Habitat restoration at Quarrington Quarry, September 2019

I’m back home now after two weeks walking a less well known part of the Camino de Santiago in France, so what’s been happening in Durham?  As expected, there are fewer species in flower this month on the patch of revegetating quarry spoil I’m watching but, slightly to my surprise, a few new ones have appeared.  The big patches of thistles and Rosebay willowherb amongst the grass have largely set seed but there are still enough flowers to attract some tortoiseshell butterflies in the early morning sun. Nettles and dock are in flower again too. This month’s photos aren’t as good as they might be as I got my camera out, having not used it for a couple of weeks, only to find the battery was completely flat!

As last month, the number of species on the disturbed, newly-vegetated ground is similar to the number on the older spoil though the species themselves are largely different. The new species this time are all members of the Asteraceae, or daisy family.  In fact, nearly half of all the species I found in flower this month are daisies, several the rather difficult to distinguish yellow flowered ones.  The Hawk’s-beard I can identify to genus level by the outward-pointing outer level of involucre bracts but I realise I didn’t look closely enough at the leaves to go further than that. The mayweed is new too – last month’s big white daisies were Ox-eye ones. 

Scented mayweed
Hawk’s-beard, Crepis sp.

So, no big surprises really this month, but just note again how different the flora is on the newly added topsoil – the extra nutrients available and the different seed bank in the soil have done little to encourage regrowth of the previous, diverse lime-loving flora.

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