Friday, 7 June 2013
Wildflower Survey Part 2
I've registered with Plantlife this year to take part in their Wildflowers Count Survey. There are three different types of survey you can do - Wildflower Path, Wildflower Plots or Super Surveyor level. I've decided to do the first option (the easiest!!) which involves a walk of one kilometre through your allocated one kilometre square counting the species on the survey form that you see within a two metre strip each side of your path.
I visited the allocated square a few weeks ago to get to know the route and do a habitat survey.
About 60% of the route goes through broadleaved woodland/scrub,
following the River Blythe
with about 25% consisting of grassland/meadow.
The M42 motorway is within about quarter of a mile of the footpath I followed and the constant drone of the traffic was the only downside of the walk.
The rest of the habitat comprises small sections of marsh and road verges.
Of the 99 species of common plants on the list I managed to see the following:
You only need to do one survey but can do as many as you wish so I shall return later in the summer and do another one to try to add to the list above.
Hawthorn is coming into flower
Buttercups, Cleavers and Cow Parsley
Wild Garlic (Ramsons) and Bluebells.
Some species I saw were not on the list such as Greater Stitchwort
and Speedwell (Germander?). My grandfather used to call Speedwell Bird's Eye due presumably to the resemblance to a blue eye!
One of the beautiful sights of early summer - meadows full of buttercups
This beautiful area, part of Brueton Park LNR, is less than a mile from Solihull Town Centre. Apart from the drone of the motorway you feel as though you are in the heart of the countryside.
I got talking to a lovely couple who kindly retraced their steps to show me an unusual plant they had seen growing in a damp area amongst the roots of a tree. If you do happen to visit my blog - thank you again :) As we surmised at the time it is parasitic - an obligate parasite which means it is totally dependent upon other plants to survive. Its Purple Toothwort (Lathraea clandestina) which is a non-native introduced in the second half of the nineteenth century and it has now become naturalised. It grows wild in Belgium, France, Spain and Italy. There is a similar native species in Britain called Common Toothwort - the flowers of which are paler in colour.
Edit - I promised to let the couple mentioned above know if I found out about the Opening Dates for Monkspath Meadow to see the wild orchids. Have just discovered the meadow will be open this weekend 8th and 9th June 10.00 - 4.00 and also, I believe, next weekend 15/16th June 11.00 - 4.00. Entrance through Notcutts Nursery. Please ask at Information Desk if unsure as in the past it hasn't been that well signposted!
I saw quite a few butterflies on the walk - Small White, Orange Tip, Red Admiral and Peacock but none stopped long enough for a photo.
I found this interesting notice by the river as I was walking back to the car
and luckily I didn't bump into a real one of these whilst I was by the river and marshes :) !!
I promised to keep Chris from Las Aventuras who lives in North America up to date on what is happening with English badgers. The Opposition Day debate took place earlier this week but unfortunately the Labour Party's motion opposing the cull was defeated by 299 votes to 250. It should be pointed out though that a 3 line party whip was in operation and when a free vote took place last October MP's voted against a cull.
I'll continue to post updates at the end of each post as and when there is any news.