Monday 1 January 2024

New Year Plant Hunt 2024: Day Three

Hello plant hunters, James Harding-Morris here, BSBI Countries Support Manager, taking over from Louise who's been out leading a group hunt in her vice-county today. Here's the list of 36 species they found in bloom.

My impression of day three is that we’ve generally had better weather than on Days One and Two. Certainly, Sarah Watts was greeted by flowering Gorse, blue skies and a rainbow at the head of Loch Tay on her New Year Plant Hunt (image on right). 

Here in Lincolnshire I had blue skies (with a cold wind) as I explored the banks of the Humber estuary. If you saw my post about Ox-eye Daisies from a few weeks ago then I can confirm that they were still in flower today (if looking a little worse for wear).

It just goes to show that going for a recce ahead of your Hunt can pay dividends. Oisín had a quick look today and spotted six species in flower ahead of their walk tomorrow, and Stuart found four – all of which were non-native naturalised shrubs. Does this tell us something interesting about the types of plants seen in flower at this time of year?

It’s been great to see brand new botanists taking part in the Hunt. Lucy Jones took part for the first time (image on left) and found a great spread of New Year Plant Hunt favourites, plus an early Daffodil.

Podling also took part for the first time and recorded a whopping 19 species including, from what I can see on this beautiful photo collage, several species that I didn’t manage to find today!

Speaking of firsts, our CEO Julia Hanmer took part in her first group hunt, organised by the Gloucestershire Natural History Society. They found an astounding 42 species in flower which must say something about the value of a lot of keen eyes. Image on right taken by Julia.

Some solo Hunts racked up big numbers. Alex Prendergast found 34 species flowering in Norfolk, including a currently unnamed elm taxon. Jon Holt reached 40 species around Bicester which feature a very showy Musk Mallow. Steve Coates got to the heady heights of 52 species in Kent, including the marvellous Toothed Medick. However, in terms of pace, perhaps Mandy Forde’s 28 species in 20 minutes by Bangor Pier is a record count?

I always enjoy hearing about the oddities still in flower. I wouldn’t have expected Harebell to be hanging on in London, or Fine-leaved Sandwort in Cambridge. However, I’m always the most impressed (and a little envious!) when someone manages to find something on their New Year Plant Hunt that I’ve never seen, like Sarah Lambert’s Crimson Flax in Peterborough. Beautiful! Image on left.

As I’m writing this – around 8.30pm on the 1st January – the number of lists we’ve had submitted has skyrocketed to over 1400 and the number of species seen in flower has shot-up to 579. We look to be on track for our biggest New Year Plant Hunt ever, so if you haven’t taken part yet, or submitted your records yet, please do! Info and links here in case you need them.

All the best to anyone out hunting tomorrow on our final day.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please leave a comment!