Showing posts from June, 2016

Dungeness & Dengemash, Kent - 15th June 2016

Dungeness and the surrounding areas are a special place for wildflowers and wildlife and as such the area forms a National Nature Reserve. There are vast areas of shingle jutting out several miles into the English Channel off the South Kent coast, formed from depositions over thousands of years. Not much rain falls here compared to other areas and it is the only desert in England, however, the water table here isn't far down and excavations of sand and shingle over the years has left lakes and ponds scattered over the landscape. Most of the larger lakes are on the RSPB reserve to the North of Dungeness. I had come here today to find the Marsh Cinquefoil, a rare plant in Kent that I'd never seen. I had good directions from the Romney Marsh Ranger @LeyshonOwen and knew they were in flower. It's still a fair trek across difficult terrain though. There were plenty of wildflowers to look at on the way as well, like this Vipers' Bugloss amid a carpet of Bird

An Oasis near the Mayhem of Medway 13th June 2016

When the HS1 Eurostar railway line was built there was a huge hoo-hah from everyone about the damage it would cause to the environment and to some extent that was true. What was also true is that mile upon mile of new habitat was created along its banks and cuttings. Furthrmore, trees are the last thing they want growing along a high speed rail line so the line is regularly cut. Being on chalk here, this management meant a huge variety of chalk grassland species taking a hold here. In amongst all these were some real gems. While common in North Kent, Pyramidal Orchids are always a delight to see, their pink hues boldly standing out among the grasses saying I'm here! They have a very slight scent to attract insects to pollinate them, but they then cheat the insects in that there is no nectar! When, for whatever reason, the councils miss mowing verges for a while, these tend to pop up to brighten up our roads. Anacamptis pyramidalis This is Yellow-wort,

Chailey Commons, East Sussex, 11th June 2016

Chailey Common is one of the largest commons in the south of England and was designated a Local Nature Reserve in 1966. It's actually several commons loosely linked together with acid loving plants and wet boggy areas, all worth a look at. On the commons were ponies and cattle, but in numbers designed to aid the management of bracken and scrub, so enabling wildflowers to flourish. Most livestock farms are intensive and there's nothing to see in most sheep fields for example. Prolific everywhere were mats of Heath Bedstraw, subtly different to the usual Hedge Bedstraw found on the chalk of Kent. The key to finding these fifferences in not in the flowers but in the leaves. Each has tiny bristles and teeth and these vary in each different species, so take out your eye glass and examine the leaves carefully. There's several different bedstraws, but the habitat you find them in will rule many out. Galium saxatile Marsh Thistles were abundant,