It rained hard during breakfast and this was followed but a brief but serious thunderstorm. The sky was grey and the precipitation steady and I resigned myself to a day indoors but the drawing hand was not working so I decided to head out anyway. It chose that moment to let up and, although windy, the rain held off until I got home three hours later.
With autumn passage underway I decided to head down to Temple Marsh to check on the Medway but it very quickly became a botanical amble starting with Jersey Cudweed flourishing in the driveways of many houses in the road adjacent to mine.
|Urbanised Jersey Cudweed
I even got distracted going under the railway and discovered Wall Rue (a tiny fern) and Hart’s Tongue growing out of the cracks while the next railway bridge had Buddlias doing what they do best.
|The amazing Buddlia
I took my time as I wandered through the industrial area, looking at the plants eking out an existence in the dust along fencelines and the bases of walls. There was a tall Fleabane that is beyond my level of expertise but Guernsey seems the best fit best and both Black and Woody Nightshades, Ragworts with Cinnabar cats, Nippleworts, Red Valerian, Black Horehound, Coltsfoot, Perennial Wall Rocket and Fennel.
|Fleabane - A compact species
|Fleabane - a tall lanky less hairy species
|Windowsill Stonecrop sp
I probably looked a bit odd taking pictures on this route. A slightly wider margin suddenly had both Common and Chinese Mugworts, Common Toadflax, Yarrow, Creeping Thistle, Soapwort and even a clump of Bear’s Breeches.
|Soapwort - Saponaria officinalis
I took the path down onto the windy saltmarsh and was greeted by an almost completely different suite of plants to my last visit or at last they were now flowering!
I have had a good go at identifying much of what I saw but I will confess to having plagued Enid with questions and images this afternoon.
Big clumps of Golden Samphire were immediately obvious with the Sea Wormwood now much taller and in flower creating a silvery carpet. Spear-leaved Orache was found from saltmarsh to above the high tide mark and Sea Milkwort and one of the Sea Spurry species were discovered although I may have to go back to get some better images of the latter.
|Sea Spurry sp in flower
Sea Aster was moving towards flowering with just one or two spikes in bloom and Spartina and Sea Couch grasses were in flower. The Annual Sea-Blite had come on somewhat and Common Sea Lavender clumps dotted the vista adding a splash of colour.
|Common Sea Lavender
|Common Sea Lavender
|Sea Beet fruits
|Sea Couch Grass
Above the strand line I found three patches of Marsh Mallow which reminded me of a trip to Minsmere with Annie, Max and his Mum many years ago now, where somehow Mr Stay Puft and the Marsh Mallow Police joined us on the walk... I am not sure that I have ever seen it anywhere else.
There were no pottery treasures to be found as there was thick covering of seaweed but I did find some nice Glasswort poking through. A large patch of Tansy was a pleasant surprise and was attended by what think is Colletes fodiens and this is one of its known pollen sources.
It was really blowy and it felt like rain was imminent but I pressed on into the retail park with its good borders. There was Musk and Common Mallow to make it three species for the walk along with Field Scabious, Marjoram and Spear Mint in flower.
|Spear Mint and Bombus lapidarius
I got myself a cup of coffee from McD in the now busy complex – gone are the days of no cars and tumbleweeds – and sat overlooking the Medway where at least one of the Oystercatcher families had successfully raised two young. A few juvenile Herring, Lesser Black-backed and Black-headed Gulls were milling around and a single adult Great Black-backed Gull was patrolling. Unsurprisingly there were no other waders as usual.
|Black-headed Gull adult
|Black-headed Gull juvenile
I retraced my route, pausing to watch an amorous male Feral Pigeon strutting his stuff on the saltmarsh among three ladies who where only interested in feeding on marsh grass seeds. He looked mighty fine with his puffed out chest.
Back at the Pill Box I took the inland route across the brownfield section of Temple Marsh but it was now getting darker and the wind was getting very gusty but I still managed to see quite a few Gatekeepers around the more sheltered laden Bramble clumps while Stonecrop, Perforate St John’s Wort and Common Centaury were growing in the thin soil layer on top of the asphalt.
|Lords and Ladies
There was no hope of any butterflies on the copious amounts of Buddlia but a Jersey Tiger blew out as I walked through. I have still not seen a Painted Lady this year.
I came back through the White Poplars and the pesky Mr Wren has now got me looking for leaf mines! He was quite excited when I sent him this picture as Phyllonorycter comparella is seemingly a noteworthy moth species.
|Phyllonorycter comparella mine on White Poplar
|Phyllonorycter comparella once emerged
I am still not up to identifying my Burdocks but Greater Plantain growing in the gutter and a patch of White Melilot were both new species before a final distraction of some holey Hop leaves made me think of Buttoned Snout damage having had them on my Golden Hop when we used to live in east Ham. Sure enough I found three cats under leaves but as soon as I got the camera ready they just dropped which was very inconsiderate so I took some shots of two leave mines instead!
|Old Man's Beard
|Perennial Sweet Pea
|Perennial Sweet Pea pods
|Cosmopterix zieglerella on Hop
|Lyonetia clerkella on hop
I did not want to push my luck, having stayed dry and pushed for home with a head full of botanical wonders.