|Sandy and Leif use 'Baby Stace' for plant ID
Image: J. Wright
Ger Scollard, who also recorded the first flowers of 2019, submitted date-stamped records of winter heliotrope and smooth sow-thistle blooming in Co. Kerry.
It was half an hour later when Sophie Leguil, on her way home from London fireworks, submitted records of Mexican fleabane, annual meadow-grass, daisy and Serbian bellflower. And so the 2020 Hunt was underway...
|Small scabious blooming in Horncastle,
Image: R. Scopes
New Year Plant Hunting often has a very strong social element to it - the Warrington Plant Group tweeted nearly as much about the delicious roast lunch and the great company they enjoyed as they did about the 37 species they recorded.
|Members of James' team on the north-east
New Year Plant Hunt-off
Image: J. Common
Meanwhile two teams of plant hunters were out in Norfolk and also enjoying a friendly competition to see who could notch up the longest list. They each recorded 50 species so again, fisticuffs were averted and they all sat down to eat pizza together at the end of the day!
|The Glengarriff team and some of
the flowers they spotted
Image courtesy of C. Heardman
Group Hunts took place in Devon, Nottingham and Whitby; 20 eagle-eyed botanists met up at Glengarriff Woods and recorded 51 species in bloom; and County Recorders Oisin and Mairead (who recently got married, aaahhh!) found 10 species in bloom on Inch Island, Co. Donegal.
|Seaside daisy naturalised in Folkestone
Image: D. Steere
Seaside daisy was blooming in Folkestone, small scabious was out in Horncastle and across England people were spotting the tiny red flowers on hazel.
As in previous years, daisy, dandelion, annual meadow-grass and groundsel were among the most frequently recorded plants.
|Paul Green's montage of some of
the flowers he recorded in Co. Wexford
But equally important were the people who braved the elements to hunt in northern and upland parts of Britain and found nothing at all in bloom. Those nil records are also important if we are to get a true picture of how our wild and naturalised plants across Britain and Ireland are responding to changing weather patterns.
By the end of Day One, 115 lists had been submitted via the recording app and 327 species had been recorded in bloom. A great start! Watch this space to find out what happens on Day Two...