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

26/4/10 Gravel Hill, Hall Place and south of the Dartford Loop Line

A male Chaffinch was seen at the Erith Rd edge of Bursted Wood.

Some Brooms were in flower on the south-facing railway embankment just west of the Erith Rd bridge over the railway line.

A Red-tailed Bumblebee was the only insect around a strip of flowering Berberis darwinii at the junction of Highland Rd and Albion Rd, Bexleyheath.

A rather wayward pair of Mallard came down on a grass verge in Rossland Close, at the junction with Gravel Hill.

A Green Woodpecker was feeding along the shrub line at the top of the hill at Hall Place North (the parkland on the east side of Gravel Hill). At the bottom of the hill, near Bourne Rd, Thyme-leaved Speedwell - just coming into flower - was intermingled with Germander Speedwell. There was also some Slender Speedwell nearby.

In the newish shrub beds at the south east corner of the extended Hall Place car park parallel to Bourne Rd, there were 12 Common Fumitory growing up through the bark mulch, and not quite in flower yet. As far as I have been able to determine so far, this is a very infrequent plant, in the east of the Borough at any rate. No way were they going to overwhelm or inhibit the shrub planting, but it wasn't long before someone weeded them all out anyway...... A typicallly unintelligent, unimaginative and inflexible approach to vegetation management.

An attempt has been made to 'soften' the appalling car park recently built by the east side of the walled garden, and running right down to the river, with a couple of bits of ditch and an over-densely planted jumble of shrubs, full of natives, but some of them not indigenous to the local area. Is the assumption that half of them will die off?

Apart from the litter that had inevitably been blown - or thrown - into the ditches, and left there, there was a Grey Wagtail in one of them (and a Pied Wagtail on the roof of a building in the walled garden). Also several Celery-leaved Crowfoot just above the rather low water line. Here also, presumably brought in on the tyres of digging machinery, was a single plant of Shining Cranesbill (Geranium lucidum), my first record of it in Bexley, indeed in London south of the Thames.

Finds in the scrubby area (called The Old Orchard on one map I have) that is immediatly south of the railway opposite Hall Place, and on the east side of the A2, included the following (I haven't been here since I was a teenager in the 70s. My recollection - I have photos somewhere - is that is was then much more open, and people used to dig a Victorian (?) rubbish tip there for old bottles):

Long-tailed Tit
Pink-flowered, purplish-leaved Cherry (derived from garden cultivar)
Ground Ivy

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