Ecological appraisal on the Migneint, North Wales (2016)

Another small project for Welsh Water, this time appraising some very minor repairs indeed, but in a highly designated location.  The Migneint is a place of legend amongst Welsh botanists, not least for its consistently horrible weather.  It is part of Migneint-Arenig-Dduallt SSSI and internationally important for its blanket bogs and upland bird communities as well as home to otters, water voles and an array of interesting and notable species.

Fortunately the repairs as well as being minor were in locations accessible from an existing track, which meant there was no need for workers to traverse the adjacent semi-natural habitats.  Just as well, really, because our survey found that the ground was rather soft in places, with plenty of Sphagnum and bottle sedge.  Put me in mind of the kinds of stories digger drivers like to tell, the ones which start with them being asked to  “just drive across the river so you can start digging from the other side” and end with them losing a second digger in the mud whilst trying to pull out the first !

Luckily there was no evidence of water vole either, so provided an ecologist is there to check everything again before the works start, there should be no problem with the repair project.

Warrington Plant Group at Gemini East

It may seem strange to hold a botanical meeting on the edge of a business park, but this is a diverse 1km square with woodland, grassland and river and we found 161 species of vascular plant in our day’s excursion without even covering the whole square.  Might even be better than the adjacent square which we covered last year!  Unfortunately it was raining, which cramped our style a bit, but four hardy botanists turned out anyway to explore what the square had to offer. Continue reading

BSBI Flintshire at Prestatyn Meadows

The weather forecast was vile and the trains were cancelled, but that didn’t stop four botanists from assembling to discover the flora of Prestatyn Meadows.  After driving through torrential rain, we were pleasantly surprised to find it stopped just a few minutes after we set out, and we were able to enjoy the rest of our excursion in relatively balmy conditions.

Prestatyn Meadows is an interesting site because it lies on land reclaimed from the sea and has many ditches with a slightly brackish influence.  Interesting species recorded on the day include meadow barley, divided sedge and parsley-leaved water-dropwort, but we were not successful in refinding brown sedge or tubular water-dropwort.

We made a full species list for the day and recorded 142  species – not bad for a 16 hectare site given that we couldn’t get into most of the fields because they were so overgrown.

Botanical survey near Middlesborough (2016)

I don’t usually travel this far for work, but a friend asked me for help and I was available, so I said yes.  I can’t tell you much about this project because I don’t actually know what it’s going to be when it’s finished, but I can tell you about what I did.

I was asked to provide plant species lists for the ponds, wooded shelterbelts and fields on a large site near Middlesborough.  This was my first trip to County Durham in a long time and I wasn’t sure what to expect botanically, so I was pleasantly surprised to find that the woods were elm woods and at least one of the ponds was quite interesting. Continue reading

Warrington Plant Group at Rixton Clay Pits SSSI

Warrington Plant Group are getting brave!  Not content with mere square bashing we now apply ourselves to difficult plant groups like sedges and marsh orchids🙂

marsh orchid

marsh orchid

We met at Rixton Clay Pits SSSI to investigate the reason it was designated of national importance for nature conservation – its marshy grassland flora.  Continue reading

Botanical recording at Treuddyn, Flintshire with BSBI

You know you’re in for a good day out when you record 46 species of plant in the car park !

Photo by Betty Lee

Photo by Betty Lee

It helps to have lots of pairs of eyes though…….

We met at Treuddyn, a village near Mold, to record all the plants we could find in the tetrad north of the village – this is a 2 x 2 kilometer square map unit which is commonly used in botanical recording.  The village is situated on the top of a ridge and commands good views over the surrounding rural landscape, with mixed farming, woodland and streams.  We weren’t sure what to expect, as there are very few recent records for this tetrad and much of the area is given over to fairly intensive sheep farming.

We were not disappointed, with 210 plant species recorded on the day🙂

Here are a few snaps:

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NVC survey at Tirgwynt wind farm, Powys (2016)

If you’ve been following this blog for a long time you might remember I did an NVC survey at this site a while back.  Well, it turns out that when the client sent me the survey boundary, they missed a bit, and so back I went in June this year to finish the job.

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This part of the site was no less complex, with lots of little hillocks and ridges all over the place creating vegetation as well as topographic diversity.  Everything from improved grassland to blanket bog!  The adjacent wind farm is now under construction, but fortunately I was working in a different set of fields, so I didn’t have to contend with construction wagons and diggers.A

The vegetation was quite similar to previous, but I did find a couple of interesting species:

Adder's-tongue in the very first quadrat !

Adder’s-tongue in the very first quadrat !

Moonwort in a disused quarry adjacent to the site

Moonwort in a disused quarry adjacent to the site