Rye Harbour NR East Sussex - 08/07/17

We have walked this reserve many times, but always from Rye Harbour. this time we approached from Winchelsea Beach to the West and did a few miles circular walk from that end.
The area is similar to Dungeness, being predominantly shingle with thin turf inland. However, this area had a few more damp areas than Dungeness which made it interesting.

Here's Yellow Horned Poppy on the beach at Winchelsea.

Glaucium flavum

Wild Teasel was out in force, with their bands of purple flowers around their spiny flower heads.

Dipsacus fullonum 

Common Fleabane is a big showy flower that really is actually still common! Butterflies and bees like it a lot.

Pulicaria dysenterica

This is Sticky Groundsel which is full of glandular hairs that smell like gone off lemons.

The flowers have rays unlike nearly all of the usual Groundsel. 

You can find both Sticky and Groundsel in the same areas, but only sticky is sticky and smelly!

Senecio viscosus

Houndstongue is a declining wildflower. In flower it has small deep red flowers on a big silvery grey foliage plant. However, here are the seeds which stick to the fur of passing animals (or my jeans) and thus get dispersed away from the parent plant.

Cynoglossum officinale

Here and there were dense stands of Tufted Vetch, a big hit with these Six Spot Burnet Moths.

Vicia cracca

I then saw these behind a barbed wire fence. I instantly recognised them as Marsh Mallow. It was great to see so many, but it would have been nice to get some close up photos. This was a pond in a horse field, so horses don't like them apparently.

Only about 50 yards further on, I came to a damp area full of them, so I needn't have worried.

Althaea officinalis 

These are rare plants in Kent a few miles to the East, and I expect they are in Sussex as well.

Marshmallow used to be made from the root of this plant, but are now made synthetically.

As they are now rare, please don't dig them up to try making some!

In one of the ponds I photographed this frog. Having said that, they were in all the ponds and ditches, not just this one.

In a damp depression in the shingle were numerous water loving plants, but one area was covered in a mat forming small plant. I didn't recognise it and had to search for several minutes to find a flower. I then realised it was Sea Milkwort, a supposedly common seaside plant, though I'd not seen them in 4 years of botanising.

Glaux maritima

I really should remember to put a coin in a photo to show scale, these were very tiny flowers.

Meadow Browns, Gatekeepers and other butterflies were on the wing in the sunshine which was nice after the wind and rain of Angelsey recently.

That was it for this trip. We did stop off at KWT Turner's Field near Tenterden after having fish and chips in the town. It was a nice little reserve with cattle grazing a meadow in the centre and a stream running through a valley all the way around it. There were lots of gone to seed orchid spikes there so it would be worth a revisit next June.

In a dried up pond were Purple Loosestrife, an untidy yet at the same time "Lookatme" type of flower.

It's currently brightening up damp places throughout the UK.

Lythrum salicaria

Nearby was Water Forget-me-not, one of the bigger flowered FMNs. I've seen these in the past free floating by a river bank or on a lake margin.

Myosotis scorpioides

From there we made our way home. It was a nice day out, though it seemed odd not having wilderness and mountains about us. It's amazing how just one week away can change one's perspective so much. 

Until next time.



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