Sunday, 29 December 2013

VC55 Plant Hunt: our list sets new record!

Some of the Plant Hunt 2013 Team
Image: L. Marsh
It was great to arrive at the Soar Lane site today and find 10 of us assembled including Brian Laney, plant-finder extraordinaire who came over from Northants to join in the BSBI New Year's Plant Hunt. But you want to know the total, don't you? Well... 

Quite a few other counties have submitted their records to the Plant Hunt but nobody has yet matched our total of 63 wild or naturalised plant taxa recorded in flower in town today, including a possible new county record - Geranium rotundifolium

Geranium cf rotundifolium near Vaughan College
Image: L. Marsh
Our specimen certainly has the red-tipped glandular hairs mentioned in Poland, and some expert botanists like Tim Rich and BSBI President Ian Denholm have looked at the photos and agree with Brian Laney, who noticed and ID'd the plant. 
We also have 5 extra species from Russell and still to add are Maggie's and Jack's extra records. And anybody else who still wants to contribute? New Year's Day is final date for inclusion in our total - today it is 68 and counting!  

Brian "Eagle Eyes" Laney in VC55 today
Image: L. Marsh
We have been strict in our definition of naturalised - it must have "jumped the garden fence" and become established without human intervention. But Maggie asks about some plants that do seem to have become naturalised in her wildlife garden and would be unable to jump the fence due to over-tidy neighbours! What do you all think about this - include them or not? 

We are still working on the spreadsheet, and Mike our VCR hasn't seen or commented on it yet, but I've just uploaded the list so far - if you contributed, please take a look and see what you think. It's the latest document on our bsbivc55 Google page and is called Flowering December 2013. 

End of survey - time for tea and cake
Image: L. Marsh
Christmas cake: G. Hall & J. Lindesay
Many thanks to Russell for writing it up so quickly, to new member Rashmi for taking photos which I will upload when she sends them through, to Brian for joining us today and to all of you who have contributed records so far - well done VC55 botanists!

PS Our next meeting will bring us back to earth with a bump - mosses, liverworts and lichens in Rutland. Back to scratching our heads and - like Manuel on Fawlty Towers - knowing nothing! 

Saturday, 28 December 2013

New Year's Plant Hunt has started!

Silene dioica Red Campion
Image: J. Riggall
Some botanists just can't wait... Jack Riggall is home from Cheshire for the hols and not only has he been out looking for plants in flower in the Barlestone area, he's also typed them up on a spreadsheet and sent us the photos! 

Jack is building up his ID skills - he joined the Botany for Beginners course last summer - and he's already advanced enough to;
a) know what he doesn't know, 
Unknown species #1
Image: J. Riggall
Unknown species #2
Image: J. Riggall
b) know how valuable the support of his fellow botanists can be, and
c) know that yellow dandelion/daisy type things are extra tricky.

So, included in Jack's pix are two plants he isn't quite sure about - want to offer him some suggestions? Click on images to enlarge them. Leave a comment below or email me at the usual address. 

Jack intends to go back out tomorrow, and a few of us will be in town - meeting at 12.30 in the car park outside cement works at end of Soar Lane, near new Wildlife Trust HQ. Hope you can join us, or else let us know what you are seeing in flower in your neighbourhood. 

The rules for the Plant Hunt are here and you can email me photos or attach them to Tweets and send .to @BSBIbotany.


Friday, 27 December 2013

New Year's Day Plant Hunt 2014: the details.

Thanks to all of you who voted and emailed me about the New Year's Day Plant Hunt. We will carry out our survey on Sunday 29th December, starting at 12.30. Assemble in the small car park at the end of Soar Lane, just before the Rally Bank Nature Reserve - grid ref looks like SK 579 048. Phone me if you can't see us. Weather forecast looks good for Sunday.

If you are recording in your own neighbourhood, rather than joining the city survey, please follow the rules here and send your records to us here for collation - we'll send VC55 records to Co-ordinator Tim Rich all at once to minimise his workload! If you are recording outside Leics & Rutland, please contact your County Recorder direct. 

We plan to use the new BSBI Twitter account to hook up with all the other BSBI botanists around the country planning to record for the New Year's Day Hunt. So - if you are on Twitter - please tweet to me @BSBIbotany and attach some selfies of you with the plants you are seeing in flower. 

Happy New Year from Louise :-)

Tuesday, 24 December 2013

New Year's Day Wild Plant Hunt and other diary dates.

The BSBI is planning to hold its plant hunt for a third year - more info here and the Doodle poll is here - we don't have to do it on New Year's Day, it can be any day between 28th December and 1st January.

We are still working on the spring programme for vascular plants (starting in April) but here are the dates for three meetings until then, all starting at 12 noon:

18th January: Hambleton Churchyard and adjacent woodland in SSSI; Rutland Water. Cryptogams. Grid refs and assembly points to follow.

15th February: Charnwood Lodge. Cryptogams and interesting conifers - we may split into two groups.

15th March: Charley Wood. Cryptogams. 

Weather would have to be pretty foul for us to cancel a meeting, but contact me if you'd like confirmation before you set off. Phone number at bottom of any email from the VC55 group.

I'm still waiting to find out when John Poland can offer his conifer workshop - will post details here when I have them.

Thanks to all of you who came to the Cryptogams and Mince-pies meeting (pictured) last Saturday - and especially to Maggie for the amazing apple chutney :-) 

Happy Christmas, botanists!