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!
We had another successful day out in Flintshire recording plants. This square is under-recorded, and doesn’t look very exciting on paper, but we found over 160 species between the four of us 😀
You might not think that urban Rhyl would be a particularly productive place to go botanising, but you’d be wrong. We scored 147 vascular plant species between five of us on our first Flintshire BSBI outing of the season, and fully one-third of those were in the car park at the train station!
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
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.
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
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:
Three intrepid botanists gathered at Rhuddlan for an excursion taking in the old castle, fields, woodland, river and stream. We were successful from the outset, immediately re-finding milk thistle in exactly the same place as the previous record some 20 years ago.