Saturday, 30 September 2017

A Monad in the City of London (Grid Reference TQ3281)

We occasionally travel up to our old Haunts in the City of London and have visited various locations, looking for Wild Flowers growing on Walls beside All Hallows-on-the-Wall, in the St Mary Aldermanbury Garden, in the Barber-Surgeons' Hall Garden, in the Garden of St Christchurch Greyfriars, in the Garden of St Olave Silver Street, Postman's Park and in the Grounds of St Paul's Cathedral &c. All fall within the Monad, Grid Reference TQ3281.

The Monad falls within Metropolitan Vice County 21 (Middlesex) for 'Biological Recording Purposes'.

A few other Open Spaces fall within this Monad although sadly, with building work constantly underway, sections of the City are becoming increasingly Characterless and Sterile. Thankfully however, there are still places where we may see Wild Flowers (or perhaps, to the vast majority of people, Weeds): also Bees, Birds (other than Feral Pigeons), (Grey) Squirrels, Butterflies &c. but they are becoming few and far between.

Despite this, it has occurred to us that we should record the Plants we see growing in this Monad. Our visits will be very occasional but we imagine we will be in for a few Pleasant Surprises.

Plants seen to date include:

Black Horehound
Black Nightshade
Black Spleenwort viz.

Common Chickweed
Common Nettle
Creeping Thistle
Dove's-Foot Crane's-Bill
Gallant/Shaggy Soldier
Greater Plantain
Great Willowherb
Hart's-Tongue Fern viz.

Ivy-Leaved Toadflax
Least-Yellow Sorrel
Maidenhair Spleenwort viz.

Mexican Fleabane
Mind-your-own-Business viz.

Orange Hawkweed (we were especially pleased to see a few Plants flowering in the St Mary Aldermanbury Garden during May) viz.

Oxford Ragwort
Purple-Leaved Procumbent Yellow Sorrel
Purple Loosestrife viz.

Red Dead-Nettle
Red Valerian
Rusty-Back Fern (we came across a small population growing on Walls beside All Hallows-on-the-Wall, London Wall, the first time we have ever knowingly seen any Rusty-Back Fern)
White Clover

Saturday, 23 September 2017

Of Small Copper Butterflies

'Tis a Strange Thing but we have seen more Small Copper Butterflies locally during the past few days than we have during the rest of the Year.

Earlier Sightings:

[i] one Butterfly on 10 May on the Holly Hill Open Space

[ii] one Butterfly on 20 May in the Upper College Farm area viz.

[ii] one Butterfly on 23 May in Foots Cray Meadows

and [iv] one Butterfly on 30 June on the Holly Hill Open Space viz.

Recent Sightings (all on the Crossness Nature Reserve and Surrounding area):

[i] one Butterfly on 15 September by the Footpath running beside the Sea Wall Field viz.

and one Butterfly on 15 September by the Footpath running between Norman Road and North and the Thames Path viz.

[ii] at least two (possibly three) Butterflies on 19 September by the Footpath running beside the Sea Wall Field and one Butterfly in the Norman Road Field viz.

[iii] at least two Butterflies in the Norman Road Field on 22 September including:

two more Butterflies by the Footpath running beside the Sea Wall Field including:

and one Butterfly by the Entrance (Thames Path end) to the Footpath running between Norman Road North and the Thames Path.

And a single Butterfly on the Holly Hill Open Space today viz.

So: four Butterflies before 15 September and at least six Butterflies from 15 September onwards.

Friday, 22 September 2017

Wow: the Yellow-Worts are Flowering again

We don't really know much about Wild Flowers. This is not modesty but a simple acknowledgement of our limitations.

Most of what we have learned about Wild Flowers came initially, from our wanderings locally along the Thames Path, along Public Footpaths (in the Vicinity of the Thames Path), Church Grounds and Cemeteries.

Which meant that we were seeing essentially the same Plants each Year with the occasional new ones popping up meaning there was nothing too taxing for us.

We have tried a couple of Wild Flower Walks but if truth be told, found ourselves totally overwhelmed with the number of new, to us, Species.

One of the Footpaths we like to wander along is the one that runs between Norman Road North and the Thames Path.

And much to our surprise we found some flowering Yellow-Worts (a favourite of ours) there.

We saw them flowering beside the Footpath during June and now they are having a second bash viz.

Sunday, 10 September 2017

We go out in Search of Plant Galls and Find Some

Feeling in the Mood for a Change we toddled over to Bostall Heath (in the Royal Borough of Greenwich) to look for Plant Galls on the numerous Oak Trees growing there and were Super-Pleased to actually find some.

Luckily for us, some of the Oaks on the Heath are quite small which made finding and photographing the Galls quite easy.

[i] Common Spangle Galls (Neuroterus Quercusbaccarum) viz.

[ii] Silk Button Spangle Galls (Neuroterus Numismalis) viz.

[iii] assumed Oak Artichoke Galls (Andricus Foecundatrix) viz.

[iv] assumed Smooth Spangle Galls (Neuroterus Albipes) viz.

[v] assumed Oak Apple Galls (Biorhiza Pallida) viz.

We also noticed other larger arrangements viz.

We think these might all be Knopper Galls (Andricus Quercuscalicis) or similar.

Some interesting exchanges yesterday on a Social Media site where we asked for help on Identifications have helped us to keep things in perspective. We shall enjoy looking for Galls but are not going to get too exercised in trying to Identify everything which we think might take the Fun out of our Gall Hunting Expeditions.

Saturday, 9 September 2017

Wow: we both Find and Identify some Navelworts

We had been out on the Bicycle and were on our way home. Whichever way we came we had to climb some pretty steep hill(s).

Anyway: one of the possible routes is bordered on one side by a High Wall. We had always wondered if any Plants grew on the Wall so decided this was the opportunity to take a peep.

And Yippee: we found some Navelworts (on the Kent Rare Plant Register) viz.

The first we had ever knowingly seen. Remembering the Plant has 'fleshy' leaves, we opened our Wild Flower Book and without much ado went to the Stonecrops &c. And Wow: there it was! But as to how it got there?

Grid Reference: TQ 5096978026 or thereabouts.

The Sighting has been submitted to the Kent Botanical Recording Group (KBRG).

Thursday, 7 September 2017

A Riverside Stroll

We had decided to look for the Ringed Plovers that may invariably be found beside the Thames in the Belvedere area: an area we have affectionately named, 'Ringed Plover Territory'.

So we went down to Church Manorway. Before walking up to the Thames Path we took a quick peep at the Lake beside Church Manorway: the surface of which is now filled with Water Plantain and looking rather attractive viz.

Before going across to the nearby Footpath that leads up to the Thames Path with the intention of walking upstream to see if the Ringed Plovers were about, we noticed a Painted Lady Butterfly visiting a Buddleia viz.

Alas however: we had misjudged the Tide and it was almost High Tide, meaning the Plovers would be settled down in their High Tide' Roost.

Undaunted: we decided to walk downstream towards Erith.

Although very familiar with this stretch of the Thames Path and Thames Foreshore we invariably find some new. And in this instance it was a small population of Bladder Campion growing by the Thames just downstream of the Corey Berth viz.

Elsewhere, just below the Sea Wall there were quite a few Butterflies and other Little Critters visiting Ragwort, Sea Asters &c.viz.

We also spotted a splendid Spider viz.

Other Plants seen included:

A single Amaranth viz.

Black Horehound viz.

Sea Purslane viz.

Bramble viz.

Marsh Woundwort viz.

Great Willowherb viz.

Wild Carrot viz.

Redshank viz.

and Sea Milkwort viz.

Black-Headed Gulls were gathered on one of the derelict Jetties/Wharves, waiting for the Tide to go out viz.

And just as we were about to leave for Home, we noticed a Moth Mullein flowering beside Church Manorway viz.

A Footnote:

General Cargo Vessel, Bockoe, was moored at Erith Oil Outer viz.

General Cargo Vessel, Arklow Cape, was heading upstream viz.

General Cargo Vessel, Arklow Valley, was heading downstream viz.

And Passenger Vessel, Princess Pocahontas, was also heading downstream viz.

Aircraft flying into London City Airport included Luxair, Bombardier Dash 8 aircraft, Registration LX-LQI viz.

And Flybe, Bombardier Dash 8 aircraft, Registration G-JEDU viz.