Tuesday, 18 August 2009

Tuesday 18th.August 2009

It was time for the Dormouse and Reptile survey , up on the Greensand Ridge .
Both surveys proved hard work in the heat , and both produced very little return . The conditions seemed very good for reptiles , but the results said otherwise . A sub.adult and an immature Grass Snake , a total count of just three Slow Worms , one of them enjoying the sun in natural surroundings rather than under refugia , was a pleasant change . Just a single Adder , a male was recorded , and from the look of him , it was only because he was digesting a meal , that we found him under one of the tins .
As far as Dormice were concerned , just two single males , one at each site , was all that we could muster , and no photographs , as both were very active . It is worrying that we have not found a female , or a family on either this survey or the last , as this is their breeding season . We were joined again today by a university student , who is studying Dormice for her degree . She has been spending much of this season attending surveys like today at many sites , and she confirmed that it is not just us finding very low numbers , it is the same on every site that she has been to . Two years ago , at this time of year , we would expect to have found 20+ animals , including young , in the same number of boxes .
A few insects that we came across were , this juvenile Common Green Grasshopper , which wanted to get in on the finger thing , and what looks like a creche of juvenile Pied Shieldbugs , on the underside of a leaf . If it hadn't been for ShySongbird identifying one a while back , I wouldn't have known what they were . A plant we came across had us all head scratching , till we got back to the yard at lunchtime . The flowers were saying Ragwort , but the leaves were not . It was top heavy and laying over under it's weight . Looking through the wild flower guide , the only one that comes near is Alpine Ragwort , but the book said that it was not found in GB , but was in France and Germany . Anyone got any other ideas ?
Only other things of interest were a couple of fungi . The first , with no common name is Polyporus badius , a leathery type , starting grey/brown , then going this Chestnut colour . The second , a bracket type , Daedalea quercina-Maze-gill , doing what it says . the second part of the latin name , indicating that it is virtually restricted to Oaks , and the common name describing the underside perfectly .


Warren Baker said...

Two consecutive wet summers has probably knocked back Doormice numbers greenie, they will bounce back.
I'm surprised you didn't get one curled round your finger today!

Kingsdowner said...

Put the insects down Fred!

Re yellow flowered plant, it's not a St John's Wort is it - Hairy?

Anonymous said...

Hi Greenie,
How about Goldenrod Solidago virguarea for the yellow flower?
I found some in Borthwood Copse last week, it had me stumped too, but I think yours looks similar.

Anonymous said...

Greenie. It is Alpine Ragwort. My wildflower guide ( Fitter, Fitter & Blamey ) states it is found in Britain, but as an introduced species.

ShySongbird said...

Hi Greenie sorry to have missed commenting on your last couple of posts, I had read each of them though and of course found them as interesting as always. I loved seeing the Adonis Blue on the previous post, I don't think I have seen one.

I was very sad to learn of the apparent further decline of the Dormouse. It seems by your observations and that of the university student that the decline is increasing rapidly. I do hope something can be done to halt this.

Thanks very much for visiting my blog and confirming my tentative IDs, it's much appreciated. I was interested to see the grasshopper on your post and reminded that one thing I didn't mention on my post was that we spoke briefly to a man at Otmoor who was conducting a grasshopper survey which included recording their sounds.

I bow to yours and Deans better judgement but I thought the mystery flower looked more like one of the St John's Worts and as I know from my garden one they do tend to lay down under their own weight sometimes.

Greenie said...

Warren ,
I did have one trying to climb my arm to get away .

Steve ,
Definitely not any of the St.John's Worts , but thanks for the suggestion .

Rob ,
Thanks for your suggestion too , but we have Golden Rod in the garden and Canadian on the Common , so I ruled them out too .

Dean ,
Thanks for your confirmation . Must get a more up to date reference book . Found a lot more along roadsides up on the Greensand Ridge , and feel very confident with the ID .

ShySongbird ,
I too hope that this is just a blip with the Dormice , but with Reptiles seemingly less numerous this year , can only think that the first cold Winter for 3 or 4 , might have taken a toll on many hibernating animals . A St. John's Wort species was my first port of call too , but feel sure that it is Alpine Ragwort .