A Saturday training course. A sign of unexpected dedication to work?
“Some of Morecambe Bay’s limestone hills are clothed in wildflowers which many are familiar with, such as on Whitbarrow Scar and Humphrey Head. However, there are also smaller areas of flower-rich grassland which help to link up these larger areas but are less well-known or understood. Morecambe Bay Partnership is looking for volunteers to help gather information about these places and get to know their true value so that we can work with landowners to conserve them. Join us for 2 training sessions. This project is perfect for a wide range of people from those who have an interest in the natural world but don’t feel they are particularly skilled, to those who feel they are competent botanists.”
Not really an invitation I could resist. So, I’ve spent two sunny days pottering about, looking at flowers with like-minded enthusiasts.
I learned how to conduct a (simple) botanical survey; I discovered that a hand-lens is invaluable and I was pleased to find that even experts can get a bit muddled with Hawk’s-beards, Hawkbits and Cat’s-ears (i.e. yellow daisies), which was quite comforting.
I know: now that I have been on the course, I should know exactly which of the many members of the bedstraw family this is, but tiny details are required, which is the downside of photographs – you can’t remove a leaf from a photo to examine it to check whether the hairs along the edge are backward pointing or otherwise.
I’ve cheated a little bit: most of these photos weren’t taken when we were all crawling around on our hands and knees, peering through a lens to see whether the hairs on the leaves were forked or not and thumbing through our flower keys. I was out for a turn around the Lots again latter. I finished that evening walk by taking Stankelt road to the Green and then walking through the field by Hagg Wood, so that I was able to confirm my suspicion that the hedgerow here has some…
Years ago, I wrote about the desirability of a Plant Identification App – one of the attendees had exactly that and it seemed to work remarkably well. I shall be purchasing same at the first opportunity. Well, just as soon as I have acquired a smart-phone that is!