The Whitlingham Bird Report 2020 is available now (click here)

For previous years (2012-2019) see the links on the Whitlingham Bird List page.

NORWICH: The disappearing plant

1st July 2017

On Saturday I headed to Thorpe St Andrew, where I was looking forward to seeing a plant of Purple Viper's Bugloss, a scarce plant not mentioned in the Flora of Norfolk and therefore possibly a county first. It had been found at the start of the week on a roadside verge by Chris Durdin, who fortunately recognised it from leading wildlife tours on the continent. Recognising that this was the sort of thing I'd be interested in, he kindly emailed me with directions.

As it was on a main road, I parked nearby and walked across to the verge. I had seen a photo so knew it was a tallish plant, so I was a bit concerned when I couldn't find it. Naturally I thought I was in the wrong place, so extended my walk a bit in each direction, with no luck. Slowly it dawned on me that the rest of the vegetation was very short. The verge had been recently cut, and the Purple Viper's Bugloss had been completely destroyed. I contacted Chris just to double-check I was in the right place, and he confirmed I was and the plant was gone. Darn. Hopefully it might grow back either this year or next, but if not then it has to be one of the shortest stays of a rare plant in Norfolk.

Whilst in Thorpe I had a look around, hopeing to see a few more plants of interest but again with no luck. I did manage to find something new, a red-and-black wasp that predates shieldbugs and goes by the for some reason excellent name of Astata boops.

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