Warrington Plant Group in Runcorn

I had a pleasant day out with Sam mooching around Runcorn Town Park hunting for ponds, looking for the feathery pappus on Leontodon species and recording vascular plants.  That’s it really :)

shortest blogpost ever…….

BSBI Atriplex meeting

Atriplex species are the oraches most often seen on saltmarshes or these days along the sides of main roads where road salting has had an effect.  They are considered difficult to identify and up til attending this meeting I would have put most of them down as “Atriplex sp”.  I still might do that after learning more about them, but for different reasons! Continue reading

Flintshire BSBI at Rhydtalog

A very relaxed day out with the Flintshire recording crew, today consisting of Amanda and myself, Malcolm and Tom.  We mooched around the lanes near Rhydtalog recording all the vascular plants we could find, chatting about many topics, refining our identification skills and generally putting the world to rights.  Here’s a humungous stand of Polypodium ferns (with human for scale) which we suspect are hybrids but will be determined later when Malcolm has had a chance to inspect the spores under the microscope.

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If you’re in Flintshire or surrounding areas and would like to come botanising with us, you’d be very welcome.  Ideas for interesting outings would be even more welcome :D  please visit our website for more info.

Batty September

September was a mixed bag of bat activity.  I had two bats come to stay with me whilst their regular bat carer went on holiday, but I only gave him one bat back at the end of his trip :(   It is an unfortunate truth about bat care that we see a lot of nasty injuries, many caused by cats, and a lot of bats do not survive.  I am, however, happy to say that the other bat, “Gnasher”, was doing quite well when I handed him back to his regular carer, J., who will look after him for the rest of the winter.  When he came to me, Gnasher was taking mealworm innards (which is every bit as gross as it sounds) but I trained him to take whole mealworms and he had just about worked out how to self feed when he went back to J’s house.  Here is Gnasher wrestling with a live mealworm early on in his training !! Continue reading

British Bryological Society AGM 2015

I had a super time at the BBS AGM at Preston Montford.

I came home with four new books and some interesting facts lodged in my head:

  • woodlice eat gemmae (vegetative reproductive structures) on mosses and liverworts
  • there are no bryophyte records for Burkina Faso
  • ancient Paramo jackets are de rigeur amongst bryologists (so I fit right in…)
  • it is completely normal for bryologists to buy books on the bryophytes of places they may never go to – a sort of bryological tourism!

Perhaps I should’ve bought those books on the bryology of Tierra del Fuego and the Antarctic :D

Batty August

August is always a busy month in the bat worker’s calendar; with juvenile bats on the wing and maternity colonies breaking up, suddenly there seem to be many more bats around and it’s all change at roost sites with bats to-ing and fro-ing all over the place.  Adult bats in full breeding condition will be gathering at swarming sites ready to find a mate and swarming surveys usually start mid-month.  And I’ve taken part in lots of bat work this month to see what they are all up to. Continue reading

On the railways (2015)

I spent a happy couple of days mooching along the railway line near Wigan looking for potential bat roost trees, ponds and any other features of potential nature conservation interest to support a Network Rail project.  I was accompanied by a professional railwayman at all times and was surprised to find myself completely blase as the trains thundered past at 125mph – I had thought it would be terrifying, but obviously Phil is used to providing a reassuring presence :)

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There were plenty of nice trees about and also great swathes of Himalayan balsam and patches of Japanese knotweed.  The area will now come into treatment for invasive species which has got to be a good thing.