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’.

Monday, 26 April 2010

23- 26/4/10: Four days of firsts

Four days of first evers, firsts for the year and firsts for Bexley Borough - as far as my own recording effort goes anyway.

23/4 - My first ever Blackcap (yes, I'm not very good on birds - yet ....). Very good view of a male in a Willow by the Cray along By-way 105.

Lots of Marsh Marigold in flower along the By-way 105 and Footpath 106 sections of the Cray.

Marsh Marigold in flower by Footpath 106 on the River Cray

10 Tufted Duck at Five Arches Lake. Large Terrapin basking on a small island in the lake - presumably released by someone who found it too big to handle any more.

Speckled Wood, Peacock, 1 Comma and (first for year) one Brimstone on Foot's Cray Meadows. 4 Stock Doves (my first record of them in Bexley).

Several Chubb in the river. Grey Wagtail.

On the sewer embankment by Thames Rd Wetland was my first Odonatan of the year, a Large Red Damselfly. I also found two Grass Snakes not far from the River Cray (the first I've found myself and, embarassingly, only the second and third I've ever seen in the flesh).

Five Shelduck were in flight over 'flooded field north' on Dartford Marshes by Bob Dunn Way, and two more were at the confluence of the Cray and Darent where there were also a few small waders.

Two adult Foxes were brazenly running around by Howbury moat towards dusk.

24/4 - first sighting of a Grey Heron actually using the Thames Road Wetland (TRW) site.

Lots of Spotted Medick in flower along the Thames Rd bank of the TRW. My first ever conscious spotting/identification of the Annual Nettle (Urtica urens) which is presently abundant in the 'amenity shrub bed' mulch here.

Annual Nettle (Urtica urens), Thames Rd Wetland site. Note short flower clusters

Also 9 flowering plants of Common Star of Bethlehem (Ornithogalum umbellatum) here, my first ever record of the species, which is thought to be native to East Anglia and is occasional elsewhere, presumably as an escape. They no doubt arrived on this site in dumped soil/aggregate. Clearly one of those things that's unpalatable to rabbits .....

Common Star of Bethlehem (Ornithogalum umbellatum) by Thames Rd, Crayford

25/4 - London Natural History Society field trip - Erith Marshes (north of Belvedere) / Crossness.

Highlights were:

- Linnets
- Male Reed Bunting
- Whitethroat - (my first conscious sighting ever, or at least since I was a teenager)
- Lesser Whitethroat - my first ever - making its way up a stubby electricity pylon by a disused factory, doing a passable impression of a Treecreeper as it did so
- Some Swallows
- A Jay
- 2 Little Ringed Plover
- Great views of a male Garganey (my first ever) off the sewage works outfall (the best view several seasoned birders there had ever had of the species)
- About 15 Gadwall here also
- plus 2 Whimbrel - new to me
- plus 1 Black-tailed Godwit
- plus 1 Common Sandpiper (possibly another first for me, certainly in recent times)
- 2 Tern sp.
- 4 Wheatear (the group I was with at the time counted a total of 6), male and female, in a field south of the ghastly Incinerator

Thanks to the folks with the better equipment and ID skills who pointed several of these things out to me! No pics from me I'm afraid, still limited to my mobile phone camera ......

I should also mention the far from common Small Tortoiseshell butterfly seen. There were quite a few Peacock butterflies in what seems to be a good year for them.

There were swathes of Scurvy Grass in several places (probably English) along the Thames foreshore towards Erith (new species for me if either this or Common Scurvy Grass - latter said not to occur in SE England, at any rate it wasn't Danish scurvy Grass. I'll need another look to get a postive ID).

Scurvy Grass (probably English - certainly not the Danish) on Thames foreshore between Crossness and Erith. Plus a washed-up football.

Sedum album and Sedum acre found below the sea wall by a disused jetty towards the ADM site.

- Several Shelduck on the foreshore towards Erith
- 2 Oystercatchers on a 'stand-alone' platform (roughly opposite the Veolia premises on the Essex bank).

The day was rounded off superbly by this fabulous rainbow over the river (pictured here - but not done justice), which disappeared into the clouds, emerging to appear as if it was going to ground on the south side of the Thames. Even my wide-angle mobile phone cam lens couldn't have got it all in .....

26/4: Today's 'first' was my first record of Shining Crane's-bill (Geranium lucidum) in Bexley Borough or, indeed, anywhere in London south of the Thames. One plant skulking under a bit of fencing surrounding the ditch by the bl**dy awful new car park running down towards the river at Hall Place. Seed probably brought in during construction / 'landscaping' work.


  1. These are excellent pics from your mobile phone - the less equipment that has to be carried when out in the field the better!

  2. very interesant blog;and beautiful photo, bravo