Monday, 4 January 2016

New Year Plant Hunt: Day Four

Sweet Cicely Myrrhis odorata
blooming in Yorkshire 3/1/2016
Image: Lin Hawthorne
The 2016 New Year Plant Hunt ended officially at sunset today and everyone who went out spotting wild plants in flower should give themselves an enormous pat on the back and a huge round of applause! 

Hundreds of you have emailed, uploaded, tweeted, blogged and posted about what you've seen. 

From Jersey and Guernsey to Orkney and Shetland, from Norfolk to Co. Cork, Cornwall to Dingwall and Kent to Donegal, from cities and villages, your records have flooded in. 


Scarlet Pimpernell Anagallis arvensis flowering
in the Dublin Bay area 2/1/2016
Image: Paul O'Flaherty
Ryan and I have been wishing we had an interactive map of Britain & Ireland that would show every single location where a Plant Hunt took place. Maybe next year!  

It will take us a few more days to process all the records and respond to all your emails so please bear with us! 

We have also extended the deadline for you to send us your records - it's now Friday 8th January. We should all have caught up by then and Ryan can start his analysis. 

We hope to have the results ready to share with you next week. I can't wait to see how they compare with last year's 368 taxa (species, hybrids and cultivars) in bloom.


Sweet Violet Viola odorata 
blooming in Sussex 1/1/2016
Image: Wendy Tagg
Ryan told me on Saturday evening (the halfway point) that he had already inputted more than 1600 records of more than 300 taxa.

If you are one of the people who took part in the New Year Plant Hunt and enjoyed recording wild flowers in bloom - as so many of you have told us you did! - why not consider getting more involved in biological recording this year? 

Obviously if you want to record wild flowers, your first stop should be here! You can find out if there's a local botany group near you and check out what they have planned for this year.

Going along to a botany outing near where you live is a great way to find out if plant recording is for you. Or try one of our national meetings.

And if you'd like to try recording other wildlife - from earthworms to birds to lichens - then you will find national societies and local networks full of people keen to help you get started and learn more. 

This blog by Kieron is a good introduction to biological recording in general - thanks also to Kieron for tweeting: 


Everywhere I look I see comments about Congrats to on a cracking start to recording in 2016!


Shaggy-soldier Galinsoga quadriradiata
flowering in Edinburgh
Image: Jim Gardner
If you decide to stick with recording plants, you should also check out our friends and colleagues at the Wild Flower Society and Plantlife and see what they are up to nationally and in your area. 

When you are ready to take the next step, do check out the National Plant Monitoring Scheme, run by BSBI in partnership with Plantlife

You can register now for a "square" in your area where you will be asked to hunt for particular plants. 


Red dead-nettle and friends
Blooming in Co. Kerry,
Republic of Ireland for the
#NewYearPlantHunt
Image: Marc Cruise 
BSBI's Head of Science Kevin Walker and colleagues chose plants which would indicate how habitats are changing across the UK but wouldn't be too difficult for you to identify. 

There are heaps of resources to help you do this, from on-line videos to the very helpful Species Identification Guide we send you once you've registered. 

Finally, if you would like to see a very recent example of gold star recording work - something for us all to aspire to - then take a look at this by BSBI County Recorders  Quentin and John and some of their botanical friends and colleagues.

To come over the next few days: the identity of Sandy's Mystery Mustard from Saturday; a "world record" from a young botanist; and news of this year's New Year Plant Hunt prizes

Watch this space!