Monday 24 September 2012

The Telegraph!

Breaking News: the Telegraph likes the BSBI... a short article in the national press... are we going to be besieged with new members? 

Tuesday 18 September 2012

Christmas cards available online

Alex has now set up an online payment system from the Wales page of the main BSBI website so you can order cards that way and pay using PayPal. If you aren't able to do this email me and you can arrange to send a cheque. Hopefully we'll sell some in Edinburgh this week but I'm looking forward to seeing some orders coming in. The cards look nice printed in a silk finish, at A6/ approx 4" x 6" (we are an environmental charity so nothing too big - think of the trees).

Jobs advertised at CCW

Just a quick note to say that CCW have got a new Life project - a significant amount of new funding for a series of projects carrying out maintenance and restoration on Natura 2000 sites (the sites protected under European legislation - SACs and SPAs). There are a number of jobs advertised (2 year fixed term contracts) which could be of interest to anyone trying to work in conservation in Wales. See this link.

Wednesday 12 September 2012

Christmas card competition - the result is in!

So after considerable deliberation and debate we have a winner for the Christmas card competition. Three out of four judges included this in their top three choices - and such was the quality of the entries that no other photograph came close. Lots of the entries were selected by one or two of the judges in their top three so congratulations to all the photographers! 

I (acting as judging coordinator) have to admit I was surprised at this choice at first, as I was, I now think, too predictable in considering the more traditional seasonal plants - especially the photos with a red/ green theme. But I have now agreed with the judges who valued this highly; I think it provides a striking and unusual image, with perhaps a Christmas starburst/ bauble quality to it, and what is more, it represents the BSBI's interests in vascular plants, and looking at plants in great detail. 

"Time" - Taraxacum agg. - Dandelion - Dant-y-Llew
Photographer: David Hill
Congratulations to David Hill, from Rhyl. David will be receiving a complimentary pack of these cards once we get them printed, and they will be available for all to buy. They will hopefully be on sale at the BSBI conference in Edinburgh (20th-21st Sept) and at the conference and exhibition meeting (and EGM to discuss the changes in BSBI's corporate structure) in Cambridge (23rd-24th Sept). I will also bring some to the Welsh Committee meeting in October. If you will be able to attend one of these events that will probably be the easiest way to buy them; however if not please get in touch to buy them directly from me - email me and I will let you know how to pay. I am anticipating receiving cash in person or cheques through the post but hope to also arrange online payment. 

The price will be 

  • £3 for 5 cards + envelopes
  • £5 for 10 cards + envelopes
  • £8 for 20 cards + envelopes
This is to include postage, and any profits will go direct to the BSBI.

Tuesday 11 September 2012

A day out in Cwm Penmachno

On Friday I joined Wendy McCarthy and a group of Caernarvonshire botanists for a visit to Cwm Penmachno. Wendy had recorded in this tetrad before, but wanted to take a different route through the quarries and see if there were any interesting plants around a couple of lakes marked on the map.

In the end most of the interest of the day centred on non-flowering plants, beginning with rustyback, Asplenium ceterach, on walls, and then moving through other ferns and also clubmosses (at least one member of the group was also looking at the bryophytes as well). Maidenhair spleenwort, Asplenium trichomanes, has several subspecies; ssp. quadrivalens is typically found on walls where mortar leads to base-rich conditions while ssp. trichomanes is more typical of acidic habitats. We found a putative hybrid between the two, much more vigorous and larger than usual. We also spent some time looking at the male-ferns, Dryopteris spp., in order to identify the different species, including (I think) D. oreades, mountain male-fern, D. affinis, scaly male-fern and D. borreri, Borrer's scaly male-fern. I must admit I am not very confident in the identification of all of these, but one of the benefits of spending a day out with other botanists is always the chance to learn more about the species you encounter and Friday was no exception - especial thanks to Wendy, Martin and Paul.
Maidenhair spleenwort, Asplenium trichomanes - putative hybrid between subspecies?
 We also found two species of clubmoss - the fir clubmoss, Huperzia selago, and stag's-horn clubmoss, Lycopodium clavatum. This was found in some spectacular patches, and also exhibiting the typical forking fertile shoots.
Stag's-horn clubmoss, Lycopodium clavatum
As well as botanical interest, we had some great views, although a brisk wind kept our coats on the sky was clear for much of the day and views down the valley were lovely.
View from the quarry down Cwm Penmachno
 We made our way to this lake hoping to find a range of aquatic plants. Sadly it turned out to be a flooded quarry without much marginal vegetation. However, what it lacked botanically it made up for in scenery, especially with the rocky (and dripping) overhang at one end.
Flooded quarry lake 

Thursday 6 September 2012

Edinburgh conference

Hopefully most BSBI members will already be aware of the conference we are organising this year: A Great leap forward – Biological Recording since the 1962 Atlas of the British Flora. It should be a fascinating two days with a great range of speakers and topics lined up. I will certainly be going, and I know of a few other Welsh botanists planning to travel up too. It is at the Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh, on 20-21 September 2012; all the details are available via the BSBI website including the ability to register and pay online! It would be good to see lots of people there!