Just a few photos from a quick “recon” visit to Swyncombe Down with Rod d’Ayala, ahead of our guided walk for the Reading & District Nat.Hist.Soc. on Sunday 18th (14:00). The weather was lovely and luckily I bumped into a very interesting chap who was there to repair some horse jumps ahead of their cross-country event. Anyway, while chatting he mentioned a colony of rare snails … big ones … grey shells. Turned out to be a colony of Roman Snail – a very rare species in the UK and this could even be a new site for them! 🙂
Interestingly, we also saw lots of plants in flower that traditionally only flower in Spring – such as Chalk Milkwort. I feel this must be due in part to the cold summer and the early ‘finish’ to the summer species – combined with the shortened day-length the plants obviously feel as though it is Spring!
Also seen on the day were: Abida secale (a rare snail of chalk downland), Meadow Brown, Red Admiral, Small Copper, Aplomya confinis (a parasitoid of blue butterflies), Tachina fera, Phania funesta. Atypus affinis (the Purse-web Spider) was also found on a short-cropped, sunny bank. Red Kites were above us for the whole visit and often soaring below us as they quarter the arable fields for food which was fascinating to watch. A pair of Hobby and a Sparrowhawk also flew over as we walked.
All in all a very interesting site to visit – even late in the season 🙂