TUESDAY 14th JULY 2020

GIBRALTAR POINT + DCW

Before we set off for Skeggy, I should mention my temporary friend, the Summer Chafer (Amphimallon solstitialis) who attended my moth trap yesterday. It was a lot like the Cockchafers I get in May but smaller and hairier and more inclined to lie on its back and wave its legs around despairingly giving the impression of being dumb (as Trump people would call it) though he (or she) flew off with aplomb when the opportunity arose,

I don’t think I’ve seen one before.

At Gib, however, I saw a lot of plants that I have seen before (and once, probably could name in a casual, unreliable sort of way) plus many others that were unfamiliar, either because they don’t grow on shingle or because they are too small and obscure for a non botanist to be drawn to.

Salicornia sp.

Lots of non-botanists know this one, but by the name Samphire, because it is used in cooking and tastes nice raw (in the absence of a bag of salted crisps) if washed with rainwater . There are as many species as you wish because of their ‘great phenotypic plasticity’ but Stace reckons 3 is enough. We settled on one.

Here’s one that I’d never heard of, but have probably sat on in my swimming trunks…

Prickly Saltwort

Salsola kali grows on the strand-line of sandy beaches and here’s another that I didn’t know existed:

Rock Sea-lavender

Sea-lavender is well known as an abundant salt-marsh plant and after several years of residence in Essex and Sussex, I readily recognised it as such, but Limonium binervosum, its smaller relative, with different venation on its leaves (I looked, and it really is, easy to see the difference for once) grows right at the upper limits of the tidal range, leaving its big cousin to tough it out on the salt-marsh proper.

Sea Milkwort

I had heard of Glaux maritima; I must have read about it, or been shown it on a field studies course in 1974 or 1975, though the lessons never hit home and even one day after seeing it, I’d be hard pushed to find its name from my confused old recesses. Gib. Point was like one of my earlier days out with Dave, when the names came so thick and fast that only bits stuck.

If you are in this position, rest assured; stick with it and it does sink in eventually – even if the names obstinately refuse to regurgitate themselves on demand.

However; this one sprang forth with ease. At least its English name did; Sea Holly is so distinctive, it is easy…

Eryngium maritinum

And I also knew that this was Sea Bindweed, despite never knowingly having seen it before.

Calystegia soldanella

And finally, among the multitude of photos taken on the day that I can put a name to, one that really stood out as special.

Frosted Orache

I went for Sea Holly as plant of the day, in the car vote on our way back but I’m now revising it to Atriplex laciniatus which I have decided was the most distinctive, by far, of the new plants on the day.

There were lots of elusive grasshoppers also but very few birds worth a mention but for a gang of about 300 Sandwich Terns loafing about in the distance, one of which, was a year tick for me.

If your are off to Gib in July, here is a list of plants that Dave pointed out and that you won’t have seen in Notts.

Sea Purslane, Sea Milkwort, Annual Seablite, Sea Beet, Glasswort, Prickly Saltwort, Greater Sea Spurrey, Sea Pearlwort, Sea Sandwort, Lesser Centaury?, Rock Sea-lavender, Common Sea-lavender, Sea Heath, Cord-grass, Sea Arrowgrass, Marsh Arrowgrass, Hard Grass, Long-bracted Sedge, Sea Rush, Frosted Orache, Sea Rocket, Sea Holly, Sea Bindweed, Common Saltmarsh-grass and Shrubby Seablite.

I probably missed some.