"To see a world in a grain of sand,
And a heaven in a wild flower,
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand
And eternity in an hour."

From "Auguries of Innocence"

by William Blake

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:

Common Nettle
Ribwort Plantain
Herb Robert
Indian Balsam
Marsh Thistle
Red Campion
Cow Parsley
White Dead-nettle
Wood Anemone
Creeping Buttercup
Marsh Marigold
Meadow Buttercup
Scots Pine

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.

Wild Garlic

Hawthorn is coming into flower

Red Campion

Cow Parsley

Buttercups, Cleavers and Cow Parsley

Wild Garlic (Ramsons) and Bluebells.

Some species I saw were not on the list such as Greater Stitchwort

Yellow Archangel

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!

Purple Toothwort

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 :) !!

Badger Update

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.


Countryside Tales said...

What a super thing to be involved with and the photos looked lovely. We have many of those plants growing around us.To me wild flowers are the most beautiful.
Re the badgers, I'd also checked the vote after Wednesday and was talking it over with my husband who pointed out that with a 3 line whip in place nearly 50:50 on the voting wasn't a bad result and should serve to warn the Govt that people are not happy.

Em Parkinson said...

I would love to do that survey and will investigate further. Gorgeous photos of course and I'm sure my Grandfather called it Bird's Eye too.

Ragged Robin said...

Countryside Tales - Many thanks :) You can't beat wildflowers especially in the Spring :)

Your husband's so right about the vote. I watched a lot of the debate and was horrified at how few people were attending it compared to how many voted! It wasn't binding anyway so even if the Opposition had "won" it wouldn't have stopped the cull. I dread to think how we will all feel when it starts :(

Em Parkinson - Many thanks. Think Bird's Eye must be an old country name :) Should be details of the survey on Plantlife's website - that's where I applied. They send detailed instructions, map and wildflower booklet with the 99 species in. You can do the survey(s) any time between April and September. If there's woodland or hedgerow along the route they suggest April May visit but flowers are so behind this year so I can't see it would matter. Please let me know how you get on :)

ZielonaMila said...

Beautiful photos, the nature is wonderful:) Greetings

Ragged Robin said...

ZielonaMila Welcome and thank you so much :)

J said...

Great photos of what looks like a very flower-rich area. I do so agree, also, with your previous comments on the badger cull - terrible business!

Ragged Robin said...

Jeremy - Many thank - it was lovely exploring a new walk and seeing so many flowers :)

Thanks for comment too re: badgers. As you say it is terrible :(

SeagullSuzie said...

Thanks for the guided walk, it's a lovely place. I now have a reference for some of the wild flowers I see, but had no idea of the name.

ShySongbird said...

Hi Caroline :-) I really enjoyed reading about your survey and seeing what you found, lovely photos again too! Your allocated plot does sound and look a very nce place to walk except for, as you mentioned, the sound of the motorway. I suspect you were so absorbed in your task you barely noticed it though :-)

I think I might have seen Purple Toothwort in the past but never realised what it was, I shall certainly be looking out for it now :-)

I was very surprised and wonder why Germander Speedwell wasn't on the list, it seems so common! I have always used both the names Speedwell and Bird's-eye, I think as a child I usually called it Birds-eye though.

I was wondering what happens if you see something really exciting just outside the two metre strip...I would be awfully tempted...;-) It's like a new bird appearing five minutes after the end of the RSPB bird watch hour!

Thank you so much for your really lovely reply the other day, so kind of you and it is much appreciated :-)

Ragged Robin said...

SeagullSuzie - Many thanks :) Glad the photos have helped you identify some of the wildflowers that you see :) It was a lovely place to walk and I will go back :)

ShySongbird Hi Jan :) Yes, I really have been unbelievably lucky with the square allocated :) I'll do a follow up post on the Edith Holden connection next week. As you so rightly guessed I was totally absorbed :)

Hope you find some Purple Toothwort - fascinating plant and I'll be looking out for more too!

I've just been checking re: Speedwell and there seems to be a lot of species!! So as Plantlife tended to pick easy to id species that may be the reason why they decided not to include it??

Had to smile at your comment in penultimate paragraph and comparison with RSPB birdwatch :) To be honest I didn't really see any other species outside the 2 metre strip but if I had it might have depended how far away after all the distance of 2m has to be estimated :) :)!!!

Was disappointed not to get more plants that like wet/riverine habitats but there again probably couldn't have included these as river was much more than 2 metres away for most of walk!

I am still not sure if the habitat part of the survey refers to the 2 metre each side strip or the general area? May have to check with them.

Just hope my earlier comment helped just a little and thanks for the thanks :)

Wendy said...

Lovely photos of your walk and the flowers you've seen. It's really worth doing a survey like that to get a proper idea of what's around and I think I'd want to do more than one survey over the spring/summer, too. I must look at Plantlife's website and get further information for doing this here.

Ragged Robin said...

Wendy - Many thanks :) Yes, I will go back at least once more. Doing a survey certainly makes you notice more the species that are there.

Its a great way to add to Plantlife's data and it doesn't take long. Would love to hear how you get on if you decide to take part.