Wednesday, 30 March 2016

Secrets of a small rookery, part two: Nest-building in an unlikely place

Why do the Southover Rooks nest along a busy road in Lewes?

An insight might be provided by an anecdote involving American Crows observed over a period of years at the University of Washington in Seattle (Marzluff & Angell, 2005). The crows gathered en-masse each morning on the black tarmac of a large parking lot. Wave after wave of crows gathered on the lot. No food or water were present and a theory that the tarmac helped them warm up in the mornings was disproved by temperature readings. Eventually, an elderly Seattle resident informed the observers that the area used to be a landfill site some forty years before and that the crows used to gather and feed on the garbage there. This suggested a promising explanation for the mass gathering on the parking lot: the location could have been a part of the crows' local culture as a former rich source of food which has been passed down through the generations. They had always gathered there.

Referring back to the Southover Rooks, as unlikely as the location of the rookery between Southover Road and the railway line might seem today, it is possible that it was once a larger rookery in a less urban setting and that the Rooks have chosen that location as a nesting site all the time that there have been trees and a local food source. It would be difficult to prove that the rookery is ancient, but it is tempting to speculate that the Southover Rooks have been looking down from the treetops at Lewesians since before the coming of the trains. Perhaps they even watched the erection and dissolution of the Priory, at a time when the Dripping Pan was too saline for Rooks?*

The Southover Road Rookery in Lewes is a modest one. As soon as I see the litter of fallen nest material on the pavement below, I keep a weekly account of nest numbers until around mid-April, when they disappear into leafy privacy for the summer. I have counted the numbers of nests for several years and this is what I have seen:

2011: 35 nests

2012: 24

2013: 31

2014: 34

2015: 30

There are twenty seven so far this year and this number will continue to rise until about late-April.The rate of nest building has been steady this year since I started counting on 29th February. Progress has been noted on the following dates:

29th February: 9 nests

14th March: 17

21st March: 22

29th March: 27

The totals from previous years suggests that the appearance of new nests will slow over the next couple of weeks and they should be completed by the time the swelling buds on the elm and sycamore trees burst into leaf, concealing them behind a green curtain for the breeding season.

There are much larger rookeries dotted along the Ouse valley south to Newhaven. A larger one at Iford contained 71 nests in 2011. The greatest rookery I know of in the Seahaven and Ouse Valley areas is at Bishopstone, where the nest site is so extensive that it has been beyond my capability to fully count the nests. According to my notes, there were a minimum of 300 mixed Rook and Jackdaw nests in 2011, which is presumably the point at which I lost count. I have counted a minimum of 94 nests to date this year, but this is from a distance and is not a reliable figure because I am able only to see a fraction of the nests at this truly magnificent site. The woodland forming the nest site is called The Rookery; the hill above it Rookery Hill and a residential road nearby, just over the hill to the west, is Rookery Way. The rook has named more roads and more villages in England, apparently, than any other bird and it is clearly embroidered into the Bishopstone landscape. It seems that they are rooted in our culture as well as to the land, regardless of how we feel about them.

Fifteen of this year's Rook nests at The Rookery, Bishopstone

*The Dripping Pan, home to Lewes Football Club, nicknamed 'The Rooks', was used as a salt-pan by the monks of the Benedictine Priory of St. Pancras before its dissolution in 1537.

Reference: Marzluff, John M. and Angell, Tony (2005), In the Company of Crows and Ravens, Yale University Press: New Haven.

Sunday, 27 March 2016

Itford Hill and Well Bottom on Easter Sunday

The rain is beating furiously against the windscreen of our Ford Focus. All three of the dogs are in the back and we are making our way north of Newhaven to the base of Itford Hill. It is a late-March day of sun punctuated by cloud and heavy rain and with a wicked Channel wind blowing strongly up the hill which looms above us. It seems to lean back with the wind as we view it from beneath in the car. The rain stops as we reach the YMCA and, as we walk away from the car park, the cloud is breaking to reveal blue sky. Jackdaws and herring gulls wheel above us, fighting against the wind.

View from Itford Hill: Ouse Valley villages of Southease, Rodmell, Swanborough and Kingston - and the "shining levels"

Itford Hill is a special place. As one climbs its meandering ox-bow path up to some tumuli which mark the end of the steepest climb (or the start of the steep descent, depending on one's bearing), and then to look across and down into the Ouse Valley, one can begin to understand why our Neolithic ancestors chose to bury their dead here and along the apex of the downs. Itford Hill is exposed on three sides and, on the plateau as one continues east beyond the tumuli, the vista is remarkable with Newhaven in its industrial splendour to the south, at its best when seen from a distance, and the Ouse Valley snaking its way north towards Lewes. The downland escarpment which forms the west bank of the valley offers a dramatic colour contrast to the surrounding land on any day. Up here on the east side, there is a quality to the light which makes one wonder whether it has been borrowed from the sea or from what John Wyatt once described as the shining levels, which lay low and genuflect and reflect before Itford, their reflected stillness a stark contrast to the fury of the wind up here. Whatever one's persuasion, the resting walker might stand here and wonder if their climb has brought them closer to heaven - perhaps similarly to our Neolithic forebears.

The three-sided aspect of Itford Hill exposes and seems to confuse or even overwhelm the senses which some people, myself once included, might describe as disturbingly awe-inspiring. I used to feel the heebie-jeebies walking up here years ago, until familiarity bred it out of me. Looking down on the ghostly space which once formed Asheham, I understand perhaps the same haunting sense of foreboding that the Woolfs admitted to during their time there. Some have questioned whether Asheham was itself haunted, but I believe the whole of Itford has a haunting quality about it; not so much a malign force as a perhaps an awesomeness which indelibly marks the imagination. It certainly is an inspiring place which leaves its mark upon the visitor, as it did to the Woolfs and their visitors to Asheham.

Standing on top, one could imagine this as a Bloomsbury landscape: Asheham was demolished in the summer of 1994 and had stood vacant and increasingly derelict for decades before, becoming more ghostly in the process, enveloped in choking dust from the cement works; but Monk's House can clearly be seen as one amongst the huddle of roofs in Rodmell in the middle distance and, as one traces in the opposite direction the spine of the downs eastwards along past Firle Beacon, there is a bostal, unseen from here, which leads down to Charleston Farmhouse. Further still to the east, the spire of Berwick church is not quite magnificent enough to reach as far heavenward as the crest of the Downs. I fancy that Virginia Woolf pushed her bike from Southease up Itford Hill on her way to visit Vanessa Bell at Charleston and would without doubt have stopped to catch her breath and enjoy the view somewhere close to where we are standing. I have no idea whether this is a route she ever chose, but to me it is the most dramatic and rewarding and obvious - in good weather. Surely, she must have?

The strong, strengthening south-westerly wind is gusting to more than forty miles an hour and it blows us onwards. Exposed to the elements on top, the sky has suddenly blackened to the south and, as we watch over our shoulders, a curtain of heavy rain is pushed by the wind across the Ouse Valley towards us. We prepare to shelter from horizontal rain in the gorse at White Lion Pond but, remarkably, the rain passes to the south and we remain dry.

Everywhere above us skylarks sing unseen. Occasional flocks of meadow pipits lift into the breeze and then parachute back onto the turf. We turn south past White Lion Pond and climb the stile which delivers us into Well Bottom, a dry valley which leads downhill from north-east to south-west in the direction of the parish of Tarring Neville, where one will find two farms with associated cottages, a chalk quarry and a 12th century church dedicated to St. Mary, where congregations have gathered for 800 years or more.

Well Bottom is a remote scrubby, wooded gash, steep-sided and flanked on both sides by the kinder terrain of pasture and arable fields. Like the myriad other dry valleys which define the South Downs, Well Bottom was shaped at the end of the last ice age when melt-water eroded the chalk down to the permafrost to produce steep-sided escarpments which have never seen the plough. It is likely that sheep and rabbits halted vegetational succession and maintained a short-cropped turf until about sixty or seventy years ago. Agricultural intensification, smaller grazing herds resulting from cheap imports from New Zealand, changes in land use and, from the 1950s, myxomatosis are among the probable reasons which led to the colonisation of Well Bottom by scrubby plants such as bramble, hawthorn, sloe and gorse. Five years ago the scrub had nearly choked all of the grass and mixed flowers away. Only a narrow mosaic of wild strawberry remained, but the Grizzled Skipper (Pyrgus malvae), which feeds on the plant, was hanging on in sufficient numbers to inspire a call to action. This was taken up by the South Downs National Park Ranger Jan Knowlson. Jan has overseen a remarkable and dramatic improvement in the valley since about 2012 or 2013. A huge clearance operation on an industrial scale has taken place each winter and much of the cleared land has begun to be recolonised by grasses and flowers, including wild strawberry and dotted in places with retained mature ash and sycamore. Parts which were impassable in 2011 are now fully accessible thanks to Jan and her volunteers. The transformation cannot be exaggerated and the moths, butterflies and other insects we record here each year are testament to the value of protecting unimproved chalk grassland from scrub encroachment.

As we descend into the valley we pass two magnificent mature Ash trees (Fraxinus excelsior). The first appears the smaller, but it has clearly been coppiced at some point in its early life, so it may be the same age as the larger tree just below it. The sun is out, but the valley is aligned with the south-westerly wind and therefore offers no protection. It is unlikely that we will see any butterflies. A sheltered, sunny spot in late-March might tempt out a Peacock (Aglais io) or Small Tortoiseshell (Aglais urticae) to bask on the ground, or a Brimstone (Gonepteryx rhamni) or Small White (Pieris rapae) might dance their way along the valley bottom. Today we must be satisfied with beetles, including lots of seven-spot ladybirds (Coccinella septempunctata), which we find basking amongst low-growing stinging nettles and a spangled carpet of ground ivy. Picking our way along we find a pile of decades-old glass: milk bottles and a R. Whites bottle with its metal lid screwed on tightly. As lads we used to hunt these and deliver them to the sweet shop for their deposits.

Looking down into Well Bottom from the top (taken May 2015)

Squares of bitumen felt have been laid out on the ground to survey the site for reptiles, but many of the squares have been blown around and folded over by the wind. I unfold and spread the wind-blown squares back out and weigh them down on their corners with a piece of flint. A stunning Common Lizard (Lacerta vivipara) rests beneath one of the squares. We watch it as it rests motionless for a moment before replacing the felt on the warmed soil. This is the first we have seen this year.

As we climb the western scarp to the gate we sit on the ground and take in the expanse of cleared land before us. A Fallow Deer (Dama dama) doe picks her way through the trees on the opposite side of the valley unseen by the dogs, but upwind of us, so we clip their leads on just in case. A minute or two later she emerges lower down along the valley bottom, leaps over some brambles and stops, alert, looking directly at us. We hope she is the first of more, but it appears that she is alone or the last of the herd to pass before us. She is back under cover within a few breaths and gone. We knew there were deer in the valley because we have found their roost and droppings in previous years, but this is the first sight we have made of a deer itself.

We have climbed out of the valley now, high above it and following the fence-line back towards the long plateau of Itford Hill. Two Common Buzzards (Buteo buteo) are taken by surprise as we approach downwind along a seldom walked but well-trodden sheep-poached track. We watch as they soar into the air and wrestle it under their control. They circle back towards us for a few moments to inspect our pack before gliding away into the distance.

A flock of white sheep have grazed their way across our path back down Itford Hill towards the foot-bridge, white and fluffy in a parody of the darkening skies to the south-west. We cut the corner and descend towards the path below, expecting the rain to lash us but, thankfully, this time it passes to our north and, as we stand and watch, Kingston and Lewes disappear into a rain haze under a leaden sky. The last of the milky sunlight is blown away from Itford and we hurry back to the car. The rain begins to beat down with force, but we are already in the car, dry and blessed, for a change, with the fortune of good timing.

Dingy Skippers (Erynnis tages) (left), Grizzled Skipper (Pyrgus malvae) (centre) and Burnet Companion (Euclidia glyphica) (right), taken May 2011

Red and Black Froghopper (Cercopis vulnerata), Sloe Bug (Dolycoris baccarum) and Corizus hyoscyami, taken May 2014

Hairy Dragonfly (Brachytron pratense), taken May 2011

Green-veined White (Pieris napi), taken April 2014

Thursday, 24 March 2016

The Walking Landscape

Walking is a pastime which I have always engaged in with great pleasure and, over the years, with a growing sense of mindfulness. Many a walker may agree that it is the easiest way to meditate: to root oneself in the moment by tuning into the sights, sounds and smells of the landscape and to appreciate its changes throughout a day or from one day to the next, or seasonally.

Walking is definitively human, or hominine. From the time several millions of years ago that Africa tore itself apart to form the Rift Valley, stranding our Australopithecine ancestors in an increasingly treeless landscape, walking became an essentially bipedal necessity of adaptation and natural selection. They thought and walked and somehow survived against overwhelming odds, developing an increasingly confident, upright gait as they did so. Before the invention of the wheel or the domestication of beasts of burden, everything was done with two feet in touch with the ground.

A mindful walker can find that through participating mindfully in any given moment, one can become a part of the living landscape and return to Mother Nature. Not only can one react to the things which stimulate one's senses; those things also react to your presence in a place: the persecuted Magpie is usually the first to take flight upon our approach, whereas the Robin may be of a roughly opposite persuasion. Insects evade capture as a shadow brushes past them. These are roles played out step by step in an unfolding drama.

I believe that walking, above all other modes of locomotion, roots the pedestrian within a landscape in a fluid, progressive state, regardless of an urban or rural setting. Many would agree that riding a horse or bicycle offers a similar sense of rootedness, but walking makes known an opportunity to give one's senses over completely to what is before and around you, more so than all other modes of transport, which require a part of the mind to be given over to driving. Spiritually, we follow a path. The destination is not as important as we might think it is - progress is made simply by following the path.

Walking offers an intimacy which weaves together the light, the sounds, smells, feelings and sights of the enveloping landscape into a sensual tapestry. There is an excitement in exposing oneself to the elements, to leave behind the convenience, the luxury and the safety of modern life and return to that primitive state. Walking is rhythmic, melodious. Walking inspires pure thought, clarity of mind, imagination and creativity.

I am no peripatetic philosopher. Most writers could present you with a more eloquent, articulate manifesto championing the benefits of walking over other means of locomotion. I am a wanderer who feels that walking, when it is possible to choose to walk, ignites something in one's imagination which is otherwise sleepwalking within or in a state of suspended animation during a journey by car or public transport. The vehicle accelerates its passengers, and isolates the commuter, taking away the possibility to join with the landscape and to contextualise the role one might play in the landscape as it speeds past in a long chain of lost opportunities.

Hilaire Belloc, in his 1906 work Hills and the Sea, expressed this feeling perfectly: "The pilgrim is humble and devout, and human and charitable, and ready to smile and admire; therefore he should comprehend the whole of his way, the people in it and the hills and the clouds, and the habits of the various cities. And as to the method of doing this, we may go bicycling (though that is a little flurried) or driving (though that is luxurious and dangerous, because it brings us constantly against servants and flattery); but the best way of all is on foot, where one is a man like any other man, with the sky above one, and the road beneath, and the world on every side, and time to see all".

Driving through a landscape we are, at best, only forming an abstract connection with it. We retreat into a part of our consciousness and often do not remember how we get from point to point, even though we have safely navigated past cyclists, through traffic signals, around roundabouts and stopped or slowed as necessity demanded. We may safely navigate a car across a landscape, but we are not really a part of it in the way we are on perhaps a bicycle or horse, but especially so on foot.

To intimately know a landscape changes the manner in which one passes through it. One might walk on or over an unfamiliar landscape, rather than in or amongst it. A familiar landscape shares its secrets. The Downs are my landscape; I know them and to walk upon them is like returning home. Walking into one's home is to return to familiar, beloved surroundings. The Downland landscape is my home and my companion which allows me into its welcoming embrace. One is enveloped into its folds and combes and dry valleys, and then the landscape unfolds with the progression of each footfall and its secrets are revealed.

A voice whispers in the ear of the familiar walker: "Welcome back, friend. Come, walk with me and I will share with you my secrets". And everywhere then you share the joy of nature, such as in watching Small Tortoiseshell butterflies basking in the March sun by their rabbit-hole hibernaculum; a joy punctuated by the pain of tragic, brutal lives cut short when a dead fox or rabbit or pheasant is revealed before it has met the gaze of the crow or magpie or, increasingly, the red kite.

For a time, whether it may be for the duration of a single walk or for a lifetime, I am a part of this landscape, as it is at all times a part of my inner landscape. That landscape is changed because of my presence within it and, returning home to the place where I have put down my roots, I too am changed, always for the better.

The downland landscape from Swanborough towards Firle (© Steven Teale)

Wednesday, 9 March 2016

Secrets of a small rookery, part one: Common Ground

Humans often seem to share a negative emotion when it comes to the crow family: indifference, mistrust, fear, dislike or even hatred. Where do these emotions come from? Are they inherent or acquired - weaved into our cultural DNA? The corvids are, to me, the most appealing and fascinating of bird families; the Rook is my favourite.

One of the things which makes rooks a favourite bird is that they stick around; they are constant, ancient and as much a part of the landscape as the Downs themselves. When one thinks Rook, one should also think rootedness. Like their trees, Rooks are rooted in the landscape. Many rookeries have existed longer than living memory - those which have avoided the axe and chainsaw. I have been told that many rookeries are ancient. When the Romans looked fearfully upon Silva Anderida and, later, the Saxons towards Andredsweald - the ancient, seemingly endless, impenetrable southern woodland - the eastern extent of the Sussex Downs remained treeless and formed an open spit of land between the trees and the sea, and possibly had been this way since the tundra retreated north at the end of the ice age, when mud and melt-water carved dykes and plugged valleys. These are the high, open vistas chosen by the Neolithic tribes to bury their kinfolk in the tumuli which punctuate the hills today.

I fancy that the rooks took root soon after those first post-ice age trees, watched by the first hunters, foragers and farmers, flying out of those ancient leaves and onto the ancient turf doing then the same that we can watch them do today and what they will continue to do for as long as the trees and the turf remain neighbourly.

What did those ancient birds think of us plundering their resources? What did they call us for doing so?

Late-February is a good time of year to begin watching rooks.  One might possess a keen eye for them year-round, yet spy on them with an enhanced interest from about mid-February. They are waiting to begin the nest-building season. From my office window in Lewes I am blessed with an almost nest-eye view of the thirty five-odd pairs which cluster together with Jackdaws in the tops of the tallest trees, apparently waiting for some circadian rhythm to pulse, to pass unseen to human eyes as we struggle along in our frantic races. I call these birds the Southover Rookery.

The Southover Rookery in February - the nests seen were built during the warmest, most confusing December on record

The rooks stoop against late winter rains, hanging from the treetops like great black drips of water, waiting. Taking flight as winter gales roar through the trees, they bend flat-backed into the wind and, with an efficiency of effort, launch away with wings bent like cupid's bow, gliding and wheeling in numbers behind a well-fed kinsman to its happy hunting ground to plunder the worms with their bald faces pressed deep into the turf.

They are fierce birds and, to the Buzzard, they are legion. I have seen no bird stand up to them, yet their smaller Jackdaw cousins are tolerated, bullied, integrated separately but within the rookery. But it is still called 'The Rookery' wherever the two birds are present.

One of the more ironic aspects of watching an urban parliament is that the signs showing the start of nest-building are underfoot on the paving when one walks beneath the turmoil above: thousands of fallen twigs cast like runes on the paving appear in a sudden shower. Look down to understand what is afoot above. We have taken their land and paved it, but they treat it like any other woodland floor. 

For a week or two prior to this the birds sit in the trees, newly paired, and tenderly and quietly occupy the fork of the branch upon which they will construct their nest of twigs and raise their young. As I observe from the office windows, I see one of the pair hop clumsily along the bough to a twig and grasp it between its bill, tearing and tugging it loose, hop back to its mate, but avoiding the lunge of its hostile neighbours. This raucous bird now shows its tender side; together they assess the suitability of the twig as nest material, eye it closely, place it on the fork of the bough. The twig falls, but balances precariously on a lower branch; the owner hops down to where it comes to rest, collects it, returns to the nest-site, repeats its work. The twig falls again, but this time to the road below, littering the pavement.

The following day the birds can be entirely absent. But the very beginning of a proto-nest has appeared in the crook of a bough. Another is close by. They are where I observed the two pairs the previous day. Does this mean they have staked their claim to the tree? Is it now their right in rook-law to return at their leisure and be assured of their place? Dominant above subordinate. Whatever purpose it may serve, a strong wind at this early stage can wipe the trees clean of incomplete nests.


The waiting recommences. The pavement may be more or less bare in the morning as I walk into the office and littered with twigs at lunchtime, or I may walk out of work in the evening on a clear path only to return the next morning to the spectacle. From this time of year I begin to pace back and forth expectantly beneath the rookery, looking up; and the sign that it has started is always so clear that one could literally trip over it and, when one does, it has begun.

Above, the birds fly in straight spoke-like lines, chessboard straight, back and forth repeatedly to and from the hub, swooping low over the rooftops with twigs snapped off trees in the gardens at Pelham House and Southover Grange, the Convent Field, the Priory ruins, the Dripping Pan where their namesakes play football, the Railway Land and anywhere else arboreal. Their nests are built from scratch and they appear to prefer green wood to brittle deadwood. Each year, without fail, after the nests begin to take shape, each bird begins to take an interest in their neighbours' nests. Like all the corvid species, the rook is both intelligent and observant. After a while temptation gets the better of it and, while its neighbours are away, it steals a twig from their nest for its own. Time and energy saved! Then it takes another. After a few thefts its own nest is plundered by another observant bird who has cottoned onto the caper. The scheme, the rookery, quickly descends into a melee with pairs of birds screaming from their own nest in defence while attempting to steal from the others, clattering through the trees. The cacophony, the comedy, is an annual rite that I rejoice in whenever I see it.

Throughout the winter, when the previous year's fledglings are shocked by the stark truth that endless autumn days and harvest gleanings are finite, the flock seems subdued. They still wheel and cavort across the sky, mob the buzzard and bully the jackdaws, but they are clearly waiting for something. Today, though, they are nowhere near and I too must wait.

Tuesday, 1 March 2016

News from the moth trap: February 2016

Comparing and contrasting February 2016's moth sightings with those of previous years

The 125W Mercury Vapour light lit up the skies of Newhaven on only six nights during the month - and we enjoyed an additional day this leap year. The average number of nights that a trap has been run at home during February over the last ten years is nine nights. Of the six nights managed in February 2016, three returned zero counts.The ten moths of six species I recorded on the other three nights was my best return since 2012. Of those six species, two had never previously been recorded by me in February (Southern Bell and Oak Nycteoline), both of which I believe were emergent adults which had hibernated over the winter.

Away from home, the chilly weather made fieldwork difficult and I had to settle for mostly occasional sightings of larvae or larval feeding signs, but these included thousands of leaf-mines on Holm (Evergreen) Oak (Quercus ilex) trees made by Ectoedemia heringella (see my previous blog dated 27th Feb) and the chance discovery of hundreds of bulrush heads showing the characteristic feeding signs of Limnaecia phragmitella.

I had never recorded in February either of the adult species that I saw during the month (White-shouldered House-moth and Mottled Grey). The two Mottled Grey sightings I made, at Itford Hill, have been confirmed as the earliest records ever made in Sussex. This is probably because the first half of the winter was much warmer than average. The larvae would have been able to continue feeding longer than usual and consequently pupate much sooner. Climate change appears to be affecting many species in this way, but this can be precarious because sudden and extreme changes in weather can wreak havoc on some colonies and many species need to time their emergence as adults with other things such as nectar sources or plant growing seasons, along with changes in day length. If a habitat's phenology is thrown out of balance by environmental stressors such as climate change, what might at first appear to be an exciting observation could be a cause for concern.

Mottled Grey (Colostygia multistrigaria)

Bulrush Cosmet (Limnaecia phragmitella) larval feeding signs on bulrush

The tunnel survey made at Newhaven Fort on 2nd February has already been discussed in my blog post dated 9th February.

Here's the full list for the month:

Species summary, February 2016 (total of 22 species) (all adults unless stated)

125W Robinson trap at home (5 species)
0998  Light Brown Apple Moth (Epiphyas postvittana)  6
1157  Southern Bell (Crocidosema plebejana)  1
2190  Hebrew Character (Orthosia gothica) 1
2243  Early Grey (Xylocampa areola)  1
2423  Oak Nycteoline (Nycteola revayana)  1

Other garden observations at home (1 species)
0240  Case-bearing Clothes Moth (Tinea pellionella)  1

Fieldwork (16 species)
0036a New Holm Oak Pigmy (Ectoedemia heringella) mines - see blog dated 27th February
0648  White-shouldered House Moth (Endrosis sarcitrella)  1
0898  Bulrush Cosmet (Limnaecia phragmitella) larval feeding signs on bulrush
1775  Mottled Grey (Colostygia multistrigaria)  2
2134  Square-spot Rustic (Xestia xanthographa)  1 larva
2306  Angle Shades (Phlogophora meticulosa)  2 larvae

Newhaven Fort tunnel survey of hibernating species (02/02/16) - see blog dated 9th Feb
0472  Fleabane Smudge (Digitivalva pulicariae)  6
0476  Bittersweet Smudge (Acrolepia autumnitella)  1
0672  Parsnip Moth (Depressaria heraclei)  1
0688  Common Flat-body (Agonopterix heracliana)  3
0689  Large Carrot Flat-body (Agonopterix ciliella)  1
1288  Twenty-plume Moth (Alucita hexadactyla)  28
2469  Herald (Scoliopteryx libatrix)  4
2478  Bloxworth Snout (Hypena obsitalis)  7
59.026  Peacock (Aglais io)  14
59.027  Small Tortoiseshell (Aglais urticae)  7