Showing posts from May, 2016

Cowden, Kent 27th May 2016

I didn't have a lot of time to explore this area which was a shame. It's a lovely part of the countryside bordering East Sussex and the reason I travelled here this day was to see Marsh Orchids. As we walked through a meadow there were patches of Thyme-leaved Sandworts in among the Buttercups. Being small and thin, they are very difficult to photograph in the field. In addition the petals are a reflective white and easily bleach out. One day I might get a perfect photo! Veronica serpyllifolia We then came to where the orchids should be. It was quite boggy, or should I say Fenny! I'm told bogs are on acidic soils and fens are on alkaline soils such as here. There were numerous Brooklime flowering in the rushes of the fen Veronica beccabunga Dotted here and there were Bog Stitchwort (suppose it should be renamed Fen Stitchwort?) with its sharply pointed sepals longer than the petals. Stellaria alsine I then found many of these bea

Darent Valley Hills nr Sevenoaks 22nd May 2016

The walk I had planned was on chalk and involved open grassland and thick woodland on steep slopes above the River Darent. I was on the lookout for any orchids really, but as ever, I kept an eye out for any wildflower or wildlife. In and around Sevenoaks itself, the soil is acidic, so don't bother looking for Kent orchids in that soil type (Hothfield being the exception). I started off clambering through woods on a steep hill with no discernable path through it! It did mean that I expored areas off the path though. Wood Speedwell was abundant now, along with left over Bluebell, Yellow Archangel and a few Lesser Celandines. Veronica montana This tiny flower is Three Nerved Sandwort, petals shorter than sepals and 3 prominent veins on the leaves. It's quite common in Kent but easily overlooked. Moehringia trinervia In more open areas (and back on a path), common wildflowers were abundant. Cow Parsley, Red Campion and Creeping Buttercup add

The Hunt for Burnt Orchids in East Sussex 21st May 2016

2013 was the first year I became interested in wildflowers and wild orchids. Prior to this I didn't even know Burnt Orchids existed and by the time I did, any chance of seeing any had passed. So in the Winter of 2013 we did some research and found they were to be found in the vicinity of Mount Caburn in East Sussex near Lewes. By May of 2014 we made the journey down to Lewes and began the long haul up the very steep hill of Mount Caburn. We were heading to the hill on the left of the fence and it's much steeper than it looks, 146m up in fact. There's an iron age hill fort on top, have a read from Wikipedia here: Mount Caburn History At the summit were far reaching views, quite spectacular, but often quite windy being so exposed. We searched all around the summit and found hundreds of Chalk Fragrant Orchids, an enormous brilliant display, on the steep slopes. Gymnadenia conopsea However, no Burnt Orchids were to be found. I later discove

KWT Holborough Marshes & McDonalds Strood! 10th May 2016

It's an odd title for a blog, but it will become clear later on! Kent Wildlife Trust manage a marsh near Holborough, a small part of which has Southern and Early Marsh orchids. I didn't expect to find any flowering as it was a couple of weeks too early given the cold snaps we keep having here in Kent. The reserve has been subject to heavy grazing by horses to try and control shrubs over the last 18 months or so and last year was a disappointment compared to 2014. You can see from the photo below, we did find an orchid, but look at those shrubs completely taking over. These shrubs were hardly noticable in 2014. The orchid was the only Southern Marsh Orchid we found in flower in the whole reserve, still a nice find though. No Early Marsh Orchids had come up at all, maybe in 2-3 weeks they will? Southern Marsh Orchids are quite attractive and have a distinctive pleat down the lower petals, leaves are nearly always unspotted. Dactylorhiza praetermi