Not a Bad Day

19th March 2012, Monday

I had a wander round the reserve yesterday with Graeme Lyons, the Sussex Wildlife Trust reserve ecologist. The intention was to collect some spiders and particularly beetles from Castle Water and the Beach Reserve, but of course we couldn’t avoid being distracted by other wildlife as well. Graeme showed me several species of snail including pointed snail, wrinkled snail and banded snail (these snail names seem very to the point), while I returned the compliment with the spring tachinid Gonia picea and the hoverfly Cheilosia grossa. One of the most interesting things he showed me was not an invertebrate however but a fungus, one of a group called stalkballs, which Graeme described rather accurately as ‘a puffball on a stick’. He thinks it may be winter stalkball (Tulostuma brumale) which apperently is very uncommon in Sussex, but will get it checked by an expert and get back to me. Whaetever it is there are no records of stalkballs for the reserve, so it is another addition to the list.
The mystery stalkball – ‘a puffball on a stick’

Other notable sightings during the day included the pair of marsh harrier displaying at Castle Water and excellent head-height views of bearded tit below the viewpoint. To top it all off, one of the beetles we collected from the Castle Water reedbed turned out to be the Red Data Book rove beetle Lathrobium rufonitidum! Not a bad day indeed.