Natterjacktoad's blog

The first of December, the last of the fungi?

The first blog of December! 

The arrival of frosts and colder weather has started the end of the fungi season, but what an end to a fantastic season! Larch is proving a very interesting host locally (Surrey/Sussex/Hampshire borders) and I have been looking around plantations for fungi. Some are heavily overgrown with bracken and bramble but others are remarkably clear and often seem to host interesting fungi. Laccaria sp. are the most numerous but some other, much rarer, species are regular. 


Bored with fungi yet?

Last weekend I went to the New Forest to see the HFRGs (Hampshire Fungus Recording Group) display at the reptilary and go on one of the guided walks. I joined the group after going to this annual event two years ago and it was good to see some of the rather charismatic(!) members there. 

Incredibly, for the last day of October, there were still snakes basking in the enclosures. A single Grass Snake and four Adders including a very young one and a black individiual.


Sticky twitching

When is a twitch not a twitch? What IS a twitch? I suppose it's any trip to see something, whether you've seen it before or not. Is twitching all bad? I got very jaded when working at Pagham Harbour and hoardes of twitchers would descend to see a rare bird. The majority would be fine but there was always the oxygen-thief who would need to walk through a high-tide wader roost to get a better photo of a bird or try and flush a rarity from cover. And the majority would always, surprisingly, remain silent. It was fairly amusing to see the reaction of these idiots when told off by a woman (yes...

Surprise migration

Last week it became obvious that migrant moths were arriving in the south so the trap came out of hibernation and brightened the garden on two very mild, damp nights. On the first night there was an invasion of craneflies, lacewings and caddisflies (which as still awaiting identification) but the only migrants by the time I retired in the early hours were some Udea ferrugalis (Rusty-dot Pearls). The following morning there was an interesting Mocha sp on the trap which was potted. The egg boxes were checked and amongst a seasonal selection including Satellites and Red-green Carpets were 19...

Clean sheets

A fresh start today as I've been guilty of listing for the sake of listing. It's not a new phenomenon - when I was a keen birder I wanted to see 400 species before I was 30. I'm now nearly 50 and have still only seen 319 species as I completely lost interest in the futility of chasing around after birds found by other people. I admit that I was aiming to have seen 5000 species by the time I'm 50, but that's not going to happen either. Whilst I've seen some fabulous species this year thanks to the generosity of others sharing information, even Late Spider Orchid and Tansy Beetle have been...

A Long Long Weekend Part I

There were a couple of orchid species I wanted to see this year - Military and Late Spider. It became obvious that the season was going to be earlier than usual this year yet the weather was pretty unaccommodating so as soon as a couple of dry, if not hot, days were forecast, I planned to set off on a couple of adventures.

Going out to the car on Friday, I noticed a shieldbug on the windscreen. I potted it and realised that is was a new species for me.

  Troilus luridus.



Not really a blog - just a few sightings from the last couple of days. 

Had a wander around Woods Mill (Graeme and Penny's place of employment) yesterday to show mum some bluebells - and she also heard her first Nightingale :) The hoverfly Leucozona lucorum was new for me but only one (poor) photo as the damned thing wouldn't sit still! Saw some interesting spider behaviour in the vegetation by the big pond. One (terrible) photo, but the males were enthusiastically waving their palps around! Also saw my first Large Red Damsel for the year.

A single firebug at the Sompting...


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