A couple of years ago a neighbour of mine turned up with a worried expression on his face. He thought he had found a cockroach on his bathroom floor. It turned out to be our largest species of great diving beetle Dytiscus dimidiatus. I have to say that I suspected that the Balfour-Brown Club would not accept the unlikely record for this rare water beetle from a bathroom, but I was relieved to hear that it was recorded in the 1960’s in ditches at Newenden, just down the road from Northiam. It is evidently still there, and this one was attracted by the bathroom light, like a moth. This is not the only very odd record for this species, however. Read the rest of this entry »
Archive for January 27th, 2008
On neutral soils False-oat-grass Arrhenatherum elatius is a coarse leaved grass that tends to take over grasslands when they are abandoned. It is frequently found along road-side verges which are irregularly mown. Here it forms dense tussocky grassland, often with coarse herbs. This sort of grassland is great for small mammals and reptiles, but to the botanist it is an impoverished community, as the dense leaf litter smothers smaller interesting plants. As a result it is often regarded as a sign that a grassland is in uunfavourable condition if this community is widespread. So why am I writing about a common plant that is regarded as an indicator of bad habitat management?
A party of 110 white fronted geese flew in and circled Burowes pit during the morning, eventually departing towards Lydd and out of sight (a group of 60 were seen at Scotney pit later in the day). Like the last group to appear on the reserve, part of the flock reappeared to roost on Burrowes pit late afternoon. The two Slavonian grebes, one on Burrowes and the other on New excavations, were still present, and a Dartford warbler was seen in the bushes near the start of the return trail. Peregrines put in a couple of flight appearances over the back of Burrowes pit and the shag was still present on the islands in front of Makepeace hide, resting with the cormorants.
On Long Pit late morning, a single Long-tailed Duck, two Scaup and four Goldeneye (two drakes) were visible from the eastern end of the pit (near Harbour Farm Barns). On the Beach Reserve the Shore Lark is still present near the Red-roofed Hut. On the shore more than 100 sparkling white Sanderling feeding at the edge of the shore (below) and about 45 White-fronted Geese flew over late morning.