Sunday, October 2, 2011

Early another morning....

After a lie-in (till 7.30) and my morning toast it seemed a crime to slouch in bed on such a lovely morning.

Before my walk, a short rant is in order. The local allotments are going to become part of the cemetery next year. I think November 2012 is the date the plot holders have been told. Boo hiss and shame on the local council.

What a pity to lose such a wonderful local amenity. I hope minds are changed on this. 
On with my walk. In the recreation ground.....
...a few white campion (Silene latifolia) are still flowering.
The steps up to The Pinnacle always tax my calf muscles.
At the top the views across our little town of Sandy in the morning light are fabulous. I think this sequence of pictures is better than my previous panorama shot (blog here).
As it is Sunday, here is Sandy parish church (St Swithun's) with its clock glinting in the early morning sunshine. The church is built from local ironstone.
This English oak (Quercus robur) on The Pinnacle is not looking at all autumnal. 
The bench affords some fine views and a brief respite (although it must be said it ain't the world's most comfortable bench).
There are steps down the other side....
...and across the road (Sand Lane) there are paths that lead to the disused sand pits. With some startling gully erosion in places! 
The old sand pit is a great place to explore. I had it to myself this morning.
Heronsbill (otherwise known as common storksbill (Erodium cicutarium) - see blog here) was in flower in the sandy turf. So cute.
There were some flat white yet unidentified.
The sycamore leaves were dotted with tar spot fungus (Rhytisma acerinum). The fungus overwinters on the fallen leaves and produces spores in spring which then attack the new leaves. I rather like it.
Carline thistle (Carlina vulgaris) was looking suitably prickly.
I found a few yellow-wort (Blackstonia perfoliata) still in flower, but the yellow petals were glaring in the sun.
Perfoliata refers to the stem going through the leaves or in fact the leaf surrounding the stem; they are perfoliate leaves.

Update: I didn't have time this morning to look up the etymology of Blackstonia. Tut. Well, it transpires that the genus is named after an 18th century apothecary and enthusiastic botanical author called John Blackstone (1713-53) (Bowlt & Bowlt, 2000). His botanical stomping ground was around Harefield in Middlesex and he wrote a flora for the area in 1737. During the time he was an apprentice apothecary, the apprentices would meet up to go on botanical field meetings or herbal sampling expeditions. These meets were called herbarizings, and could apparently get quite rowdy and disorderly. They sound rather fun! John Blackstone is a bit of a forgotten hero in English botany so I'm glad I looked him up. The reference below (Bowlt & Bowlt, 2000) makes interesting reading. 

Common centuary (Centaurium erythraea) was still flowering. I like its curly yellow anthers.
I tried to take a shot of my favourite blue fleabane (Erigeron acris) but the camera decided to focus on this ladybird instead. Hey ho! 
And finally, a little shiny treasure. This small copper flitted past me and landed. 
Of course, before I could get close it flitted up into a gorse bush. I had to tippytoe to get this shot of its burnished wings glowing in the sunshine. Just beautiful. 

Bowlt EM & Bowlt C (2000) John Blackstone (1713-1753): a London apothecary and botanist of his time. Watsonia, volume 23, pages 39-46. Pdf here.


  1. The fungi in looks like a milkcap (Lactarius)but not sure which, could be Bearded (pubiscens) or Fleecy (vallereus).

  2. You know, milkcap was what came into my mind when I saw it (them). If I get a chance I'll go back and check it out again. Thanks Nigel.

  3. Re Carline Thistle: Normally found on chalk grassland and similar. but I've found it on stablised dunes near Burnham Overy, Norfolk. Could be something odd about the geology of that sand pit. I wonder if it turns up elsewhere on the Greensand?