Friday, 13 March 2009

Friday 13th.March 2009

Was it going to be an unlucky day ? Not being supersticious , I set off in very pleasant weather , not what was forcasted , to the Greensand Ridge , with the main aim of looking for a seasonal fungi that I have found there in previous years . Mind you , whilst there , I couldn't pass by tins/felts without havin a look . First site was the area across from our volunteers yard . Five pairs of refugia produced absolutely nothing , so I set off down the Ridge to another five pairs , which were more productive with two Slow Worms , both under felt , as the tins hadn't warmed up to any extent . Heading further down , I found my first Wood Anemone flower of the year . It looks as if it is going to be a bumper year for Bluebells , as the leaves are already carpeting the woodland floor , and in some areas , Wild Garlic/Ransoms leaves are well established as well . In an area managed for Dormice , an area coppiced last year to let in more light , provided another seldom found plant , Green Hellebore , a member of the Buttercup family . Not the most astonishing flower , but nice to find .Then , the Greensand Ridge caught up with Kingsdown , Pittswood and East Malling , when I found the first of only three Lesser Celandine flowers open . A little further on , I started to find the fungi that I had been looking for , Scarlet Elf Cup-Sarcocypha coccinea , and you can cettainly see where the 'coccinea' comes from , live on rotten wood , and although not rare , I only find in certain places , and only at this time of year . Some were found in groups amongst the moss on the dead wood , whilst elsewhere , larger individual specimens were found . Along the bank of a spring fed stream , Opposite -Leaved Golden Saxifrage is another early flowering plant , and once again , although not rare , needs damp , specific conditions to do well , especially with moss as in the photo .
By now , I was at the bottom of the Ridge , and my attention was drawn skyward to the mewing of Common Buzzard . Originally , I only saw one , but shortly after numbers two , three and four drifted into view , but really high . At no time could I get all four in the same frame , so had to settle for just two of them . Talking birds , I had a very respectable species count of 37 for the day , and when I got home , Carol said she had a pair of Siskins on the Sunflower hearts after lunch , and I had a Grey Heron from the back bedroom window when I came up to post this . Nothing fantastic in the list , but at another site on the Ridge , a group of Corvids were , to use the venacular of another Blogger ' showing a Sparrowhawk the boundary of the Parish ' . At this site , I lifted the tins/felts and surprisingly had a Grass Snake under one of the tins , it's forked tongue immediately collecting information on this intruder to it's world .They usually are found some weeks later than this .
Before heading home , I revisited the site we were working on this week , and where I found an Adder . On returning to the same spot , this light coloured male , which was perfectly calmouflaged in the dead Bracken , was in almost the same spot , even though today the clouds were building and the end of the sun was very close .
On the way home , I called in at Biggin Hill to see the Early Purple Orchids . I can only say that they haven't progressed at all since my last visit , and could well not flower untill late April , we shall see . The upside being that they haven't come to any harm .
To answer my own question at the beginning , no it wasn't an unlucky day , in fact it was a very good day , but a bit more sunshine would have made it even better .
Before ending , I post a shot from the top of the Greensand Ridge , across the valley , to the church at Ide Hill , which , I have been told is the highest church in Kent - in altitude .
Sad day tomorrow , last day of the Hedgelaying Season . What am I going to do on a Saturday now ?


Ken said...

Hello Greenie.
What a great day you had yourself. Everything from Buzzards,to that wonderful scarlet fungi, not to mention the snakes and legless lizard. Well done mate.Nice pictures, by the way.

Phil and Mandy said...

Hi Greenie, Nice pics mate, love the snakes...Phil

Warren Baker said...

well you've already seen and done everything greenie! all in one day! What a set of sightings.

What do you mean how are you going to spend your sat. mornings ? Get out birding!!