Liverpool Botanical Society meeting, Dibbinsdale, Wirral

I do try to get round all my local botanical groups, but we are blessed with so many in my local area that I sometimes feel like the mythical member who clicks ‘like’ on the Facebook page but never actually turns up in real life!  So it was really nice to catch up with friends in Liverpool Botanical Society and enjoy a visit to Dibbinsdale Nature Reserve at the same time.

oak coming into leaf Continue reading

Warrington Plant Group at Paddington Meadows

After all the excitement of going to Newcastle and learning how to take samples for eDNA analysis for great crested newts, it was nice to kick back with Warrington Plant Group friends and bimble around Paddington Meadows admiring the display of dandelions and lesser celandine and cowslips whilst doing some casual plant recording.  We ticked over 100 plant species during our day out.

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eDNA sampling for great crested newts in Newcastle-upon-Tyne (2015)

A fair chunk of my business comes from friends and former colleagues and most of the time it starts with a random text message or voicemail saying, er, could you possibly go to Newcastle tomorrow, I need someone to pick newts out of buckets.  Or take water samples.  Or identify plants in January (as long as it’s not snowing, I’m game).  I tend not to worry about what I’m doing next week until it gets to at least Thursday lunchtime, as something always comes up…… and this time it was the aforementioned trip to Newcastle-upon-Tyne. Continue reading

Mossing in Preston

More moss-based adventures!  Phil is taking the much-respected Biological Recording Course at MMU and had decided to do his project on epiphytic bryophytes.  As you do.  Having discovered they weren’t quite as easy to ID as he had hoped, he did the sensible thing and asked for help from local expert Des Callaghan, a member of North West Naturalists’ Union.  Des invited along a few extra pairs of eyes and hey presto an outing to Preston to look at moss on trees was in the offing :)

epiphytic mosses Continue reading

Earthworm ID weekend with the Earthworm Society of Britain

There are 27 species of earthworms in the UK.  We think.  Surprisingly, for such a familiar animal, they are substantially under-recorded and the Earthworm Society of Britain is trying to address that.  They are very keen to recruit new earthworm recorders – I attended a weekend of training complete with Earthworm Society membership and ID book which cost me only £15!

Everybody has seen earthworms in their garden or mooching inexplicably across the pavement.  I knew about soil dwelling earthworms which make tunnels and leave casts, but I had no idea that earthworms can also be found in rotting logs or among leaf litter.  So to learn about the ecology and ID of earthworms was completely new to me and quite fascinating. Continue reading