Pimp my fen

Posted by Graeme Lyons , Thursday 8 July 2010 09:35

Leythorne Meadow, an excellent example of calcareous fen is looking really good and has responded well to management. Coarse invasive species such as Reed and Hemp Agrimony have been hit back through early cutting and late summer cattle grazing, allowing the area of M22 fen to recover and expand. This is a tiny site but it has lots of species that I don't see often in Sussex. The top photo is Bog Pimpernel, a carpet of this is developing in the fen area, I can't remember seeing this before. The next two photos are of Fen Bedstraw, this is thinly scattered across the whole fen, scrambling over the Dyer's Greenweed and climbing up the stem of the Blunt-flowered Rush (fourth photo down). Fen Bedstraw has six to eight leaves in a whorl with a sharp point at the tip and backwards pointing prickles making it very rough to the touch, much more like Goosegrass than Marsh Bedstraw. Finally, I had to add in a close up of the flowers of Marsh Fragrant Orchid - Mark counted seven spikes this week. Other species of note include Marsh Valerian, Southern Marsh Orchid and Parsley Water-dropwort.

The strangest event of the day was a Common Tern flying low over the meadow towards the rafts on the nearby gravel pits with a goldfish in its beak! I also saw/heard a distant Mediterranean Gull, my favourite bird.

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