Third time lucky!

Posted by Graeme Lyons , Saturday 19 March 2011 19:05

Well today started bad. Got up at 5.00 am to do a bird survey, got in the car at 5.45 am to find that I had left the lights on when I came home from work ill a few days ago. Survey aborted. After a £62 update to my RAC cover, I finally got the damn thing going again. A glorious day awaited so I went to Southerham to see what I could see. Lots of Aphodius beetles on the wing. I saw a beautiful spider that was identifiable in the field although I didn't get a photo (too fast!). A male Alopecosa barbipes with hairy segments on the front legs. A real handsome beast, Google it! Tightly grazed chalk-grassland certainly seems like a typical habitat according to the texts. Tick number one. I found these two tiny snails under an old post. Bear in mind that each snail is under 3 mm. The snail on the left is new to me and is the Moss Chrysalis Snail Pupilla muscorum. Tick number two. The snail on the right is the tiny but beautiful Ribbed Grass Snail Vallonia costata

I then had time to have another look for Early Meadow-grass at Shoreham. Third time lucky. I found it on the causeway along the river close to the airport. Not much fun dodging dock muck, swooping police helicopters and wet dogs. It's funny how as soon as you bend down you become fair game to any dog. The moment I found the grass and then bent down to take a shot was ruined by a wet dog that jumped over me, the grass and my camera before it's mate came up and shuck half the contents of the river all over me! Anyway, here is the grass. Very vibrant green, reminded me of the colour of Marsh Club-moss. 
 Here it is on the right next to some of the ubiquitous Annual Meadow-grass.
I was worried that it would be hard to spot as you often see AMG that is small and yellowish but with EMG all the plants are consistently the same shade of yellow-green throughout. The leaves are also quite short and stubby. The arrangement of the florets on the spikelets and the shape of the anthers are the clinchers though. I was going to call this post 'Is that it!?' but I actually think this little grass is quite smart. Tick number three. Finally, I had a moss tick growing near the Early Meadow-grass which was Syntrichia intermedia being my fourth and final tick of the day leaving me on 3159 species. I finished the day off by giving a talk to BC on moths which seemed to go down quite well. Now for the the lasagne Jo made which is magnificent!

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