Monday, 25 July 2011

Pinks found

Finally I've tracked them down - it only takes clear directions, large signposts and a couple of hundred white markers to lead me to the colony of Deptford Pinks on the dunes at Sandwich Bay.The problem is that in this habitat they are very short, rarely over 2" tall and are tricky to find in a wide open landscape like this. They are dwarfed by the surrounding hawkweeds, bedstraws and grasses. The stems of the pinks at Farningham Wood were mostly about a foot high which makes them much easier to see.

Kent Wildlife Trust are monitoring them (hence the markers) and have counted about 170 in the main area and another 25 or so in another colony nearby. I don't know the last two years' figures, but I understand they were similar to this year, and less than the peak of 500+ in 2008.
While botanising with my eyes on the ground, my attention was occasionally drawn upwards by calling birds - three young Peregrines were following a parent, begging for food, so the adult locked onto a flock of pigeons for a chase - unsuccessful as they were racing pigeons, and fast and maneuverable.
A whooshing sound made me look up again later, and saw four Spoonbills flying over low - camera in the backpack, of course! By the time I'd got it out, they were heading south.
Back at home, a shock.... a White-letter Hairstreak landed in the garden - my first in the UK and only the second ever. It was a mangy looking creature, but very welcome, adding to the Green Hairstreaks seen in the garden in May. The nearest elm, upon which WLHs feed, is nearly a mile away so far as I'm aware, so it was presumably on dispersal.
Peacock numbers have been low this year, and it was good to see three fresh ones in the warm Sunday sunshine.


Greenie said...

Sherlock ,
Well done tracking down the Sandwich Pinks at last . Another case solved . Hope you didn't tread on any whilst looking at the goodies above .
Interesting how small and how much later than the ones at Farningham , given how species are usually earlier down there .
I believe you that it's a WLH !
Another good garden record .

Mel Lloyd said...

Phew and smiles that you found the pinks :) Tenacity is your middle name. Yes interesting they so small at Sandwich. The plants I saw (in Worcs) were, I'd say, about 40-50cm tall. Chapeau to you for bringing these fab plants onto my radar. And a the garden? What next???