Sunday, 3 July 2011


Napchester is on the Roman Road between Dover and Richborough, and was a resting place, hence the name (geddit?). A report of a calling quail there on Bird-guides yesterday had me driving over the downs earlyish this morning, and I was overjoyed to eventually hear it in a wheat-field. It's a first for me, and an emotive sound of the cornfields. No sighting of course, but most enjoyable, especially since it was heard from one of the best roadside verges in the area.

The wayside is frothing with bedstraws, scabious, knapweeds and other downland plants, attracting butterflies in profusion. There was even a painted lady flitting between the flowers.

The songs of common whitethroats, corn buntings, skylarks and meadow pipits added to the occasional call of the quail, and a buzzard soared overhead. Francesca Greenoak's "All the Birds of the Air" records some local names for quail from its three-syllable call: Wet-my-feet, Wet-my-lip and Quick-me-dick are quoted. Listen closely and the last (from Oxfordshire) seems closest.

Betony - lovely.

Basil-thyme, tucked away in the vegetation, with kidney vetch giving scale.

And last but not least, a group of four rough poppy plants, a rare species living between the verge and the crops.

While writing about Bird-guides, I saw that a golden eagle had been reported at Paddock Wood. Coincidentally we saw four Eagles (not golden but definitely silver-haired) at Paddock Wood on Friday evening, and Joe Walsh can still play that guitar!


Steve Gale said...

Some people call him the space cowboy, the gangster of love or even Maurice!

Steve Gale said...

Er, no they don't - that was Steve Miller.... I'll get my coat.

Greenie said...

Steve ,
A real feel of Summer with that selection , including two of my favourites , the tiny Basil Thyme and Betony .
I can feel a visit to Ranscombe Farm coming on .
I was also expecting a Madonna soundtrack with the post from that title .

Kingsdowner said...

Before your time, Steve.

And Fred, I'm surprised you've heard of Madonna?
Re Ranscombe, that would be good - I found dwarf spurge in Kingsdown last week, and have round-leaved fluellen on my allotment plot!

Rob said...

It's a grand time to be on the verge - I like that first photo a lot.