Eight Legs Under Eight Lanes

The volunteers were working at Farlington today, thankfully it was much better than yesterday, almost verging on warm in the sunshine, if you could get out of the wind. I decided that the time had come to remove the aged “murals” from the walls of the underpass. Strictly they were not murals as they were painted on wooden boards that we mounted on the walls as the Highway agency were not happy with the idea of us painting the concrete walls themselves. They had been in place for some fifteen years or so and were looking well past their best.

volunteer removing the mural board

volunteer removing the mural board

The paintings were done by local schools under the guidance of professional artists and featured different aspects of the reserve.

It turned out that they did not just depict wildlife, but were actually a haven for a lot themselves, we came across loads of woodlice, a hibernating moth and masses and masses of spiders, including many huge Tegenaria species, I would like to think their size indicated that they were Tegenaria gigantea, but I cannot be certain of their specific identity without recourse to a guide.

Tegenaria sp.

Tegenaria sp.

These large spiders were all females and it seems they can live for several years.

Tegenaria sp.

Tegenaria sp.

Apart from the spiders we saw rather little, but that was perhaps because we spent a good part of the day under eight lanes of the A27! Walking from the building we did see two very smart male wheatear and later they were joined by a female. I understand the pale-bellied brent and the red-breasted goose were both seen today.

I did come across one other thing that caught my eye, a lichen covered hawthorn twig with lots of fruiting bodies.

lichen on hawthorn twig

lichen on hawthorn twig

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