Medmerry Surveys 2020

2020 - 7th Year of Surveys at Medmerry

We look forward to 2020. ALL surveys (approx. 2 hours in length) will start at 13:00 PROMPT, meeting at the RSPB Earnley Car Park at Grid Ref SZ 816 968 and then car sharing either to 1) Easton Lane for the 2 Plant Surveys  and the Grasshopper Survey  or along the track to the pools for the Dragonfly Surveys  (Little walking required on any date.) See Main Events List for more information. Sessions are open to all, no matter what your level of expertise, as guidance will be provided. We shall use the Society’s equipment but hand magnifiers, binoculars and reference books will be useful. Any questions or if help required with transport then please contact Philippa Arnott on   or phone 01243 575345.


7 August Grasshoppers 1

Philippa Arnott divided us up into two Survey Teams in order to have the correct number of members surveying according to Coronavirus Rules. The first team consisted of Helen Dignum, Sylvia Gill, Mary Iden, Daphne Flach and our President Jim Bagley who joined us on site.

The weather was hot, hot, hot getting up to nearly 30 degrees Centigrade. Although in mitigation we did have a gentle breeze.

We were surveying a new area for Grasshoppers and Bush Crickets. We walked from RSPB car park Earnley across the road, through the pedestrian side gate and a little way along the track which we normally drive along before going up the bank on the right-hand side. This bank which runs parallel to the track had been sown with wildflowers.

Philippa explained we were going to survey an area with our sweep nets, examine and identify our specimens, then release them before moving on fifty yards and repeating the process along the bank as far as we could get in the allocated two hours, surveying four sites in all.

The others did very well wielding their sweep nets, collecting and identifying species. (Daphne did manage to get some specimens in her sweep net but they invariably jumped out before they could be put in the specimen pot. It was 1 to Daphne and 9 to the grasshoppers.)

 The Team identified Lesser Marsh Grasshopper and Meadow Grasshopper at each of the four sites.

 Our President, Jim Bagley came up trumps and caught a Long-winged Cone-head Bush Cricket at the first site, and two more were found in the fourth site.

Now it will be up to Team Two to see what they find starting from the far end of the wildflower bank and working towards the end where our Team One had started.

 Daphne Flach

 A female Long-winged Conehead

The new Grasshopper survey site.

Surveying in action.

July 10 and 17  Dragonflies

Due to the Covid-19 restrictions of only 6 people allowed together at any one time, the dragonfly survey was split into two.  On the original date of July 3rd the wind was so strong and the weather so poor that the survey was abandoned.  Four surveyors attended the rearranged date of July 10th and another 4 on July 17th.  This worked well though Team 2 on 17th had very strong winds again!

On July 10th  there was a 14mph NW wind, dry with some sun.  The total count was
Blue-tailed damselfly                                                                             8  (C)
Small red-eyed damselfly                                                                      9  (C)   (4 prs Ov + 1 Ad)
Ruddy darter                                                                                         8  (C)   (6 Ad + 1 Co)
Emperor                                                                                                5  (B)    (3 Ad + 2 Ov)
Common blue damselfly                                                                       4  (B)    (2 Ad + 2 Ov)
Emperor exuvia                                                                                     1 Ex
                                                                        Total = 34 animals + 1 exuvia
Other wildlife seen included Skylarks, Whitethroat with 2 young, Lapwing, Sand martin, Yellowhammer, Reed bunting, Kestrel, Buzzard, Reed warbler, Moorhen, Marsh frogs, Swallow, Gatekeepers and a Roe deer.

On July 17th  it was sunny and very windy.  The total count was
Emperor                                                                                               5 (B)     4 Ad 1 Ov
Common blue damselfly                                                                      3 (B)    3 Ad
Blue-tailed damselfly                                                                            1 (A)    1 Ad
Ruddy darter                                                                                         1 (A)    1 Ad
Exuvia sp                                                                                               1 Ex     same one as found on 10th?
                                                                          Total = 10 animals + 1 exuvia
Other wildlife seen included a dark coloured Buzzard, Skylarks overhead, Coot in the reeds, funnel spiders in gorse.  Amongst various butterflies 2 Gatekeepers were noted
Philippa Arnott

Emperor - comes from the below

Emperor exuvia

Common blue damselfly

Blue tailed damselfly

Ruddy darter

Emperor ovipositting

Friday 19th June Second Medmerry Botany Survey

So glad we had set a reserve date for this quantitative Survey after the first attempt was rained off on the 12th June. It was a little breezy and some of the grasses had ‘gone over’, making identification a bit tricky, but after discussing how to ‘fairly’ conduct a quadrat survey (in order to cover the plot and accurately record presence of a species ) , six members lined up, socially distanced  and worked their way along the bank.
The results from 40 plus quadrats were recorded, and as expected, ox-eye daisy was the most common species. The temptation to ‘capture’ some of the ‘rare’ species noted in the first survey were resisted and it will be interesting to see the analysis so as to compare the results with previous years.
Looking forward to the dragonfly survey in July.

Gill Hance

A representative quadrat

Surveyors at work

Common blue damselfly - ready for next survey!

A regular attendee - thick legged flower beetle

Friday 5th June – First Medmerry Survey - First Event since "Lockdown"

We’re allowed ‘out’! How exciting, an outing to Medmerry, equipped with social distancing instructions from the government and with further instructions and permission from the RSPB to go ahead with the Society’s first survey of 2020. Four members were greeted by a sea of oxeye daisies swaying in the breeze, no doubt what would be recorded as Dominant, according to the DAFOR scale. (These scores range from Dominant, Abundant, Frequent, Occasional to Rare.)
An interesting hour was spent scouring the entire survey area for species of wildflowers and grasses, books and keys to hand and plastic bags/boxes for specimens to be discussed at the end. Members regrouped (at appropriate spacing), held the contents of their bags up to be identified and then voted on the DAFOR score for each species. It was noted that there is still a change in species occurrence along the length of the survey area and that some species had reduced in abundance compared with previous years. Finally, we discussed how to conduct our more detailed quadrat survey on the 12th June with the current government guidance ……we think it can be done!

Gill Hance

Medmerry May 5 2020
Abundant Ox-eyes

Medmarry May 5 2020
And some Vetch
Medmerry May 5 2020
Down among the daisies
Medmerry May 5 2020
Identifing at a social distance - then the hat blows off!
medmerry beetle May 5 2020
A freiendly beetle

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