Sunday, 5 March 2017

Frogs spawning - better late than never!

With storms Doris and Ewan, March has certainly come in like a lion. More importantly our garden frogs have belatedly decided it is time to spawn. 

Spawn first seen 2nd March 2017
I wasn't around to see it myself but Mum let me know when I came home from work.  This year's spawning is quite late compared to the February dates for 2014-2016.
  • 2017 - 2nd March
  • 2016 - 14th Feb
  • 2015 - 22nd Feb
  • 2014 - 8th Feb
  • 2013 - 6th March
  • 2012 - 25th Feb
  • 2011 - 20th Feb
  • 2010 - 28th Feb
  • 2009 - saw frogs active in pond 18th Feb
  • 2008 - saw frogs active in pond 29th Feb
  • 2007 - saw frogs active in pond 11th Feb
  • 2005 - 19th Feb
Meanwhile, while I've been driving along country roads, I've seen the first daffodils and wild primroses appearing as we are blown headlong into spring.

Saturday, 4 March 2017

Sussex Botanical Recording Society and Snatts Road Surveys

I've just attended the Sussex Botanical Recording Society (SBRS) AGM.  SBRS members record flowers, ferns, mosses and all sorts of plants throughout Sussex.  I enjoyed an informative afternoon amongst lovely, knowledgeable people.  The meeting was held in Staplefield Village Hall. It was pleasing to find some primroses blooming nearby.

Primroses at Staplefield, where the meeting was held.

One very interesting talk was about the new Churchyard survey for Sussex. Helen, the coordinator, explained that:
  • Churchyards provide several different habitats such as walls, grassland, paths, hedgerows and grassland
  • They had previously been surveyed in the 1980s
  • The surveys done so far (2016) have more species than 1980s but this may be down to people having better sources about information.
  • That conservation areas need to have grass removed sometimes otherwise wildflower seeds cannot germinate.
One of the surveys was for the Snatts Road Cemeteries.  The scores on the doors were:
A separate survey (by a different organisation) was undertaken for Wealden in 2015. This was summarised in the Uckfield Town Council minutes for 11 July 2016 as follows:

Following a site visit and survey in summer 2015 it is recommended that the Local Wildlife Site boundary be extended to include half of the newer area of cemetery to the North of the road.  The grassland has a more acidic characteristic and the east half of this area is species rich with plant species Heath Grass, Devil's Bit Scabious, Eyebright and Trailing St. John's Wort.

There is more information about caring for graveyards and cemeteries at

Other useful tidbits

 Returning to the AGM ...

There will be an Autumn get together (as well as all the spring and summer field meetings) on October 28th.

Mathew said that if we were in doubt over an ID, had something unexpected or a hybrid to check with him. The BSBI website is

The webmaster outlined features of the SBRS website:
  • Latest sightings - needn't be confined to rare items. Anything interesting - maybe because it is the first of a type you have identified.
  • There is a map, which you can click to find species found in a particular "tetrad". Some tedrads (listed on the website) have no items so it would be nice to get some.
There are useful pieces on way the recording organisations use map references on the BSBI and BTO websites.

Brad displayed splendid photos of mosses and liverworts. There is more information at:
photos -
website -

In a conversation about a survey, one of the committee explained the meanings of letters used in surveys.

P = Planted
C = Casual
N = Natural
S = Surviving
E = Established
U = Unknown

I had a chat about the NPMS squares scheme, in which people record plants in a particular square on the map. I've just had another look but nothing available close enough.