Category

Botany

New Year Plant Hunt 2018 – the results

The dates for this year’s event were set by the BSBI as 30th December 2017 – 2nd January 2018. The weather was mixed in the final days of December, but a check of a weather forecast site  predicted overcast conditions on the Isle of Wight for 30th December. However no rain was forecast until after dark, so a group of nine set off northwards from Winchester House car park to explore Lake cliffs. This was new territory for all of us!

We walked down Littlestairs path, along the Esplanade to Ferncliff path, back up to the cliff to make a brief detour to Battery Gardens and then returned to our starting point along the cliff top path two hours later.

New Year Plant Hunt rules require the flowers to have anthers or stigmas visible to qualify as ‘flowering’. Around the car park and on our way to the cliff, we found creeping buttercup, daisy, common cat’s ear, and winter heliotrope. On the cliff face we found broom, gorse, and greater periwinkle. Looking along the talus slope and behind the beach huts at the base of the cliff provided the opportunity to add naturalised plants such as red-hot poker and Hebe ‘Blue gem’ to our list.

Hydrangea proved to be the subject of much debate -could we count it or not? ‘When is a flower not a flower?’ – when you are observing are sterile bracts and there are no anthers or stigmas, it doesn’t count!!

Re-ascending the cliff gave us a pot marigold flower in pristine condition. The walls around Battery Gardens enabled us to find ivy-leaved toadflax, pellitory-of-the-wall and Sicilian chamomile and there was a primrose in flower at the edge of the grass. A quick tally from the mobile phone screen gave an approximate total of 45 species so far, so a target of 60 was set. The clifftop yielded a fine specimen of field scabious and a patch of red valerian amongst others. Back at the car park our provisional total was 58, so much searching under fences and on walls occurred to find keel-fruited cornsalad and trailing bellflower.

Checking of the results later made our total 61, though the BSBI website does not entirely agree; that comes down to the group leader’s issues with the mobile phone app recording form! However, we were top of the leader board for quite some time until the Swanage and Cornwall groups got going! And yes, the weather kept dry for us, except for the briefest of showers at Battery Gardens. The  final results are here.

 

New Year Plant Hunt

The dates for the official NYPH are now on the BSBI website (http://bsbi.org/new-year-plant-hunt) and it is 30th December to 2nd January.  The botany group expedition is planned for Saturday afternoon 30th December (with reserve date on Monday 1st January if we are rained off on Saturday). Feel free to do your own expedition in a convenient location as well!

Location Lake Cliffs, meeting at the car park by Winchester House SZ588 826 at 13.30 aiming to finish by 15.30, and  walking down the cliff path to the beach, along the beach to the north, back up the next cliff path and back along the top of the cliff to the cars.

Come and support one of new young botanists

Summer Recorders Event

Sunday 2nd July saw the gathering of folks from across the Island with an interest in species recording and identification for an afternoon of fieldwork and workshop sessions to explore and examine the diverse and surprising flora and fauna of The Bay at the first IWNHAS Summer Recorders Event.

With Dinosaur Isle as our base, we set off on three different fieldwork sessions to collect grasses, sedges & rushes with Colin Pope, Insects with Ian Boyd and check the overnight moth trap with Iain Outlaw. (more…)

Summer Recorders Event – Sunday 2nd July

Just a few days left until the very first IW Summer Recorders Event takes place at Dinosaur Isle, Sandown on Sunday 2nd July 2pm – 5pm, so please register and book your place asap.

This is a great opportunity to brush up your species identification skills as we explore the surrounding habitats to collect specimens and return to Dinosaur Isle to examine and identify them. (more…)

Go Wild in Parkhurst Forest – 7th Annual IW BioBlitz

This Friday 2nd June sees the 7th Annual BioBlitz being held this year in Parkhurst Forest, Newport 10 – 4pm and brings amateur and specialist wildlife spotters together to record our treasured natural heritage. (more…)

Wight Botanists New Year Plant Hunt 4th January 2017

Eight of the botany group gathered at the top of Appley Steps to start the hunt for native and naturalised plants (not planted in gardens) which were in flower. The definition of ‘in flower’ requires the anthers to be visible. A male Hazel (Corylus avellana) catkin fully open had already been observed and at our feet was a plant of Common Centaury (Centaurium erythraea) in bloom. We set off along the cliff top and round Rylstone Gardens to find more species, including Greater Periwinkle (Vinca major). (more…)

New Year Plant Hunt

The BSBI’s New Year Plant hunt takes place from 1st-4th January 2017. Further details can be found here

Locally, we are planning to go out as a group on Wednesday 4th January, meeting at 2pm at the top of Appley Steps near Rylstone Gardens in Shanklin (grid reference SZ 585808). Parking is available in nearby streets. We will take a circular route including part of the Esplanade, the cliff footpath and the cliff top to see how many native or naturalised plants we can find in flower.

Please note the walk will include steep ascents and descents; strong footwear recommended.

Ash Die Back arrives on the Island

There has been a lot of media attention over the past couple of years to one of the latest introduced threats to our native trees. Chalara or ash die back has not spread across the country as rapidly as first predicted but it has slowly been spreading and now it has reached the Island.  (more…)

Bioblitz 2016-A visit to the Brickfield Site

Half a dozen members of the botany section volunteered to go to the Brickfields site to record plants as part of this years Bioblitz at Newtown. Part of the attraction was the promise of a boat trip to this site which is inaccessible by other means. At just after eight am on 2nd June we assembled at Shalfleet Quay where we were met by the harbourmaster who was to take us to the site.We had not bargained for the bitterly cold weather as we waited to don our buoyancy aids.

The harbourmaster explained that the landing stage at Brickfields was damaged in  the winter and that landing would be difficult, so we were going to be taken by launch to a buoy close by and that we would then transfer by a smaller boat (a dory) to the site.

Dactylorhiza fuchsii

Dactylorhiza fuchsii (photo:Dave Trevan)

All this seemed very exciting to those of us not accustomed to being on the water.Once under  way we forgot about the cold and enjoyed the trip.

The Brickfields site was warm and tranquil in comparison, and it was exciting to go to an area that no one else visits or records.

(more…)