Jo catches the bug

Posted by Graeme Lyons , Monday, 30 May 2011 18:36

Don't really know where to start today. I'll start at the end then in a Star Wars like way and offer up the best first. After a long day looking for plants, dipping on a few things and ending up getting thoroughly drenched from above and below, Jo and I rested under some large trees. I liked the look of a fallen Beech with a number of fruiting bodies sticking out of it. I lifted a bracket fungi to find a new species for me, the local Mycetophagus multipunctatus. Jo was off looking for beetles too and after I found the larvae of the saproxylic Nb moth Waved Black, Jo presented me with a beetle and said 'what's this one?'. It's Stictolpetura scutellata (photo - sorry, I didn't realise how dirty it was!), a Na longhorn that I have been hoping to see one day as there are no records for it in Sussex. She then presented me with a tiny wasp with little 'plates' on its front legs. I have, since I bought 'The Wasps of Surrey', wanted to see one of these strange digging wasps. Of the three species, it turns out Jo found the scarce (Na) one, Crabro scutellatus. It had beautiful yellow and purple stripes on its plates and although Jo found it on a dead tree, it seems it's a specialist of damp heaths. We were surrounded by such habitat. So Jo adds two Na species to my list for me while I only manage a local. I think I will be making more use of her eagle-eyes!

I also added Brown Beaked-sedge to my list and saw more Marsh Club-moss in a square metre than I have ever seen before.
Right at the start of the day we went looking for a rare labiate, Bastard Balm. It was growing on the rides of a conifer plantation and I was quite surprised at just how big the flowers are (I photographed one that had fallen off for scale). Another great day, I've ended the day on 3395. Oh yeah, and apparently my blog is this month's edition of Bird Watching magazine!

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