After a cold winter, a long drought is now causing serious concern among the farming community in South East England. Today it was warm, but for the last week or two it has been dry, cold and windy with only a few inconsequential showers.
Emthree is really only just beginning to show the effects of the weather. The grass is bright green, but rather sparse, with a dead, dry layer on the ground. In the midday heat many of the larger plants wilt.
There are a good few flowers: creeping buttercup, narrow-leaved vetch, smooth hawksbeard, still a few forget-me-nots, herb robert, cinquefoil and heath speedwell that has now spread far and wide. There is sweet vernal grass and rough meadow grass, the first going over, the second just beginning. A gladdon iris is flowering in Medlar Wood and so is the plant of herb bennett, a first for the project area.
The leaves of the smaller birch are heavily mined by the fly Agromyza alnibetulae (ostensibly a first for Sussex, but I expect it is not uncommon) and there are great colonies of purple aphids, Uroleucon jaceae, on several of the black knapweed stems.