The Beauty of Red Fescue
Camber Sands, Camber, East Sussex, England
Moving back from the fore dunes you eventually reach the dune slacks, these sheltered areas are protected from the worst of the sea breeze and the salt found with in the blowing winds.
Here Red Fescue Festuca rubra (background of 7,8,9) is the dominant grass species, which had dried to a beautiful red colour with the ripening of the seed heads. These in turn were the attraction for large flocks of birds, such as Starlings Sturnus vulgaris (4) to the abundant feast.
Many flowering plants could also be found, the tall, slim, elegant stems of Welted Thistle Carduus crispus (10) were common, along with the sprawling runners of Brambles Rubus fruticosa (5) which were providing nectar to a pair of Long Horn Beetles Stictoleptura rubra (5).
One of the more showy flowers belonged to Viper’s Bugloss Echium vulgare (1)(2)(3), this common coastal plant is normal a purply-blue colour but one individual was completely white. Like the bramble, it was also providing nectar for a Small Skipper Thymelicus sylvestris (2).
Mixed in between the beautiful red seedheads of grass, the large showy flowers of Sea Bindweed Calystegia soldanella (8) could be found, along with the beautiful golden yellow of Biting Stonecrop Sedum acre (9) and Common Hawkweed Hieracium lachenalii (7). One last tiny plant could also be found in this area of the dunes, the Small-Flowered Cranebill Geranium pusillum (6) but then it was time to move back even further into the sandy grasslands that lay beyond…