Field Trip to Mote Park on Saturday 7 September 2013

Led by Gary Cliffe.

Introduction by Simon Ginnaw. Thanks also to Graham Hemington and Anne Andrews for supplying notes on species recorded.

View across Mote Park. Photo by Gary Cliffe. View across Mote Park. Photo by Gary Cliffe.

Eleven members arrived at the Mote Park car park and were given a short introduction by Simon Ginnaw, who has carried out wildlife observations and photography over a number of years.

The word Mote originally came from the word 'moot' or meeting place. The park comprises 450 acres and was previously a country estate, but is now managed by Maidstone Borough Council. It is dominated by a large lake fed by the river Len, creating a diverse range of habitats.

Corncockle, Agrostemma githago. Photo by Monique Haar. Corncockle, Agrostemma githago.
Photo by Monique Haar.

We left the car park and made our way to the south eastern area of the park. The group came across several non-native trees, and one in particular which was grafted; we believe cherry with oak. We also saw Black Walnut, Juglans nigra, which some of the group thought was a Tree of Heaven, Ailanthus altissima, although we did see this later. There were also Roble Beech, Nothofagus oblique, Huntingden Elm, Ulmus hollandica, Siver Maple, Acer sacciharinum and Turkish Hazel, Corylus colurna.

Astrantia, Astrantia major. Photo by Monique Haar. Astrantia, Astrantia major.
Photo by Monique Haar.

Beside one of the trees was a clump of Shaggy Parasols, Chlorophyllum rhacodes. The group also saw Artist's Fungus, Ganoderma adspersum, growing on several trees, and mildew on seedling oaks, Microsphaera alphitoides. We gradually made our way round some scrub where we observed some Oak galls — Knopper Galls, Andricus quercuscalicis — before arriving at a bridge. Here a dam holds back the waters of the river ensuring that there is water in it even in a dry summer season. Here we saw several water birds on the lake, including Great Crested Grebes, Mallard, Moorhen, Black Headed and Herring Gulls and Mute Swan.

The group had lunch by a couple of fallen trees by the river Len in the hope that a Kingfisher might fly by. Growing on the logs were Smoky Bracket, Bjerkandera adusta, and Blushing Bracket, Daedaleopsis confragosa.

After lunch we walked along to an old stone bridge where there were several Alder trees growing. From here we made our way to the other side of the lake

Comma, Polygonia c-album, on a Buddleia flower in Mote Park. Photo by Gary Cliffe. Comma, Polygonia c-album. Mote park.
Photo by Gary Cliffe.

On the way by the Mote House we saw a patch of flowers which had obviously been seeded. It included Corncockle, Redshank and Cornflower. We then walked towards a small waterfall which is fed from a wet, boggy area across the path. Here was evidence of Marsh Marigold and Butterbur's spring growth. We walked on towards the end of the lake, passing several springs which help to feed water to the lake.

We soon arrived at the car park after we had sat warming ourselves in the sun on some benches overlooking the lake. We all had a pleasant and different sort of day on our visit to Mote Park.

Silk Button Spangle Galls on an oak leaf. Photo by Monique Haar. Silk Button Spangle Galls on an oak leaf.
Photo by Monique Haar.

Other species recorded:

Galls — Aceria erinea (mite on Walnut), Aceria species (Mite on Holm Oak).

Hoverfly — Platycheirus scutatus.

Meadow Grasshopper — Chorthippus parallelus.

Dragonfly — Migrant Hawker, Aeshna mixta.

Leaf Miners — Liriomyza gmoena (fly) on Elder; Phyllononorycter maestingella (moth) on Beech; Phyllononorycter messaniella (moth) on Holm Oak.

Butterflies — Speckled Wood, Comma and several whites.

Plants — Including: Smooth Hawks-beard, Crepis capillaris; Dandelion, Taraxacum agg; Cat's Ear, Hypochaeris radicata; Meadow Cranesbill, Geranium pratense; Field Scabious, Knautia arvensis; Wild Carrot, Daucus carota ssp carota; Hemp Agrimony, Eupatorium cannabinum; Redshank, Persicaria maculosa; Corncockle, Agrostemma githago; Cornflower, Centaurea cyanus.

Birds — Including: Wood Pigeon, Carrion Crow, House Martin, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Mistle Thrush, Great Crested Grebe, Mallard, Mute Swan, Herring and Black Headed Gulls.

This article is copyright © Gary Cliffe and Simon Ginnaw 2013.
The photographs of the view and the Comma are copyright © Gary Cliffe 2013. The other photographs are copyright © Monique Haar 2013.