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.
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!
Despite being a magnet for walkers, the hillfort at Penycloddiau in the Clwydian hills is in an under-recorded grid square. It lies on the boundary of Flintshire and Denbighshire vice-counties and we in Flintshire have only part of the tetrad.
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