Shopping in Bexleyheath? – ‘check out’ the wildlife ….

Another couple of Jersey Tiger Moths seen yesterday (July 28th) – one on the footpath between the NHS centre and the railway line by Bursted Woods, and another by the hall next to Christchurch, Bexleyheath.

Christchurch cemetery is well worth checking out for its assemblage of acid grassland plants, for which Bexley Natural Environment Forum got it added to the Sites of Importance for Nature Conservation list at the partial review in 2011 (proving that we ‘amateurs’ can find things the professionals have overlooked, or maybe just visited too infrequently or at the ‘wrong’ time).

Yesterday there was a smattering of pale blue Harebells in flower, an increasingly rare plant in Greater London, Self Heal, Bird’s-foot Trefoil, Ladies Bedstraw and the lemon yellow Mouse-ear Hawkweed. Other Bexley/London rarities here include Sticky Groundsel, Slender St. John’s-wort, Bird’s-foot and Barren Strawberry.

Several of Bexley's older cemeteries, being relatively undisturbed, and retaining the original fine acid grassland sward, provide havens for increasingly rare London species such as these Harebells at Christchurch, Bexleyheath. (Photo: Chris Rose)

Several of Bexley’s older cemeteries, being relatively undisturbed, and retaining the original fine acid grassland sward, provide havens for increasingly rare London species such as these Harebells at Christchurch, Bexleyheath. (Photo: Chris Rose)

Bird's-foot Trefoil provides food for the caterpillars of the Common Blue butterfly. (Photo: Chris Rose)

Bird’s-foot Trefoil provides food for the caterpillars of the Common Blue butterfly. (Photo: Chris Rose)

Despite the weeding that has evidently gone on by the hall, there was still one plant of Stone Parsley (Sison amomum) , a member of the carrot family that smells strongly of petrol when crushed.

Down at Danson Park there were three large Terrapins basking on mini islands in the lake, and a Little Egret – the first time I’ve seen this species here – along with a couple of Grey Herons. A Little Grebe was spotted, and there were 2 or 3 well grown young Great Crested Grebes, still retaining the vestiges of their juvenile head stripes, diving together for fish. Four Damselfly species were on the wing.

Danson Park lake, with dark clouds brewing on the horizon, is a magnet for wildlife at all times of year.

Danson Park lake, with dark clouds brewing on the horizon, is a magnet for wildlife at all times of year.

The ‘wildflower meadow’ that has been sown for the second year running along the south margin of the lake, contains a number of non-native species such as Zinnias, Cosmos and  Sunflowers, but looks attractive enough, and is less afflicted by regrowing Burdock than 2013’s effort.

Danson's 'wildflower meadow' captures the effect of a flowery mead without sticking rigidly to native species, and provides  a good selection of nectar and pollen sources for insects. (Photo: Chris Rose)

Danson’s ‘wildflower meadow’ captures the effect of a flowery mead without sticking rigidly to native species, and provides a good selection of nectar and pollen sources for insects. (Photo: Chris Rose)

Heading east, it was pleasing to see around 50 House Sparrows utilising a garden shrub at the junction of Paddock Road and Lenor Close.

Hall Place North is a fairly short walk from the east end of the Broadway, running downhill alongside Gravel Hill to Bourne Road and Hall Place itself. In season there are rare species of clover in the grass, and there were a few Harebells last summer. It is good for birds, especially in winter, but yesterday a Green Woodpecker was seen, and a couple of Jackdaws at what is the second-best site for them in the Borough.

Hall Place North is situated on the north slope up out of the Cray valley and commands fine views between the scattered mature trees out over Churchfield Wood and Braeburn Park on the other side, and beyond into Kent (just ignore the intrusion of the A2). It is a better site for wildlife that it at first seems, and is somewhat overlooked in this regard. (Photo: Chris Rose)

Hall Place North is situated on the northern slope up out of the Cray valley, and commands fine views between the scattered mature trees out over Churchfield Wood and Braeburn Park on the other side, and beyond into Kent (just ignore the intrusion of the A2). It is a good site for wildlife in its own right, though somewhat overlooked in this regard. (Photo: Chris Rose)

Next time you go to Bexleyheath, look out for the wildlife too.

 

This entry was posted in Christchurch Bexleyheath cemetery, Hall Place North. Bookmark the permalink.