Friday 9 June 2017

BSBI Summer Meeting: Report from Day Four

The weather in Flintshire seems to have improved for attendees at the BSBI Summer Meeting. Here's the latest report from organiser Jon Shanklin:

Image courtesy of J. Crellin/Floral Images

The Met Office forecast from yesterday proved far too pessimistic, and the heavy rain in the morning did not appear over Holywell. Indeed whilst I did put on my waterproofs at one point in the day, I needn't have bothered as a few minutes later the sun was shining.

Everybody set off for their selected tetrads - I had taken executive privilage and opted for a day at the seaside with Laura and Debbie. We were going to do the dunes just to the west of where we went on Tuesday, however once we had walked in to the tetrad our progress was slow. Initially we just picked up common species, but then we found Knotted Clover Trifolium striatum at the edge of a horse grazed paddock. 

Dune Fescue
Image courtesy of J. Crellin/Floral Images
"Some friendly workmen allowed us to spend rather longer crossing the railway line than normal, but did encourage us to get behind the protective barriers when a train was due.  We spotted a tall brassica behind an exclusion fence around an old building, but then spotted that we could cross a derelict wall and have a look anyway around the old yard.  

"The brassica proved to be Black Mustard B. nigra, and then we spotted Charlock Sinapis arvensis on a soil dump - on the Welsh Red List, but quite common in Flintshire. Also in the yard were Springbeauty Claytonia perfoliata and Bugloss Anchusa arvensis, which both attracted attention. It was past midday before we actually got into the dunes!

"Once there, we found all sorts of goodies - first Early Marsh-orchid Dactylorhiza incarnata (both subsp. incarnata and pulchella), then Dactylorhiza which keyed out to a Northern Marsh-orchid D. purpurella var cambrensis). 

Seaside Centaury
Image courtesy of J. Crellin/Floral Images

"A dune slack gave us Seaside Centaury Centaurium littorale, Small-fruited Yellow-sedge Carex oederi and the hybrid between Confused and Western Eyebrights Euphrasia confusa x tetraquetra. A little later we found Dune Fescue Vulpia fasciculata and Sand Cat's-tail Phleum arenarium. Lunch was taken and there was Spring Vetch Vicia lathyroides by my feet. 

"In the afternoon we continued meandering through the dunes eventually coming to a pond where we heard a Natterjack toad calling. On the path around the enclosure we spotted a tiny clover - Bird's-foot Clover Trifolium ornithopodioides. Time had passed very quickly and we had to head back to the car, and whilst the route back was less exciting we did pick up a few additional species before we headed back to dinner."

Thanks Jonathan, we'll look forward to hearing your report from Day Five.

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