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Declining club-rushes

Like the reedmace species there are two species of club-rush that can be encountered in the RX area.  I mentioned the common club-rush Schoenoplectus lacustris earlier today.  The other species, grey club-rush Schoenoplectus tabernaemontani appears to be the more common species in the RX area, and can be encountered in ditches and gravel pits in our area.  That being said it has proved to be very scarce now in the Dungeness Open Pits, a series of natural wetlands where I have only managed to find one patch of plants this year.  So sparse were the stems, and so typically breezy was it that I failed to get a decent picture, so for a view of this plant click here

This species was once

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Not so Common club-rush

Although reedmace are commonly also called bulrushes, in the past the true bulrush was this plant, now most commonly called common club-rush Schoenoplectus lacustris.  It can grow in deeper water than any of our other emergent plants, at depths up to 1.5 m, in flowing rivers or still water.  The brown flowers (termed spikelets) occur near the top of stately cylindrical green stems up to 3 m tall.  In the past it was also called bumble, and was used to stuff saddles, mattresses, and woven into baskets, rush mats and chair seats.

Although widespread nationally it appears to be a declining plant in our area and I am not sure if there are any stands of this plant, other than in our garden pond. (It does grow at Castle Water, Rye Harbour - Barry)


Paracorymbia fulva

While carrying out a butterfly transect last week I came across this striking beetle feeding on creeping thistle in the Barn Field. A check of the interweb suggested it was a tawny longhorn beetle (Paracorymbia fulva), an identification confirmed by Peter Hodge the county beetle recorder. This is an uncommon species in Britain, confined to the southern counties and designated as Red Data Book 3 (vulnerable). In addition, as well as being new to the reserve, Peter informed me it is new to Sussex, so all in all a good find.


Two Typhas

There are  two species of bulrush or reedmace in the RX area and they are both flowering now. Above left is lesser reedmace (Typha angustifolia with narrow leaves, narrow seed head and the male part of the flower is above the female but there is a gap, the seed head is a mid-brown colour) and on the right is greater reedmace (Typha latifolia with broad leaves, thicker seed head with no separation between the male and female parts of the flower and it's a dark brown colour).


20 metres freestyle

The oystercatcher family at the Parkes hide photographed here three days ago is now down to one chick and it commutes the 20m between the safety of the islands and food on the mainland by swimming. Three days ago the chicks were reluctant to enter the water, but today there was barely any hesitation from the fittest one.

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