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’.

Saturday, 7 August 2010

7/8/10: Missing the boat - Wimbledon Common / Putney Heath

I cut the time of my arrival at Wimbledon station a bit fine for walking to the London Natural History Society meeting place up on the Common, and compounded the mistake by walking the wrong way for 15 minutes after too casual a look at my A-Z. Never did find the main party, the site being a lot large than I had imagined, so this turned out to be a rather random solo ramble.

Putney Heath - classic heathland scene with flowering Heather (Calluna vulgaris), and Silver Birch in the distance

Silver Birch with Heather beneath on a damp part of Wimbledon Common

Heathland succesion at the margin of a damp glade - Gorse, Silver Birch and Aspen (or a similar-looking Poplar hybrid) gaining ground amongst Heather

The more notable plants included Tormentil, a Cudweed species, several Meadow Vetchling, a single Agrimony, a couple of ditches in close proximity containing runs of Blackberry with more ferny than usual 'Oregon Thornless' type leaves and a Downy Birch.

Tormentil in a damp glade, a daintier, 4-petalled relative of the ubiquitous Creeping Cinquefoil

The weather was patchy, sometimes rather overcast, so not many butterflies were seen. A Gorse Shield Bug (Piezodorus lituratus) was found. Also several kinds of Odonata. A Migrant Hawker settled on Gorse. A Common Darter was seen. A close view was had of a pair of tandem Ruddy Darters ovipositing amongst grass on a damp pathway. 2 or 3 (Large) Red-eyed Damselflies were utilising an isolated patch of Heather, away from water, with a Gorse plant in it.

I wasn't paying much attention to birds but a Jay was spotted.

Ride through a wooded part of Wimbledon Common

Soil profile exposed by erosion - where usage has 'sunk' the ride trackway. Note thin layer of organic matter over sand studded with bebbles.

As I left the north end of Putney Heath there was a heavy downpour, but I managed to avoid getting too much of a soaking by getting to a sheltered bus stop. Later in the afternoon large amounts of water were noted pouring off the ends of the modern, but badly designed glass roof at the entrance to East Croydon station. Any sensible set-up would be capturing that water for later use.

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