Warrington Plant Group: bryophytes of Sankey Valley Park

Inspired by North Wales Plant Group, I decided to start a group here in Warrington.  So if you’re interested in botany please do join in :)

Examining epiphytic mosses

Our first meeting was held in my local park – just in case nobody turned up!  Sankey Valley Park has a good range of habitats including trees, scrub, grassland, canal and walls.  We identified plenty of common mosses and liverworts and had a pleasant time, although it could have been a bit warmer!

We plan to have a meeting every month, with meetings on bryophytes from October to March and flowering plants from April to September.  If you’d like to join in, visit our Facebook page or contact me using the tab at the top of the page to join the email list.

Beeston Castle bat hibernation survey with Cheshire Bat Group (2015)

Beeston Castle is a regular stop on our itinerary at Cheshire Bat Group.  There is a regular lesser horseshoe bat here during the hibernation season and every time we come we hope to find another one. Or two. Or more.  So far, no luck, but it’s still exciting to see our only Cheshire lesser horseshoe is still hanging in there (literally!).  We always check our bat boxes too, as you never know what you may find inside.  Brown long-eared, Natterer’s and pipistrelle bats have all been recorded using the site.  Not forgetting the hibernating moths, slugs, rabbits, abundant cave spiders and their spooky hanging egg sacs !

We have a full programme of batty activities this year, so if you would like to get involved, find us on Facebook or email us at cheshirebatgroup@yahoo.co.uk

BSBI Euphrasia workshop

I’m on a mission to tackle Difficult Plant Groups.  I’m an experienced botanist, yes, and I’m good at what I do, but to be truly great I need to be able to identify not just the easy plants, not just the hard ones but the really awkward ones as well.  Thankfully the BSBI agrees with me and is continuing their programme of training workshops on tricky plants.  This year there is a series of workshops on Euphrasia to complement ongoing research and feed into the production of a new Euphrasia identification handbook.  Euphrasia are eyebrights and there are about 20 species recorded from the UK.  That sounds manageable, right?  There are also 71 known hybrid combinations :(

Euphrasia pseudokerneri photographed by L Rooney

Euphrasia pseudokerneri photographed by L Rooney

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Clwyd Bat Group hibernation surveys, Flintshire (2015)

A top day out, this, even if it did involve more steep slopes and confined spaces than I would normally consider fun!

steep approach

Photo by Andrea Cordon Pina

That’s me in the front trying not to fall over while Amelia (in yellow) looks unimpressed! Continue reading

North Wales Plant Group Sphagnum Day, Conwy (2015)

We love our Sphagnum in Wales, we certainly have a lot of it, and every year at North Wales Plant Group we have at least one Sphagnum session to make sure our ID skills are tip top!  I went to the indoor session to chew over some slightly awkward specimens with the group and generally refine my ID.Sphagnum palustre looking magnificent Continue reading