Wednesday 14 November
Myself and Nigel Kemp had a good stroll out over Pevensey Levels today where a Peacock was spotted looking for a hibernation spot. Several Red Admirals were also spotted along with quite a few Common Darters. (Bob Eade http://bobsbutterflies.blogspot.co.uk)
For those of you who don't know: the Common Darter is one of the most common dragonflies in Europe. (Ed jnr)
Lancing Ring has had half its grassland mown, and showing their appreciation in the warm sunshine were 3 Red Admiral and a male Brimstone. (Lindsay Morris)
A Brimstone has just flown through our garden in Frant. (Alan Loweth)
Yesterday (13 November) the BC reserves in Sussex were again visited by Mike Fearn and his fabulous Brighton Conservation Volunteers. The team of 14 was split, with one group burning up a vast quantity of brash in the recently created/extended Oaken Glade in Rowland Wood, while the other group continued the restoration of lowland heath habitat on Park Corner Heath (PCH).
One or two visitors have recently queried why we are now clearing so much vegetation, including a few (albeit inferior quality) oaks from Parris Plateau on PCH; I've felled three over the last two winters, from in front of the hut, with the last going yesterday. I think it's important to explain that this area was designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) to preserve this small patch of grassy heath habitat, which formed part of a once much larger area within the Vert Wood complex, before its near total destruction by post-war and post-1987 'blow down' clearances and coniferisation. We must hold on to what remains of this rare habitat and the rich fauna and flora it supports, including the reptiles which thrive on the more open and warm ground here. In addition to the images from yesterday's conservation work party, I've appended a pair of images taken as recently as 2007, which demonstrate the type and extent of the heathland habitat we're now reclaiming. We'll soon be clearing the young birch and buckthorn (Brimstones prefer the very small regrowths) over one of the favoured areas for Adder, Grass Snake and Slow-worm, but if we were to leave the vegetation to mature much further, the ground will become too shady and cool to support them.
So where are Oaken Glade and Parris Plateau, I hear some ask? At a recent meeting, all of the main rides and open spaces on our reserves were named, and Bob Foreman will soon be publishing a map to show where Skipper Corner, Long Furlong and Boggy Ride are. This will help communicate where you've seen the butterflies, moths and other wildlife which are already reacting in a very positive manner to the recent habitat work.
My thanks go to Mike and the Brighton Conservation Volunteers, and to Jonathan Squire and our own volunteers, who worked on the reserves last Sunday. (Neil Hulme)
A lunchtime return to Mill Hill produced just one rather shy Specked Wood and a friendly Clouded Yellow in pretty good nick. (David Cook)