On Friday I went for a wander around one of my favourite local haunts, Cosmeston Lakes Country Park and, while there, I set myself a little challenge. How many critters could I find in one small area, perhaps no more than 2 metres square?
My challenge wasn’t pre-planned: I had seen very little at this point on my walk and was thinking to myself that this was due to autumn and the cooler weather but, when I saw a Speckled wood butterfly at this particular spot – a bank covered with shrubs and small trees – I started wondering how much more there was that I simply wasn’t seeing. So, I stopped and looked harder. There was no poking under grasses or bushes, no sweeping or brushing to encourage movement, just focussing my eyes and ears to really see and hear.
There were, in fact, three Speckled woods – I just hadn’t noticed the other two, plus three different species of spider (the Garden spider was lunching on another critter but it was partly consumed and too tiny to identify), one hoverfly, three species of flies, a gall on Bramble that would’ve been home to the larvae of the tiny gall wasp Diastrophus rubi, and a leaf mine, made by the larva of some unidentified mini-beast. And I’m absolutely sure I didn’t spot everything!