Rare blue stuff

Posted by Graeme Lyons , Saturday, 9 July 2011 15:00

I've had a rather eventful morning surveying arable birds on a farm just outside of Brighton. First off, I have seen THREE Quail! I flushed one and then later flushed a pair whilst walking the survey. I took one more step and flushed a pair of Grey Partridge. Amazing. If at any point in my life someone told me that one day I would see three Quail in a single day, I would not have believed them! I was a bit gutted that I didn't manage a photo but they were pretty fast. I added Little Owl to the survey list too.

The plants today have been exciting also. I am fairly sure the above photo is of Purple Viper's Bugloss. It certainly looks the part and has only two projecting stamens.  I know this is a real rarity known only from Cornwall and the Channel Islands. Wilson and King notes that it does turn up as a casual elsewhere on arable land. I wonder where it came from? Is this still a significant record? Can anyone out there shed any light on this, possibly in a Sussex context?

The list of arable plants on this farm is impressive (species in bold I added new to the site today)
Night-flowering Catchfly
Narrow-fruited Cornsalad
Sharp-leaved Fluellen
Round-leaved Fluellen
Babington's Poppy
Prickly Poppy
Rough Poppy
Small Toadflax
Dwarf Spurge
White Horehound
Dense-flowered Fumitory
Venus's Looking-glass
However, on the last field I cam across a single flower of Cornflower! Growing with Rough Poppy and Night-flowering Catchfly. It was the only plant there and there were no signs of other 'seed-mix' species. I can't help but think this was a genuine record.
A lot going on today. I think this is Blue Pimpernell. This nationally scarce sub-species of Scarlet Pimpernel is meant to differ from the blue form of Scarlet Pimpernell by the fact that the petals do not over lap as in this photo. It was in the same field as the Cornflower, Rough Poppy and Night-flowering Catchfly.
Oh, I just found a VERY BAD photo of the pair of Quail in flight too (look very carefully in the bottom right hand corner). Now, I'm off to the pub.

1 Response to "Rare blue stuff"

Anonymous Says:

I cannot help explain where these purple viper's bugloss came from but it also grows above Pett Level on land used to grow seed mixes for birds. Brian Banks

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