Monday, February 25, 2013

TQ6410 - Late winter chill

Needed a productive day at the plot yesterday - NOT with the 'Challenge' - but sorting out all the things I need to do there. Unfortunately my toes and fingers froze rapidly (just the Raynaud's thing) in the biting wind. First getting some junk into the van at this end .... then when I'd driven over there and partially warmed up, they promptly froze again getting all the stuff out again. That left a couple of choices - sit in the workshop with feet and fingers close to a radiator ..... or go for a walk around the square to get the circulation going again. No contest! Three hours later I was back at the workshop, fully warmed up but with far too many photos to try and ID (I'm getting a soft spot for mosses) and no further forward on the sorting-out front.

Fortunately, the sheer cold and frozen fingers meant I could at least forget about invertebrates for the day (phew!) although this old larch log pile - one of several in the bluebell wood - looks interesting for a warmer spring day when I've got nothing better to do. All in all, I didn't have a particularly productive day - at least not from an ID-ing point of view - but there were some interesting finds. There always are in this square - as there are in any square - but I'm just not used to looking too hard in TQ6410. 

One useful discovery was the old Fire Station in the Herstmonceux Castle grounds. I've walked past it via the bridleway many times but didn't realise it possibly has this square's only bit of 'waste ground' flora. Being totally out in the sticks, I'd been quietly wondering where I'd catch up with some of the more random species - apart from around the arable field edges. The little patch of Fire Station grass and bare ground had several useful additions:

255 - Parsley Piert Alphanes arvensis  (left) simply a plant I'd never thought about looking for until this one was staring me in the face. The one on the left looks a bit like Orange Hawkweed Hieracium aurantiacum (but never seen it 'wild' in the square before) .... or it could even be a Forget-me-not sp ....

256 - Annual Meadow Grass  Poa annua .... first clump I've found in flower this year although always loads of it everywhere.

257 - Swinecress  Coronopus squamatus (left) .... although I'm more used to seeing Coronopus didymus out in the arable fields and around the parking area at my plot.

258 - Black Medick Medicago lupulina  Always lots of this self-seeding around the plot too but just hadn't bothered with it up to now. But this little spot may well have Spotted Medick too ....

Meanwhile, back in the woods and in between moss photo-shoots .....

259 - Stump Puffball   Lycoperdon pyriforme (left)  

Well, I'm pretty sure it is although these are a bit old now. Which begs the question: Fungi - dead or alive? How can you tell? The spores are exposed in this one, much as they were in last week's Stalked Puffball so I guess they're countable at least?
This fern's been baffling me for a while now. I'm sure it's very common but I can't find an ID for the spore pattern anywhere. I've got plenty of Bracken on the plot but nothing evergreen at the moment ..... apart from this one. Clumps of it are dotted around the little bluebell wood and around the Castle's rookery wood next door.

And I couldn't resist another poke around in the wet woodland edge. Local provenance wild flowers have been my thing over the past twenty years but that doesn't mean I don't come unstuck from time to time on plant recognition .... I'm NOT a botanist! This one baffled me completely at first glance .... and still does. I think it's Water Forget-me-not  Myosotis scorpioides ..... but not confident enough to tick it just yet. Happier with the next two though ..... by and in a watery ditch (respectively) ..... 

260 - Large Bird's Foot Trefoil Lotus Pendunculatus  and
261 - Watercress  Nasturtium officinale 

And finally: 262 - Grey Wagtail   (bird of the day although not unheard of in TQ6410)

Which took my bird tally to 51 for the square this year. This one was perched on the edge of the Castle's sewage works - well, on the edge of that big, round slop-stirrer contraption (it must have a technical name?). I also flushed another Snipe from the long lost ditch near my plot and yet another Woodcock from the wet woodland edge, as well as Redwing, Fieldfare and Mistle Thrush flocks from the wet meadow just south of the Castle. A Cormorant also flew over but not quite over TQ6410 alas ......

262 species ..... and in dire need of some warm Spring sunshine (and a few migrants).

p.s. these posts don't take long to write .... but the blogspot text formatting and random font changes drive me insane and take forever to fix. Is it just me or something to do with having the pics on the left and text on the right?

1 comment:

  1. I'm just lazy and stick my photos below the text. Not very design-minded I'm afraid, but easier.