses sitting in pots awaiting identification so my total will rise when I can face checking them! Also got 4 Limnephilus caddis larva, possibly L.flavicornis. But I think I'll have to return them to their pond rather than attempt a dodgy ID.

216 - Yellow Cellar Slug Limacus flavus - under debris, Epsom Common
215 - Blue-grey Earthworm Octolasion cyaneum - under a log, Epsom Common
214 - Invisible Spider Drapetisca socialis - Epsom Common
213 - Harlequin Ladybird - hibernating, Epsom Common
212 - Common Earwig - Epsom Common
211 - Bonfire Moss Funaria hygrometrica - Bramble Heath, Epsom Common
210 - Hairy Bittercress - 1 in flower, urban streets
209 - Greater Periwinkle - in an alleyway, off Ebbisham Road
208 - English Elm - in a hedge, Lane End
207 - New Zealand Stonecrop (boo!) - Blake's Pond, Epsom Common
206 - Yellow Iris - Blake's Pond, Epsom Common
205 - Common Striped Woodlouse Philoscia muscorum - Epsom Common
204 - Great-crested Newt - Blake's Pond, Epsom Common (3)
203 - Ivy-leaved Duckweed - Blake's Pond, Epsom Common
202 - The Ramshorn - Planorbis planorbis - Blake's Pond, Epsom Common
201 - Acute Bladder Snail Physella acuta - Blake's Pond, Epsom Common
200 - Thyme-leaved Speedwell - Epsom Common
199 - Chamomile - masses at Stamford Green cricket pitch

Next day off work this week is Thus 31st Jan. It would be amazing to hit 250 in the first month of The Challenge, but I'm not sure I can do it. Still need some silly stuff birdwise (Canada Goose, Kestrel, Stock Dove, Mistle Thrush for example) and there are lots of plants I'm too rusty to recognise without them being fully grown and in flower. All I need is some decent weather...and to ID some more bryophytes, lol.

Some catching up to do

A few days in Morocco, then work, then snow, then chest infection has meant very few additions for me over the past couple of weeks. Just about recovered now so got to get back to it. Moth trap should be back on tomorrow. 101 Reeves's Muntjac Muntiacus reevesi 102 Blushing Bracket Daedaleopsis confragosa 103 Herring Gull Larus argentatus 104 Great Spotted Woodpecker Dendrocopos major

Monday, January 28, 2013

Shotesham snail woe continues

Well, two more species confirmed - Velvet Shank Flammulina velutipes and the micro-moth Agonopterix arenella bring me to 158. The moth was in the house - despite putting the trap on last night, I had no success there, nor in my two little pitfall traps I set up yesterday. Hope springs eternal...

Still puzzling over my snails though. Here's two of them, top and bottom, both removed from the walls of the house in a rural garden:

Snail 1 - 10mm wide, 7 mm high - 5+ whorls, large umbilicus, no obvious lip, not keeled. Dark, blotchiness showing through towards centre particularly. I don't think I'd call this glossy, waxy or particularly translucent? But if I follow the key for the Helicoidea, I end up at (a small) Trochulus striolatus, which I think has a lip. If it is glossy, then perhaps this is Oxychilus cellarius? But it doesn't really look glossy enough?

Snail 2 might be the same thing but paler. I don't know how variable shell colour is. Size just slightly smaller at about 9mm wide, 6 mm high.

Any suggestions gratefully received!

ST4039 First Trip Out

Finally got out into the field this afternoon within my chosen square ST4039. I may tweak the boundaries a little as only 80% of the square is within the Shapwick NNR boundary and the remaining 20% is on private land belonging to one of the peat extraction companies. I may shift it a little to the west to bring it all within the reserve as I will have no problems with access then. The only problem I can see is that from a recording point of view, some of the records will be from the square next door as far as NBN is concerned and I may have a job to keep that side of it organised. I'll wrestle with the logistics over the next few days and decide. Today was wet, a band of rain was well over Somerset by the time I'd finished planting Raspberry canes this morning and got out to Shapwick so the list so far is mainly birds and trees as I thought I'd save grubbing about in the interesting undergrowth for a finer bit of weather :-) I managed 62 species, highlights being two female Marsh Harriers and a Kingfisher. Saw several nice looking fungi that I couldn't get to out in the flooded woodlands but also found a nice colony of Scarlet Elf Cap. I have brought home a container of wood rot and some moss to go through tomorrow when rain is on the menu once more :-) Didn't hear any Bitterns tuning up but they have been heard on Ham Wall RSPB reserve already so it will happen soon.

Australia - Blue Skimmer and Rain

Not managed to spend a huge amount of time looking for stuff in the square recently, but added quite a few new plants, plus Banded Sugar Ant, taking the total to 89 species so far. Managed to ID this dragonfly seen last weekend as a female Blue Skimmer Orthetrum caledonicum (note that the species name derives from New Caledonia rather than the old one, the species being found on that island, and in Australia and the Lesser Sundas).

Female Blue Skimmer, Whites Hill, 20th January 2013
Lots of rain in the past few days - the street is a raging torrent - will get out looking for frogs one of these evenings. Oh, and books on snails, fungi and stick insects recently arrived in the post, so expect more diversity from Down Under soon!

Cambridge Street, 27th January 2013

Sunday, January 27, 2013

TM2499, Sun 27th Jan

Snow gone and valley well flooded, much to the delight of a Little Egret or two (waiting for it's big cousin to turn up...) Just one species today - Common Pill Woodlouse in the woodpile.

Still spending far too long trying to make headway with the numerous small snails here. I use the FSC key (Cameron) and find it very difficult to feel sure at couplet 26 whether to go to Gastrodontidae/Oxychilidae or Helicoidea. I don't find "glossy or waxy" very helpful personally - I guess I just need to look at lots more... Then if I assume it's the former group, I then end up at "Shell with rapidly (or slowly) expanding whorls" and again I find the differences unconvincing. Look at the picture of Aegopinella nitidula on p53 and Oxychilus draparnaudi on p54 - they look pretty similar to me in terms of speed of whorl expansion. Hmm. Time for bed methinks...

SX5249 new and retrospective species

A day mostly in the garden today doing some essential gardening tasks..... That did provide three new Woodlice (Armadillium vulgare, Philoscia muscorum and a tick in the form of Rosy Woodlouse, Androniscus dentiger). A couple of plants as well (Cleavers and Lords and Ladies) as well as a retrospective tick in the form of a Sycamore that is in the garden that took me lopping branches off before I realised it was not on the list! Discovered that there is a little spring in my square that I didn't know about that forms a small pond - going to need to get permission to have a closer look as it is the only water body I know of on the square - clearly some duckweed on the surface and some other water plants around the edges. It did provide Mallard which I thought might be tricky. I finally got the courage to get the Bryophytes key out last night. A small cushion moss growing outside the front door had looked like it should be Tortula muralis and it keyed straight out to that in a very satisfying way. I love it when a plan comes together!

My overinflated ID ego was quickly brought back down to earth when I tried some worms and a slug this afternoon and failed miserably.

List is now up to 110 as I seemed to have forgotten Greenfinch.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

TM2499, Sat 26th Jan

Gave the square another bash this afternoon, as the snow started to melt and the sun came out again at last. Quite a lot of new things, but hard work and not all identified yet certainly. The first wasn't too difficult though, a surprisingly late Lesser Black-backed Gull (although numbers do usually dip around mid-winter here).

The other additions today that I'm fairly happy with were White-tipped Bristle-moss Orthotrichum diaphanum, the case-bearing moth Psyche casta, a groggy-looking Seven-spot Ladybird, Snowdrop at last just inside the square boundary, Smoky Bracket Bjerkandera adusta, Crescent-cup Liverwort Lunularia cruciata, Garden Snail and I confirmed last week's fungus Exidia plana. This puts me on at least 155.

Additionally, I have an odd gall-like thing on hawthorn, a couple of fungi on willow, perhaps Elder Whitewash, perhaps Hazel Woodwart and another moss. Moreover, whilst looking under the microscope at some cases of Luffia ferchautella that I'd picked up, I discovered some unidentified mites, and whilst looking at the Exidia plana I found some springtails lurking in its folded structure. There's just so much life out there!

I was also playing with my new macro clip-on thingy (i.e. this) as recommended by Mr Lawlor and already have results I'm quite pleased with. Quite hard to use though so is going to take a bit of practice. But if I can photograph mites on micro-moth cases, it can't be bad!

Unidentified gall on hawthorn twig in the garden. Any thoughts?

White blobby dots on willow stump by the pond (a bit furry looking under the microscope)

The case of Psyche casta on a fencepost. Quite pleased with this shot, but does show the tiny depth of field. BTW, it could perhaps also be Psyche crassiorella it appears, but this is so far unrecorded in Norfolk. I really ought to look a bit more carefully though...

Gratuitous Snowdrop in snow photo - might be last chance...

The undersides of what I'm calling Smoky Bracket Bjerkandera adusta (left)and Turkeytail Trametes versicolor (right), growing side by side on a stump (probably alder) on the common.

White-tipped Bristle-moss Orthotrichum diaphanum on a willow trunk amongst lichens (I reckon?)

Another showing the depth of field! The case of Luffia ferchautella.

Stupidly tiny - a mite on a case of Luffia ferchautella. I do not expect to put a name to this any time soon...

Wild Flower Barn and Herstmonceux Castle TQ6410

Another visit to my plot yesterday .... where I’ve got a lot of work to do this winter, both here AND back at my temporary base in Ashdown Forest 25 miles away. But the intrigue of the 1KSQ Challenge and the excuse to do some more foraging and go for yet another walk around the Square is getting addictive. It may even need a PUBLIC HEALTH WARNING before too long ….

BIRDS: All very common stuff – Collared Dove, Magpie, Pheasant and er …. Starling (what? almost four weeks into January?). By contrast, a Chiffchaff was a first ever over-wintering bird for me in this square although they’re very common here March-October and nest in bramble patches on my plot. This one was with a Wren by a little drain/stream in the shallow valley next door (centre background above). I’d never visited this ditch before yet it’s only 100m away on open farmland (there was a row of Alders too). I checked it out because Andy’s snipe photo had given me ideas (I’ve seen them here before). I didn't find any yesterday although there were 25-30 Fieldfare feeding on the wet field with the Starlings. A little further on, I flushed four more Woodcock and five Teal from the edge of wet woodland close to Herstmonceux Castle grounds. The bird-list is now up to 41 species (approx. half the all-time plot list) but still missing House Sparrow and quite a few other common ones.

FLORA: Hemlock Water Dropwort (left) all along the Chiffchaff ditch and Marsh Marigold now showing above water level in my wildlife pond. Prickly Sowthistle leafy rosettes abundant in the cattle (Fieldfare) field made it 82 plant species. NOTE: There was an error in my last post re. the Bristly Ox-tongue pic – I’ve inadvertently shown a Teasel …. but no-one’s mentioned it .... yet!

FERNS: An undiscovered Hart’s Tongue in another small ditch right on my plot’s perimeter hedge/boundary …. and also another Yew – this one unseen (for almost twenty years) in the boundary hedge - which I rarely ever look at from the north side!
FUNGI:  Birch Polypore (left) and Orange Peel Fungus .....    



And another which looks as if it could well be a solitary Velvet Shank on a sycamore log but I think these are normally in clusters on dead wood.

Plodding along on 176 species …...

I need to find some inverts and maybe get permission to look around the Castle grounds pretty soon!


Too much work recently coupled with trying to take advantage of the cold weather for the patchwork challenge. I did pass 100 finally. Hundredth species was a new one for me - Wall Rue. Anyone any idea what the jelly-like thing is next to it?

TG2507 - Cold weather birds and unidentified lichens

26th January 2013

The cold conditions did me a favour today, with ice covering much of the Great Broad. An open area of water near the visitors centre held the Slavonian Grebe and a Goldeneye. A Water Rail ran across the ice and a Great-spotted Woodpecker flew out of a nearby tree. Speaking of trees I ticked Alder, Oak, Silver Birch, Yew and Scot's Pine on my way round. It wasn't all good news - I found out that once again no moth trapping events are scheduled here this year, taking away a good source of species.

I also took a picture of three lichens, which I will attempt to ID (feel free to help if you have already seen these ones!)

Slav Grebe, finally in range of my camera
 A very numerous yellow lichen sp (Xanthoria parietina?), plus a grey-green one
Another unidentified 'splat' lichen

Current total: 47 species

150 in Guernsey

Species number 150 - Green Shieldbug in the garden. (Very sunny here!)

Friday, January 25, 2013

TM2499 - a little piece of Ireland?

Well, perhaps not Ireland, but a slug I photographed on 4th Jan was identified by Mark Telfer, and now seconded by Brian Eversham, as Limacus maculatus - the Irish Yellow Slug which is no longer confined to Ireland. Brian has sent me some new drafts keys for slugs which he's keen to have people testing, so shout if you'd like a copy.

In the absence of any new additions, here's the slug again:

TG2507 - An introduction

25th January 2013

Late to the party, I am going to be recording in the TG2507 square, which comprises the south-western quarter of Whitlingham Country Park, Norfolk. This has several disadvantages, notably I don't live in the square and don't have access to half of it, but even with that handicap I anticipate seeing more than in my home 1km square (I am aiming for around 500 species). My interests are mostly birds, larger insects and fungi, although I have a working knowledge of flowering plants and ferns. Everything else will be a learning curve!

So far I have seen 33 bird species within TG2507, and one fungus. Unfortunately I can't count the fungus yet, as it is thought to be the second Norfolk record of Gloeophyllum trabeum, but I need to dig a specimen out of the snow to check the spores for confirmation! 

Gloeophyllum sp.

TG2507 Total so far: 33

Hi all first time pan lister my square is TQ1676 but shifted slightly up/down and west! This is to include my own back garden - as well as a little of the Thames foreshore - this is a very urban area but contains two parks, two cemetries, an old churchyard, and a couple of mature gardens. I am going to try my hand at Mothing this year thats why my garden is included! I am going to aim for 500 species as I doubt I will be able to id anywhere near the 1000! Its a whole new learning experience I have id 32 birds in the square plus two spiders so far. Zygiella x-notata and Pholcus phalangioides I realise I will have to take photographs of the inverts, in future. I'll put a mark on my BUBO year list 2013 for my square. Now I am away to Shetland for a few days and will resume my listing on my return.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Light trap records

The snow cover has driven me to the microscope and a quick perusal of a couple of light trap catches from earlier this month.

Barnfield had two species of booklouse - Graphopsocus cruciatus and Ectopsocus petersi present along with two species of winter gnat - Trichocera regelationis* and T. annulata. The Allotments trap produced a third species of winter gnat - T. saltator plus a fungus gnat Schwenkfeldina carbonaria along with a Mycetophilid that's proving tricky to pin down and a weevil that I'll have a crack at using Joy. Both traps have large numbers of Chironomids that I'm steering clear of for the moment (if, come December, I'm in need of a few species to get me to the target...)

List now stands at 79. Roll on the thaw.

*NB. The winter gnats have been identified using the RES key (Coe, Freeman & Mattingly. 1950) so if anyone knows if I need to update these IDs in light of recent advances then let me know.

Wanted: Dead or Alive!? 1000 species for TQ6410

I had a feeling last week’s dead stems and deceased bodies might arouse some unintended controversy for the 1KSQ Challenge but it’s an interesting point. When it comes to plants, dead stems and twigs are a definite no-no for my list but equally, some of last year’s old plants are direct pointers to visible LIVE shoots and growth even in mid-January 2013.  So why wait until flowering time? 

It may be miniscule and a tad early but at least you don't need a microscope to identify Purple Loosestrife ..... one of last week’s dead 'uns .... yet alive and sprouting. Honest!

You might think all this early identification applies only to perennials but there are biennials re-generating or re-seeding too. Evening Primrose, Foxglove and Teasel are obvious examples - old stems still visible from last year, pointing the way to new, already well-established plants nearby .....


..... like this Bristly Ox-tongue Picris echioides

Or in the case of this Teasel, a new seedling sprouting out of one of the old seed-heads ...... ignore them at your peril!

An exception in TQ6410 in 2013 has been Viper’s Bugloss .... of which one or two dead stems are still visible on the plot but not a single, living, leafy new rosette has appeared over the autumn/winter months. First time this has happened (or rather hasn’t) for over ten years. So Echium vulgare NOT on the list … yet!

One or two perennials were also showing well yesterday ...... Ground Ivy Glechoma hederacea (left), Bugle Ajuga repans and Great Reedmace Typha latifolia in a shallow pond on the very edge of the square.

So why tick off plants sooner rather than later? Well, why not!  I might lose interest by the end of June …. but hopefully not. Identifying SOME of the plants early on has been a useful exercise, and especially if the snow stays until March ..... by which time I'll be bracing myself for the numerous unidentifiable or barely even visible flying, droning, humming, buzzing, clicking or mining things around the square .... fingers crossed!

Actually, I'm already bogged down with several mystery mosses and lichens...... I'm sure these should be easy to ID and they're probably very common but er .......

And this one should be in my 1980 Roger Phillips guide too ..... if only I could find it after much thumbing through some unfamiliar pages. Lichens are proving tricky .....

A bit more confident with this one ..... am assuming it's Buellia canescens


Mosses too could be an achilles heel ..... I've got this one down as Oakmoss Evernia prunastri (left)

Also found Lunularia cruciata ..... on the ground.

Oyster Mushroom (Pleurotus ostreatus) was attached to this dead elder on my plot, right next to last autumn's old decaying fungi (top right corner). 


Yesterday's stroll around TQ6410 (when I finally strayed into the rest of the square) also saw some more easily identifiable additions to the list: a Fox was trotting through the snow but then, bizarrely, got spooked by a Woodpigeon flapping out of a nearby hedge. A Redwing flew overhead near my plot - seen loads this winter but this was the first one I'd noticed here this month. Right on the edge of the Pevensey Levels (and square), a Heron took off from a drainage ditch .... and finally the inevitable Herring Gull over the Castle grounds. But the best birds were ones I've already ticked - several times recently - another Woodcock right by the tiny wildlife pond at the end of the Wild Flower Barn, some Fieldfares overhead and a pair of Bullfinches by the front gate.   
And talking of sticks and dead stems ..... despite appearances to the contrary, these 300 year old Sweet Chestnuts are still very much ALIVE, right on the very edge of TQ6410. These wonderful old trees are also home to a large Jackdaw roost. 

Also came across a Yew on the edge of the Castle grounds to add to the tree list.

And here’s the only surprise of the day - a pair of Sussex origin (only joking) Red Deer that were also very much alive yesterday afternoon. I needed a double take at these two stags but they're obviously not truly wild. Their official status is ‘escapes’ so on a par with Wood Duck found nearby a couple of winters back? A madcap local landowner a couple of miles away on the Pevensey Levels is the likely culprit - he thought a 2m wide water-filled drainage ditch would keep these beasts ENCLOSED!  I think they’ve been wandering freely around locally for over a year now but probably not for much longer. Venison burgers loom?  Don’t panic, I haven’t ticked them …. they were 50m outside the square!

New additions this week:
Redwing, Heron, Herring Gull, Fox, Yew, Great Reedmace, Ground Ivy, Bristly Ox-Tongue, Oyster Mushroom, Oakmoss, Buellia canescens, Lunularia cruciata
Trundling along to 163 species ......