Well, I couldn't have asked for better weather for my walk around Sussex Wildlife Trust's Levin Down reserve near Singleton.
With a hot sun beating down on the south facing slopes of this beautiful chalk grassland reserve it was the perfect opportunity to look for spring wildlife. After an introduction to the reserve the group took a slow stroll around the slopes. One of the features of Levin Down is the juniper which grows here. This is itself an important habitat for some species and I tried to find a juniper shieldbug but was unsuccessful. However you couldn't miss the amazing orange tentacles of Gymnosporangium sabinae a fungi which lives on juniper as part of its complex life cycle
The short, grazed turf was alive with insects and I was pleased to see so many grizzled skippers and my first dingy skipper of the year.
It's been a slow start to the spring but with the increase in temperature last week everything seems to be back on track. Our migrant birds have all returned and around Levin we saw (and heard) garden warbler, common whitethroat, house martin and high above, swifts.
While crouched down over a patch of crosswort and discuss the incredible diversity of plants you can find on the down I felt a tickling on my neck. I reached up to find a juniper shieldbug crawling over me.
Thanks to everyone who came along. If you would like to visit Levin Down a map and guide are available here: