Wednesday, 16 May 2018

In clover

With a nagging, cool northerly wind the birding was never going to creep above mundane, and it didn't. The beauty of Dungeness is that if the birds are a no-show then you can fall back on plants and insects - we chose the former.

The sand dunes of Littlestone beckoned, with public land on the seaward side of the golf course chosen to explore. This area is well known botanically, and we were delighted to find a good number of notable species. The main target was Clustered Clover, a plant that I have failed to find here a number of times. Despite clear directions, and knowing that we were in the right place, it took an hour's searching before we had to admit defeat. Our sixty minutes of crawling around on all fours had paid off however, as some of the other clovers present were not so difficult, with Burrowing, Knotted, Birdsfoot, Rough, and Haresfoot also being recorded. There was masses of Bird's-foot (not the clover), Annual Knawel and plenty of Smooth Cat's-ear to feast our eyes on. A few naturalised plants added a splash of colour, including Duke of Argyll's Teaplant and Portugeuse Squill. Flowers, not for the first time, had saved the day.

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