Is there no stopping Graffham Common?!

Posted by Graeme Lyons , Tuesday 13 June 2017 21:26

So a bit of a break from the 1000species business until I have pulled everything together. Off the success of the Graffham Common visit on Saturday though (adding four new spiders to the reserve list - bringing it to 115 species, including Dipoena tristis (Na) and Araneus angulatus (Na)), I decided to do the invertebrate survey. I was not dissapointed and added not one but two species new to the reserve network! Quite a surprise right at the end of the day, about 5.15 pm was noticing this tiny little plume moth in the sundew area. I knew instantly it was going to be the Sundew Plume. This is the first record in Sussex for 20 years and then it was only known from Ambersham Common. This is a Na species. It's fascinating to think the larvae can eat the leaves of Round-leaved Sundew without getting stuck in it. Unlike this Chrysopa perla.

In fact Round-leaved and Oblong-leaved Sundew are now present on the east side, with masses of Hare's-tail Cotton-grass too. Also, Marsh Club-moss has been refound on the west, I predict it's only a matter of time before this spreads to the east too.

I kicked a Scallop Shell up, the first time I have seen one of these for years.

And I found this Striped Ladybird larva, which reminded me of Wordy from Look and Read.

But before all this began, ten minutes after getting on site I netted a big green/purple beetle in flight. I struggled to ID this in the field then realised it's the dark colour form of Dune Chafer. Another species new to the reserve network and new for me too. It's quite the looker.

That brings the species seen on the reserves to 9856. However, that's just gone up to 9857 since i started writing this as Alice has found something VERY exciting at Flatropers today. So why is Graffham churning out rarity after rarity? Well it's connected to Ambersham by a bit of pretty good habitat, so there is a reservoir there. It's also been smashed about and opened up, but with about 30% of trees left to form glades and and provide shelter. So it's at just the right stage in succession but is also a great example of landscape scale conservation. Invertebrates that were only ever known in Sussex from Ambersham or few other places are now getting an opportunity to colonise/recolonise Graffham Common. It's a fantastic conservation success story. I can't wait to go back next month.

1 Response to "Is there no stopping Graffham Common?!"

Ali Says:

Cracking Plume Moth

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