Mother's ruin

Posted by Graeme Lyons , Friday, 4 March 2011 18:11

Whilst clearing some scrub on Levin Down this week, Mark and Reuben discovered some young Juniper bushes that we didn't know about. I went and had a look at them today to take some biometrics and grid references. Despite being very short (under 30 cm), the stems were almost 2 cm in diametre which suggests they are a lot older than they look, kept short by grazing no doubt. The photo below is the larger of the two plants. Other than four plants that were planted at Levin and the two seedlings that were found earlier this year, these are the youngest Juniper plants on site...that we know about at least.
I took the time to look for Juniper Shieldbugs (top photo) which is a new species for me (3136). I found three quite easily, as well as a Gorse Shieldbug. I also spotted the awesome spider Gibbaranea gibbosa. I saw my first butterfly of the year at last, a Peacock

I took a sample of berries from the bush next to the two seedlings to carry out a seed fertility test as well. It's been great to get out on reserves today, it's been a long winter in the office, soon be time to start the breeding bird surveys! I went to Graffham in the afternoon but I'll blog about that another day...

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