Saturday, February 17
Category Archives: Wildlife
Thanks to Friends of Lancing Ring member Cynthia in Lynchmere Avenue, North Lancing for these great pictures of a Sparrowhawk in her garden
Report from Adrienne Stevenson;
Last Sunday, a small group enjoyed a most enjoyable and informative walk around the Ring led by Brianne Reeves. After a rather grey start to the day, (when we began to wonder just how many butterflies we would see), the clouds parted and we were blessed with blue skies, bright sunshine and the warmth that finally encouraged numerous butterflies to emerge from their hiding places. Brianne is such an engaging guide and her enthusiasm and knowledge had us all spellbound and even the young children amongst the group were engaged throughout the walk. We would like to thank Brianne so much for agreeing to give up a Sunday morning to take us round.
So what did we see? Well, there were numerous small blue butterflies – Chalk Hill Blue, Common Blue and Holly Blue and by the end of the walk we were even getting quite good at working out which were which! We saw Meadow Brown, Speckled Wood, and learnt how the Wall Brown often likes to land on paths. There were Small Heath Butterflies which we discovered flop to one side when resting! I will add a list of the varieties at the end, but one lovely discovery was The Silver-washed Fritillary – very beautiful and which we understand is not so frequently seen.
However, Brianne’s walks are not just confined to butterflies and we discovered the names of the numerous plants around the Reserve. We found newly emerged ladybirds that most of us confessed we would have walked straight past! Whilst amid all this our attention was drawn to the call of a Kestrel, Greenfinch or the Chiffchaff.
All in all we had a most absorbing time, left all our troubles behind and immersed ourselves completely in the wonder and beauty of our beautiful hill. Thank you once again Brianne, it couldn’t have been better!
List of Butterfly species observed (I hope I have them all!):
Some of the other species observed:
6 spotted Burnet Moths
Various other moths
Bees – various
Some of the numerous Plants identified:
Old Man’s Beard
Spring is slowly gathering momentum and wildlife will soon be popping up around the reserve.
If you see a Butterfly, Bumblebee, Ladybird or Hoverfly or any other wildlife on the reserve over the next few weeks, please make a note of when and where and send the details to this website using the form on the Sightings page .
The walk was about an hour in length
We arrived at the main car park at around 3:30 in the afternoon and walked into the reserve via the wooded area, reaching the grassy meadow and taking the low path on the south side.
Here was sheltered from gusty wind which was keeping any butterflies from flight.
A few Small Skippers and a Marbled White were active, mostly on the flower heads of the Greater Knapweed.
About half way along, we headed up the slope keeping among the shelter of bushes where possible and made our way to the Dewpond.
Checking for signs of Dragonflies, there was none on the wing. It was still gusty and flight would of been hard work .
Another visitor spoke to us about the sighting of a small Yellow Snake, he had seen on the bank of the Dewpond. Also of seeing some youths with a Vivariam type container.
We continued our walk into the Beech woods area aiming for the far side walking via the area of replanted beech and ash.
Among the woods in the sheltered dappled sunlit spots, were several butterflies . A Comma, two Gatekeepers, Red Admiral, Speckled Wood and Large White.
Beyond the trees in an area of bramble a male Broad-bodied Chaser Dragonfly was seen resting in the sunny sheltered space.
His work of mating and guarding the females when they were egg depositing over the Dewpond is done. Hopefully larvae will develop and flourish .
Heading southwards through the tree canopy a noisy group of Long-tailed tits, twittered in the branches of Ash trees which swayed in the wind blowing overhead.
We left the woodland crossing back through the meadow and headed home for a cup of tea.
A detour from the usual visit to the clump was taken today, we took the path across the field of College Farm that goes on through Cow Bottom and eventually arrives at Coombes Church. We turned back at the point where the path crosses the college farm track.
On the return a mystery butterfly caught our attention and managed to elude a good enough view to be identified. Any hope that it might be something previously unrecorded in the area was given up.
We had hoped it might be possible to gain access to the designated SNCI area known as Applesham Bank but although it is supposed to be accessible there appeared to be no gap in the barbed wire fencing. While looking for a possible gate we walked the edge of the field, we stopped in our tracks half way along it. An Adder was laying on the path and slightly startled Jan who had almost trod on it. The snake was small as Adders go, it slid off before we had chance to get a photograph.
Eventually we arrived back on the Clump and made our way down the hill, skirting the woodland area.
It was an exciting moment to see first one then two Wall Brown butterflies in the dappled shady edges. By the time we reached the bottom we had seen two more. This was quite a special event as I have only ever seen one Wall butterflyon the Ring before. We also had good look at an Orange Tip which was basking on a leaf for a few moments. The second sighting of that species for the day.
Other species seen were Speckled Wood, Peacock and Brimstone
After planting the climbing Beans in our adjacent allotment we chilled a little with a walk around McIntyres Field.
It would be more appropriate to call it a meadow these days since becoming a part of the nature reserve it had been allowed to naturalise with just one annual mowing. It has regular cutting of wide pathways around and through to give good access for walkers. The meadow is host to many flowering plants including Pyramidal orchids in summer.
Many insects take advantage of this especially Grasshoppers which turn the meadow into a discordant cacophony of stridulation on hot still days.
Today there was no noise from insects, and a fresh wind kept the heat of the sunshine to a comfortable level.
The meadow plants are gaining height but not yet full grown, another few weeks before that is reached.
Most notable to see is great drifts of flowering Cow Parsley which has colonised the Western edge of the meadow . Frequently fluttering over it were Large and Small White butterflies and a single Orange Tip, which attempted to chase off any other butterfly it encountered.
Took a walk on the reserve from Halewick Lane, up through the course grassy slope. I disturbed a basking Grass Snake which slid off into undergrowth. Continuing up under the Hawthorn canopy where the closeness of the contorted tree trunks give an eerie sense to the atmosphere.
Crossing the track and into the Ash Woodland and I come upon the area of Early Purple Orchids, now in full flower.
Coming out of the woodland onto another path leading up to the Dewpond. Here I am accompanied by several Speckled Wood, an Orange Tip and a Brimstone butterfly. Arriving at the Dewpond for a quick look. No sign of Odonata, which is a fancy word for Dragonflies and Damselflies.
I turn south and return on the same path, again passed by the Brimstone that overtook me earlier.
At the clump of Ground Ivy I had been watching on previous visits i checked for insect life. Some Bumblebees and other unidentified flies, no Bee-flies this time.
I mustnt forget to mention the birdsong which all the while is filling the air quite loudly. I dont know all the songs but the definite call of Robins and Chiff-chaff stood out to me.
I Worked my way round the slope to return to the carpark at Halewick Lane
Now beginning their flowering season, the Early Purple Orchids are showing the first flowers.