Sat 17/09/16

Went for a long walk along the Thames towards the estuary today. Surprised to see a lot of swallows gathering and swooping over the water, presumably preparing for migration. This photo shows several swallows plus a number of black-headed gulls sitting on the surface; there were actually one or two sand martins mixed in amongst this melée too. I stood on the bank for a minute or so, and one swallow and one sand martin kept circling within about ten feet, so I had a good view, but they were too quick to get the camera on!

Some swallows and black-headed gulls
Some swallows and black-headed gulls

Saw some nice plant specimens too, such as this tansy on the right and the dandelion-derivative below, which I believe is the prickly sow-thistle Sonchus asper.

I think this is the prickly sow-thistle, as opposed to the smooth sow-thistle
I think this is the prickly sow-thistle, as opposed to the smooth sow-thistle

I didn’t see many spiders in the hedgerows, although there were one or two of the below, which I know as Meta segmentata, but seems to be listed now as Metellina segmentata. It is a fairly small but nicely marked orb-weaver. I didn’t even notice its prospective mate lurking in the background until I started browsing through these photographs afterwards.

Tansy
Tansy

The little flower below is a stranger to me too; there was a lot of it about, with a kind of furry, vaguely purple flower head; it looks like a clover, and I think it is hop trefoil.

Hop trefoil anyone?
Hop trefoil anyone?

A pair of Metellina segmentata spiders
A pair of Metellina segmentata spiders

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