Saturday, 28 June 2014

A bluffers guide to wild flowers

Lade - 0700hrs - warm, dry and sunny, sw 3 - With the wind coming up-Channel it was once again a poor night for moths, at least in my back garden, with only two new for the year. Over the pits a female Tufted Duck emerged from the willow swamp with the first cutesy ducklings of the summer. For the third day running there was no sound of Cuckoo around the site, so maybe that`s that `til next spring...

                                Tufted Duck family, Lade

Dungeness RSPB - 1000-1300hrs - A couple of weeks ago the regular botanist who was due to lead today`s wildflower walk for beginners had to pull out. As a last resort I offered to step into the breach, even though my knowledge of flowering plants is to say the least limited, but after a recce in the week and a bit of swatting up with the trusty Fitter guide I felt reasonably confident of bluffing my way through. Fortunately, `my` group of 11 keen-as-mustard `beginners` comprised a decent botanist and between the two of us, and with reference to the field guide, we just about identified everything that was pointed out; although I must confess as to not looking too hard at the umbellifers, hawks and thistles!
The thing is with over 600 species (a third of the British list) of flowering plants recorded across the NNR there is plenty to discover. What did seem weird was walking the usual circuit looking down at the ground and not up in the air - the bins were redundant, but I enjoyed it immensely as it took me out of my comfort zone and will definitely be walking my local patch in future with more of a botanists eye.

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