The summer break is officially upon those of us at Universities across the country, swiftly followed by the question “What do I do with myself now?”. For myself I decided that I didn’t want to solely bum around the beaches of Brighton, I wanted to get out into the local area and get my hands dirty with some worthwhile work experience getting close to all the wildlife and nature I’ve been learning about over the past 6 months. With this in mind I had a chat with a couple of tutors and was put in contact with Dominic Moore who is responsible for the care and management of the Bedelands Nature Reserve in Burgess Hill and heads the Burgess Hill Green Circle Network. Since our initial conversation I have visited the reserve several times, one of which Dominic kindly showed me around and discussed upcoming plans for the reserve.
On my last visit I was able to help out with a reptile and amphibian survey on a site which is part of the Green Circle which had a variety different habitats and ponds. It turned out to be an excellent day with many different species present, some of which were a first for me such as Great Crested Newts (Triturus cristatus) and a gravid adult female Common Lizard (Lacerta Zootoca vivipara). The weather was warm and sunny leading to plenty of butterflies such as Ringlets (Aphantopus hyperantus), Large Skippers (Ochlodes venata) and Marbled Whites (Melanargia galathea) and dragonflies as well as the plentiful Slow Worms (Anguis fragilis) and the odd Grass Snake (Natrix natrix) which were very placid and happy to be handled. Hope you enjoy the photos below, I’ll be volunteering at Beledands 2/3 days a week for the summer so watch this space for more adventures.