Thursday, 6 April 2017

Field Meeting in Mkt Harborough

The first vascular plant field meeting of 2017 will take place on Saturday 8th April in Market Harborough. We will be recording in the monad SP7487 which is half in Leicestershire and half in Northamptonshire (vc32), with the help of Brian Laney. We will be concentrating on early flowering species, especially ruderal herbs in the industrial estate. As we will record the species in Leicestershire and then repeat the recording in Northamptonshire, there will be plenty of opportunities to revise what you have just learnt. Meet at the junction of Rockingham Industrial Estate with Rockingham Road at SP746874. Parking is available in nearby streets.


The meeting is suitable for beginners and more experienced botanists, and will be a fairly leisurely day with plenty of time to discuss what we find. The meeting will start at 10:30 a.m. and continue until around 3:00 p.m. You're welcome to stay with us for as long as you wish, and to leave at any time, provided you tell us when you go. Please bring sunscreen, rain gear etc. to suit the weather, and lunch and a drink, if staying all day.

If you would like more details or to arrange car-sharing, please phone me on 0774 548 7766.

Geoffrey

Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Bryophyte Field Meeting at Stonesby Quarry

Our next bryophyte meeting will be on Saturday, 25th March at Stonesby Quarry. This is part of a worked-out quarry on soft Jurassic limestone, and contains some of the best remaining limestone grassland in Leicestershire. It is part of a SSSI and a nature reserve managed by the Leicestershire & Rutland Wildlife Trust. During the last bryophyte survey in 1993, notable species such as Seligeria calcarea and Weissia longifolia were found. Since then, a lot of conservation management has been carried out, including scrub removal and exposing of limestone bedrock, so it will be interesting to find out how this has influenced the bryophyte flora.


We are meeting at SK81112530 (see marker on map below) at 10.30 a.m. and the meeting will last until about 3 p.m., so please bring lunch. I will leave at 9.20 a.m. from Knighton and am happy to give lifts.

I hope to see you on Saturday,

Uta

mobile: 07852 682 790


Stonesby Quarry

Monday, 13 March 2017

vc55 Group Field Meetings 2017

Here are the details for most of our 2017 meetings, starting with our 'get into surveying mode' session at the Botanic Garden. You can see them as pdf or a Word table. Although there will be a good effort to record, we will have time to talk over ID and other relevant fun topics, so botanists of all experience levels welcome. It would be great to see you. All meetings should be warmer than this photo!


Thursday, 2 March 2017

Report on Bryophyte meeting at Cossington Meadows Nature Reserve

Middle Marsh
The first areas surveyed were rough pasture, hedgerows and trees on 'Middle Marsh' and 'Lower Marsh'. The main species in the grassland is Calliergonella cuspidata, which is abundant where the grass is short. Mixed in are smaller amounts of Cratoneuron filicinum as well as Drepanocladus aduncus, which became more abundant in and around water-filled depressions, where it was growing with long flaccid stems. D. aduncus is a  lowland species of wet places often growing submerged. It is tolerant of eutrophication and has only been recorded from 30 tetrads in Leics. These species benefit from the rough grazing and wet conditions. Brachythecium rivulare was frequent and seemed to replace the otherwise ubiquitous B. rutabulum on the wet ground. Amongst the rush tussocks, it was associated with Oxyrrhinchium hians, which was also the dominant species along the river banks.

Most bryophyte diversity was on trees and scrub. We found many epiphytic species on a recently fallen willow in a ditch along the main track, including Cryphaea heteromalla, Orthotrichum pulchellum and extensive patches of Metzgeria fruticulosa.

Orthotrichum pulchellum
These species belong to the group of species that area spreading due to reduced atmospheric sulphur dioxide concentrations. Willows are a particularly good habitat for epiphytic bryophytes, because of their basic and rough bark, and they usually support a good range of species, particularly in humid conditions.


The tree trunks in the flood zone are a special habitat. We found two species typical of this habitat (Leskea polycarpa and Syntrichia latifolia) in abundance, especially on large trees along ditches and the river, as well as the rarely recorded Scleropodium cespitans (recorded from 11 tetrads in Leics). We also found the rarely recorded, and possibly under-recorded Bryum moravicum (= B. laevifilum) on rotting wood.

The gravel tracks are rich in small acrocarpous mosses, of which we were only able to identify some to species level. The tracks and pool margins, which dry out in summer, would be worth a revisit later in the year.

Uta

Sunday, 8 January 2017

Bryophyte Field Meetings in January

These two meetings are open to everyone and a chance to meet people from other counties. Booking isn't essential, but it would help, if you could let us know who is coming.

Saturday 21 January to Warren Hills

Gail Quartly-Bishop has kindly offered to lead a field meeting to the Warren Hills of Charnwood Lodge NNR with lowland heath, volcanic rock outcrops and stubble fields. The site is likely to be muddy and wet in places, so come prepared. You will also have to bring your own lunch and drinks. If you are interested in taking part, please let Gail know.
Parking and meeting: at the 'Bomb Rocks' car park at SK462156, which is at the end of a track off Abbey Road between Whitwick and Shepshed. You will have to go through a closed gate with a sign saying 'Wildlife Trust members and permit holders only'.
Start: 10.30 a.m.
  
Heath grassland at Warren Hills/Charnwood Lodge NNR


Sunday 22 January to Jubilee Wood and Beacon Hill

Jubilee Wood is part of the 'Beacon Hill, Hangingstone & Outwoods' SSSI and managed by Leicestershire County Council. It is ancient woodland which includes wet alder woodland as well as small remnants of sessile oak woodland on Precambrian outcrops.  The site was last surveyed for bryophytes in 1989. If time and weather allows, we can also visit the adjacent Beacon Hill Country Park to have a look at heath and rock outcrops. If you are interested in taking part, please let Uta know.
Meeting: at SK51011650 on Woodhouse Lane. Parking is on lay-bys along the woodland.
Start: 10.30 a.m.

View from Beacon Hill across the Charnwood Forest

Old alder woodland in Jubilee Wood

Thursday, 29 December 2016

BSBI New Year Plant Hunt 2017

Next Sunday sees the start of BSBI's sixth national New Year Plant Hunt and the VC55 group will be taking part again, as we have done since 2013.

The idea is to spend up to three hours recording as many plants as we can find in bloom during a three-hour period between 1st and 4th January. 

This year, we have two New Year Plant Hunts for you in VC55:

1. On Monday, 2nd January, we will be hunting in the Wigston area. Meet on Viking Road, Wigston LE18, off Aylestone Lane. Grid ref: SP 5945 9965. Start time: 11am. Russell, who is leading this Hunt, says it will only go ahead if the Met Office forecast predicts less than 60% precipitation. Contact Russell here for more info: russell.parry@gmail.com

2. On Wednesday, 4th January, we plan to record at several sites in Leicester City Centre. Many thanks to all of you who participated in the Doodle poll, which is now closed. Start time: 12.30. We can park at the end of Soar Lane LE3 5AB, just past the Wildlife Trust's HQ. Grid Ref: SK 57958 04849. Contact Louise here for more info: bsbivc55@gmail.com

On Wednesday, we aim to follow the same route for New Year Plant Hunts in 2014 and 2015 but sadly some of the road verges/ brownfield sites which proved so rich in previous years are now under development. Add to this the dismal weather we've seen recently, and it looks highly unlikely that we'll match our 2014 total of 66 species in flower. But it will be fun hunting together and we can always retire to a nearby (warm) cafe to examine our finds more closely. 

From 1st January, you'll be able to see the latest records and images from New Year Plant Hunts across Britain & Ireland streamed live to this new webpage. Let's try and get a few VC55 plants up there - please join our New Year Plant Hunts on 2nd and 4th January! 

Wednesday, 19 October 2016

Bryophyte Meetings 2016/17

Here are all dates for the coming bryophyte season. These meetings are open to everyone with an interest in bryophytes. The field meetings start at 10.30 and take as long as weather conditions allow, so it is always best to bring a packed lunch. Apart from weatherproof clothes, it is useful to bring a hand lens (x10 or x20) and some paper packets or small containers for collecting specimens. TheBBS field guide (Mosses and Liverworts of Britain and Ireland: a Field-guide 2010) is very useful and can be downloaded from  the BBS website. Please contact Uta (uta.hamzaoui@yahoo.de or 07852 682 790), if would like to take part, and to organise car sharing.

Sunday, 30 October 2016
Field Meeting at Dimmings Dale, Staffordshire
The first meeting is a trip abroad! This site in Staffordshire is both a SSSI and a National Nature Reserve and promises good gryophyte hunting. This meeting is organised by MIDBRYG – The MIDlands BRYophyte Group – more information is available on the BBS website. The group has a Facebook page where meetings are advertised.
Parking will be at SK06254314 in the car park of "The Ramblers Retreat", which is quite a good tea shop for people arriving early, or a cake shop for when we have finished. Arrive and meet so we can leave promptly at 10:30 a.m. For more details please contact Karen Rogers (karenochka@googlemail.com – and please contact Uta (uta.hamzaoui@yahoo.de), if you would like to share lifts from Leicester.

Saturday 3 - Sunday 4 December 2016
Course: Introduction to Bryophytes at Leicester Botanic Gardens (Sat) and Charnwood Lodge (Sun): more information is available here.

Saturday, 21 January 2017
Course: “Brachythecium and Eurhynchium s.l. - the basics” at Leicester University Botanic Gardens  - fully booked

Sunday, 22 January
Course: 'Brachythecium and Eurhynchium s.l. - the basics' at Leicester University Botanic Gardens - due to high demand! Contact Uta (uta.hamzaoui@yahoo.de) if you are interested. See this flyer for further information.

Sunday, 22 January 2017
Field Meeting at Jubilee Wood (Charnwood Forest)
Jubilee Wood is part of the 'Beacon Hill, Hangingstone & Outwoods' SSSI and managed by Leicestershire County Council. It is ancient woodland which includes wet alder woodland as well as remnants of oak woodland on Pre-cambrian outcrops. The site was last surveyed for bryophytes in 1989.
Meet at SK51011650. Parking is on laybys along the woodland.

Saturday, 25 February 2017
Field Meeting at Cossington Meadows (Soar Valley)
Cossington Meadows Nature Reserve is a former quarry site in the river Soar floodplain managed by the Leicestershire & Rutland Wildlife Trust. The site is mainly managed by extensive grazing and much work to create shallow scrapes, ponds and reed beds has been carried out, where bare and wet ground should yield some interesting bryophyte records. Other habitats worth exploring are old hedgerows and mature riparian trees. Only a handful of records exist from this site.
Meet at SK59731308.

Saturday, 25 March 2017
Field Meeting at Stonesby Quarry (Jurassic Limestone)
SK 813250
This is part of a worked-out quarry on soft Jurassic limestone and contains some of the best remaining limestone grassland in Leicestershire. It is part of a SSSI and a nature reserve managed by the Leicestershire & Rutland Wildlife Trust. During the last bryophyte survey in 1993 notable species such as Seligeria calcarea and Weissia longifolia were found. Since then, a lot of conservation management has been carried out, including scrub removal and exposure of limestone bedrock, and it will be interesting to find out how this has influenced the bryophyte flora.
Details for parking will be sent out before the meeting.

Thursday, 26 January 2017
Wednesday, 1 March 2017
Wednesday, 29 March 2017
Indoor Meetings at Leicester University Botanic Gardens
The field meetings will be followed up by indoor meetings where we can use the microscopes and work together on the material collected in the field. Meet at 7 p.m. in the coach house of the Botanic Gardens.

Looking forward to seeing you
Uta