Warnham Local Nature Reserve excursion
Saturday 17th August 2019
This was the eleventh Quekett excursion to Warnham Local Nature Reserve on the outskirts of Horsham, West Sussex, hosted by the Friends of Warnham Local Nature Reserve, and this year organised again by Neil Henry and Graham Matthews. The weather stayed fine all day, so there were no problems with going out to collect specimens. As in the last few years, we were able to set up our equipment in the Visitor Centre next to the café.
The Reserve includes a large millpond, 3 dipping ponds and an extensive board walk that provides access to a variety of streams, ditches and marshy areas.
We had permission to use our nets and bottles to collect specimens to examine under our microscopes.
Robert Ratford and Steve Durr collecting from one of the dipping ponds
Steve Durr collecting from the board walk
Robert Ratford collecting from the board walk
Back in the Visitor Centre, we set up our microscopes, cameras and computers to examine and photograph our specimens.
Members and their microscopes
Steve Durr brought his trinocular Leitz Dialux 20 EB compound microscope with a DigiRetina 16 camera sending images to TCCapture on his laptop.
Robert Ratford used his Lomo МБС-10 stereomicroscope with an MVV3000 camera in one of the eyepiece tubes sending images to Micro-Capture on his laptop.
Neil Henry used his monocular PZO microscope (converted to LED lighting) with the eyepiece replaced by a YW5.0M digital camera sending images to ToupView on his laptop.
Graham Matthews brought his Wild M8 stereomicroscope with Plan 1× objective and his trinocular Leitz Dialux compound microscope with a circular stage (fitted with a modified Chinese mechanical stage). Graham had intended to use an afocal arrangement on the Leitz with a Zeiss 8× Kpl eyepiece, a Tominon lens and a Canon EOS 500D digital SLR controlled by DSLR Remote Pro on his laptop. Unfortunately, the laptop insisted on running a Windows 10 update that took several hours.
Some of Graham Matthews’ equipment
Graham Matthews and David Roberts
David Roberts borrowed a Zeiss Standard (with a battery-powered LED illuminator) from Graham so that we could admire his extensive collection of slides of mammal hair.
David also brought his hair tube trap to show to the Warden. This is a baited tube with some adhesive inside that catches a few hairs when a mammal walks through; by identifying the hairs under a microscope, the mammals can be identified without harming them. David also showed us the adhesive that he uses, and a material for recording footprints.
David also brought lots of literature, including a reference book Hair and Fur Atlas of Central European Mammals by Mária Tóth.
Our thanks to the Friends of Warnham Local Nature Reserve for allowing us to collect specimens and to use the Visitor Centre, and to Neil Henry and Graham Matthews for organising the excursion.
Report and photographs by Alan Wood