Medmerry Surveys 2024

2024 - 11th 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 Report - Earlier-flying dragonflies, Survey on Thursday 4th July

A sunny, warm day but quite breezy (increasing to very breezy by the end of the Survey). The channels had been cleared of a significant amount of vegetation, resulting in widened water channels and reasonable views for the surveyors. We could also see fairly well to the further pool where Emperor, Black-tailed skimmer and Common blue damselfly were spotted. The meandering channel (inside the gate) was also good for sightings.

Results -
Male emperor  4.                                     Abundance B
Female emperor (Ov = ovipositing)  1.    Abundance A
Black-tailed skimmer 1.                           Abundance A
Four-spotted chaser 2.                            Abundance B
Norfolk hawker 1.                                    Abundance A
Ruddy darter 1 plus a Co = copulating pair = Ad 3.      Abundance B
Three Ex = exuvia all Darters

Common blue damselfly 11.                    Abundance C
Blue-tailed damselfly 8                            Abundance C

Other sightings
Yellow hammer, Blackbird, Reed warbler, Heron, Goldfinch, Linnet, Swallow, Little grebe, House martin, Sand martin and Sky lark.
In addition, Marsh frogs, Holly blue, Meadow brown and Small skipper as well as some bright yellow Monkey flower.

Notes on abbreviations
A = 1 , B = 2 - 5, C = 6 - 20, D = 21 - 100, Ad = total adults
Co = copulating pair ( 2 animals) , Ov = ovipositing, La = larva, Ex = exuvia, Em = pre-flight emergence.

Thanks to all attendees, including Alison Barker (who has recently lectured to the Society and also led members on a Field Outing searching for Dragonflies along the Chichester Canal.)

Gill Hance

Emperor Dragonfly

Four-spotted Chaser

Ruddy Darter


Medmerry Survey – Botany DAFOR - 6 June 2024

The day for the first survey of the year was dry, sunny with some cloud and a light breeze which increased in strength and became gusty.  The temperature was about 17 C.

Disappointingly only 4 members arrived to carry out the DAFOR survey.  Nevertheless, as they were all competent botanists the whole site was covered and several plants not recorded before were discovered.  The most notable of these was Grass-leaved vetchling which was hard to miss owing to the brilliance of its blooms.

Birds heard included:  Cetti’s warbler, Common whitethroat, Pheasant, Chiffchaff, Blackbird, Woodpigeon and Green woodpecker.  Two swans flew over the track with a wonderful sound from their beating wings.  Magpie, Carrion crow, Buzzard and Herring gull were seen flying.

There were many “blue” damselflies in tandem flying over the botany bank but as the surveyors had their heads down these were not identified. One Meadow brown butterfly was seen.  I heard Marsh frogs, as usual, and spotted one or two Red-tailed bumblebees and several green beetles including the delightfully-named Thick-legged flower beetle which were gracing the Ox-eye daisies.

Please note that the Quadrat survey planned for 13 June is CANCELLED.

The five of us are of the opinion that this format for the botany surveys has run its course after 10 years.  During this time a great deal of useful information has been gathered and shared and it has been a lot of fun too.  It has been fascinating to see how the different species, sown in Meadow Mix B, have fared.  Some new species have arrived of their own accord, some have disappeared while others have become more or less frequent.  

So it is now time to do something different.  The first idea is to hold a Wildflower Walk in a different area of the reserve, recording the species in a less structured way.  We would still have records to share with the RSPB and send to iRecord.  This idea will be discussed later to implement in 2025.

Meanwhile, the dragonfly and grasshopper & bush-cricket surveys will continue as normal.  We would love to see as many members there as possible.  It really helps to have many pairs of eyes.

Philippa Arnott

DAFOR = Dominant, Abundant, Frequent, Occasional, Rare, as a measure of species abundance


Grass-leaved Vetchling


Chichester, West Sussex

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