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Lesser Butterflies in West Kent - 25/05/20

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Unfortunately I have to keep this venue secret as it's mainly about Lesser Butterfly Orchids and they are now gone from all of West Kent except this one venue. So, to protect them from theft or inadvertent trampling, I will keep this blog generalised in regards to location. All of this was unbeknown to me as I headed out for a relatively local walk in the west Kent downland. I didn't even know Lesser Butterfly Orchids were even found in West Kent so I hardly expected to find any. In fact the purpose of choosing this venue to explore was some 10 years old records for Fly and Man Orchids and some older records for Birds Nest Orchids, so I hoped to re-find some of these. It was a long walk uphill from the car to this wood, but I eventually got there. It was a hot day too, around 25 degrees and the walk made me perspire. As I walked along a narrow overgrown path I spotted something down a slope. From a distance it looked a bit like a Star of Bethlehem or perhaps an Allium,

TQ5872 Bean, Kent - Surprises near to Bluewater - 23rd to 24th May 2020

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I don't know why I picked this monad to survey. I had done some of it only last year, so didn't expect to find that much not already found. However, this time, I thought that I would properly explore the piece of Darenth Woods that fell within this square and the adjoining area too. Here's what I found in the woodland part on the first day. White Bryony is pretty much everywhere now with its big leaves, coiling tendrils and greenish flowers, there's nothing much else that looks like it. It was abundant around the woodland edges. Bryonia dioica This grass was on Watling Street on the northern edge of the woods. It's a one sided spikey looking grass and is called Rough Dog's Tail. I later found it in massive amounts on the main road junctions for Bluewater nearby.  Cynosurus echinatus There were some lovely displays of Stnking Iris, even in very densely shaded areas under the trees.

Knole Park, Sevenoaks, Kent - 19/05/20

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Lockdown has now been relaxed so that we can go anywhere we like outside for exercise or mental health, relaxation or even to sunbathe. This means I can now resume my botany excursions provided I maintain social distancing and don't go anywhere away from home overnight. That's fine by me as all of Kent and East Sussex is easily within an hour and a half drive from my home. However, the problem now is that after being kept in for so long, everyone is heading for the popular destinations, so that all beaches are crowded as are all parks and "nice places to be". Knole Park in Sevenoaks, is also now packed out daily, but it is a huge area and the remains of King Henry VIIIs deer park where he hunted when staying at Knole House (now a National Trust venue). Being fairly local we found a secluded back entrance to the park and had the area pretty much to ourselves. We even spoooked a solitary deer that thought it was all alone at this end of the park. Being consta