Over the past few years when ‘square-bashing’ for the atlas was the priority, segueing into birds occurred later in the year than this. The objective of the day was the avifauna but there were lots of plants to see – and it’s just as well because birds were very unexciting, though it did begin well with several sightings of a Hobby or Hobbies.

We headed off to the Trent to begin with but the tide was in and the river had backed-up, covering the beaches that hold some interesting plants. However some were on show including Tasteless Water-pepper Persicaria mitis, Beggarticks Bidens frondosa, Marsh Yellow-cress Rorippa palustris and, I think Water-pepper Persicaria hydropiper.

Marsh Yellow-cress – Rorippa palustris
River Trent below Cromwell Weir

Anglers, we learned, come from far and wide (well Hertfordshire at least) to try for a big Barbel at what is the premier site for such a challenge, with a recent specimen approaching the national record (of 21lb 2oz).

Does anyone know what this is?

Dave brought it to my attention as looking ‘not right’ for a Herring Gull with a mantle that is too dark, but not dark enough for a LBB. I had a go at pinning it down but gull identification has moved on since I was keen and is now a subject in itself.

Trifid Bur-marigold

Trifid Bur-marigold Bidens tripartita is the native version of the American Beggarticks.

White Melilot

White Melilot Melilotus albus, is pretty easy as the others are yellow-flowered (but beware albinos, says Dave). I only saw the one plant.

The foregoing was before we entered the RSPB reserve which as I have already said, was rather short on interesting birds, though there were many more than the 10 Little Egrets that I managed to count (and we did see one or two Greenshanks and a Great Egret late on) but the flora was diverse thtoughout though without any really notables.

Greater Bird’s-foot Trefoil

On Greater Bird’s-foot Trefoil, the calyx teeth curve outwards (at least the lower ones) while in bud. These flowers are a little advanced but the character is still visible.

Greater Duckweed

Greater Duckweed Spirodela polyrhiza is said (by Dave) to be spreading. Here it is with Lemna minor and Lemna trisulca (though I can’t make the latter out in the photo).

There was reported to be a Caspian Gull in the area but don’t let that influence your gull id.