Sunday, 19 February 2012

I declare the Botany Season open!

The sight of the first coltsfoot flowers of the year is always heartening, especially as this year it came after a week's covering of snow. Mind you, it was darned cold looking for them so that's a reminder that there's plenty of winter left yet.
Looking back at my records, the first blooms in earlier years were found on 24 Feb 2011, 27 Feb 2010 and 17 Jan(!) 2009.

I wondered what hardy insect would be out and about, pollenating these early flowers, but when the photos were enlarged a fly could be seen doing just that, at 2 degrees with a cold north wind.
Other flowers have been open for a while, including gorse of course, awaiting warmer days when bugs and bees emerge from their crevices like groundhogs, blinking in the short-day light.

The blooms of common gorse are in full swing, but while lurking around the industrial areas of Dover's Western docks (OK I was lost) a surprise was found....... dwarf gorse - cool.

So far as I know this is botanically unrecorded in east kent, and it's only known in a handful of places in west Kent, so I were a bit chuffed.

Local birders will know why I was at the Western Docks....... there's a gull there.

I hadn't previously seen an Iceland Gull, let alone a Kumlien's variety, so I guess that's two lifers in one bird. Fortunately a bucketload of scraps was provided to bring it and the other gulls in, and good views were had as it floated on the stiff westerly breeze.

The breeze stiffened firther on Sunday, this time into the cold northerly quarter, so why I decided to visit Foreness I can't imagine. A stupid decision, especially as there were precious few birds to be seen. "Nobody here but us curlews" as they might say.

A little egret was in a warmer place, the River Dour by Morrisons, attracting admiring glances from passing shoppers.


Greenie said...

Steve ,
A good weekend for first then .
Well done with the Dwarf Gorse , one of those West Kent sites I presume is Hayes Common , as we have it there .
2 for 1 on the gull was good too .

Steve Gale said...

Botany season open! I'd better start looking then...

Wellsy said...

You started us looking Steve, in Denge Wood - maybe you weant to look at my blog - forewood.blogspot - would appreciate confirmation of my supposed Coltsfoot plse
Peter W