Sunday, 8 June 2014


I finally felt well enough to risk a trip to one of my Lincolnshire priority tetrads. I chose Skillington, as there seemed to be a rather nice Drove Road along the county boundary, that I suspected might have some good calcareous grassland. It had rained heavily the day before, and when I finally arrived my heart sank as it was fringed with scrub and the centre of the track was deeply rutted with deep muddy puddles. Nevertheless, I persisted and a little way along the track there were some good areas of grassland, with locally frequent woolly thistle Cirsium eriophorum  and a suite of other calcicoles including upright brome Bromopsis erecta,  salad burnet Poterium sanguisorba, bird's-foot-trefoil Lotus corniculatus, burnet saxifrage Pimpinella saxifraga, greater knapweed Centaurea scabiosa and a small population of rock-rose Helianthemum nummularium. There was also a lot of common knapweed Centaurea nigra, as well as some unusually slender forms with cut leaves. Unfortunately they weren't in flower, but the shape of the phyllaries on the bud seemed a good match for chalk knapweed Centaurea debeauxii, which would be a first record for VC53. A return visit will be required!

Helianthemum nummularium
Eventually I was stopped in my tracks by a very deep puddle, so I turned back, recorded a stretch of roadside verge and then had a walk around the village, which added a lot of garden escapes and other usual village denizens. A white Geranium had me puzzled, but in the end I managed to identify it as a white form of hedgerow crane's-bill Geranium pyrenaicum, which had escaped from a nearby garden. There was also a very fine display of purple crane's-bill Geranium x magnificum along a road bak.

Geranium pyrenaicum ' Alba' or 'Snow in Summer'

Geranium x magnificum

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