Archive for December 11th, 2007

11th December 2007, Tuesday

Epicormic elder

Elder, Sambucus nigra, is a shrub that usually looks half dead, or worse, on Dungeness. It clearly struggles to survive, and often by mid summer many of their leaves are missing.  From a distance they are particularly unimpressive plants, but on closer examination the bushes reveal unusual and interesting detail.

 Epicormic growth on elder

The stresses and strains of life on the shingle are plain to see. Often they have numerous younger shoots from their base, and the older stems may be dead, twisted and decorated with swollen spikey bands of epicormic growth. These are clusters of buds stimulated to form by the death of the growing tips of the stems. These features show up well on a plant I photographed today on the RSPB reserve.

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11th December 2007, Tuesday

Rye Harbour Sightings

On Long Pit mid-morning, the two Long-tailed Duck, a pair of Goldeneye (with a further three on the new pits on Harbour Farm) and a Scaup were present, with a total of 17 Little Egret here and around Narrow Pits. A good selection of waders on the shore included 162 Sanderling, 130 Dunlin and 50 Grey Plover.