It all worked rather well. Graeme showed us the typical species of bryophyte to be found on chalk grassland, explaining the features to look out for and the confusion species to be aware of. After half-an-hour of this came mini-tests, then a full-on exam as we tried to show each other what we had been shown. I must admit that, at last, some of this moss lark had stuck in my mind! For a most enlightening account of the mosses of Ditchling Beacon's north face, please see here for an earlier post of Graeme's.
After the 'moss-fest' we then started on a new pastime for me - sieving vegetation for invertebrates (and anything else that happened to be present). This entailed taking handfuls of the ubiquitous moss Rhytidiadelphus triquetrus and shaking it over a sieve, with the inverts falling into a tray placed underneath. This was more than successful, with a fine cast of species to pick through - click here to see Graeme's account of our results.
Bryophytes up close are beautiful. Rather than prattle on, please take a look at a representitive selection of today's haul. If any of these have been mis-identified, it is down to me and not my excellent tutor. My thanks to Graeme for suggesting today's outing, and to Seth and Tony for being such great field companions.