Bluebells and Adder’s Tongues

I went to Farlington today with the idea of doing a survey of the nesting lapwing, I had help with me as well, unfortunately the wind was so strong and cold that the lapwing were keeping their heads down. In addition it was difficult to keep binoculars still enough to make a good search. An estimate of territories made from the number of males present suggests a few more than a couple of weeks ago, although some of these are unpaired. It was also good to see that at least some of the birds sitting nearly three weeks ago are still doing so, this should mean we could see chicks in the next week.

Luckily the weather did improve as the day went on, although the wind did not let up, so we shifted attention to the area north of the A27 and looking at plants. The area so completely cleared by the powerline company is starting to show some signs of recovery, the ferns are doing especially well and a small clump of bluebell on one of the banks was a  nice surprise.

bluebell and fern

bluebell and fern

It was especially pleasing that they showed every sign of being true bluebell (in a non-politic sense), being so close to suburbia the risk is that any pure bluebells hybridise with garden forms, either Spanish bluebell or their hybrid with our native species. Bluebells are a bit of a speciality of the British Isles, the carpets of blue are only found here and on the very nearest edge of the continent.

The greater shelter north of the A27 meant that some butterflies were out, although they were all speckled wood, which will fly pretty much whenever it is worm enough even if the sun is not out. The several that we saw today were my first of the year.

speckled wood

speckled wood

We also went looking for the adder’s tongue, a small plant with an unusual form that is characteristic of old, unimproved grasslands. There used to be good patches of it in the Aerial field and we found it there still and also in the north-east slip field, although there it is in danger of getting overwhelmed by brambles.

adder's tongue

adder’s tongue

Generally speaking it was a quiet day for birds with 2 greenshank, 2 wheatear, 2 raven and 3 swift being the highlights. There was some suggestion of a light passage of hirundines with a scatter of swallow and a single sand martin over the Stream.



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