The Moon and the Stars

Posted by Graeme Lyons , Monday 9 August 2010 08:25

We parked up at Cuckmere Haven and had a quick look at the Red Star-thistle growing by the bus stop that I saw there a few weeks ago and it's in full flower now.

Soon after this we had a great view of two Peregrines being mobbed by Carrion Crows. Other birds seen included Dunlin, Whimbrel (heard only), Kittiwake, Rock Pipit and Sandwich Tern.

We headed to the cliffs above the haven and found what is possibly the only colony of truly native Wall Germander. There were around 250 flowering spikes there. You can see that this labitate is in the same genus as Woods Sage, the flowers are quite similar in shape. We headed down the hill where there was lots of Clustered Bellflower. Greenfinches were feeding on large numbers on the seeds of Sea Kale. In the rock pools we saw Strawberry Anemone and Broad-clawed Porcelain Crab.
After crossing the mouth of the Cuckmere at low tide we scrambled up to Hope Gap where we saw the rare Moon Carrot and got these shots of this subtle umbellifer growing alongside the common Wild Carrot. Once you get your eye in you realise these plants look very different from each other. Moon Carrot is slightly yellowish (more like Hogweed in colour) compared to the pinky-white flowers of Wild Carrot.
The two umbels on the left in the centre photo are Moon Carrot with the five on the right being Wild Carrot. Wild Carrot is shown for comparison in the bottom photo too. I can see why they say in the books  that Moon Carrot looks like cauliflowers! They both smelled quite similar, pleasent for an umbellifer but I noticed that the Moon Carrot was often covered in inverts, especially hoverflies. Sea Wormwood and Rock Sea-lavender were seen on the way back too.

3 Response to "The Moon and the Stars"

Kingsdowner Says:

Thanks for the info Graeme - two of the three targets were found with not too much searching (no time to wade across to the Wall Germander).
I searched for Sweet Scabious at Holywell, Eastbourne, but found another Scabious. Could you have a look on my blog? Thanks.

Graeme Lyons Says:

I think that is probably a white form of Sweet Scabious. I think your Lesser Skullcap is actually Lousewort on the following entry. Great blog and thanks for the link!

Kingsdowner Says:

Thanks for that. I finally find a Sweet Scabious, and it's the wrong colour - typical!

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