Sunday, February 17, 2013

Garden Snail finally gives itself up!

I started today absolutely determined to add Garden Snail to the tally (I live just outside of my chosen square so can't search my own garden). I quickly headed into TQ1960 and surreptitiously began exploring garden boundaries, lifting bricks, parting bushes, hoping not to be seen...then I discovered a shady alleyway between garden fences. Out of sight I did a proper skirmish and soon found the beast, several in fact. So Garden Snail added as species number 278. Phew, that was getting a bit embarrassing!!! Just before the snail I searched under a mature Horse Chestnut and found several Cameraria ohridella pupa in dead leaves.

I wandered onto Epsom Common and added Pointed Spear-moss and Primrose behind some gardens. Seeing as the sun was shining and the sky all but cloudless, I parked my bum on a log and did a bit of skywatching. Within 30 mins I had added Kestrel and 3 Buzzards to the tally, plus a few Stock Doves and Herring Gulls too. No sign of a Red Kite yet, but I reckon this is the year I'll see one!

A wander into wooded parts revealed a cluster of mystery bugs under bark. They looked similar to Cinchbugs, but I didn't recognise them. Several adults were surrounded by c20 nymphs. Back home I soon discovered they were Aneurus laevis, a type of flatbug and new for me. Cool.

In yet another failed Harvest Mouse hunt (they occur in Bramble Heath and I was hoping to find one ahead of next month's trapping efforts) I found Compact Rush present there. Back on the streets I found a whole carpet of Common Whitlowgrass just 200metres from my house. How many times have I walked past that, I wonder?

277 - Cameraria ohridella - pupa within withered Horse Chestnut leaves - Epsom Common
278 - Garden Snail Helix aspersa (!) - several in an alleyway, Lewins Road
279 - Pointed Spear-moss Calliergonella cuspidata - in mown area behind gardens, Epsom Common
280 - Primrose - behind gardens, Epsom Common (possibly garden origin but quite a way away)
281 - Kestrel - 1 in Horton Heath area
282 - Bramble Stem Gall Wasp Diastrophus rubi - gall cut open to reveal grubs, Epsom Common
283 - Nemastoma bimaculatum - a black harvestman, under a log, Horton Heath
284 - Buzzard - 3 heading east in 30mins of skywatching
285 - ANEURUS LAEVIS - a flatbug, adults and nymphs under sallow bark, Webbs Folly (LIFER)
286 - Common Whitlowgrass - a big patch on short turf, Eastdean Avenue/Wheelers Lane junction

Just a couple more days off before the end of the month. I'm hoping to hit 300...fingers crossed!

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