Thursday, 29 December 2016

BSBI New Year Plant Hunt 2017

Next Sunday sees the start of BSBI's sixth national New Year Plant Hunt and the VC55 group will be taking part again, as we have done since 2013.

The idea is to spend up to three hours recording as many plants as we can find in bloom during a three-hour period between 1st and 4th January. 

This year, we have two New Year Plant Hunts for you in VC55:

1. On Monday, 2nd January, we will be hunting in the Wigston area. Meet on Viking Road, Wigston LE18, off Aylestone Lane. Grid ref: SP 5945 9965. Start time: 11am. Russell, who is leading this Hunt, says it will only go ahead if the Met Office forecast predicts less than 60% precipitation. Contact Russell here for more info: russell.parry@gmail.com

2. On Wednesday, 4th January, we plan to record at several sites in Leicester City Centre. Many thanks to all of you who participated in the Doodle poll, which is now closed. Start time: 12.30. We can park at the end of Soar Lane LE3 5AB, just past the Wildlife Trust's HQ. Grid Ref: SK 57958 04849. Contact Louise here for more info: bsbivc55@gmail.com

On Wednesday, we aim to follow the same route for New Year Plant Hunts in 2014 and 2015 but sadly some of the road verges/ brownfield sites which proved so rich in previous years are now under development. Add to this the dismal weather we've seen recently, and it looks highly unlikely that we'll match our 2014 total of 66 species in flower. But it will be fun hunting together and we can always retire to a nearby (warm) cafe to examine our finds more closely. 

From 1st January, you'll be able to see the latest records and images from New Year Plant Hunts across Britain & Ireland streamed live to this new webpage. Let's try and get a few VC55 plants up there - please join our New Year Plant Hunts on 2nd and 4th January! 

Wednesday, 19 October 2016

Bryophyte Meetings 2016/17

Here are all dates for the coming bryophyte season. These meetings are open to everyone with an interest in bryophytes. The field meetings start at 10.30 and take as long as weather conditions allow, so it is always best to bring a packed lunch. Apart from weatherproof clothes, it is useful to bring a hand lens (x10 or x20) and some paper packets or small containers for collecting specimens. TheBBS field guide (Mosses and Liverworts of Britain and Ireland: a Field-guide 2010) is very useful and can be downloaded from  the BBS website. Please contact Uta (uta.hamzaoui@yahoo.de or 07852 682 790), if would like to take part, and to organise car sharing.

Sunday, 30 October 2016
Field Meeting at Dimmings Dale, Staffordshire
The first meeting is a trip abroad! This site in Staffordshire is both a SSSI and a National Nature Reserve and promises good gryophyte hunting. This meeting is organised by MIDBRYG – The MIDlands BRYophyte Group – more information is available on the BBS website. The group has a Facebook page where meetings are advertised.
Parking will be at SK06254314 in the car park of "The Ramblers Retreat", which is quite a good tea shop for people arriving early, or a cake shop for when we have finished. Arrive and meet so we can leave promptly at 10:30 a.m. For more details please contact Karen Rogers (karenochka@googlemail.com – and please contact Uta (uta.hamzaoui@yahoo.de), if you would like to share lifts from Leicester.

Saturday 3 - Sunday 4 December 2016
Course: Introduction to Bryophytes at Leicester Botanic Gardens (Sat) and Charnwood Lodge (Sun): more information is available here.

Saturday, 21 January 2017
Course: “Brachythecium and Eurhynchium s.l. - the basics” at Leicester University Botanic Gardens  - fully booked

Sunday, 22 January
Course: 'Brachythecium and Eurhynchium s.l. - the basics' at Leicester University Botanic Gardens - due to high demand! Contact Uta (uta.hamzaoui@yahoo.de) if you are interested. See this flyer for further information.

Sunday, 22 January 2017
Field Meeting at Jubilee Wood (Charnwood Forest)
Jubilee Wood is part of the 'Beacon Hill, Hangingstone & Outwoods' SSSI and managed by Leicestershire County Council. It is ancient woodland which includes wet alder woodland as well as remnants of oak woodland on Pre-cambrian outcrops. The site was last surveyed for bryophytes in 1989.
Meet at SK51011650. Parking is on laybys along the woodland.

Saturday, 25 February 2017
Field Meeting at Cossington Meadows (Soar Valley)
Cossington Meadows Nature Reserve is a former quarry site in the river Soar floodplain managed by the Leicestershire & Rutland Wildlife Trust. The site is mainly managed by extensive grazing and much work to create shallow scrapes, ponds and reed beds has been carried out, where bare and wet ground should yield some interesting bryophyte records. Other habitats worth exploring are old hedgerows and mature riparian trees. Only a handful of records exist from this site.
Meet at SK59731308.

Saturday, 25 March 2017
Field Meeting at Stonesby Quarry (Jurassic Limestone)
SK 813250
This is part of a worked-out quarry on soft Jurassic limestone and contains some of the best remaining limestone grassland in Leicestershire. It is part of a SSSI and a nature reserve managed by the Leicestershire & Rutland Wildlife Trust. During the last bryophyte survey in 1993 notable species such as Seligeria calcarea and Weissia longifolia were found. Since then, a lot of conservation management has been carried out, including scrub removal and exposure of limestone bedrock, and it will be interesting to find out how this has influenced the bryophyte flora.
Details for parking will be sent out before the meeting.

Thursday, 26 January 2017
Wednesday, 1 March 2017
Wednesday, 29 March 2017
Indoor Meetings at Leicester University Botanic Gardens
The field meetings will be followed up by indoor meetings where we can use the microscopes and work together on the material collected in the field. Meet at 7 p.m. in the coach house of the Botanic Gardens.

Looking forward to seeing you
Uta

Thursday, 13 October 2016

Identifying mosses & liverworts: an introduction

Uta is repeating the beginner's course on bryophytes this year on 3-4 December. It is an excellent introduction to this widespread, varied and ecologically important group of plants.

Heath Star-moss, Campylopus introflexus, at Bagworth Heath
On Saturday, 3rd December, there is a taught course at the Botanic Garden, where you will be introduced to the wonderful world of bryophytes, including the use of the BBS identification key and how to use lenses and microscopes. You will also have the chance to explore different parts of the Botanic Garden to see some of the plants in their habitats.

On Sunday, 4th December, the class will meet in Charnwood Lodge Nature Reserve (details to be announced) and will spend the day exploring the rich flora of the area.

For further information about the course, download this leaflet in pdf format or in Word format. Although you cannot book a place on the course on-line just yet, if you are interested in the course, please email Uta.

The course is supported by the University of Leicester Botanic Garden and the Leicestershire & Rutland Wildlife Trust.

Geoffrey

Saturday, 17 September 2016

Intermediate/advanced tree ID session.

Dear BSBI vc55 group member

I should appreciate your help in identifying more of the tree species which are growing on the Shady Lane Arboretum in Evington. Please come to a session which I shall ‘lead’ on Thursday, 22nd September starting at 10.30 a.m.

There are well over 100 different species and I am fairly sure of many IDs, but I have found quite a few tricky, especially amongst the Oaks, Poplars and Whitebeams. There are also interesting collections of Ashes, Acers, Limes, conifers and other members of the Rosaceae family (e.g. Crataegus). The presence of fruits should make this a good season to aid ID. Many of us are encountering unusual trees during our tetrad bashing, so this session may help improve our tree knowledge.

As resources for the day, I will bring a copy of the 1973 planting list, 2 different Collins Tree Guides (Mitchell and Johnson) and the pocket Stace. Other ID literature would be very welcome.

We will meet in the Shady Lane car park, SK627023. Please bring your own refreshments and, if you would like to stay on into the afternoon, some lunch. There are no toilets there. The nearest public ones are in Evington Park – a very short drive away. The ground is firm but I recommend that you bring walking boots. Please let me know at this email address if you would like to join us.

Looking forward to seeing you for an instructive and entertaining session.


Russell

Monday, 22 August 2016

Field Meeting 27 August

We have not been able to get access to either of the two sites we planned to visit this time, but we will try again for 2017. Instead, we have decided to record in an urban monad with a few records that hasn't been visited much since 2000. For the last visit for our vascular plant recording trips in 2016, we will be recording in SK5609, part of Castle Hill Country Park, which is open access and is owned and managed by Leicester City Council. The site contains a stream, a large pond, a Sustainable Urban Drainage System, some plantation woodland, hedgerows, grassland and motorway verges. For a wealth of information about the site and a map, see this webpage. So, let's see what we can find at the end of the summer. It even has benches, so we'll have somewhere to sit for lunch. What a luxury!

Meet in Anstey Lane at SK561098 at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday 27 August, where there is parking for cars on either side of the road. We will finish around 3:30 p.m.

The meeting is suitable for both beginners and experienced botanists, and it will be a fairly leisurely day with plenty of time to discuss what we find. You're welcome to stay with us for as long as you wish, and to leave at any time, provided you tell us when you go. Please bring sunscreen, rain gear etc. to suit the weather, and lunch and a drink, if staying all day.

If you would like more details or to arrange car-sharing, please phone me on 0774 548 7766.

Geoffrey

Tuesday, 9 August 2016

Field Meeting, Saturday 13 August

This week, we will be recording in the BSBI-requested monad, SK7718, at Priory Water, south-east of Asfordby. It has a good mix of habitats and there will be plenty of aquatic plants to see in the lakes and on the banks of the River Wreake, plus some marshy grassland, track-sides, hedgerows and plantation woodland.

Meet on Saturday 13 August at 10:30 a.m. at St. Peter's Church, Main Street, Kirby Bellars at
SK717182. Please park with consideration, so as not to block entrances, especially if a function, such as a wedding is in progress. We will finish around 3:30 p.m. or when we have had enough.

The meeting is suitable for both beginners and experienced botanists, and it should be a fairly leisurely day with plenty of time to discuss what we find. You're welcome to stay with us for as long as you wish, and to leave at any time, provided you tell us when you go. Please bring sunscreen, rain gear etc. to suit the weather, and lunch and a drink, if staying all day.

If you would like more details or to arrange car-sharing, please phone me on 07594 302127.

Russell

Monday, 1 August 2016

Bryophyte Workshop: Advance Notice

Intermediate Workshop: "Brachythecium and Eurhynchium s.l. - the basics"

Saturday, 21 January 2017, Leicester Botanical Garden

This will be an indoor workshop for everyone who wants to get to grips with this group of closely related pleurocarp mosses, many of which are common but difficult to distinguish in the field. Dissecting and compound microscopes as well as plant material will be provided, but please feel free to bring your own reference material as well as any mystery specimens. The trainer will be Martin Godfrey, a very knowledgeable and friendly bryologist. 

The workshop will take place from 10:30 a.m. to 16:30 p.m. and will cost £15. Numbers will be limited to 16.  See this document for more information about the workshop which can be booked online at the University Shop.

Tea and coffee will be provided but, please bring your own lunch.There are frequent bus services from Leicester Railway Station to the Botanic Garden, or, if you let us know in advance, we can arrange a pick-up from the Station. 

If you have any queries please contact Uta Hamzaoui (uta.hamzaoui@yahoo.de; 0116 2940704).

The workshop is supported by the British Bryological Society, the University of Leicester and the Leicestershire and Rutland Wildlife Trust.

Tuesday, 26 July 2016

Field Meeting Saturday 30 July

We will be recording in the BSBI-requested monad, SK5520 at Cotes, east of Loughborough.  As this monad does not have very good access, most of the time we will be looking around the village, using the public footpaths and a couple of permissive access paths. There will be plenty of ruderals to see, some fields and pastures to examine and several road verges, some with adjacent paths, which might be species-rich. Extra care will be needed on the roadsides at all times. It should also be possible to look at the river vegetation at one or two points in the walk.

Meet on Saturday 30 July at 10:30 a.m. in the layby off Loughborough Road at SK560211, where there should be enough space to park. (There is another layby further north on the opposite side of the road at SK561212).There appears to be a roadside footpath from the layby to the village and there is also permissive access along the field margin. We will finish around 3:30 p.m. at the latest, although it may be a little earlier this time in view of limited access.

The meeting is suitable for both beginners and experienced botanists, and it should be a fairly leisurely day with plenty of time to show and discuss what we find. You're welcome to stay with us for as long as you wish, and to leave at any time, provided you tell us when you go. Please bring sunscreen, rain gear etc. to suit the weather, and lunch and a drink, if staying all day.

If you would like more details or to arrange car-sharing, please phone me on 07594 302127.

Russell

Monday, 11 July 2016

Field Meeting Saturday 16th July

This time, we will be recording in the BSBI-requested monad SP6593 that includes the north-east of Fleckney and the surrounding countryside. This will be a species-rich monad, as it contains an urban area with an industrial estate, roadside verges, arable fields and pastures, hedgerows, plantation woodland, a large pond and the banks of the Grand Union Canal. We will have a look at the aquatic vegetation in the canal and on its banks.

Meet on Saturday 16 July at 10:30 a.m. at the village pond near the library at SP649933. Please park in the adjacent streets, taking care not to block entrances. We plan to finish around 3:30 p.m. or later, if there is a lot to record.

The meeting is suitable for both beginners and experienced botanists, and it should be a fairly leisurely day with plenty of time to show and discuss what we find. You're welcome to stay with us for as long as you wish, and to leave at any time, provided you tell us when you go. Please bring sunscreen, rain gear etc. to suit the weather, and lunch and a drink, if staying all day.

If you would like more details or to arrange car-sharing, please phone me on 0774 548 7766.

Geoffrey

Wednesday, 29 June 2016

Field Meeting Sunday 3rd July

Please note that this meeting will be on Sunday, not Saturday.

We will be recording in a BSBI-requested monad, SK8119, south-west of Saxby. Most of the monad is agricultural land (arable fields and pastures), roadside verges, a small area of woodland, a stream and a couple of ponds. It may be possible to see some of the former railway line. A lot of our time will be spent on road verges, so extra care will be needed.

Meet on Sunday 3 July at 10:30 a.m. at St. Peter's Church at SK819200. Please park in the adjacent streets, taking care not to block entrances and be aware that a church service may be occurring, so parking around the church may be limited. We plan to finish around 3:30 p.m. at the latest.

The meeting is suitable for both beginners and experienced botanists, and it should be a fairly leisurely day with plenty of time to show and discuss what we find. You're welcome to stay with us for as long as you wish, and to leave at any time, provided you tell us when you go. Please bring sunscreen, rain gear etc. to suit the weather, and lunch and a drink, if staying all day.

If you would like more details or to arrange car-sharing, please phone me on 07594 302127.

Russell

Monday, 13 June 2016

Field Meeting Saturday 18 June

At this meeting, we will be recording in a BSBI-requested monad, SP7388, that includes some of the north of Market Harborough and the south of Great Bowden. About half of it is urban with countryside in between the towns. Urban areas a major habitat in modern Britain and are often species-rich: we recorded 257 taxa at Barwell on the last meeting! The area contains roadside verges, arable fields and pastures, a samll amount of woodland and a large pond. There should be a lot of ruderal 'weeds' to identify in the more urban areas.

Meet on Saturday 18 June at 10:30 a.m. at the entrance to Ridgeway Primary Academy on The Ridgeway at SP737882. Please park in the adjacent streets, taking care not to block entrances. We plan to finish around 3:30 p.m. at the latest.

The meeting is suitable for both beginners and experienced botanists, and it should be a fairly leisurely day with plenty of time to show and discuss what we find. You're welcome to stay with us for as long as you wish, and to leave at any time, provided you tell us when you go. Please bring sunscreen, rain gear etc. to suit the weather, and lunch and a drink, if staying all day.

If you would like more details or to arrange car-sharing, please phone me on 0774 548 7766.

Geoffrey

Tuesday, 31 May 2016

Next Field Meeting

This week, we will be continuing recording the plants in the monads requested by the BSBI, by recording in an urban monad at Barwell and Earl Shilton, SP4597. Urban areas are a major habitat in modern Britain and can yield some unexpected finds. They are often species-rich and we usually record more species than we do in a monad in the countryside, and not just non-native species or garden escapes either. The area contains a stream and some roadside grasslands, and there should be a lot of ruderal 'weeds' and street trees to identify.

Meet on Saturday 4 June at 10:30 a.m. at the entrance to Newlands Primary School on Moore Road at SP452974. Please park in the adjacent streets, taking care not to block any entrances. We plan to survey the monad, finishing around 3:30 p.m. at the latest.

The meeting is suitable for both beginners and experienced botanists, and it should be a fairly leisurely day with plenty of time to show and discuss what we find. You're welcome to stay with us for as long as you wish, and to leave at any time, provided you tell us when you go. Please bring sunscreen, rain gear etc. to suit the weather, and lunch and a drink, if staying all day.

If you would like more details or to arrange car-sharing, please phone me on 0774 548 7766.


Geoffrey

Tuesday, 17 May 2016

Field meeting Saturday 21st May

This week, we will be surveying Narborough Bog, a Leicestershire & Rutland Wildlife Trust reserve, at the request of the Trust, who want to know how the management regime is affecting the plants on the reserve. There are a lot of interesting wetland plants on this site including Meadow Rue (Thalictrum flavum) and a recently discovered population of Small Teasel (Dipsacus pilosus) to whet your appetite. More information about the reserve can be found on the LRWT website.

Meet on Saturday 21 May at 10:30 a.m. in the car park near the sports club at SP545980. To get to the car park, turn sharp left off the B4114 immediately before the motorway, and go down the track towards the club house. We plan to survey the reserve, then continue recording until we've covered the reserve, or as much of it as we can, finishing around 3:30 p.m.

The meeting is suitable for both beginners and experienced botanists, and it should be a fairly leisurely day with plenty of time to show and discuss what we find. You're welcome to stay with us for as long as you wish, and to leave at any time, provided you tell us when you go. Please bring sunscreen, rain gear etc. to suit the weather, and lunch and a drink, if staying all day.

If you would like more details or to arrange car-sharing, please phone me on 07594 302127.

Russell

Wednesday, 4 May 2016

Field Meeting on Saturday 7th May

This week, we will be continuing our work recording plants in the under-recorded monads that the BSBI have asked us to survey, and also surveying Burton Fishpond Plantation, a community woodland at Burton on the Wolds.You can find some more information about the woodland here. Lyn Cooper, who is a volunteer and a member of the Plantation Management Committee, will meet us there and give a short talk about the wood and the involvement of local people in its management. The rest of monad SK5820 is mostly arable fields with hedgerows, a stream, field ponds, roadside verges and some built-up areas.

Meet on Saturday 7 May at 10:30 a.m. in the car park at the end of Towles Fields, off Barrow Road at SK586208. It is planned to survey the woodland, and then continue recording until we've covered the entire monad, finishing around 3:30 p.m. The current forecast is for sunny weather at the weekend.

The meeting is suitable for both beginners and experienced botanists, and it should be a leisurely day with plenty of time to show and discuss what's being found.You're welcome to stay with us for as long as you wish, and to leave at any time, provided you tell us when you go. Please bring sunscreen, rain gear etc. to suit the weather, and lunch and a drink, if staying all day. Toilets are available in the pavilion in the car park. What luxury!

If you would like more details or to arrange car-sharing, please email or phone me on 07745487766.

Geoffrey

Wednesday, 27 April 2016

First Field Meeting for 2016

This year, we will be continuing our work recording plants in the under-recorded monads that the BSBI have asked us to survey. All the meetings will be held at the weekend, nearly all on Saturdays, but one is on a Sunday. The schedule can be downloaded from the menu bar above.


Dryopteris carthusiana in Martinshaw Wood
Our first meeting will be held on Saturday 30 April starting at 10:30 a.m. and will finish around 3:30 p.m.  We plan to survey until we've covered the entire monad or until the weather stops us. However, you're welcome to stay with us for as long as you wish and to leave at any time provided you tell us when you leave.The meeting is suitable for both beginners and experienced botanists, and it should be a leisurely day with plenty of time to show and discuss what's being found.


We will be recording in monad SK5006 which includes part of  Martinshaw Wood to the west of the M1, Pear Tree Wood and part of Ratby. Both of the woods are owned by the Woodland Trust. This monad is mostly plantation woodland of various ages, a few arable fields with hedgerows, a stream, roadside verges and some urban areas. As it contains a good variety of habitats, it should provide a large number of records. The focus will be on the woodland flora, including ferns, which may have some interesting species, and on the roadside verges and urban areas where we hope to find some interesting early flowering plants often overlooked in surveys.


Meet in the car park at Martinshaw Wood off Markfield Road, Ratby at SK509066. If you would like more details or to arrange car-sharing, please email or phone me on 07594 302127.

Russell

Monday, 8 February 2016

Field Meetings for 2016

Dear Botanists

The programme of visits for 2016 is now available for download from the link on the bar above. This year, we will be surveying some more of the monads (1km x 1km squares) that the BSBI has asked to survey, plus a couple of other sites that local organisations have asked us to survey for them. Details of each meeting will be sent out separately before the start date to confirm the arrangements. One meeting has not been confirmed yet, as we are waiting for the landower to respond, but, as this is the last meeting of the year, we decided to publicise the schedule, so that you can get the dates into your diaries. Nearly all the meetings will be on Saturday and will last from 10:30 a.m. until 3:30 p.m., or until we finish if it's a nice day and an interesting site. There is no obligation to stay for the whole time we are on site, just come for as long as you like. All the meetings are suitable for beginners and more experienced botanists.

Looking forwards to seeing you again this year.

Geoffrey & Russell