Posted by Graeme Lyons , Sunday 29 December 2019 08:39

Sphagnumb: When you sieve so much Sphagnum in the uplands looking for money spiders in December that you simultaneous can't feel your fingers nor care about anything else other than sieving more Sphagnum.

"At Christmas dinner he became very disengaged, looking longingly north out of the window. His hands chapped and scratched. We fear he has become Sphagnumb to his core. Only the start of a new year can save him now".

Low cloud resulted in me spending half a day on adjacent land to Staffs WT's Black Brook reserve by accident (I saw some rocks that looked like the ones on the website, they were the wrong rocks). All day I was at around 400 m altitude. Got a few nice bits out of it though. On both the neighbouring land and the reserve I had one male each of the 1.5 mm long nationally scarce Latithorax faustus! Anther upland species right on the limit of its range in England in the Peak District.

There were lots of Walckneria cuspidata yesterday, helping to bring my Staffordshire spider list up to 103 species in eight days in late December, pretty chuffed with that. Also a new 10 km square record for a winter adult female Ozyptila trux.

The big surprise was another lifer and a new one for the year list. An adult female Agyneta decora. Known from the 10 km square this is one of the females that have swollen palps. So much like an immature male that it would be very easy to dismiss them in the field and not take them. I have learnt a valuable lesson here. Anyway that's 387 for the year for me. This is a really interesting one as it's new to the group but it's also from a family that is very typically adult in the summer. I do love just hitting a square and seeing what you find rather than targeting specific species.

An impressive landscape when the fog cleared! Even if I wasn't in quite the right place.

And in a mire right next to where the parking area is, my 4th record this year of Hieroglyphic Ladybird! This one sieved from Sphagnum. Anyone else think this is having a good year? I have not seen it until this summer. I did also have a singing Crossbill on the reserve but my sound recordings came out so bad they were not worth putting here. Today I am heading north again for more Sphagnum sieving to Knotbury Common.

1 Response to "Sphagnumb"

Hilary Melton-Butcher Says:

Great word 'Sphagnumb'and boy it' looks chilly - hope the Knotbury Common revealed lots to you. Cheers Hilary

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