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Showing posts from November, 2019

Pembury, Kent - 01/09/19

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The first day of Autumn was of course wet and with many more wet days to come, the countryside turned Autumnal, almost overnight, to match. I was recording botany in a few monads around Pembury which is a small town north east of Tunbridge Wells. I didn't really know what I'd find, but a look at Google Earth satellite images beforehand led me to investigate an area of so called "waste ground" right next to a Tesco supermarket. Growing in a damp area was a Kent RPR species, Corn Mint. This was a good start. Mentha arvensis That wasn't the only surprise here, nearby was another rare plant, Heath Speedwell, it's habitat nicely maintained by local rabbits scuffing up the soil. Veronica officinalis Signs of Autumn were now common, even though Summer was just a day before! Here are the fruits of Honeysuckle. Lonicera periclymenum  The first Earthball fungi had appeared in the damp places under trees. R

The Eastern Quarry, Bluewater, Kent - 26/08/19

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This quarry has been out of bounds to the general public for many many years. It comprises of a vast disused chalk pit which is slowly being developed for housing. The first phase of housing was now complete and allowed entry to an area previously unreachable. The plant I really wanted to see was easily found as there were hundreds of them all along a damp area several hundred metres long. Some were still flowering too. Round-leaved Wintergreen They had previously been found in the nearby Bluewater quarry, although it evaded our search for them when the county recorder and I surveyed it in 2015. As such, I had only previously seen this plant at Newborough Warren on Anglesey. There were many rosettes like this one below, as well as some in flower, many in seed and some in between. Pyrola rotundifolia Here are some habitat photos, which also show the (chalk) geology and general habitat for the area. Associated species included Alnus glutinosa (Alder); Phr

Wittersham, Kent and the Romney Marsh - 25/08/19

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Many months ago I met a lovely lady at a boot fair in Peasmarsh, East Sussex. She told me she had little white spiral flowers in her lawn in August last year and wondered if they were orchids. I then arranged to come and see her around that time as it was obvious from her description that these were mot likely Autumn Ladies Tresses, a small but beautiful wild orchid and there were  no records for that species here or nearby. Sure enough, on my visit to her house lawn, I recorded 9 spikes of Autumn Ladies Tresses. Spiranthes spiralis  These only became known to the householder as a couple of years ago she paused a normally strict mowing regime and two spikes popped up that year. Two years later and by refraining from mowing in late July, she now had 9 spikes on her lawn. I see no reason why the numbers won't continue to rise year on year. I wonder how many other lawns have surprises in them like these, just waiting for the right con

Swanscombe Marshes, Kent - 23/08/19

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Swanscombe Marshes have been well documented by botanists pending the whole peninsular being re-developed, or so one would think. However, there were two monads (1km x 1km OS map squares) to the east that had been missed. So I set out this day to put that right. The Common Reed is often overlooked as there is usually so much of it but it is an attractive grass in its own right. Phragmites australis Unsurprisingly in north Kent, Buddleja was dotted about everywhere. Buddleja davidii  I didn't see any butterflies on it though.  Wild Carrot was living up to its name of Queen Anne's Lace and the fruiting heads balling up shows it to be subspecies carota. Daucus carota subspecies carota This first monad was dominated by the Brittania Lead Works, not an appealing sight  but a reminder of the ever present pressures on the land in this area which include - ever more housing;industrial;agricultural and leisure. Wildlife do