Surface of the Sun

Posted by Graeme Lyons , Wednesday 1 August 2012 06:47

First off, all the photos in this blog were taken by Mark Gurney using his new digital SLR and I thought I would use these and see how they compare to my old Coolpix. To make things a little more dramatic, I have added a piece of music by John Murphy from Danny Boyle's much underrated sci-fi Sunshine. Possibly one of the best pieces of music used in cinema in years, the frequency that it has been used on other films and adverts is testament to this. It also goes some way to demonstrate just how hot it was at Amberley this last week. The only shade out there was that cast by the horseflies and we were begging the jet stream to return. I even bought a hat!
So I did get a few plant ticks. I finally caught up with Whorl-grass (top photo). This aquatic grass grows in the middle of the ditches. I often wondered if I had been overlooking this but it is very distinctive. And of course, it's glaucous so it's instantly better than all non-glaucous plants in my book.

Cut-grass was harder to spot this year than last year as it is not as advanced but we did see it in a number of ditches.

A couple of Chrysolina herbacea on Water Mint. I asked Mark what they were doing but he wouldn't tell me. I think the one at the back is trying to push the other one off the leaf.
I think where a digital SLR really comes into its own is photographing narrow spindly plants in harsh light. I may have to invest in one. I couldn't have got that shot of Whorl-grass with the Cooplix. A big thank you to Mark and if you haven't read the article about Mark in this edition of 'Birds' then do, it's really good. Another big thanks to Mark, Sarah, Rachel, Dave and Frances for allowing this joint project to happen, I couldn't have done it without them, there are just too many ditches!

It's strange going back to the same places at the same time of year, year after year. You cannot help but measure yourself against these seemingly static landscapes, I feel like I'm drawn into the monitoring process! So in my report I would have to say that this particular taxa is doing very well compared to this time last year! I started the ditch surveys at Pevensey yesterday and ticked Lesser Water Plantain and Thread-leaved Water Crowfoot as well as seeing a gravid female Fen Raft Spider and four nursery webs!

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