Monday 30 June 2014

Marbled Whites and a Tawny Owl

Tawny Owl, Strix aluco
On Thursday I was advised by Neil Hulme  that the Marbled Whites at Fairmile Bottom were worth a visit. While there Neil spotted a white form of the Bee Orchid. One Marbled White had been captured by a Crab Spider. These arachnids account for considerable butterfly predation. In one location recently one spider captured several specimens of an endangered butterfly which is in serious risk of extinction at the site. Marbled whites are one of the  hosts for the larvae of a red parasitic mite, Trombidium breei, which do not harm the butterfly. Two interesting articles about this:
Afterwards I visited Houghton Forest, where I found a Fungus Weevil and a Peacock larva. As I was returning to the car park I heard a Turtle Dove at 4:30pm. I entered the woods in search of it and came to a glade. A large brown bird then flew off from a tree and perched in an adjacent one. I was able to get some shots of a beautiful Tawny Owl. When it flew it seemed much larger than it really is (15 inches tall).
Bee Orchid, Ophrys apifera
Bee Orchid, white variety, Ophrys apifera

Dandelion, Taraxacum officinale
Garden Grass-veneer, Chrysoteuchia culmella
Heath Bedstraw, Galium saxatile
Large Skipper, Ochlodes sylvanus
female Marbled White, Melanargia galathea
male Marbled White
female Marbled White

Marbled White, Melanargia galathea with red mite larvae, Trombidium breei
captured by Crab Spider, Misumena vatia.
One leg has been cut off and can be seen near the top of the flower.

Pyramidal Orchid, Anacamptis pyramidalis
Satin Grass-veneer, Crambus perlella f. warringtonellus
Short-winged Conehead, male, Conocephalus dorsalis
Wild rose, Rosa species
Houghton Forest:
Bird's-foot Trefoil, Lotus corniculatus
Creeping Cinquefoil, Potentilla reptans
Fungus weevil, Anthribus albinus

Peacock larva, Inachis io

Riband Wave, Idaea aversata ab. remutata
Ringlet, Aphantopus hyperantus
possible Small Buckthorn Roller, Ancylis obtusana
too worn for positive id
                                  the Small Buckthorn Roller has been recorded in nearby Rewell Wood

Small Tortoiseshell, Aglais urticae

Speckled Wood, Pararge aegeria
spider and prey
Tawny Owl, Strix aluco

Saturday 28 June 2014

Ringed Plover chicks and Ecosystem Services

Ringed Plover chick, Charadrius hiaticula

On Tuesday I attended a very interesting conference at Brighton Uni: “Understanding the Benefits of Ecosystem Services”. When I got home I caught the early evening light and was delighted to find our two Ringed Plovers have survived since I photographed them as fluffy little chicks on June 2. They can fly as they proved when a dog charged excitedly after a parent which unfortunately banked towards the chicks, dragging the dog with it. The chicks then took off while I told the dog where it could go! 

The conference programme is at the end of this blog.

the parents


chick and parents
parent and chick

I found this in the hallway:
Dark Arches, Apamea monoglypha
Understanding the Benefits of Ecosystem Services”

Session Chair: Tony Whitbread, Chief Executive, Sussex Wildlife Trust

later note: transcripts of presentations now available here:

10.00 Keynote address: Dr Caroline Lucas MP

Session One: Communities harnessing Ecosystem Services

10.20: John Little, Grass Roof Company: ‘Changing social housing greenspace for the people that live there; Rethinking grounds maintenance’

10.35: Louise Beaton, Action in Rural Sussex / Aldingbourne parish: ‘Aldingbourne Neighbourhood Plan: A community led approach to improving biodiversity and tackling flood risk’

10.50: Dr Colin Tingle, Lewes & Ouse Valley eco-nomics (L&OVe), Chalking up the Benefits South Downs NIA project officer: ‘Interpreting ecosystem services to engage local people’

Session Two: Ecosystem Services and resilience
Session Chair: Chris Corrigan, South East Regional Director, RSPB

11.20: John Gower, Environment Agency. Coastal Communities 2150 INTERREG project: ‘Using computer visualisations to engage with communities in the lower river Ouse valley to prepare for long-term climate change and sea level rises

11.35: Gary Grant, Director of Green Roof Consultancy and Fellow of Chartered Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management ‘Water Sensitive Urban Design and Rain Gardens’

11.50: Dr Mary Gearey, Brighton University: ‘Resilience and transition in response to water stress scenarios: Responses from water stakeholders at a catchment level’

2.05: Dusty Gedge, President of the European Federation of Green Roof Associations: ‘Green Roofs within a Green Infrastructure and Ecosystem Services Agenda’

Session Three: Policy developments / planning / economics
Session Chair: Chris Fairbrother, Landscape Strategy Lead, South Downs National Park Authority

13.30: Jonathan Porter, Technical Director, Countryscape: ‘Policy developments and implications’

13.45: Professor Alister Scott, Environment and Spatial Planning, Birmingham City University. ‘How the planning system can engage with the ecosystem approach’

14.00: Paul Morling Head of Economics, RSPB ‘New market based approaches for delivering Ecosystem Services’

14.15 Dr Ruth Waters, Head of Profession for the Ecosystem Approach, Natural England: ‘The ecosystem approach: from concept to reality

Session Four: Ecosystem services at the catchment scale
Session Chair: Dr Dawn Scott, Head of Biology and Biomedical Sciences, Brighton University

14.45: Meyrick Gough, Policy and Strategy Manager, Southern Water: ‘Ecosystem Services in water resources planning’

15.00: Dr Chris Manning, South Downs National Park Authority / Rich Howorth, Biosphere Project: ‘Actions to improve groundwater quality in the Brighton chalk aquifer of the South Downs’

15.15: Henri Brocklebank, Strategy Lead – Sussex Biodiversity Record Centre, Sussex Wildlife Trust: ‘Mapping ecosystems and services – the Sussex Ecoserv project’

15.30: Dr Tom Nisbet, Forest Research. 'Slowing the flow at Pickering - Using woodland to reduce flood risk'