A Little Salt Goes a Long Way

We were at Farlington with the volunteers today, tasks were to complete the cutting on the south side of the Lake, fix a section of fencing, some thistle cutting and do the butterfly transects, I am pleased to say we got it all done. Cutting the area of reeds beside the Lake extends the are suitable for roosting waders and is also very popular with wildfowl later in the autumn. Snipe love to roost in the reed stubble and the piles of cut reed are very popular with ducks.

cut area by the Lake at Farlington

cut area by the Lake at Farlington

A feature of the southern shore of the Lake is notable for the saltwater seepage which comes in from the south ditch, this results in an interesting upper saltmarsh plant community, much of which is looking very good just now. The saltwater gets concentrated by evaporation, so rather little seawater can result in a fair bit of salt in the soil over a long period. One of the most attractive plants is sea lavender, although it is not in large patches here as it can be on some saltmarshes, such as on the eastern side of Hayling Island.

sea lavender

sea lavender

It is very popular with nectaring bees and flies as is the sea aster.

sea aster

sea aster

Sea aster is the food plant of the starwort moth and I have found the larvae in large numbers in the past although I could see none today, this is one moth that is rarely seen as an adult as it does not often come to light traps. Other saltmarsh plants in this area included sea purslane, sea blight, glasswort and cord grass.

Spartina (cordgrass)

Spartina (cord grass)

We just managed to finish work before the wader roost started to build, it was pleasing to see twenty or so summer plumaged grey plover fly in, with their velvety black fronts edged with white. There were also redshank, black-tailed godwit, greenshank, dunlin , common and green sandpipers, snipe and a ringed plover.

The highlight of the butterfly transect was a clouded yellow, although overall numbers of butterflies are now well down on those of a couple of weeks ago.


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