Thursday, 7 February 2019

Was it worth it?

Today has been reasonably mild. One half of me said that I ought to get off my ar bum and visit Matt Moser's land. My other half told me that there wouldn't be much about and I would be wasting my time. I am proud to say that I did make the effort but would my stupidity courage and fortitude be rewarded?

In one field Matt had sown a mixture of annual plants bearing seeds, designed to attract winter birds, and I made that my initial target.

How successful the project had been in terms of birds I have no idea. By now the crops lay flattened and the low-lying land - a heavy clay - was now very wet. I picked my way across the field with caution. My haul included a few spiders and half a dozen spiders, together with a couple of flat-backed millipedes. I also recorded a tiny (4 mm) beetle, which later proved to be Bembidion lunulatum, new to Foxhill Farm.

The annuals grown here were now all flattened and dead. Foxhill Farm,
Badby, Northants. 6 February, 2019
After half an hour I changed tack and made my way to a strip of woodland, planted just a few years ago. In the creation of this woodland a few elders had been uprooted and, very sensibly, the stumps had been left to slowly decay.
A few uprooted stumps had been left to decay. Foxhill Farm, Badby.
6 February, 2019
Leaving undisturbed as much material as possible I lifted some pieces of bark and loose wood and extracted a few spiders, one of which, a female Trochosa ruricola, was also new to the farm. I was surprised to find a small spider on a hazel catkin nearby.  This turned out to be Tetragnatha montana, and was yet a third new record for the site.

What could this spider have been hoping to find? Foxhill Farm,
6 \February, 2019
Eight species were recorded which, given the wet and tricky conditions, was quite a reasonable total and augurs well for the year ahead. But I won't go again until things have dried out and warmed up a bit. Even I'm not that daft! 

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