Monday, 19 September 2016

The Draw of Draw-down

Draw-down, the seasonal exposure of sediments around the margins of ponds, lakes and reservoirs over the summer, is a habitat I always like to explore whenever I have the opportunity. It is as appealing to me as arable field corners, as you never know what you might find, and there can be much of interest in late summer when other habitats are winding down.

I have been lucky enough to get around a fair few reservoirs in VC63, 64 and 65 in recent weeks and have found plenty of surprises and also, to be honest, a fair amount of not so much. Its the boring sites that make the other sites so much more rewarding. Here are a few of the highlights.

Mudwort (Limosella aquatica) at Scargill Reservoir courtesy of my colleague Hannah Mitchell, also present at Swinsty and Fewston Reservoirs

Musk (Mimulus moschatus) on the mudflats at the northern end of Fewston Reservoir

A rather poor photo that does not do justice to this delicate species - Small Water-pepper (Persicaria minor var. minor). The whole population at Swinsty and Fewston is the unusual white-flowered form. The more typical pink-flowered form was encountered later at Leighton Reservoir

Not as rare as the preceding species, but it is always nice to see Water-purslane (Lythrum portula subsp. portula). 

Intermediate Plantain (Plantago major subsp. intermedia), a drawdown specialist unlike its weedy cousin Greater Plantain (Plantago major subsp. major)

And that's just a taster without mentioning Shoreweed (Littorella uniflora), Sand Spurrey (Spergularia rubra), Marsh Speedwell (Veronica scutellata), Red Goosefoot (Chenopodium rubrum), Monkey-flower (Mimulus guttatus) ...

You've probably noticed the recurring theme in most photos by now - the menace that is New Zealand Pigmyweed (Crassula helmsii). Please take care to clean your boots so as not to help it spread any faster than it is already managing, otherwise you get this ....

Fewston Reservoir, that really is all New Zealand Pigmyweed and this is but one small part of the infested shoreline of this large reservoir

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