Tuesday, April 2, 2013

TQ6410: Bunkered down ....

This past week's been pretty unproductive on the home square, having spent a couple of days last week attempting some weeding over in an Ashdown Forest garden where the windchill forced me back indoors to thaw out after only an hour or two. More recently, it's been possible to get out and about around the square now everything's drying out in these relentless north-easterlies but difficult to find much new when nothing's really moving in this unseasonal chill and I haven't yet acquired that microscope (how far can I get without one!?). Had a chance for a whole day around the square yesterday (Easter Monday) but an offer to trek off to Pagham Harbour over in West Sussex was far more tempting (and very worthwhile) despite the continuing icy blast  - OK if you keep walking but hypothermia rules, especially if sea-watching! So for now at least any new species in TQ6410 will need to be highly (and quickly) visible ..... 

340 - Mute Swan .... A pair overhead on Saturday - very common around the ditches in the adjoining two squares but not often seen over the plot here. 
341 - Sparrowhawk .... A single bird flanking a pair of Buzzards all soaring high above the Church. Not quite what I was expecting but preferable to one whizzing past the workshop and reducing the Blackbird or Great Tit population by one or two .... as has frequently happened over the years.

342 - Procumbent Pearlwort Sagina procumbens (left) ..... thanks to Seth for drawing my attention to what I've long thought was a moss in a lot of the old potted plants and seed-trays. I've been weeding it out for years but had to search a bit before finding it growing on the ground outside the barn. 
343 - Wood Anemone  Anemone nemorosa ..... Had resigned myself to searching the Castle's woods for this one but - lo and behold - it's in the roadside woodland bank just up the road from the plot's front gate .....

This evergreen shrub's thrown me completely (left) - staring me in the face for twenty years on the edge of the rookery wood footpath by the side of the plot but only just noticed it. Still ought to know it by now - it's very like a bay leaf but not aromatic at all. But definitely not .....

344 - Cherry Laurel Prunus laurocerasus  ..... on the edge of the bluebell wood. 

Meanwhile, back in the arable field by the Church:
345 - Thyme-leaved Speedwell Veronica serpyllifolia 
346 - Thale Cress Arabidopsis thaliana 

347 - Common Flat-backed millipede Polydesmus angustus .... under a log in the rookery wood. Invertebrates are still woefully lacking from my list .... mostly down to the cold weather although suspect I'm on dodgy ground with these too ..... 
348 - Yellow Slug  Limax flavus  .... I'm in danger of becoming fascinated by slugs - this one was under a wooden planter outside the workshop door but it was soon keen to show off it's gaping pneumostome (breathing hole). Hope I wasn't overworking it. Well, I've learnt something about them at least .... that and the fact that I can highly recommend slug photography. It's the next one up the activity scale after watching paint dry ....

Now on to 348 species ...... maybe we can just fast-forward to summer - desperately need some WARMTH .... and PDQ!

A quick breakdown of the first quarter's figures to date:

BEETLES: 2   (sorry Mark T. - one of several taxa of shame)
BIRDS: 64  (all pretty common stuff but quite pleased with Green Sandpiper, Merlin and  Water Rail) 
BUTTERFLIES: 1  (wow! .... and we're already into April; ditto for MOTHS)
FLORA: 130  (OK - the guilty secret's out .....)
FUNGI:  15
MOSSES:  16 
MOTHS:  1  (as per BUTTERFLIES above)
SPIDERS: 1 (see also BEETLES above - this time apologies to Matt P.)

TOTAL:  348  




  1. Gadzooks, so I got you an extra species did I? Dammit, lol :D

    I think your Yellow Slug might actually be Irish Yellow Slug. Your mystery shrub could be Rum Cherry. Then again I'm probably totally wrong! You know there are several similar flat-backed millipedes? Wouldn't like to try em without a microscope and key...

  2. Cheers Seth - but what you giveth with the one hand, you taketh away with the other lol ... unless that Rum Cherry's a good hunch!? I'll google it shortly .... thanks for trying though! Yeah - I somehow had a vague idea that the millipede might have to be filed in either the 'dubious', 'premature' or 'microspcopic' pending trays ..... dammit again. Must admit I did study the Irish Yellow Slug v. Yellow Slug possibilities and came to the conclusion that I could see a rather vague yellow keel at the tail end of that beast. And just between the two of us - I DID get to Specsavers for my eye-test last Thursday .... but the new glasses won't be ready until the 11th!

  3. I would say the shrub is Prunus lusitanica (Portugal Laurel) - laurocerasus has more leathery, glossy, untoothed less pointed leaves.

  4. Thanks John - looks like a good call. Seth's Rum Cherry has much more rounded leaves than this one. Might just have to watch and wait until flowering time but will take another pic or two of the underside of the leaf/leaf edges in the next day or so .....

  5. Good plan - the beauty of this 1km challenge is you can be patient and revisit stuff when it's in a better state!