Category Archives: Training

National Bat Conference 2016

The National Bat Conference is exactly what it sounds like – an opportunity for bat workers to get together and talk about new research, new information and new opportunities in the world of bats.  It’s organised by Bat Conservation Trust  and this year the programme was exceptionally interesting, encompassing work on roost and habitat selection by individual members of bat social groups, migration of Nathusius pipistrelles across Europe and top tips on identifying vagrants to the UK such as Kuhl’s pipistrelle, which may turn up more and more often in the UK with climate change. Continue reading

BSBI Bramble weekend Denbighshire 2016

Did you know there are over 300 different kinds of brambles in the UK and Ireland?  Here are some that I got to know on the BSBI 2016 Welsh bramble weekend:

Rubus vestitus

Rubus vestitus

Unnamed bramble in the vicinity of Rubus ulmifolius with lovely red styles

Unnamed bramble in the vicinity of Rubus ulmifolius with lovely red styles

Rubus lindleyanus showing off its pleated leaves

Rubus lindleyanus showing off its pleated leaves

Rubus incurvatus.  Note the pink filaments on the stamens

Rubus incurvatus. Note the pink filaments on the stamens

Rubus dentatifolius, the jagged leaf bramble

Rubus dentatifolius, the jagged leaf bramble

Rubus condensatus, new for Wales :D

Rubus condensatus, new for Wales 😀

Thanks to John Palmer for organising and to Dave Earl and Rob Randall, our expert batologists.

Yet More Cumbrian Sedges

Every year in recent years, Mike Porter has run a sedge event for the BSBI.  Mike is one of the vice-county botanical recorders for Cumbria and an expert on sedges, so it’s a great opportunity for botanists to benefit from his expertise.  I went to one in south Cumbria a couple of years back and saw sedges I’d never seen anywhere else, including the very rare yellow sedge Carex flava.  Here it is again just because it’s so nice:

Carex flava (L) with Carex x alsatica (R)

Carex flava (L) with Carex x alsatica (R)

This year’s event was held near Keswick and took in two very interesting wetland sites, Eycott Hill near Berrier and Silver Meadows at Dubwath (next to the Pheasant Inn if you know the area). Continue reading

QGIS course with FSC Tomorrow’s Biodiversity

I’ve been using QGIS since 2012 but I freely admit I hadn’t got a clue what I was doing ’til I went on this course.  FSC is blessed with a genuine GIS expert in the form of Richard Burkmar (@burkmarr), currently working on the Tomorrow’s Biodiversity Project.  Part of the project’s remit is to assist biological recorders with mapping and data analysis, and so the TomBio QGIS project was born.  Richard runs courses throughout the year to show participants how QGIS can be used to map and analyse biological records.  I attended the three day course in February 2016 and I really recommend it, it has helped me massively speed up my mapping for work and is also helping me in my volunteer work with the BSBI and BBS.

Acrocarps workshop

This is the partner workshop to the British Bryological Society’s Pleurocarps workshop which I attended back in November.  This time our tutor was Sharon Pilkington of Wessex Bryology Group and our mission was to understand and identify acrocarpous mosses with the aid of our microscopes and Sharon’s many samples collected over the course of the last year.

2016-01-23 14.24.04 (800x450) Continue reading

BBS Pleurocarps workshop

I eschewed the usual Hallowe’en festivities this year in favour of spending the weekend looking at moss – an increasingly common decision for me!  I’m beginning to think bryology is quite addictive…..  I had signed up for the British Bryological Society Pleurocarps weekend with Martin Godfrey to learn more about this group of mosses. Continue reading

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