The New Year in Burtonwood dawned wet and windy, but a small group of hardy botanists were not deterred (much) and set off in heavy rain to see how many flowering plants we could find. The weather had been rather cold in the lead-up to the survey and we decided we would be happy to find seven species in flower – one each!
It started well with two species in the car park and another four in a nearby arable field. On the edge of the road Sam found white deadnettle and that was our seven species – we could officially retire to the pub at this point. Did we stop there? No. The pub was not open yet 😦 so we continued our walk along the Sankey Valley.
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A select group for today’s Flintshire BSBI outing at New Brighton near Buckley, being just me and Tom. We usually have other botanists present to chivvy us on, but free to indulge our habit of genteel argument about plant identification, we began in the car park of the Beaufort Park Hotel (very good coffee, btw) and wandered the footpaths and lanes around the village for a day full of pleasantly slow paced botanical rambling. And heavy showers, unfortunately, so I didn’t take any pictures of the 218 species we recorded. A more than respectable total for two people on a wet day in what is quite an ordinary tetrad by Flintshire standards 🙂
Species group of the day was Prunus with blackthorn, wild cherry, plum and (probably) dwarf cherry all seen in the hedgerows. We also argued happily about roses, recording definite Rosa arvensis, cop-out Rosa canina agg., Rosa mollis and a possible Rosa caesia vosagiaca.
For the glory hunters, we scored a new 10k record for Polygonum aviculare s.s. and the Rosa vosagiaca would be a new 10k too, had we been completely confident about it.
Our excursion to Gorse Covert Mounds started rather unpromisingly with heavy rain and only two of us arriving for the trip. In fact, it rained so hard throughout the meeting that I don’t have any photos to prove we even went out! My phone is supposed to be waterproof, but there are limits…….
We met at the usual place for Gorse Covert Mounds, an urban park sandwiched between a main road and housing development in Birchwood, east of Warrington. There are a variety of habitats represented here, including neutral grassland, plantation woodland and scrub, ponds and a small area of relict raised bog at the eastern end – Pestfurlong Moss. So we were hopeful of a reasonable species count even with only two of us looking.
Given the weather, I was quite happy with our total of 130 species, including four species of Sphagnum we couldn’t resist looking at at Pestfurlong Moss.
Seven botanists gathered at Penyffordd to explore the footpaths and lanes around the village and fill in this under-recorded square with vascular plant records.
Annual wall-rocket Diplotaxis muralis, very common on walls around Flintshire
We recorded 199 species and plant group of the day was willowherbs, with a cornucopia of six common species and one new 10k record for Epilobium parviflorum x tetragonum. We also had a new 10k record for Rumex crispus x obtusifolius.
There were only three of us on this meeting. Perhaps the not-very-salubrious meeting place put people off: KFC car park in Rhuddlan. Said car park was a botanical record-breaker, though, with an amazing 81 species! The joke is that we always find more in the car park than anywhere else, but with ongoing construction disturbance, seeded grassland, scrubby bits and blocked drains we had an array of different habitats to investigate and it showed.
As well as the car park (!) we pottered around quiet lanes, villages, Pengwern college and parts of Bodelwyddan hospital and were pleased to score two new 10km records. I can’t imagine why fox-and-cubs and potato haven’t been recorded here before, aside from the fact that it’s an under-recorded area in general.
A more interesting record was corn parsley Petroselinum segetum, which we found opposite the entrance to the college and again on the edge of the hospital grounds. If confirmed, this might be a new county record for a species with a south-easterly distribution. The plants keyed out as corn parsley, but I’d like to go back this year and get a specimen for independent verification. I think umbellifers can be tricksy and I wouldn’t want to claim something unless I thought I could prove it!