Walking up Brakey Bank this morning I was pleasantly surprised to find some Bluebells out in flower and fully out too. Not many but plenty of Wood Anemones, a few Celandines and a couple of Red Campion too. That coupled with finding two Gorse Shieldbugs on Monday makes one feel that despite the incessant wind and rain, Spring is still able to make it’s presence felt.
HBC have purchased 6 Exmoor ponies, yes 6 not 5 as announced on Facebook. They are currently in the heathland compartment behind the Quarry closest to the Coastguard cottages. They arrived on Saturday but today was the first opportunity to get a decent photo due to the atrocious weather. Still windy this morning but a bit of welcome sun.
At the top of Ecclesbourne Glen there is a wild rose hedge that has proved to be good habitat for invertebrates. A number of finds over the past year have been new species for the Country Park list. Despite the Bank Holiday Weekend being cold and blustery, fresh leaf growth on the rose hedge was worth searching as it revealed another new species. It was a parasitoid wasp of the Platygastridae family, and not only was it a new species for the Country Park list, it was a new UK species. Until last weekend there were four wasps of the genus Metaclisis on the UK list, there are now five. Metaclisis germanica was described earlier this year as a new species to science, and it had only ever been found in Germany. Identification was made by microscopic examination comparing the wasp to the species description.
A search in tussocks of grass growing on the sandstone bluff in the middle of the quarry has found an interesting Springtail or Collembola. Anurophorus laricis is a new species for the Country Park, and also a new species for Sussex. Springtails are so called because they have a forked appendage (a furca) under their back end that acts like a spring enabling them to flip away when danger approaches. The species found yesterday has no furca, and hence the question arises as to whether it ought be called a springtail, perhaps better to use the preferred term Collembola.
This week the parking ticket machines at the Country Park that have been locked up since one was broken into in November have been brought back into use. A Ranger also informed us that as from 1st April there will be an increase in the charges. £2.50 for 2 hours, £3.50 for all day and £50.00 for a season ticket. We also know of at least one enforcement ticket being issued today.