Monday, 4 May 2009

Monday 4th.May 2009

A pleasant enough morning , and although it was Bank Holiday , when I try my best not to be on the road , I suggested a run out into deepest Kent , before the roads get too busy . We set off , and a couple of miles from home , where we join the A21. , I thought I had dropped one . The junction was jammed on all approaches with motor bikes and riders . It was only then I remembered it was an annual run to the coast , I think . The good thing was that they were still arriving , whilst we were on our way . It was amazing how many people were out on the verges and on the bridges over the A21. all the way down to Lamberhurst . There we turned off to Goudhurst , and then headed towards Marden , not a million miles away from the world famous 'Pittswood Patch ' . Carol was enjoying the quiet country lanes , when I swung into a car park with a Kent Wildlife Trust logo on the gate - Marden Meadow .
We walked through the first field and into the second , the field I have visited on previous visits , but not for some years now . The Meadow infront of us was full of Green Winged Orchids . It was like paradise , the flowers the birdsong and gentle heat from the hazy sunshine , making it all perfect . This must be one of the best sites for this Orchid in Kent , if not even further afield . The colour varies from deep Purple ,through Pink ,
even to White .
The derivation of the name comes from the green veined hood that shrouds the top of the flower , and can be seen best on the white variant above . The lighter coloured flowers are meant to give off a strong vanilla scent , but I must say that I didn't notice it . Also in the meadow , mainly in a damp corner , was Adderstongue_Ophioglossum vulgatum .
Although looking as if it should be in the Arum family , like Lords and Ladies , it is in fact a member of the Fern family , strange looking plants , holding aloft their spadix-like spike of spores . As can be seen from the photographs , they are only about 5/7cm. high , and can be easily overlooked in the swarth of grass where they grow . The only other colour in the meadow was provided by Meadow Bottercup , which was starting to come into flower , but lots of Vetches , Yellow Rattle , Dyer's Greenweed and Knapweeds are pushing through , so I think another visit later in the year will be on the cards .
Although we had hazy sunshine , a cool breeze was blowing , and only 2 Green Veined Whites and a single Large White were recorded on the butterfly front .
Birds did much better with male and female Blackcap and male Bullfinch found almost as soon as we got into the second field . These were followed by Common Whitethroat , Chiffchaff , my first Turtle Dove of the year , Wren , Yellowhammer , Swallow , and most unexpectedly , deep in Willow between the damp corner and the railway line on my second lap , a Reed Warbler .
My only disappointment with the visit was that there was no sign of the Water Violet-Hottonia palustris , that was all over a small pond by the roadside , it was the only place that I have found this pretty little water plant .
Coming home , the traffic was bad trying to get onto the roundabout at the north end of the Lamberhurst bypass , but after that , our side was clear all the way home . The queue on the southbound stretched from the Pembury Hospital roundabout , right back to Hayesden Country Park , and the motor bikes were still heading down to the coast .
By the time we got to Pollhill , it had started raining , we had had the best of the day in a beautiful meadow .


Warren Baker said...

Hey Greenie,
You should have popped in for a cuppa!
I have some of that adders tongue on my patch, wondered what it was.

Steve said...

Nice one Fred. I used to have Water Violet on my patch but after dredging one of the ditches it has dissapeared....

Kingsdowner said...

I've heard of Marden Meadow, but not visited, so it's good to see what it's like.
As for the bikers, you've got to keep in with bank holiday traditions, haven't you?

Greenie said...

Steve /Kingsdowner ,
It is well worth a visit , especially at this time of year , with the migrants and GWOs .
I would say they should be good for 7/10 days yet .
I could imagine it gets a bit quieter later on , but still plenty of meadow plants to enjoy .
Re. the bikers , it was amazing how many were NOT youngsters , and how bad some of the riding was .