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’.

Wednesday, 28 April 2010

28/4/2010: Mining (or should that be milking?) Erith Quarry for new records

An unsuccessful attempt to find some reptiles on the site today, but plenty of other interesting things were seen.

Peacock butterflies were very much in evidence, with several being observed.

A rather ragged Peacock butterfly basks on a piece of rubble

Other butterflies seen were a Speckled Wood, a pristine Comma and a Holly Blue.

Birds included Chiffchaff - two were heard at once at one point, and one was finally seen in the flesh, singing in a fairly open position, a Greenfinch, a male Chaffinch, a Green Woodpecker (good views), 9+ Swifts overhead (my first of the year) and a Whitethroat. All in all there was a tremendous amount of bird song here.

There were a number of apple (or possibly pear) trees in flower on the site.

One of several flowering fruit trees - presumably from an old core or bird-sown

A rather battered grove of Gorse in flower towards the north west corner of the site - someone drove a vehicle through part of it at some point

Cherry tree in flower

A dark-leaved, pink-flowered Cherry elsewhere on the site was presumably a seedling from a garden cultivar.

Other escapes from cultivation were Raspberry canes and a Swedish Whitebeam.

A stand of Fennel not previously noted was found, with one bronzey-leaved plant amongst the green ones.

The best plant find was 16 specimens of Milk Thistle (Silybum marianum) amongst an unusually large number (circa 40) of Sun Spurge in a relatively bare patch of soil. This is an uncommon plant, possibly native, and in this instance probably a garden escape from seed. Besides the attractively white-veined leaves, it has a number of medicinal uses.

Milk Thistle amongst Sun Spurge

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