Tag Archives: botany

Ecological appraisal, Great Sankey, Warrington (2016)

It all sounded so easy on paper.  Nip round to Great Sankey, a couple of miles from home, do a quick Phase 1 habitat survey and then write up the report.  Bog standard, totally normal day at work.

Nope. Continue reading

Ecological appraisal of two wastewater treatment works, Anglesey (2016)

I don’t usually travel as far as Anglesey for work, but occasionally it’s nice to go further afield.  This project involved ecological appraisal of two small wastewater treatment works in north west Anglesey.  Turning down the lane to the first site, I noticed a large development on the corner, ringed in great crested newt fencing.  Fairly big clue to the main ecological concern in this area!  Tourists often just visit the island’s spectacular coastline, but inland Anglesey is famous amongst ecologists for its cornucopia of wetlands, from ponds to lakes to internationally important species-rich fens and marshes.  And this means great crested newts are frequently found.

Great crested newt photographed in Cheshire in 2014 as part of a licensed survey

Great crested newt photographed in Cheshire in 2014 as part of a licensed survey

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Warrington Plant Group at Norton Marsh

Our first coastal meeting turned up our first new county record!  Debs and I spent ages looking at a sow-thistle in one of the ditches on Norton Marsh before concluding it was a mystery plant – a hybrid, perhaps.  We both went up to it thinking it was going to be field sow thistle Sonchus arvensis on account of its overall size, look and large flowerheads.  But no.  Where were the massive glandular hairs for which this plant is famous amongst botanists?  Seriously, the hairs are legendary, you can see them from across the street they are so large and abundant.  No hairs. Back to the drawing board. Continue reading

Llennyrch NVC survey part 2, Snowdonia (2016)

What a pleasure to be working with Enfys Ecology and the Woodland Trust on a conservation project – makes a change from the usual development schemes!  This was part 2 of a survey which my colleague Lucia Ruffino and I started last year.  The first part was mostly grassland with some interesting boggy bits, the highlight for me being finding white beak-sedge which I hadn’t seen in forever.  This year’s part was much bigger, 11 days survey for both of us, and covered a swathe of land from Trawsfynydd Lake up the hills behind to an altitude of about 300m.

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BSBI Flintshire – the search for Euphrasia pseudokerneri

Euphrasia pseudokerneri is a Flintshire rarity.  Or, it would be, if anyone could actually find it. The plant was last recorded in the county at Penyball Hill by Vera Gordon in 1962, but no-one has seen it since.  Wendy McCarthy looked in the 1990s and, not wanting to give up on it, we thought we’d have another look.  After all, a new eyebright handbook is in prep and it would be great to re-establish our knowledge of the distribution of this species in North Wales.

Euphrasia pseudokerneri photographed by L. Rooney at Lydden, Kent

Euphrasia pseudokerneri photographed by L. Rooney

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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.

A slag heap in Lancashire (2016)

Appetising, no ?!  Don’t I get to go to some nice places in this job……

Actually, slag heaps are pretty interesting places if you’re a botanist, often with interesting chemistry quite different from their surroundings – maybe alkaline in an acid area, or with metal contamination, and they always seem to have some ecological oddity.

2016-07-21 12.02.24 (450x800) Continue reading