Tuesday 14 November 2017

Third meeting of the Kerry BSBI group

Not a bad view!
Image: J. Hamilton
Following on from Jessica's reports on the first and second meetings of the BSBI Kerry group, we're going for the hat trick! 

Here is Jessica's account of the third field meeting of this group of wonderfully enthusiastic botanists in the west of Ireland. 

Over to Jessica:

"Where has the time gone? We’re almost halfway through November and the days are quickly blurring to bring the year to a close. Today I am reflecting on our findings from BSBI Kerry’s third outing.

Stream in the woods
Image: J. Hamilton
"Later than planned due to clashing schedules and less then amicable weather conditions, on the first Saturday of this month (4th November), we headed out to Glenageenty, a location that’s steeped in history and has a selection of trails to choose from surrounded by beautiful rural scenery. 

This outing was led by myself, Geraldine (Lecturer at ITT) and we had a small but enthusiastic group of 6 people. I decided against taking one of the direct trails and instead we did a looped walk which would keep us on a definite path yet encompassed the widest range of species and habitats within the parameters that time and weather allowed.

Image: J. Hamilton
"As usual our first source of distraction was the car park and we quickly clocked up a nice list of species including two garden escapes, Calendula officinalis (Marigold) and Tanacetum parthenium (Feverfew) - the latter was a species I hadn’t come across but it’s scent (from the leaves) is one I won’t forget.

"Within the car park area we ticked off lots of more common species such as Viola riviniana (Common Dog-violet), Senecio vulgaris (Groundsel), Angelica sylvestris (Angelica) and grasses such as Holcus lanatus (Yorkshire Fog) and Dactylis glomerata (Cock’s Foot). 

Image: J. Hamilton
"The elegant looking Athyrium filix-femina (Lady-fern) was spotted in the corner and nearby Conium maculatum (Hemlock) was also found and although it had gone over it was nice find as it’s not a species one comes across everyday.

"We then proceeded to stroll along the road and started ticking off lots of woodland species, the majority of which were not in flower but were easily recognisable by their leaves or seed heads. 

"Two such plants were Potentilla sterilis (Barren strawberry) and Fragaria vesca (Wild strawberry), the main difference between the two being that wild strawberry’s middle leaflet is longer than the other two. 

Image: J. Hamilton
"One plant which was putting on a great display was Umbillicus rupestris (Navelwort). I really loves its Latin name which hints to its appearance and where it grows. (Umbilicus = navel shaped, rupestris = growing on rock). 

"It’s one of my favourite plants as it was of the first ones that I asked ‘what are you?’ (My first plant I ever properly identified was the beautiful Saxifraga tridactylites (Rue-leaved saxifrage) and I still get excited when I see it for the first time every year).

"We also met our third garden escape still putting on quite a pretty display Fuchsia magellanica (Fuchsia). 

Irish Spurge
Image: J. Hamilton
"The shaded roadside verges also gave rise to lots of lovely fern species including three spleenworts Asplenium scolopendrium (Hart's-tongue fern), A. trichomanes, (Maidenhair fern) and A. adiantrum-nigrum (Black Spleenwort), as well as Blechnum spicant (Hard fern), Dryopteris dilatata (Broad-buckler fern) and Dryopteris affinis (Scaly male-fern). Euphorbia hyberna (Irish spurge) was also spotted which was another nice species to come across.

"One optimistic spring flowering plant whose leaves were already starting to appear were Ficaria verna (Lesser celandine), and it wasn’t long before we met another spring flowering plant Primula vulgaris (Primrose) which was actually  in flower. 

Yellow pimpernel
Image: J. Hamilton
"As we ascended slightly a roadside verge gave another boost for the recording sheet. Despite the chilly weather, Lysimachia nemorum (Yellow pimpernel) was trying its best to look cheerful and we met our fourth garden escape of the day – Buddleia.

"We had lunch at one of the quaint picnic benches that are dotted at various spots around the location. 

"I say at - we actually had to stand around the picnic bench due to the damp conditions!

Bridge near cottage ruins
Image: J. Hamilton
"After lunch we soon passed a second picnic spot which bordered a stream where we came across the ruins of an old cottage which was used as a place of refuge, as was many other areas within the forest, during times of unrest in Irish history- there was something quite humbling about the spot as the silence was broken only by the nearby stream.

"We then moseyed on through a conifer plantation  where the time of year and low light levels somewhat halted our species list. We then finished the loop and ascended back to the main road where we ticked off a couple of species we had missed the first time around.

Contrasting colours of the conifer plantation
vs the deciduous trees
Image: J. Hamilton
"When we got to the car park it was quite funny to note that we actually finished more or less bang on time for a change, and just as we got back to the cars the heavens opened giving us our queue to wrap things up for the day.

"All in all we covered two monads and recorded a nice range of species, I have some to tot up the final tally but we were not far off the 100 mark which isn’t a bad feat for the time of year.

"To conclude, this maybe our last outing of the year, but keep an eye on the BSBI Kerry Facebook page here or if you’re a Twitter user here

That's a wrap!
Image: J. Hamilton
"And remember, if you are in the Kerry locality and would like to get involved and come out with us on future outings, send me an email to Jhbsbikerry@gmail.com and ’ll add you to the mailing list.  

"To think we only had our first ever official #BSBIKerry outing in July – I think we’re off to a great start and I cannot wait to see where our next outings will take us! 

I agree - thanks to Jessica, the Kerry group has got off to a great start! 

Many thanks to her for telling us about this third meeting of the Kerry BSBI group and all the plants they spotted.

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