24 March, 2013

159/1000

Late March is usually that time in spring when we can pretty safely say goodbye to those short, cold winter days. Wheatears will be returning, Orange-tip butterflies will be emerging, and the mild evenings will be beckoning spring-flying moths onto the wing...

... bollocks.

You look out there now, and it's snowing. No butterflies are emerging, no moths are out, and the few Wheatears that have made it here are freezing their little white arses off, wishing they stayed in Africa. If you'd excuse my language, I'd say it's absolutely barmy.

Luckily though, it hasn't all been that bad. Early March was quite nice, at times, and I even managed to get out to Stokes Field on a few occasions in the vain hope of finding flora and fauna to add to the '1000for1ksq' challenge that I think I'm failing at. My list currently stands at 159 (160 pending the identification of a weird purple weed in the garden when I get around to it), but since this is the first time I've ever tried to do a list, I've got no idea how I should feel about that total right now. Is it good, or completely pathetic? I want to say I've made a bit of an effort, but considering the fact that my nearest rival, Seth Gibson (i.e. 'the Gibster')- situated on the Epsom Common 1km square- has already totted up a mad total of 341 species, I'd say I've got no chance.

On a good note though, I was greeted one recent morning by this sign. Apparently, Stokes Field is now a 'local nature reserve', and no longer a grimy 'urban fringe' site. Hoorah!


Hart's Tongue fern Asplenium scolopendrium found in a churchyard just inside the imaginary 1km patch boundary...


The very common leaf mine of the fly, Phytomyza ilicis, present on just about every Holly bush in the area...


Ivy-leaved Toadflax Cymbalaria muralis, a self-seeded plant in the local graveyard...


Oak-based larval galls of the wasp, Andricus kollari. Most were vacated, so couldn't be counted, but one or two were still in tact...


Physcia adscendens, an obscure lichen, and one which I can't take credit for identifying. Thanks go to fellow challenger Matt Price for doing the honours...


Slender Speedwell Veronica filiformis, a dinky little plant growing by the side of the pavement near the house. Thanks to Steve G for setting the identification straight.


Wild Cherry blossom looking deceitfully spring-like...


If anyone is interested (don't know why you wouldn't be), I'll be updating my 1000 species list on a separate page below the blog title. Hopefully April will see that list increase a bit, once I can actually manage to whip the moth trap out before getting frozen to death in the process.

Anyway, I'm off to the rolling farmland of Suffolk for a few days. Might even pay that Thetford Dipper a visit. Ta.

4 comments:

Steve Gale said...

Hi Bill, have you ruled out the speedwell as Slender? It looks like that rather than Common Field from the picture.

Bill said...

Thanks Steve. I'll go with your suggestion of Slender. It was only ever a tentative ID to start with... they all look the same to an amateur's eye!

Bill

Gibster said...

So, speaking as the bloke with a mad total of 341 already (although it's climbed a bit since then) are you SERIOUSLY gonna count the Holly Leaf Miner from just the blotch? And are you saying that the intact gall DEFINITELY has the causer inside, and not a parasitoid or inquiline?

Tut tut tut...what has gone wrong with the youth of today, lol :D

PS when it does finally warm up I reckon you'll fly through the early hundreds with that moth trap of yours - you just watch!

Bill said...

I apologise for my youthful stupidity, Seth. We're all the same these days, trying to increase our lists by making things up, and just generally playing a dirty game! ;-)

I must say I did go on the element of probability with the Holly Leaf Miner- out of the hundreds of mines present, one of the bloody things must have been occupied!

Here's to a few warm days/nights in the not too distant future.

Bill