Medmerry Surveys 2022

2022 - 9th Year of Surveys at Medmerry

ALL surveys (approx. 2 hours in length) will start at 13:00 PROMPT on specified Thursdays, 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.


Medmerry Survey – Grasshoppes and Crickets    4 August 2022


It was another warm day when eleven CNHS members and friends met for the Grasshoppers and Bush-crickets survey.  The temperature was about 24 C and it was quite windy.  On arrival at the site we discovered that the vegetation had grown up considerably since the last survey.  Instead of just grasses we were faced with brown, brittle grasses and tall plants such as wild carrot, ragwort and knapweed.  There was also fruiting bramble growing low across much of the ground.  This made using the nets extremely difficult but there was one area at the far side of the site that had shorter grasses and most animals were caught there.  We were pleased to see many grasshoppers all over the site but they were very active and difficult to catch or see closely.  It may be that we need to change our modus operandi and learn to identify the grasshoppers using bat detectors, without the need to catch them.

Three species were identified:    Lesser marsh grasshopper (4 caught)
                    Long-winged conehead (1 caught)
                    Meadow grasshopper (1 caught)

The Lesser marsh has always been the species with most individuals caught.

We were pleased to watch a large number of Swallows flying above us.  There were also Goldfinch, 2 Common blue butterflies and a Red-tailed bumblebee.

Thank you to all the team for their efforts in warm and challenging conditions.

Philippa Arnott

Looking for Grasshoopers

Lesser Marsh Grasshopper

Medmerry Survey – Early Dragonflies and Damselflies    7 July 2022


 It was a cloudy day with a northerly breeze and the five surveyors were unsure as to what would be spotted.  However, there were good stretches of clear water throughout the study zone (including within the gated area) and very quickly the sightings came flooding in.  With the help of binoculars, cameras and a range of guidebooks, as well as members’ growing knowledge, it was a joy to confidently make the identifications.  Thank you to the surveyors and to the sunshine which came out for a short time, increasing activity.

Recordings – 8 male Emperor dragonflies

                         1 female Emperor ovipositing

                         4 female Common darter

                         1 pair of Common darter in tandem

                         3 male Ruddy darter

                         1 female Ruddy darter

                         1 pair of Ruddy darter in tandem

                         2 male Norfolk hawker

                         1 female Norfolk hawker

        And - 6 Blue-tailed damselflies

                   3 male Common blue damselflies

                   1 young (teneral) Common blue damselfly

Other wildlife, noted on the day, were a male reed bunting, two reed warblers, a little grebe and a fine marsh harrier flying overhead. We also enjoyed many butterflies – small skipper, large skipper, small white, gatekeeper and meadow brown. All accompanied by the croaking of the resident marsh frogs.

Gill Hance

Norfolk Hawker

Male Ruddy Darter


Medmerry Survey – Botany 2 Quadrats    16June 2022

It was a very warm day (about 23 C) with a light, refreshing breeze when 4 surveyors met to conduct the quadrat survey on the botany bank.  Before we had even left the RSPB car park I had been watching a Whitethroat singing in the hedge and seen 2 Holly blue and a few Meadow brown butterflies.  Then an Emperor dragonfly flew past.

  The team each took a quadrat and formed a line covering the bank from the top, near the path, to the lower slope by the fence.  They worked steadily moving along in a line and managed to cover about half the site in just over 2 hours.  It was quite tiring as it was hot but they refused to stop early and collected a great deal of useful data.  A new species was also located, Hop trefoil, which had not been found last week so the total number of species has reached a record high.

  Birds heard singing included:  Cuckoo, Skylark, Reed and Sedge warblers, Chiffchaff, Blackbird, Wren and Stock dove.  Others included Kestrel, Buzzard, Black-headed and Mediterranean gulls, a flock of Rooks, a family of Blue tits and Carrion crow.

  There were many Meadow brown butterflies over the bank and one skipper.  This, unfortunately, flew past very quickly and disappeared so I was unable to check which species it was.  Common blue damselflies were flying everywhere as well.  An Emperor dragonfly flew over the surveyors, who had their heads down and did not see it. Grasshoppers were also in evidence and many Red-tailed bumblebees which were particularly evident on Birds-foot trefoil. Several ladybirds and a Thick-legged flower beetle were also spotted.

  Many thanks to the team for working so hard on a hot afternoon.

  Philippa Arnott


The Thick legged Flower Beetle on an Ox-eye Daisy


Medmerry Survey – Botany 1 DAFOR   9 June 2022


Six plant surveyors gathered at Earnley to begin the ninth year of Chichester Natural History Society’s Medmerry surveys.  Meeting this year on a Thursday in an attempt to beat the traffic, conditions were dry, and increasingly windy through the afternoon.  There was no sun, but it didn’t rain!  

A multitude of ox-eye daisies swayed in the breeze as members split into three groups to identify native plants growing on the bank by Easton Road car park, quite a challenge in some cases as of course many were still not in flower.  Much attention was paid initially to grasses, as many people find them hard to remember from the previous growing season! Impressively Gill and Christian Hance were able to find particular plants they had discovered in previous years.  

Sixty species were identified, the highest ever total, and contrasting with 53 in 2021.   New plants were Redshank, Pedunculate Oak and the Broad Bean casual crop plant.  Our DAFOR ratings (Dominant, Abundant, Frequent, Occasional, Rare) were generally similar to last year.  Cocksfoot has varied each year from occasional to frequent, and then back again, frequent this year.  Yorkshire Fog was abundant, whereas previously it was only occasional.  Trees are beginning to grow on the bank, with a couple of Hawthorn and Blackthorn seedlings seen over the past three years, and Oak for the first time this year.

Other species spotted during the afternoon included a Common Blue damselfly and a Meadow Brown butterfly, Whitethroat and Skylark were singing, and an Oystercatcher and various gull species flew overhead.

Diana Zeuner

Results: We found 60 species, the highest number ever (previous best 53 in 2021). 






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