Meeting date: 13 August 2005
(Leader: Alan Knapp)
Eighteen members gathered at the Sussex Wildlife Trust Reserve to be met by the Warden, Alice Parfitt, who had generously given up her Saturday to be there. Alan was hoping for a good Potamogeton count but was somewhat disappointed: the ditches were choked, with very little clear water, perhaps due to the warm summer and the fact that they had not been cleared for about four years. Nevertheless, most of the typical ditch plants could be found, even the delicate Hottonia palustris (Water-violet) and Ranunculus baudottii (Brackish Water-crowfoot), with plenty of Berula erecta (Lesser Water-parsnip). There were one or two spikes of Butomus umbellatus (Flowering Rush) and Ranunculus lingua (Greater Spearwort). One bonus of the tall vegetation was the chance to see the nationally rare Great Raft Spider (Dolomedes plantarius). Two mud ‘scrapes’ have been made for wintering birds which have, in turn, provided the right habitat for Rorippa palustris (Marsh Yellow-cress) and Veronica catenata (Pink Water-speedwell).
A bit of light relief before lunch was provided by the Red Arrows, their display being part of the Eastbourne Air Show. Later in the afternoon two pondweed species were finally found (Potamogeton natans and P. lucens), in the only ditch with clear water, one that is cleared annually by the Environment Agency.