Lade - 0700hrs & 1500hrs - cool, sunny, n1 then e2 - Actually bumped into a visiting birder over the pits this morning, who`d had an Osprey over heading north (that would probably account for the Herring Gulls going mental whilst i was still in the garden). Singles of Wheatear and Willow Warbler, plus several parties of Swallows were the only new migrants of note.
Along the beach the Sea Kale is about a fortnight behind due to the poor weather in April; this time last year it was a foot taller and already topped with broccoli-type, snowy florets. Dungeness foreland is of course notable for its prolific showing of this rareish coastal plant that is typically associated with shingle beaches close to the splash zone; i always reckon the most spectacular, and accessible, display is around the new lighthouse, so give it another week and take a stroll down the boardwalk and you`re in Sea Kale heaven.
Sea Kale is quite unique, as along with Samphire and Water Cress it is one of the few truly native vegetables found in these islands. In the old days it was regularly eaten; the shoots were covered over in early spring and `forced` like Rhubarb, the blanched stems were then cooked in similar fashion to Asparagus.
Another way of utilising kale for the kitchen is to pick the florets when young and steam `em as for broccoli. I tried this after advice from the late R.A.Turley (Ray was never one to turn down a foraged meal!) and found the taste nutty, salty and pretty awful really, a good job as i think its probably illegal to harvest wild kale now; and anyway once the flowers bloom the display is far more impressive than the taste...