Dickleburgh Moor and some garden plants, 26 July 2021

An afternoon visit to a much quieter Dickleburgh Moor now the dowitcher has departed!

There was still plenty of interest however with 1 Wood Sandpiper, 3 Green Sandpipers, 41 Lapwing, Kingfisher, c6 juv Yellow Wagtails and a Norfolk Hawker patrolling he ditch along the eastern bund. It was a particular plant I'd come for however and I found the very attractive Golden Dock in big numbers in the NE corner of the reserve plus other goodies such as Gypsywort, Water Chickweed, Purple Loosestrife, Fine-leaved Water Dropwort, Marsh Woundwort, Reed Canary Grass and Red Goosefoot. 

Back at home surveying Tattlepot acres I found that our Stone Parsley has come up again and on the side patio were both Petty Spurge, Hedge Woundwort and the invasive alien sedge Cyperus eragrostis. The garden also has naturalised Cyprus Spurge and Lemon Balm which have not been planted.

                                                                                                                                   Wood Sandpiper

                                                                                                                                     Golden Dock
                                                                                                                                     Red Goosefoot
                                                                                                                                   Reed Canary Grass
                                                                                                                                   Water Chickweed
                                                                                                                    Fine-leaved Water Dropwort
                                                                                                                                  Marsh Woundwort
                                                                                                                                     Cyperus eragrostis
                                                                                                                              Petty Spurge
                                                                                                                               Lemon Balm
                                                                                                                                          Stone Parsley

Long-billed Dowitcher at Dickleburgh Moor and weekend botany, 24 & 25 July 2021

We took the jaloppy down into north Essex for a one night stopover on a farm near Earls Colne on Saturday. Stopping in the middle of Colchester on the way down I had a date with a very rare plant. In the less than natural surroundings of some cobbled pavement by a busy roundabout I found it growing in some numbers - Jersey Cudweed. Nearby I also found Small-leaved Lime, Trailing Bellflower and some no-doubt dodgy Larkspur. At Chappel viaduct while taking photos I found a nice patch of Narrow-leaved Everlasting Pea before we decided on a walk in Chalkney Wood. This lovely ancient wood held Small Melillot, Wild Basil, Enchanter's Nightshade, Red Bartsia, Yellow Pimpernel and some nice flowering Hornbeams amongst the more common stuff.

That evening around our farm home I had Yellow Wagtail, Yellowhammer, Sparrowhawk, Green Woodpecker, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Musk Mallow and some nice Hedge Woundwort.

In the morning things started off (and continued) badly as I somehow managed to scratch my eyeball while washing my face! I struggled on in a lot of pain as we headed homeward via a stop a Great Waldringfield airfield near Sudbury. This is one of very few sites for Spreading Hedge Parsley and with some directions I quickly found plenty. In the same spot there was also quite a bit of Round-leaved Cranesbill. As we left the site I got news of a Long-billed Dowitcher at Dickleburgh so despite my eye I drove home as fast as the motorhome would let me. A quick dash to the moor and I was soon watching a gorgeous summer plumaged bird plus a nearby Common Sandpiper but due to my eye I didn't hang about.        

                                                                                                                                   Jersey Cudweed
                                                                                                                                Trailing Bellflower
                                                                                                                               Small-leaved Lime
                                                                                                                  Narrow-leaved Everlasting Pea
                                                                                                                                 Red Bartsia
                                                                                                                             Enchanter's Nightshade
                                                                                                                                   Yellow Pimpernel
                                                                                                                                  Wild Basil
                                                                                                                                     Small Melillot

                                                                                                                         Spreading Hedge Parsley
                                                                                                                           Round-leaved Cranesbill

                                                                                                                                Long-billed Dowitcher

Finningham/Gislingham, 21 July 2021

Thanks to some directions from my friend Meg who has been scouring the local fields farmed by her family I spent a thoroughly enjoyable short visit there on Wednesday.

There were 2 main species of plant that she'd given me spot-on directions to and with permission I could walk the fields and explore those hidden headlands. The species in question were Dwarf Spurge and Round-leaved Fluellen and I found both with ease in the 2 different places. The latter in particular was growing in abundance in one field corner and was a real sight to behold. Some curious purple-flowered Scarlet Pimpernels were another highlight just yards from the spurge.     

                                                                                                                                    Dwarf Spurge

                                                                                                                             Round-leaved Fluellen
                                                                                                     Scarlet Pimpernel with purple flowers!

A weekend in the Suffolk Sandlings, 16 - 18 July 2021

This past weekend we had a 2-night 'wild' camping trip down into the Suffolk Sandlings in our motorhome. Setting off mid-afternoon on Friday and returning mid-afternoon on Sunday we spent one night in the Dunwich Forest and the 2nd night in the Tunstall Forest near Snape. The weather was hot and sunny and our chosen locations both really nice. 

It's a real joy to be so close to the action and watch Nightjars almost from the van with numerous Noctule Bats swirling around. Out on the same piece of heath by the carpark I also had Dartford Warbler, Stonechat, Green Woodpecker, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Whitethroat, Yellowhammer and an amazing movement of c5000 Jackdaws! In the vicinity the plants were quite interesting too with one new one for me - Trailing St John's-wort plus Common Cudweed, Scarlet Pimpernel, Woodland Germander and Sticky Groundsel. Our 2 walks in the area produced Ruddy Darters, Southern Hawker, Brown Hawker, Common Blue Damselfly, Small Copper, my first Grayling and Gatekeeper of the year together with Red Admiral, Large White, Peacock, Ringlet, Meadow Brown, Comma, Small Skipper, Large Skipper and Essex Skipper. A single Silver-washed Fritillary passed through the carpark but didn't stop. 

When we re-located to the south we stopped by at Theberton Woods as it was en-route. Here a handful of Silver-washed Fritillaries and a single White Admiral were seen plus Dotted Loosestrife and Enchanters Nightshade.     

From our camping spot in the Tunstall Forest we had distant churring Nightjars and the added bonus of 2 Purple Hairstreaks in the top of an oak enjoying the last rays of sunlight of the day - as were we! 

On Sunday we walked and then visited Snape Maltings where Pantaloon Bee and Ruby-tailed Wasp were both seen at their holes on the sandy carpark

                                                                                                                              Trailing St John's-wort
                                                                                                                                             Ruddy Darter
                                                                                                                                   Dotted Loosestrife

                                                                                                                           Silver-washed Fritillary
                                                                                                                                            Pantaloon Bee

Two new plants in mid-Suffolk, 11 July 2021

Yellow Vetchling is a scarce and declining species that has been on my to do list for a little while. It survives in just a few spots in Suffolk, notably on a couple of roadside nature reserves within easy reach of home. It was to one of these not far from Stowmarket that I made for on Sunday. After a winding route through the lanes I was pleasantly surprised to find plenty of it on a lovely flower-packed verge - along with Meadow Vetchling, Agrimony, Pyramidal Orchids and Greater Knapweed

On the way home we called into another spot near Gislingham where Meg Miller had kindly given me a location for Sharp-leaved Fluellen. It was found easily on the edge of a cereal field together with Common Orache, Scarlet Pimpernel and Redshank.

On Friday while at work in Pulham St Mary a surprise Spotted Flycatcher popped up on a chimney while I was up some scaffolding and on Monday I stopped to investigate some roadside plants beside the A140 roundabout to find they were the scarce Spiny Restharrow rather than it's commoner cousin.  

                                                                                                                                     Yellow Vetchling
                                                                                                                               Sharp-leaved Fluellen
                                                                                                                                Spotted Flycatcher
                                                                                                                                   Spiny Restharrow