This week I managed to fit in an actual bit of ecological surveying, despite being a manager! And even better, it was on Martin Down and the sun (eventually) shone!
We were assessing the condition of the two SSSI units (SSSIs are split into units, usually based on habitat, land ownership or management) that had been ploughed up and put into food production during WWII, and hence were taking longer to get into a good condition.
A roving group of us assessed the different types of grassland and scrub - the official results aren't in yet, but we could have done with more flowers! Along the way, in more sheltered spots and in the sun later in the day, we encountered Adonis blue butterflies (first brood a bit late this year, as with everything), butterfly orchids, and lots of turtle doves purring from deep within the scrub.
When the sun finally came out, whilst we were assessing the scrub and then heading back home, I thought how lucky I was to be getting paid to spend a day up there.
And finally, I've just come back from a potter along the Itchen and Itchen Navigation in Southampton with a friend. Although this part of the Itchen is quite urban (concrete sides and straightened channels), some parts do still have some of the aquatic plants the river is special for - including water crowfoot abutting the aforementioned concrete!