Monday, 4 June 2018

Staying local

After seven days of chasing butterflies up and down the French Pyrenees it was a pleasant change to catch up with some local ticks. First up were the Bee Orchids on Cissbury Ring, Dawn and Jim had posted a tweet giving the heads up so I set off just after the morning rush. Post my Pyrenean adventures, my knees were protesting loudly so I climbed the not so steep westerly access very slowly. It was a good job that no one was present to witness my extremely slow descent.

I found the orchids exactly as described by D and J and set about recording them.

One bonus was that this year there is a bumper crop of Wild Strawberry, Fragaria Vesca, should have taken a pot of cream up with me.

I had a reserve venue further west where I had located Bees before so set off to find them. Unfortunately not a single one, but I did find Southern Marsh Orchid, Common Spotted Orchids and a Pyramidal just poking its very tight buds above the sward.

This site normally produces 1000+ specimens of 3 species of orchid and is protected by West Sussex County Council "Notable Verge" signs. Sadly these are now in need of repair or replacement and I guess, with tight budgets, these are not a high priority. I just hope that no enthusiastic contractor drives a mower through such a vulnerable habitat.

Next up was a tick that I had dipped previously. Martin and I had found Common Clubtails on the Thames last year and whilst I was on holiday Martin had connected with them on the Sussex Rother at Fittleworth. I wasn't too optimistic as there was considerable cloud cover and as I wandered downstream of the bridge even the Banded Demoiselles were reluctant to fly. However, the sun emerged just for a few minutes and two CCs were on the wing. At last one perched on a reed some way off and I just managed to get a record.

It could have stayed a bit longer

Nice to be back on the patch, just got to find one of those Sussex Wood Whites.

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