Eighteen member turned up, testing our abilities to park creatively in the layby by the gate. We walked up past the old Fullers Earth works and into the sandy heathland of the Greensand Ridge, dominated by gorse and open plantations.
We soon started picking up fauna, with calling Green Woodpeckers, Long Winged Coneheads, Small Skipper, Essex Skipper, Shaded Broadbar, Mint Moth and several Common Blue. Some of the party spotted a hunting Barn Owl. At the rapidly drying ponds on the top of the site, we found froglets, toadlets and a juvenile newt of unknown species as well as several singing Linnets.
Over the open ground, we saw a couple hobbies hunting as well as a kestrel. Botanically, there was Toadflax, Calumagrostis grasses, Tree lupin, Bird’s Foot Trefoil, Clustered Rush, Haresfoot Clover and Soft Rush amongst others.
Martin spotted a Hummingbird Hawkmoth, but couldn’t relocate it. The rapidly descending dusk allowed only an hour and a half, but this is a site that we will want to visit again.
Report kindly provided by Peter Garner