Thursday, 16 March 2017

Turner at Petworth, Heyshott and Cedar Cups

Heyshott work party
On Saturday I visited Petworth House to see the 'Turner and the Age of British Watercolour' exhibition. There were only seven Turners in the exhibition gallery, the rest being other well known water colourists. 'First Rate Taking In Stores' was amazing, the amount of detail quite incredible for the size, and the contemporary description of how it was painted made it even more interesting. After that I looked at the Turners in the main galleries and saw again the three Petworth Turners in the 'Grinling Gibbons hall' which need restoration. The portraits from the Holbein school were excellent, especially the Henry VIII. I also liked the portrait of Elizabeth Percy.
By the path from the car park to the house the daffodils formed a carpet, with tall old conifers beside the walkway:




On Sunday a drizzly morning was spent metal detecting, my only finds being a lead hem weight, a large shot and a button:
A visit to Arundel WWT on Monday showed two toads in the pool by the entrance walkway. The Polyanthus on our balcony have all bloomed again so I tidied the planters up. The geraniums are looking good for Spring. While doing this I found a Western Conifer Seed Bug, a recent (1999) immigrant to the south of the country from the USA. The miniature orchid in our bay window has flowered again to join two Phalaenopsis.
Common Toad, Bufo bufo

Polyanthus



Western Conifer Seed Bug, Leptoglossus occidentalis
On Tuesday a walk along Ferring Rife gave me my first Small Tortoiseshells of the season - six in total, not bad given the cloud cover. I also spotted an Angle Shades moth larva on a dock leaf. The last one I saw was eating the mint on our balcony. The ponds on the west bank had plenty of frog spawn, including clusters of tiny tadpoles:
Angle Shades larva on dock leaf, Phlogophora meticulosa


Angle Shades larva

frog spawn

frog spawn

tadpoles

Small Tortoiseshell on nettle

Small Tortoiseshell, Aglais urticae


Snowdrop, Galanthus species
At home I found a Yellow-backed Clothes moth by the balcony light.
Yellow-backed Clothes moth, Monopis obviella

Yesterday I joined the work party at Heyshott escarpment. This is the first one for a month which has not been cancelled due to bad weather. A bank by the path was covered in Cuckoo Flower, foodplant of the Orange Tip. Afterwards I joined Mark at Iping & Stedham Commona then photographed the Cedar Cups at a churchyard. There are many more out than the last time I saw them, perhaps 80.
Heyshott work party


Brimstone on the primrose slope

Cuckoo Flower, Cardamine pratensis

British White Cattle on Stedham Common

The use of Sussex Wildlife Cattle on the local commons is a matter of controversy among the local farming community after a SWT cow was found to have bovine TB in 2015: http://bit.ly/2nJOold
Cedar Cup, Geopora sumneriana





Small Tortoiseshell in churchyard at Singleton.

Monday, 13 February 2017

Brent Geese and Curlews at Pagham Harbour

On February 7th I visited Pagham Harbour following a report of a pair of Bearded Tits seen at the Breech Pool the previous day. Instead I saw thousands of Brent Geese flying over - heading seawards in the morning and returning in the afternoon. A flock of around a hundred Curlews arrived on the grassland, with some Godwits among them, not sure which species. There were many Widgeon on the mudflats and also some Lapwings. A Cormorant arrived and a Corn Bunting appeared briefly.
Breech Pool

Cormorant, Phalacrocorax carbo

Corn Bunting, Emberiza calandra

Curlew, Numenius arquata

Curlews

Curlews

Curlews

Eurasian Widgeon, Anas penelope

Eurasian Widgeon

Godwit and Curlew

Kestrel, Falco tinnunculus

Kestrel

Lapwing, Vanellus vanellus

Pagham Harbour



Snowdrop, Galanthus species

Brent Geese, Branta bernicla






Brent Geese