Beardy weirdy

Posted by Graeme Lyons , Monday, 3 March 2014 12:13

Almost ten years ago I carried out an NVC survey of Cliffe Pools reserve in north Kent when I worked in the ecology department of the RSPB. Now I am off sick today and found myself looking through some old photos hanging around on CDs. The most striking of which is this grass, Annual Beard-grass. This strange looking grass is listed as nationally scarce but I saw more of this in this one place than I have seen since and before combined!

I believe the centre photo to be the hybrid between Annual Beard-grass (left) and Creeping Bent (right).

In fact, I notched up masses of new species there. Lots of rare coastal plants such as Borrer's Saltmarsh Grass (below), Curved Hard-grass, Sea Clover and Toothed Medick.

I stumbled across the nationally scarce b Rosy Wave which I have not seen since.

Birds were good too. I found my only ever Blue-headed Wagtail.  A Terek Sandpiper turned up within hours of me being on site and there was a nice twitchable Trumpeter Finch a few miles down the road.

I also saw the Shrill Carder Bee Bombus sylvarum which again I have not seen since. I have not been back to Cliffe since 2005 and I really should. It is a cracking nature reserve with dynamic communities. I do hope the rare early successional habitats there a still thriving. If only I was more switched on to beetles when I was there!

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