Last weekend was the BSBI's Recorders' Conference, held in Shrewsbury. The Welsh recorders were particularly well represented, although it was good for me to meet some of the recorders from the other countries, who I haven't yet met. There were some very interesting and useful workshops including one on conifers, focusing on the scaly-leaved species (Cupressus, Thuja, Chaemocyparis), one on Erophila Whitlowgrass, which is a good group to record at present, along with other early annuals. Erophila verna, E. majuscula and E. glabrescens are all found in Britain, widespread although not necessarily common. There is a good drawing in the BSBI Crucifer handbook, and information in the Plant Crib, although some of the characters are subtle and determination by a referee may be preferable if you are not confident. Other workshops were on Betula and on vegetative ID, as well as on the BSBI's Distributional Database (DDb) and Herbaria at Home.
As expected, it was a good chance to hear what other botanists are doing; there was a fascinating talk by Paul Smith on his work in the Outer Hebrides - a truly challenging county, let any one else dare to complain about theirs. Paul seems to have a very organised approach to recording, but is also adding extra challenges, such as snorkelling in lakes for macrophytes.
For those who might be disappointed to have missed out, its probably time to make sure you have booked some of the other BSBI events - the national AGM in Reading on 12-13th May; the Welsh AGM near Llangollen on 20-22nd May, and a very exciting conference coming up in Edinburgh on 20-21st September.