US social scientist Kenneth Boulding : ‘If you believe exponential growth can go on in a finite world, you are either a madman or an economist’.

Sunday, 26 July 2009

26/7/09: Riverside+Fraser Rd= 3 new Bexley records

There were several large, almost 'pure' flocks of Black-headed Gulls on the Thames mud between the end of Corinthian Manorway and Erith Town Centre. Three Cormorants were seen.

Proceeding eastwards, there was a patch of Tall Melilot (Melilotus altissimus) in the sloping river wall.

Two new records for me within Bexley were found round the 'bay' at the east corner of the Chandlers Drive complex.

Marsh Woundwort (Stachys palustris) was growing on the riverbank, and although I haven't seen it in Bexley Borough before, I suspect plants I saw by the Ravensbourne in Lewisham the other week were, in fact, this species, but I wasn't botanising at the time. The pinkish-purple flowers are reasonably large for a Labiate and are attractively patterned in white.

Marsh Woundwort by a former industrial site on the Thames in Erith

There were also some clumps of Sea Aster here.

In a crack between the pathway and the substantive 'sea wall' to the inland side was a run of Skullcap (Scutellaria galericulata), another Labiate, and a species I've never seen before. The flowers are bright blue with a white centre to the lower lip.

Skullcap in paving by the Thames in Erith

Some 21-25 Swifts were wheeling over the modern riverside houses here.

A Heron was sitting on the long wooden jetty at Erith.

The triangle of land between Bexley Rd and Fraser Rd, mentioned in a previous posting, was surveyed again. From the Bexley Rd side there was a very poor, stunted, Mahonia aquifolium, suckering Lilac, a couple of Viburnum tinus and lots of Robinia pseudoacacia 'saplings', plus some Laburnum.

This is the white-flowered form of Red Valerian, with the railings doing a passable imitation of Hemlock stems.

I then doubled back and went down Fraser Rd in order to get back up to Northumberland Heath via Birch Walk.

This 'detour' yielded a lot of Feverfew and a number of Soapwort (Saponaria officinalis) - a new species for me in Bexley - above the retaining wall. The latter used to be grown commercially to produce a soapy liquid for washing wool and may be an escape from cultivation generally, and also at this particular site.

Soapwort on Fraser Road

A single plant of Fool's Parsley (my second record of it in Bexley) was spotted in disturbed ground under an advertising hoarding where the road levels out.

The bank at the western end of the large warehouse-like retail outlets just before Birch Walk was carrying a large number of strongly-growing White Melilot (Melilotus albus), the largest stands I've ever seen, along with some Coltsfoot. Fading light meant I only got some rather poor, fuzzy, pictures. On the bank behind these buildings is an area of Gorse and Buddleia, which today also had a good show of Wild Carrot.

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