Several plant species can be seen in flower in the short dune turf this month such as the iconic dune pansy, birdsfoot trefoil, dune storksbill & its relative doves foot cranesbill and prolific scarlet pimpernel . Sand toadflax, a small annual with pale yellow flowers was introduced from western France in 1982 and is found nowhere else in Britain. It thrives on bare dry sandy patches among the sandy patches among the mossy turf, especially on south and west facing slopes. Nearer the foredunes look for the deep crimson flowers of houndstongue, the spectacular blue spikes of the vipers bugloss and the small-flowered evening primrose, O. cambrica In the slightly damper dune grassland patches bugle are still in flower along with silverweed, twayblade – a less conspicuous orchid with it’s green flowers and milkwort which has 4 different colour varieties. And of course creeping willow is found in many places too.
Many insects are active now, none more so than the numerous poplar leaf beetles ) which can be seen in the dune slacks. Look for the webs of Lackey moth caterpillars on hawthorn or sallow.
Also prolific at the moment are Garden tiger moth caterpillars . Known as ‘woolly bears’ the cuddly name belies the nasty effect of a brush with those hairs which cause a rash so keep the kids from touching them.
Common lizards are plentiful & very active on warm days. Several bird species such as skylarks, stonechats, willow warblers and chiff chaffs can be heard if not seen.
Every Friday through the summer (starting on June 7th), Mary and and John Breeds will be leading free guided walks from Sandy Lane car park. Meet at 6.30pm. Also a must for any plant lover is her excellent book