Wheatfen, 12 June 2021

Wheatfen is one of those old fashioned little reserves and all the better for it. I'd never been before so with the lure of some nice insects we decided to pay the place a visit on Saturday.

On the way I was keen to catch up with a rare plant I'd never seen before - White Ramping Fumitory. I'd kindy been given some directions by Andy Musgrove but as it transpired these were a bit 'out'. I extended my search further along the lane in Kirby Bedon and hey presto, found them right where we'd parked!

                                                                                                                          White Ramping Fumitory

On to Wheatfen and completely unbeknown to us they had an open weekend. Luckily we hit the timing right between 2 guided walks so there wasn't many people about. And the bonus was lovely tea and cakes for sale which were very welcome after a hot walk around the reserve! On that walk I found numerous Norfolk Hawkers and Scarce Chasers, 2 Hairy Dragonflies, Black-tailed Skimmers, Four-spotted Chasers, Variable Damselflies, Azure Damselflies, Blue-tailed Damselflies and Large Red Damselflies. Start of the show however was a showy Swallowtail nectaring on a bunch of Sweet Williams that had been placed for them by reserve staff. Birds included Cetti's Warblers, Willow Warbler, Garden Warbler and Cuckoo. Plants around the reserve were also interesting with Southern Marsh Orchid and hybrid Southern Marsh x Common Spotted, Blue Water Speedwell and Celery-leaved Buttercup but the best finds were Small Balsam and Yellow Pimpernel not far out of the carpark. 


                                                                                                                                        Scarce Chasers
                                                                                                                                Norfolk Hawker
                                                                                                                                  Variable Damselfly
                                                                                                                            Large Red Damselflies
                                                                                                                                      Small Balsam
                                                                                                                                     Yellow Pimpernel

South Suffolk Botany, 8 June 2021

One of the things I really enjoy about botany is the out of the way 'secret' places it gets you to. Balmy summer evenings in such places at this time of year are a joy and Tuesday night was exceptional. Stuart Read had very kindly offered to meet at one such site at Thorington Street near Stoke-by-Nayland as he'd found some of the rare Small-flowered Buttercup there a few days previously. 

We spent a good hour in one small area which held an outstanding array of scarce plants. as well as the main attraction there were 4 species of scarce clovers - Suffocated Clover, Birds'-foot Clover, Clustered Clover and Knotted Clover. 3 of these were new to me! Into the bargain there was also a good patch of the beautiful Grass Vetchling and Hoary Cinquefoil plus Hairy Tare, Smooth Tare, Slender Trefoil, some curious white-flowered Common Vetch, Lesser Stitchwort, Field Madder, Scarlet Pimpernel and a large area covered in Lesser Calamint which will sadly not be in flower for some time yet. Turtle Dove and Cuckoo were the icing on the cake.

Bidding farewell to Stuart I made for home - via the Ipswich Lizard Orchid which is up but still in bud at the moment. I had tried on my drive down earlier but had incorrect directions. That error did at least allow me to find Jerusalem Sage and Musk Stork's-bill whilst searching.

                                                                                                                        Small-flowered Buttercup
                                                                                                                                     Bird's-foot Clover
                                                                                                                                       Clustered Clover
                                                                                                                                     Suffocated Clover
                                                                                                                                         Knotted Clover

                                                                                                                                        Grass Vetchling
                                                                                                                                            Field Madder

                                                                                                                                      Hoary Cinquefoil
                                                                                                                                      Lesser Stitchwort
                                                                                                                                        Jerusalem Sage

                                                                                                                                        Musk Stork's-bill
                                                                                                                                         Lizard Orchid

Weekend Wildflowers and bits, 5 & 6 June 2021

After our travels it was back to local walking this weekend.

Friday was out because I had my 2nd covid jab but Saturday saw us do a long walk in the Thorpeness/Sizewell area. Probably too long as my jab had left me feeling rather washed out! Best of my sightings on the walk were Painted Lady and Brown Argus and loads of Kittiwakes around the platforms off Sizewell. Goatsbeard, Pink Sorrel, loads of Fiddleneck and Star of Bethlehem were the highlights of the inland portion of the walk. Along the coastal stretch English Stonewort, Sea Pea, Sea Kale, Red Valerian, Japanese Rose and Sea Spurge made the beach very colourful. Near Thorpeness a patch of Mediterranean Spurge was a strange find.

Fast forward to Sunday when I didn't do much except pop in to Winks Meadow after dropping Belinda off at Weybread. I found 8 Frog Orchids up plus the remnants of the Green-winged Orchids, Quaking Grass, Crested Dog's Tail, Yellow Rattle and Fairy Flax. Both Whitethroat and Lesser Whitethroat were singing. 

                                                                                                                                    Star of Bethlehem
                                                                                                                                           Pink Sorrel
                                                                                                                                         Sea Spurge
                                                                                                                                    English Stonecrop
                                                                                                                              Mediterranean Spurge
                                                                                                                                     Frog Orchid
                                                                                                                                    Quaking Grass
                                                                                                                               Green-winged Orchid

Tour of the North, Day 6, 30 May 2021 - Arnside Park, Arnside Knott and Gait Barrows

This was our last day and with all of my planned botany and things done we decided on a long walk around the Arnside peninsular and back over Arnside Knott. And boy it was a hot one! 

On Arnside seafront at the start of the walk I found English Scurvygrass and around the coastal strip west Sea Milkwort on the edge of the saltings and Wayfaring Tree growing out of the rocky cliff. The path veered into the edge of the woods of Arnside Park and in the shade was a good number of Columbine plants and Early Purple Orchid. After we had rounded the end of the peninsular a nice patch of Bloody Cranesbill was by the path with a pair of Common Blues nearby and some very welcome Dropwort in flower. After lunch in the shade of a tree at Far Arnside we began the toil up and over Arnside Knott. I was checking everywhere for Northern Brown Argus but succeeded in finding just Dingy Skippers and Small Heaths. The display of Early Purple Orchids on the walk down was superb with one specimen up to my knee in height! 

With time to spare (if no energy!) we popped back to Gait Barrows and with Belinda opting to stay in the car I wandered off on the trails. And after rather too much searching I was delighted to find a single Duke of Burgundy, my very first one in the north and a fitting way to conclude the trip.

All that was left was a fish and chip supper from the Arnside Chip Shop sat on the ege of the saltings watching the sun go down over the estuary.

                                                                                                                             English Scurvygrass

                                                                                                                                      Sea Milkwort

                                                                                                                                        Wayfaring Tree
                                                                                                                                     Bloody Cranesbill

                                                                                                                                  Early Purple Orchid
                                                                                                                                   Duke of Burgundy