Award for headline of day must go to "Stoned Wallabies make Crop Circles", about Australian wallabies eating opium poppies and creating crop circles as they hop around "as high as a kite". With an introduction like that, the poppy fields of Alkham valley had to be photographed on the way to work. And also.......for the third year running....
My struggle to find any Late spider orchids continues, with a search of Holywell and the Sugar Loaf Hill above Folkestone. Its the first time I've climbed this hill, despite working in its shadow for nearly 20 years, and it's a restful, atmospheric place despite the nearby roads.
A spring emerges as the chalk meets non-porous gault clay, giving a welcome taste of fresh water to the pilgims and other travellers on the old track to Dover. Such a relief in the otherwise dry pastures was understandably 'holy', hence its name.
The hill has a good amount of close-cropped grass, and is home to masses of yellowwort and centuary, as well as a host of the commoner orchids, and a couple of colonies of bee orchids.
There were plenty of rabbits managing this habitat, including at least four light-coloured ones. By coincidence, the sage of St Margarets also climbed this hill on the same day, and also commented on the strange rabbits.
On top of the hill (like the houndstongue on Summerhouse Hill) there is a strange solitary shrub. It has rough leaves and stems, bizarre nut-brown nodules at the leaf-base, and small white flowers. Can anyone identify it from these poor photos?
Meanwhile, on the grassy shingle of Kingsdown beach, about 200 marbled whites make next year's generation.