Posted by Graeme Lyons , Saturday, 18 February 2012 18:29
I took some good friends up Ditchling Beacon for some chalk-grassland moss identification this afternoon and it was dead good fun. A big thank you to Victoria Benstead-Hume, Carole Mortimer, Penny Green and Dave Green for making it a really fun day and providing marzipan biscuits and posh sandwiches and fresh coffee and ginger wine etc etc om nom nom lol. I think I've just made myself sick. Who would of thought four people would get so excited by mosses?! I also got five ticks out of it but only one of them was a moss...
Thanks ever so much to Victoria Hume for taking these photos, have a look at more of her impressive photography here on Flickr.
I had one moss species new for me, Campylium protensum.
And here are some of Carole's shots, thanks Carole. I think. Just remember that me and hairbrushes don't mix. I'm still picking 'things' out of my dreads now.
Here we have Neckera complanata.
And this one is Thamnobryum alopecurum.
And a large patch of Pseudoscleropdium purum. It's amazing what you can find hiding under big lumps of moss.
So, in between placing chunks of mosses about one's person, everyone did see a good selection of about 15 species which is about as much as most people can handle when they are new to bryology. It's a good place to start on the chalk as it's heavy in big attractive pleurocarps.
However, while this was going on I was taking advantage of a little 'tussocking' and it proved very worthwhile as I added four species to my list. Two beetles including this Chrysolina staphylaea and Philonthus marginatus.
This staphylinid is always a welcome sight. The rather smart Ontholestes murinus and this time the little bugger was completely motionless. The others I have seen were more like the cartoon character Taz in their demeanour.
I also added the ground bug Peretrichus lundii to my list. This harvestman looked different under the hand lens but really stood out under the microscope. My fifth new species of the day, the bizarre looking and southerly restricted Homalenotus quadridentatus. I end the day on 3771 species. Now, tomorrow we record the outdoor session of our next podcast too!