Breckland botanical gems, 22 & 23 May 2021

Two different trips in a Brecks direction this past weekend.

On Saturday Belinda and I headed for the Suffolk Brecks for some walking but a call in at a site I'd been kindly given was in order first. The site itself has to remain under wraps but the small area held both my targets - the rare Small Alison and the very unobtrusive Fine-leaved Sandwort. The latter took some finding and I had to be extremely careful where I stood! In the same spot were other bits of interest too with several Henbit Dead Nettles in flower, Hairy Rock-cress, Common Fumitory, Wild Mignonette, Bur Chervil and Field Pansy of note. 

We moved on to do our walk in the King's Forest next and at the start of the walk 2 patches of Lily of the Valley were an unexpected bonus. Around the wood I had 4+ Willow Warblers, 2-3 Garden Warblers, a Tree Pipit singing on the edge of a large clearing and Nuthatch.

                                                                                                                                        Small Alison

                                                                                                                               Fine-leaved Sandwort

                                                                                                                                 Henbit Dead Nettle
                                                                                                                                           Small Nettle
                                                                                                                                     Lily of the Valley

On Sunday I was back in the area on my own to track down 2 species. The first was Sand Catchfly which has become a bit of a nemesis plant for me over the last couple of years. Not any more though as I found loads of plants on a roadside verge I'd been told about. Next up was another hush hush location for the frankly bizarre Breckland Birthwort. I found the tucked-away spot and the plants easily and spent a bit of time appreciating their strange otherworldliness. An area of open ground nearby held Thyme-leaved Sandwort and Narrow-leaved Vetch of note plus my first Brown Argus of the year when the sun came out for 2 minutes!

I then ventured to Barnhamcross Common and a rendezvous with Jeremy Gaskell. While waiting for him I managed to find several Breckland Pansies, Shepherd's Cress, Sheep's Sorrel, Thyme-leaved Speedwell, Wall Speedwell, Field Mouse-ear, Tower Mustard, Wild Mignonette, Buck's-horn Plantain and Sand Spurrey

I visit to Wortham Ling on the way home revealed the Knotted Clover now just coming in to flower and a calling Cuckoo on the far side of the common.

                                                                                                                                         Sand Catchfly

                                                                                                                                 Breckland Birthwort
                                                                                                                                        Breckland Pansy
                                                                                                                                     Brown Argus
                                                                                                                                        Sand Spurrey
                                                                                                                      Thyme-leaved Sandwort
                                                                                                                                     Knotted Clover

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