Monday, 15 December 2014
Meet the 2015 patch
The map to the left shows my study area for the year. It can be broken down into the following 'regions':
EWELL A very modest river (you could just about jump across it) with a collection of small ponds and streams. Two SWT reserves, Howell Hill (excellent for orchids and Small Blue) and Priest Hill (good for fences and lack of access)
BANSTEAD DOWNS Chalk downland with an odd flora - very few orchids but some screaming rarities such as Early Gentian and Broad-leaved Cudweed. Chalkhill and Small Blue colonies. Firecrests winter.
CANONS FARM/BANSTEAD WOODS Fairly self explanatory, impoverished flora but here there is the chance of surprise passage migrant birds. Little Owl, Hobby, Buzzard and Yellowhammer all breed. Purple Emperor, Silver-washed and Dark Green Fritillary all present and correct.
PARK DOWN/CHIPSTEAD BOTTOM Chalk downland with rare flora (Greater Yellow-rattle, Ground Pine and Cut-leaved Germander the stand-outs) plus Chalkhill Blue, Silver-spotted Skipper and Brown Hairstreak.
EPSOM/WALTON DOWNS A mix of interesting flora (Round-headed Rampion, Bastard Toadflax) and passage migrant birds.
BANSTEAD/WALTON HEATH Areas that I don't know that well to be honest, even though they are close. Some small bits of remnant heathland apparently harbour a few species of interest. Time to find out more...
REIGATE/COLLEY HILL Great views, hundreds of dog walkers but the chance of a bit of viz-mig, plus Man Orchid, Meadow Clary and Silver-spotted Skipper.
NORK, BANSTEAD Where I live, run a moth trap and hope to jam into the odd fly-by surprise.