Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Surveying Knighton Spinney

Clive, Russell & Goldilocks Buttercup
A very enjoyable field meeting at Knighton Spinney last weekend. Sixteen of us turned out for the survey and it was particularly nice that Brian Laney came over from Northants. to join us for the day.

Clive Forty of TCV joined us (and Graham - hi, Graham!) and a reminder here that if anybody is considering conservation volunteering in VC55, they can contact both Clive at TCV or one of the LRWT Team. Lots of opportunities in this county :-) 

Brian Laney (on his knees!) and the VC55 group
Neill Talbot and Chris Hill from LRWT were also present. Neill has probably surveyed more LWSs (Local Wildlife Sites) than... somebody who has surveyed a lot of LWSs, so he and Clive were able to chat about management of the spinney. 

We noted the relative abundance of some of the typical woodland plants. although there is only one LWS woodland criterion species present, the Wood Anemone. 

Unfortunately, the Bluebells at Knighton Spinney are not native English Bluebells, but Spanish Bluebells and/or hybrids (planted in error during the 1980's). We all felt that they've got such a hold that it would probably be impossible to eradicate them. 

Diane admiring Arum maculatum
We paced out a patch of Snowberry that Clive might want to clear, and spotted a few (presumably bird-sown) non-native species which might also be for the chop, like a Cherry Laurel just getting established in a clearing.

None of us knew of any wildlife that relies on Cherry Laurel - do you? I've seen flies on it but not much else!  

Everybody made a contribution to our species list and many thanks to Pouran, who is typing it up for us this time. Maggie Frankum came along and identified the bees we saw and a gall or two. We might not have noticed the bees in a wet bit if Maggie hadn't been looking out for them. She also told us about the spinney 30 years ago, before the adjacent distributor road. More on Maggie and bees once the species list is typed up. 

Maggie spots bees!
Russell kept his ears open while botanising and so we also have a nice bird list from the day. Thanks, Russell!

And finally, the indefatigable Brian Laney, after an afternoon of botanising in the Spinney, gave a short masterclass in What You Can Find on a Roadverge to those of us still standing after - was it 5 hours? 

Wood Anemones at Knighton Spinney April 2014
I guess all those nice plants - from halophytes like Lepidium ruderale and Cochlearia danica, to Geranium molle and dissectum, to a rosette of Verbascum, were all there anyway but Brian spotted them and then... suddenly we could all see them! And yes, Verbascum really does have dendritic hairs, just as John Poland says!

Next meeting on the 26th at Burley Wood, hope you can make it. Here's the doodle link in case you haven't voted yet :-)

Posted by Louise & pix by me

1 comment:

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