The Burton Mistletoe Crisis

Posted by Graeme Lyons , Tuesday, 9 January 2018 21:38

Mistletoe has never been recorded on a Sussex Wildlife Trust reserve. But today we recorded it FROM one. Not that we'll be counting it on the site list but this shows how tantalisingly close we got to it today at the Warren, part of our Burton Pond reserve. The road delineates the edge of the reserve and across the next field you can see a clump of Mistletoe. However, 'from' just isn't good enough even for a bird (let alone something that can't fly. Or move even). We never recorded the Short-toed Eagle using Old Lodge for example, although it was seen distantly from the reserve. Now this might have made a nice tweet and the story might have ended there so why am I blogging about this I hear you ask? 

Well, this is the winter of 2017/18 and you can't even take a photo of a clump of Mistletoe without it being photo-bombed by a couple of these chunky monkeys due to their unprecedented invasion!

Yes, you've guessed it. A couple of Hawfinches! This is getting ridiculous. Not only did we see these two and hear them flying over the Warren we also saw five more round at New Piece. This seems to be a new record for our part of the site. This is my eighth encounter this winter which outnumbers ALL my other encounters ever! The last two times I've been out in the field they have outnumbered Chaffinches. I don't think I'll ever get bored of them and I've never been more tuned in to their insignificant calls. All encounters (except this one) this year wouldn't have happened without knowing this call, so to maximise your chances of seeing one or more of these awesome finches, keep your ears open. I love how upright they are in silhouette. I guess it's hard to perch diagonally if you're head weighs as much as a Hawfinch's does without falling over.

I'll leave you with this. The scientific name (Coccothraustes coccothraustes) always makes me think of these. Hawfinches: they're grrrreat! 
P.S. Mistletoe has still not been recorded ON at Trust reserve.

Everything's different in the world of me

Posted by Graeme Lyons , Sunday, 7 January 2018 17:30

Where to start with this one. A 120 Hawfinches? Australian Flu? The first airing of Season 3 of the Mighty Boosh some ten years ago? The Big Bang? Or maybe my first day back at work this year. Yes let's start there. I got to the boot of my car on the 2nd Jan and the whole car STUNK of fox. I was even more surprised when the smell had some how permeated into the car. I drove to work half expecting  the Crack Fox from the Mighty Boosh to be sitting on the back seat. This guy. Fortunately he wasn't.

I got back in the car at the end of the day and it STILL stank! I even called one of of my colleagues over and he was amazed at how bad it was. And it wasn't until the 6th that I realised what on (fox) earth was going on! But first we have to go back to the 30th Dec...

...I am recovering from what I now think is Australian Flu and having spent all of Christmas indoors I am itching to get out. I have some freelance work to do at Heyshott Down looking at bryophytes and I'm up there in a bit of a daze, it was way too soon to be back at work but you live and learn. I am seriously wrapped up and I only went out because it was 12 degrees. I have some new finger-less gloves. I'm head down mapping the stunning moss Rhodobryum roseum (which has spread on the site due to the management of the Murray Downland Trust) BUT I am continually distracted by calling Hawfinches. I had seen five at one point perched in the distance but it's so hard to ignore the call as I usually hear them so infrequently. 

Suddenly I look up and the sky is black with Hawfinches. A flock of some 45 birds flies over head and lands right in front of me. I lift my bins and can see a further 20 birds in the mid distance. I heard calling behind me and saw even more!!! Around 55 birds in the trees to the west. I did the math. 120 Hawfinches (and I believe that to be an underestimate). In all the excitement I began to overheat, now this is an important clue: I took my gloves off and put them in my big lower pockets in my combats. Exciting stuff. 

I head home at the end of the day feeling a little rough and spaced out. The next day as I was heading towards the pub for New Years and walked round the back of my car to cross the road I thought to myself "Someone's dropped a glove there that looks rather like one of my new gloves right outside the boot of my car" but the penny didn't drop. I carried on. Then a few days later I realised said glove was mine. It was soaking wet from all the 'rain' so I left it on my parcel shelf to dry off. Big mistake. Yesterday (6th Jan) I retrieved the glove to find it still soaking and then it hit me. Both the stench of fox scent glands at point blank range and the answer to the stinking car conundrum. The local foxes had been having their New Year's celebrations on my glove for days. What went on there we'll never know. Here is the offending article.

Now I know what you're thinking. "Nice hops". No I'm kidding. You're thinking "Why didn't you use 'fox glove' as a blog title?". Well that would have given it away right from the start. I have washed the fox glove now. It kind of now smells of a mix of part washing detergent and part greaty reduced fox musk, which is actually quite pleasant. I wonder though, what will my car will smell like tomorrow morning on my way to work?

The amazing spiders of Graffham Common

Posted by Graeme Lyons , Friday, 5 January 2018 15:42

I have just finished all the identifications from the invertebrate survey I carried out at Graffham Common this year (a total of 412 species recorded) and thought I would do a little review of the spiders. It came as quite a surprise to me that 16 of the 80 species of spider recorded during the six visits last year have conservation status! That's a remarkable 20%! I have never recording anything like this, especially as I always thought the conservation statuses for spiders were more stringent than for other taxa. Of these 16, 13 are considered nationally scarce while the remaining three are nationally rare! And when you think it was mostly conifer plantation five years ago with some tiny patches of heath you really start to see how special the site is.

Overall we have now recorded 141 spiders at Graffham. I carried out some pitfalls back in 2009 and in 2014 and we added some interesting species back then. Including Xysticus luctuosus (we had quite a few in 2009 but none in 2014). Interestingly it took me until 2017 to find a living one and only then was it one individual (the female above recorded on Fir Toat)! Back in 2009 and even earlier last year this spider wasn't classified as having any conservation status at all but now I'm please to see it's classified as nationally rare and IUCN Endangered! This spider is currently not known from anywhere else in Sussex!

But the biggest surprise for me was the gorgeous IUCN Vulnerable Uloborus walckenaerius. It's an odd looking beast and is also rare. In Sussex known from neighbouring Ambersham Common. It was well established  on Graffham West and on the last visit we even picked one up from Gallows Pond.

And also the BAP IUCN Near Threatened Lichen Running-spider Philodromus margaritatus. In Sussex known only from here and the adjacent Lavington Common. During this survey the spider was recorded on all three blocks.

We recorded for an hour on each of three blocks: Graffham West, Gallows Pond and Fir Toat. A site list was made for each of the sub-sites over the six visits. The full species list is shown below.

Species Fir Toat Gallows  West Cons status

Achaearanea riparia 1 NS
Agalenatea redii 1
Agelena labyrinthica 1 1
Amaurobius fenestralis 1
Anelosimus aulicus 1 NS
Anelosimus vittatus 1 1 1
Araneus angulatus 1 NS
Araneus diadematus 1 1 1
Araneus quadratus 1
Araniella cucurbitina 1 1 1
Araneus sturmi 1 1
Arctosa leopardus 1
Arctosa perita 1 1
Argyroneta aquatica 1
Ballus chalybeius 1 NS
Bianor aurocinctus 1 NS
Clubiona trivialis 1
Diaea dorsata 1
Dictyna arundinacea 1 1
Dictyna latens 1 1
Dipoena tristis 1 NS
Drassodes cupreus 1
Drassyllus pusillus 1
Enoplognatha latimana 1 1
Enoplognatha ovata 1 1 1
Ero tuberculata (above) 1 1 NS
Evarcha arcuata 1 1 NS
Evarcha falcata 1 1 1
Gibbaranea gibbosa 1 1 1
Harpactea hombergi 1
Heliophanus cupreus 1 1 1
Heliophanus flavipes 1
Larinioides cornutus 1
Lathys humilis 1
Linyphia triangularis 1 1 1
Mangora acalypha 1 1 1
Marpissa muscosa 1 1 1 NS
Metellina mengei 1 1 1
Metellina segmentata 1 1 1
Misumena vatia 1 1 1
Neon reticulatus 1 1
Neottiura bimaculatum 1
Nuctenea umbratica 1 1
Pachygnatha degeeri 1
Paidiscura pallens 1
Pardosa nigriceps 1
Pardosa palustris 1 1
Pardosa pullata 1 1
Pardosa saltans 1 1 1
Philodromus albidus 1 1
Philodromus aureolus 1 1
Philodromus cespitum 1
Philodromus dispar 1 1 1
Philodromus margaritatus 1 1 1 NR
Philodromus praedatus 1
Pirata latitans 1
Pisaura mirabilis 1 1 1
Rugathodes instabilis 1 NS
Salticus cingulatus 1
Salticus zebraneus 1 NS
Savignia frontata 1
Simitidion simile 1 1 1
Stemonyphantes lineatus 1
Tegenaria silvestris 1
Tetragnatha nigrita 1 1
Tetragnatha obtusa 1
Tetragnatha pinicola 1
Theridion impressum 1
Theridion sisyphium 1 1 1
Theridion tinctum 1
Tibellus oblongus 1 1
Trematocephalus cristatus 1 NS
Uloborus walckenaerius 1 1 NR
Xerolycosa nemoralis 1 1 1 NS
Xysticus cristatus 1 1 1
Xysticus erraticus 1
Xysticus kochi 1
Xysticus lanio 1
Xysticus luctuosus 1 NR
Zilla diodia 1 1 1
Zygiella atrica 1 1

Total 39 55 49
Cons status 5 10 9
Percentage 12.8 18.2 18.4

Iping & Stedham are on 204 species of spider and a whopping 25.0% of these having conservation status, Rye Harbour is very close to this with 201 species at 19.9% conservation status. Then we have Graffham Common with a grand total of 141 species (the 80 mentioned above was from the six visit standardised survey in 2017 alone) and a total of 17.0% of these have cons status. Old Lodge is next with 139 species with 11.3% conservation status. All these sites, except Graffham Common, are SSSIs (or with higher designations) with years of recording behind them.

And that's just the spiders. Other taxa are showing some similar exciting changes but that will have to wait for another day.

The state of pan-species listing at the end of 2017

Posted by Graeme Lyons , Tuesday, 2 January 2018 19:34

Time for my annual post of how things are going in the PSL community. We didn't have a field meeting in 2017, the first year since we started having field meetings in 2012 but it looks like the Cornwall one planned this year by Sally Luker is going to be awesome. I'm looking forward to meeting many of you then. I will be going whatever this time having not made one for some time. 

The 1000 species challenge was also a great boost for pan-species listing, we raised over a £1000 for our Trust. I'm also hoping that listing the whole Sussex Wildlife Trust reserve network will encourage other conservation organisations to do the same thing. So who is going to have a go next? Could the National Trust beat the RSPB's 16000+?

First up, what's happening in the top ten. 

2016 2017 Change
1 Jonty Denton 12399 12483 84
2 Dave Gibbs 11327 11327 0
3 Mark Telfer 7478 7603 125
4 Nicola Bacciu 6515 7045 530
5 Brian Eversham 6650 7030 380
6 The late Eric Philp 6878 6878 0
7 Graeme Lyons 6515 6840 325
8 Simon Davey 6722 6722 0
9 Matt Prince 6142 6483 341
10 Richard Comont 5919 6362 545

First up it looks like Jonty and Mark have slowed down a little. Dave Gibbs hasn't updated his totals in over a year and neither has Simon. Richard Comont has entered the top ten (with the highest increase in the top ten over the period) and Malcolm Storey has departed. Nicola continues to shoot up the rankings as the highest female lister. I've over taken Simon Davey making me the top Sussex lister.

Now for the 100th lister. In 2015 it was Rowan Alder on 903 species, last year it was Adam Harley on 1183 and this year it's Stephen O'Donnell (someone else who hasn't updated for over two years) on 1371. That means that everyone in the top 100 has now seen 1371 species. Pretty impressive!

The youngest lister is now only nine! The oldest is 73. There are 219 people on the rankings (up from 192 last year) and 464 users on the website (up from 300). There are 356 members on the Facebook page (up from 288).

Now for the site rankings (changes in bold).

2016 2017
1 Wicken Fen 8674 Wicken Fen 8674
2 Esher Commons 7945 Esher Commons 7945
3 RSPB Minsmere 5928 RSPB Minsmere 5928
4 Thorn Moors 5052 Thorn Moors 5052
5 RSPB Abernethy 4735 RSPB Abernethy 4735
6 RSPB The Lodge 4290 SWT Rye Harbour 4324
7 SWT Rye Harbour 4274 RSPB The Lodge 4290
8 Hatfield Forest 4184 Hatfield Forest 4184
9 SWT Ebernoe Common 3708 SWT Ebernoe Common 3900
10 Northwich Community Woodlands 3118 Sutton Fen 3708

So nothing has changed in the top five. As predicted, Rye Harbour has over taken the Lodge into 6th place. Sutton Fen has joined the top ten ranks and then Ebernoe Common has replaced it. This has pushed Northwich Community Woodlands out of the top ten. There are 63 locations on the rankings (something I didn't note down the last couple of years).

Now for the top taxa listers (again changes in bold).

2016 2017
Algae Jony Denton 288 288
Slime Moulds Malcolm Storey 51 51
Protists Jony Denton 24 24
Lichens Simon Davey 1228 1228
Fungi Malcom Storey 1391 1391
Bryophytes Paul Bowyer 480 503
Vascular Plants John Martin 2278 2292
Sponges Richard Comont 12 12
Comb-jellies Lee Johnson 3 3
Cnidarians Richard Comont 44 45
Molluscs Richard Comont 222 224
Bryozoans Richard Comont 27 30
Annelids Richard Comont 51 55
Platyhelminth worms Brian Eversham 18 18
Sea-spiders Richard Comont 4 4
Arachnids Jonty Denton 493 499
Myriapods Keith Lugg 77 81
Crustaceans Richard Comont 99 100
Springtails Richard Comont 44 45
3-tailed Bristletails Mark Telfer 8 8
Odonata Mark Telfer, Dave Gibbs 48 48
Orthopteroids Mark Telfer 41 41
Hemipteroids Jonty Denton 861 875
Hymenoptera Dave Gibbs 809 809
Coleoptera Mark Telfer 2632 2739
Diptera Dave Gibbs 3146 3146
Butterflies Seth Gibson, Stuart Read 62 62
Moths Tony Davis 1628 1635
Remaining small  Jonty Denton 195
Echinoderms Richard Comont 19 20
Tunicates Richard Comont 22 24
Fish Richard Comont 97 98
Reptiles Richard Comont 9 10
Amphibians Jonty Denton 13 13
Birds Dave Gibbs 527 527
Mammals Mark Telfer 64 64
Other animals Jonty Denton 36 36
Paul Bowyer has set a new record for bryophytes in only around three years, this is really impressive. Mark's added over a 100 beetles. Richard's somehow managed 10 reptiles. I'm still not top lister for anything.

So there we are, lots of new records being made and some interesting changes in the top ten. Maybe next year I will open it up to the top 20, what do you think? Oh and I hope 2018 is an awesome listing year.

My top ten natural history highlights of 2017

Posted by Graeme Lyons , Sunday, 24 December 2017 15:42

Every year just seems to beat the last one. This has been my most prolific recording year to date with well over 15000 records entered so far this year but what were the highlights? In reverse order we have:

10. Tiered Tooth at Ebernoe Common. My all time favourite fungus which also couldn't be more Christmas if it tried.

9. The first time I'd ever seen an Osprey fishing let alone catch a fish (and then drop it). This was in the Cuckmere.

8. Rock-pooling at the Pound near Eastbourne produced my first live Lobster (which promptly nipped me) and not only my first species of sea slug but three species of them, I've still not seen them anywhere else! It's the best place I know for rock-pooling in Sussex. Thanks to Oli Froom for the photo.

7. Wildlife in Portugal was AMAZING. I had ten new birds which were all unforgettable but the highlight has to be Mediterranean Chameleon just for how much effort we put into tracking one down and its sudden appearance at the final hour.

6. Controversial as it might be, mopping up loads of rare bugs on Jersey and adding them to my PSL list was a blast. This Graphosoma lineatum says it all really.

5. After walking the beach in Hove for weeks looking for a Portuguese Man o' War, I finally struck gold after a tip off from work that they'd arrived.

4. Invertebrate survey at Butcherlands, Ebernoe Common. I still haven't identified all the specimens yet but the spiders alone were amazing. The large population of Pardosa paludicola was a real surprise to everyone. Thanks to Evan Jones for the photo.

3. The invertebrate survey at Graffham Common was even more surprising, the spiders were also out of this world there but it was perhaps this Sundew Plume, that hadn't been seen in Sussex for 20 years that was most surprising.

2. 1000 species in a day. Probably the most fun you can have in 24 hours of non-stop biological recording. Read more about this here. Photo by Alice Parfitt.

1. Pan-species Listing ALL of Sussex Wildlife Trust's 32 reserves. When I first did this last year we were on around 9770. I have six reserves left to analyse and I will have updated the list for the year. Will we have reached 10,000? I will be talking about this at Adastra soon in more detail but I can't express enough how useful an exercise this has been and will continue to be if regularly updated. I use the spreadsheet every day now and can't imagine doing my job without it.

Let's hope that 2018 is another amazing year for wildlife recording! Thanks for reading.

it is be-tween uz and die brown cow!

Posted by Graeme Lyons , Thursday, 21 December 2017 12:49

I've been very quiet on social media the last couple of months, mainly due to buying my first property which is taking a huge amount of my time. Work has also been very busy and the first time I feel like I have had a minute to draw breath is now, when I am off sick with the worst virus I have had in 15 years. Anyways, I heard that the excerts I was posting here from my old bird diaries (when I was 12) were quite popular, so I am bringing them back.

Basically, when I have little contemporary wildlife to report on, I can always fall back on the rich seam of laughs that is the precocious, nihilistic and snarky 12 year old I will affectionately call Little Graeme. Anything in italics is taken word for word, spelling mistake for mistake, directly from that diary...

It's the 23rd October OR the 23rd September 1990. Actually I think it's October but I put the wrong date on the above drawing, we've spent the day in Norfolk and have stopped off to twitch a Sociable Plover at Welney. In the top right of the image above you can see I've written Best bird I've ever seen, so far............(now I am a fan of using 'three points of suspension but twelve?!).

Are (let me down at the first word AGAIN!) eyes where pealled for a bunch of bird watchers on the side of a field (that's what I used to call 'field craft'), we whent round a corner and there they were. we pulled in the layby and I dashed out and asked the nearest person where it was, the woman said 'it is be-tween uz and die brown cow'! Odviously German (obviously racist you little twerp). I replied 'thanks' and bagged it straight away, then a lorry came roring up the road and slammed on his breaks and there was burned rubber on the road (oh I thought that sub plot was going somewhere, I'm like a young David Lynch!).
               The bird was not how I expected but because I hadn't looked it up in the book, I didn't really know what I was looking for (damn fool). It was very pale with dark cap and wing tips, with white eye line meeting at a 'v'on the nape, it had white in the wing and black central terminal band with a white border and rump.
               Best bag ever 'Yeh!' (did I just punch the air?!).

I've not seen a Sociable Plover since. Next up, kinglets and the easy way to bird recognition.

Is there a link between Natural History and Super Facial Recognition?

Posted by Graeme Lyons , Tuesday, 5 December 2017 07:53

I'm going to ask you to take part in some research. I am a super recogniser when it comes to people's faces. It's a weird thing recognising people whom I know don't recognise me. I get it all the time. Most memorable recent  incidents include:

  • Seeing a guy from behind at a bar and recognising him by only seeing about 30% of his face. I shared a house with him in Cambridge 10 years ago before I moved back to Brighton. I've not seen him since and do not know him on social media.
  • Seeing a chap who pierced my septum (before it became cool with the hipsters) some 16 years ago. My friend said "no he's way too young, it can't be him". I approached and it was!
  • I've recently moved house and someone working in the Co-op set it off. When a second person in there did I realised it was because they both used to work in a different Co-op across the other side of town some 8 years ago.
  • Stranger Things 2. "That's Burke from Aliens!". Yep, I get it in TV and movies too.
It would seem that repeat exposure to a face has a real impact and the mind is also able to calibrate for age too. It's not meant to be that rare, some 5% of people fall into the category apparently.

When I say 'set it off', I mean it. I get a really strange sensation. Like an itch I have to scratch and my mind will preoccupy itself with trying to figure out why it 'knows' this person, and I usually get there in the end. Even if it means approaching the individual to verify. So what does this have to do with natural history? Well I often think it's no coincidence that I find myself in the field I am in. Did I become good at natural history because I was born with an ability to classify faces or did my ability to classify faces develop as I exercised my brain in classifying the natural world around me? The causality of this is fascinating and a question that would involve some very different research to what I am trying to figure out here. What I would like to do here is ask you to do this quick online test. It just took me about 10 minutes. There has been some confusion about which test I am talking about (I only see one on the link) so it's the Cambridge Face Memory Test: Computer Generated Faces. I think this might be part 2? If you can't see this test I will have another look later this evening and hopefully I can fix the link. Sorry for any confusion!

Now I would also like you tell me which category you fall in to:
  • A non-naturalist. Someone has never identified any wildlife, you might be interested but you certainly wouldn't consider it your primary hobby.
  • A naturalist whom considers natural history their primary pass time.
  • A pan-species lister (you know who you are!). Clearly a naturalist who can take on a wide range of different taxa and store a huge amount of information. If you fall into this category please also report your current list.
So my score. I fall into the last category above and have just scored 68. It says 54 is the average and scored higher than more than 9 out of 10 people.

So I would like to see if there are any differences between the three categories above. I know this is total pseudo-science and I am not selecting a representative sample, I am just doing this for fun. Please don't just do this test because you think you might be good at facial recognition as that will hugely bias the results. I know I did that but we wouldn't be here if I didn't. So, please have a go and leave me your scores somewhere in the comments or on social media. I'll then compile the results and do some analysis to see if there are any differences. PM if you don't want to make your results public.

Many thanks!

Confessions of a Recorderholic

Posted by Graeme Lyons , Sunday, 12 November 2017 07:30

I've just entered my 50,000th record into my Recorder 6 database. It was the pirate spider Ero cambridgei. Above is a breakdown of the number of records for all taxa with more than 500 records in my database. It may come as a surprise that five years ago I wasn't keeping my own personal database at all. Look at this post from 2012 as I begin the journey. Three years after this point and I've entered my 30,000th record, read about that here. So 10,000 records a year seems about the norm for me. But I only entered my 40,000th record in late May 2017 so actually I have entered 10,000 records in the last six months and 12,770 records so far this year. None of this is backlog, making 2017 by far my most prolific recording year ever. 15,000+ is likely for the year. But I couldn't have done any of it without Recorder 6...

I love this software. It's by no means perfect but it does a great job. I have my own database on my own laptop and I use it for entering all my records onto. This includes my Sussex Wildlife Trust work but also all my freelance survey data. I then synchronize with the SxBRC every six months. I am backed up to the nines. You can do some really great things with this software really quickly, like pulling all the records out and making a distribution map in QGIS. I literally use Recorder 6 maybe 20+ times every day. I'm very pleased with what I have created here and the idea that the software might one day not be available has never crossed my mind. Until now...

This week I received news that JNCC are planning on pulling support for Recorder 6 in Marsh 2018! You can read the announcement here. This is very disappointing and really short notice but hopefully it will result in a good solution long-term, read the comment by Clare Blencowe underneath the above statement. If you use Recorder 6, then please take part in the consultation. So fingers crossed that we have a positive outcome from what appears to me to be a rash and misguided decision. In the mean time, I will plough ahead entering records with what I see as vital and intuitive software that I literally can't do my job without. Now what's the saying? Fifty records a day keeps the backlog away!

I just made that up by the way, no one says that actually except me...but they should!

Wild at Heart

Posted by Graeme Lyons , Friday, 10 November 2017 07:14

"This is a snakeskin jacket! And for me it's a symbol of my individuality, and my personal freedom". Sailor, Wild at Heart.

I suspect only the hardcore David Lynch fans will have even the remotest clue as to what I am wittering on about here. Anyways, last week I ran my 'Introduction to Fungi' course at Ebernoe for the second year. It was another great day, it aims to show people that although limited, you can still do quite a bit of mycology in the field before you end up on a spore drive (see what I did there?). So our aim was to beat the 53 or so species were recorded last year and maybe a get a species new to Ebernoe like the Parasitic Bolete we recorded last year. We succeeded on the former but failed on the latter. It's hard to get a new species of fungi at Ebernoe, especially one identifiable in the field when 963 species have already been recorded there. Anyway the highlight was this Snakeskin Grisette. Only the second time I have seen this, the first being on the 1000 species challenge with Dave Green and that was at 2.00 am and I hardly had time to stop and appreciate it. Well done to the attendee who found the specimen!

We picked up some Heath Waxcaps in Leconfield Glade, the first record for the reserve for over 20 years so that was probably the most exciting record. Other highlights included Sinuous, Trumpet and regular Chanterelles, Sulphur Knight, Fluted Bird's-nest Fungi, White Saddle, Horn of Plenty, Magpie Inkcap, Pink Waxcap and a very VERY sloppy Tiered Tooth and a few little extras at the end on Ebernoe Cricket Pitch...

The same attended that found the Snakeskin Grisette found this freaky little oddity that after some discussion with Martin Allison, we think is a young Mosaic Puffball. So, we will be running the course again next year. If you fancy a romp around Ebernoe looking for some of our most charismatic fungi, then please come along.

Is this the only place in the UK you could take this photo?

Posted by Graeme Lyons , Sunday, 29 October 2017 19:57

Pevensey Marshes SWT reserve is an amazing place. Just one dip in the water with the net and all sorts of things can be found. So much so that it took me and Evan Jones all day to cover four ditches last week. I'll be going back to finish the survey tomorrow. The first ditch was FULL of Water Spiders and Fen Raft Spiders Dolomedes plantarius but this photo shows a Lesser Water-measurer Hydrometra gracilenta sitting on a Fen Raft Spider. I don't think the two occur together anywhere else in the UK.

And this nationally scarce wolf spider is the beefy Pirata piscatorius. It's like a Pirata went out on Halloween dressed as a Dolomedes and people do mistake them, mainly due to the relative bulk and the white stripes on the side of the cephalothorax. Note however that even this image has been photo-bombed by another Dolomedes showing it how it's done, those legs are huge! We only saw three P. piscatorius on this survey, all in the same ditch, the only ditch I have seen it in on site. It's not normally the sort of thing that would be recorded during an aquatic invertebrate survey but I will add it on to this survey. Outside of Pevensey it's only been recorded in West Sussex once at Burton Pond in its more typical habitat of a Sphagnum-rich bog. 

The molluscs and beetles are great out there too but I didn't have a lot of time for taking photos. I couldn't resist this one of a lovely Pike being photo-bombed by Notonecta glauca.

Vertebrates were pretty good too with only my second ever Brown Hare on a Trust reserve (my last one was over eight years ago at the Mens would you believe it), a Wheatear and a Golden Plover over. What will tomorrow bring?!

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