Tuesday, 7 July 2015


I participated in a coastal Bioblitz at Murlough in Northern Ireland at the weekend. This SSSI has a wonderful mix of coastal habitats as well as some woodland just inshore. There is also a patch of saltmarsh, which is a habitat type that I haven't encountered before and yielded many species that were new to me. Every step seemed to contain a plant, insect or some other invert that I didn't know existed.

The most obvious species in the saltmarsh were the plants, many of which were succulent (and tasted strongly of salt: I tasted them). We were lucky enough to find two Sea-Spurreys side by side: Greater Sea Spurrey:
Greater Sea-Spurrey - Spergularia media

And Lesser Sea-Spurrey:

Lesser Sea Spurrey - Spergularia marina

I have tried to crop the images so that the relative sizes of the flowers are maintained. Notice the thick, succulent leaves, especially on the Lesser.

Both new to my species list.

Also new is Lax-flowered Sea-lavender:

Lax-flowered Sea-lavender - Limonium humile
This is apparently quite scarce.

New to my Species List.

Sea Arrowgrass was growing just on the slightly dryer upper edges of the saltmarsh, almost under the trees:

Sea Arrowgrass - Triglochin maritima
Individual flowers are between 2 and 3 mm diameter.

Yet another new plant was Portland Spurge - Euphorbia portlandica:

Portland Spurge - Euphorbia portlandica
Identification was made mostly from the double horn-shape of the yellow petals.

New to my Species List.

Other plant species included Samphire and Sea Beet.

I'll add leaf-miners, galls and other inverts to the next post.

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