Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Omophron beach

A good day: Omophrons, Lycopodiella, Bog Bush-cricket and Nike Air.

Mark, normally a docile sort of ecologist, has taken just a few paces onto the site before he kicked some water up from the small lake onto the adjacent sandy beach. The peace and quiet was broken by "f*****g hell" repeated 24 times at high volume. A small green and brown beetle looked up, wondering what the fuss was about. So started a visit to a new site for both of us, a redundant gravel pit in north Norfolk.

The beetle in question was Omophrons limbatum, a rare beast of bare, sandy freshwater margins with fluctuating water levels, previously known only from the Dungeness/Rye area and the Norfolk/Suffolk border. The gravel pit had tumbled back to heathland since excavation and looked worthy of much more scrutiny than we had time to give it. Looking up from the beetle, we noticed Sundew colonising the lake margins. Nearby, another local rarity, the Marsh Clubmoss Lycopodiella inundata was noted, probably at only its second Norfolk site. Up into the heather, and Bog Bush-cricket was added to an ever growing list of scarce species. Who says gravel pits are dull.  Nearby, Nike was announcing a new eco-range.


Mel Lloyd said...

I clocked that marsh clubmoss the moment I clicked on your page. I can't believe I have envy this early in the morning. Best go back and actually read your post now... Mel

Imperfect and tense said...

It's a shame that this visit wasn't on the 6th of June then. I bet there was a bit of swearing that day too. I must admit to being a tad jealous of your work/life balance, which sounds more like life/life balance. Nice one!

Graeme Lyons said...

It just goes to show important early successional habitat is. It's a shame that species like the club-moss and Omophron will not hold on on these sites without continued (and rather drastic) intervention. Factoring in this level of disturbance into a man plan stills seems a step too far in terms of nature conservation but it's what we have to do if we want to keep these species.

Grumpy Ecologist said...

Quite agree Graeme. However, this sort of disturbance is exactly what we do need to put into management plans.