North East Norfolk, 4 July 2020

We took a drive out into the wilds of NE Norfolk on Saturday afternoon.
My main aim was to see the rather lovely Small-flowered Catchfly var.quinquevelnera which grows beside the Weavers Way near North Walsham. Following some broad directions I found myself in a cutting of the old railway line and on the steep sandy bank found many plants of this red-spotted variant. Most had gone to seed but there were still plenty of nice flowering ones to point my camera at. Back near the carpark I also spotted a nice patch of Green Nightshade growing by the path.

After we left the site Belinda wanted to head to Mundesley so who was I to argue! Ambling around the beach and undercliff just south of the village revealed some unpredicted new plants for me - Narrow-leaved Vetch and Bucks-horn Plaintain plus Hairy Tare and some Borage.

Later, while checking various beach spots for Belinda I found several patches of Prickly Saltwort on the sand at Lessingham where there was also a rather inpressive Little Tern colony which is a new one on me.




Small-flowered Catchfly var.quinquevulnera

Green Nightshade

Narrow-leaved Vetch

Bucks-horn Plantain

Borage

     Prickly Saltwort

Blog backlog, 25 June - 1 July 2020

With too many trips out and work getting in the way I've not had a chance to record all my sightings so here's a catch-up. It's predominantly of botanic interest again I'm afraid. Wildflowers and the steep learning curve I'm on are helping keep me sane during this strange period even if they're driving readers on here nuts!

Thursday 25 June
A lightening quick stop off at Dickleburgh Moor on the way home from work and a chance find of a superb Great White Egret plus 6+ Little Egrets, Stock Dove, Little Grebes and a new plant Amphibious Bistort.


Friday 26 June
After I'd finished work Belinda and I drove out to Gorleston. I wanted to see a certain plant species that Jeremy Gaskell had found and Belinda was easily bribed with the promise of a fish and chip supper! I quickly found the Small-flowered Catchfly colony which extended along a 10 meter strip and carefully photographed them while trying not to kneel in dog shit. Keeping them company was a nice patch of Haresfoot Clover. Our fish supper on Gorleston cliffs overlooking an almost deserted beach was lovely, and a fitting way to start the weekend.

Sunday 28 June
After a blank Saturday we headed off to the coast at Covehithe/Benacre for a walk down to Benacre Broad. The clifftop flora here is superb at the moment and along the eastern edge of a field of Lucerne I found Crimson Clover, Sand Lucerne, Scarlet Pimpernel, Sainfoin and ever better - the rare Fodder Vetch. At the time I dismissed it as Tufted Vetch but later realised they were different and the habitat all wrong for TV. Further along a Common Blue Sowthistle plant was in full flower and then down at the broad we were entertained by the nesting Little Terns. An adult Mediterranean Gull flew over and Avocets were along the near edge with their young.
We made a couple of quick stops on the way home - the first at a RNR at Henham where I found Orpine plants but they weren't yet in flower.
The other stop was at Winks Meadow where the Frog Orchids have died off but I did find Spiny Restharrow, loads of Sulphur Clover and a few Pyramidal Orchids, some of which have now spread into the orchard. Best of all however was a female Yellow Wagtail by a puddle on the concrete pad as we arrived. White Stonecrop is also growing in the cracks of the concrete, a typical habitat.

Tuesday 30 June
I'd read that Billingford Common holds the scarce and declining Large-flowered Hemp Nettle so I called in on the way home from work as it was almost en-route. No luck with the nettle (I may be too early) but Pink-sorrel, Musk Mallow, the white form of Hedgerow Cranesbill, Meadow Vetchling, Essex Skippers and a hugely impressive stand of huge Cotton Thistle kept me amused.  Investigating some roadside flowers by the A140 revealed Broad-leaved Everlasting Pea and several Pyramidal Orchids (as the traffic whizzed past my earhole!)

Wednesday 1 July
Another quick afternoon pop out - this time to Langley near Loddon. Jane Ferguson had kindly given me directions to a patch of Small Balsam which I found easily. While there I also found an unfamiliar willowherb which has turned out to be Square-stalked Willowherb.



Small-flowered Catchfly

    Haresfoot Clover


Crimson Clover

Fodder Vetch

Sainfoin

Sand Lucerne

Common Blue Sowthistle

Little Tern

 Fat Hen

Yellow Wagtail

Spiny Restharrow

White Stonecrop


Pyramidal Orchid



Meadow Vetchling

Musk Mallow

Pink-sorrel


Essex Skippers

Hedgerow Cranesbill (white form)

Broad-leaved Everlasting Pea



Small Balsam

         Square-stalked Willowherb

Two new Breckland Sites, 23 June 2020

After work on Tuesday I took advantage of already being halfway to the Brecks and the promise of a warm balmy evening.

First up was Ramparts Field just outside West Stow Country Park. Just a short stroll from the carpark I found my main target there - the scarce and rather splendid Maiden Pink. I went on to find quite alot of them in beautiful condition but my other target of Breckland Thyme was curiously absent. Also there was  loads of Vipers Bugloss, Common (or possibly Small) Cudweed, Meadow Chickweed, Common Storksbill. Small Heath and Small Copper were also seen.

The other site was only a couple of miles away - Icklingham Triangle. I'd never even heard of this site but it came up trumps with a patch of legumes right by the entrance gate featuring Sickle Medick, Lucerne and the very variable hybrid of the two - Sand Lucerne. These are all classic sandy soil Breckland specialities. Sand Lucerne is extremely variable in colour and I found deep purple, pale lilac, pale creamy yellow and dark olive-yellow ones. The thyme eluded me again though! An Essex Skipper there was my first of the year.


Maiden Pink

 Sickle Medick


Sand Lucerne


   Common Cudweed (or possibly Small Cudweed)

Thorpeness, Sizewell and Westleton, 20 June 2020

Needing some exercise and sea air on Saturday we undertook a long walk from Thorpeness north to Sizewell and back inland via the heaths and golfcourse.
From a botanic viewpoint it was rather interesting too with many coastal species seen - Common Restharrow, Sand Spurrey, Common Eyebright, English Stonecrop and White Stonecrop were all new ones for me whilst the shingle was full of Yellow Horned Poppies, Sea Kale and Red Valerian (including white specimens). A pure white Common Storksbill was also very educational and had me stumped for ages. Common Centaury was in flower along the clifftop path and around the inland side of Thorpeness village near the cloud house were Duke of Argyll's Teaplant and Lesser Periwinkle. Plenty of Kittiwakes were around their nesting rig off Sizewell where I also had a single Mediterranean Gull. The walk also yielded my first Brown Hawker of the year.

I wanted to search for Sand Catchfly at the Haven but dipped again. However I did find some nice Wild Onion plants and a gawdy patch of naturalised Rose Campion.

A 30 minute stop and wander on Westleton Heath as we left the coast and I eventualy located 2 Silver-studded Blues (I was keen to see these at a new location for me) with plenty of Small Heaths, Small Coppers, a Clouded Buff moth and Woodlark and 2 Dartford Warblers still singing at 15.30 in the 3rd week of June so obviously not reading the script!

Common Restharrow

Yellow Horned Poppy

Common Eyebright

English Stonecrop

Common Centaury

Sand Spurrey

Common Storksbill (white form)

 Duke of Argyll's Teaplant

Wild Onion

 Rose Campion


     Silver-studded Blues