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Thursday, March 15, 2012

A photo a day - March.

Due to time pressures I'm going to collect my photos and post them on a monthly basis still mainly in and around my own garden and occasionally our close by 4 acre nature reserve wild flower meadow.
So this post will now be covering all of March.

March turned a bit warmer. Parts of the country facing water shortages.

This  shrub covered in red berries all winter now being stripped. March 1

An unidentified small flower ( so far )  March 2

Crambe cordifloria. New growth showing. ( Compare Jan 7th)    March 3 

I've signed up for a Lichen identification workshop ( for beginners ) this weekend. I may be able to tell you more about this one soon. March 4

That goes for this specimen shown on a sliver of bark taken from a dead branch in the garden so I could see it under a microscope. See below. March 5

This is not a very good photo but helps a little in trying to see the detail of the structure of the vegetation. I'm trying to find an adaptor to fit on the microscope to make photography easier. March 6

Winged bark of young Elm. March 7th 

Blackthorn in flower in new hedge.  March 8

Cowslip in our wild garden March 9

Growing flower bud March 10

Lichen March 11

Willow buds 12

 Catkins March 13

Rain Water drops resting on the leaves of flowers March 14

Shrub in flower  March 15

 Spider March 16

 Lichen March 17

Botany Group identificaion practice! March 18

Fungi March 19

Brown Hairstreak Butterfly eggs on young Blackthorn March 20

Lichen hunting. March 21

 Lessor Celendine March 22

Flower buds on Red Campion  March 23

New leaves on Silver Birch Maqrch 24

Rapid growth onb Cranbe March 25

Broom March 26

Pear Tree Blossom  March 27

Apple Tree Blossom March 28

Flowering shrub March 29

Bee Fly ( dead!) March 30

Bumble Bee  ( alive ) on a Dandelion  March 31

Botany Study Group. Plant survey, field training.

Heart of the Levels Local Area Group of the Somerset Wildlife Trust. March 2012

Report on our Botany Study Group field field work visit to Batty's Piece, Curry Rivel, March 6th 2012.

Members were given an introduction to vegetation identification techniques. In other words , how to identify in the absence of flowers. Identification is the key to any surveying technique and is most difficult when plants are not in flower.

Batty's Piece is a 4 acre private nature reserve off Holdens Way owned by a group of local residents and maintained as an unimproved grassland meadow.

With fine weather it was ideal for this introductory session. The field was purchased in 2005 and professionally surveyed soon after. Approximately 120 different flowering and grass plants have been recorded. It was declared a Local Wildlife Site in 2007. A County Council Grant was obtained in 2008 for planting a new 200m hedge on the north side of the field. The planting was carried out by members of the Syndicate.

Members of the Group were introduced to a range of surveying techniques commonly used by amateur and professional surveyors. Anne and John Bebbington led the session.

Members initially spent 10 minutes or so to looking closely at the two areas selected for our field work and then all were given a brief description of the general principles of surveying and the methods to be used on this visit.

Members worked in pairs and were tasked with surveying two 7 metre square plots, at widely separated parts of the field which appeared to differ in their vegetation. Pairs first carried out a subjective assessment of 16 selected species in each of the two areas using a modification of the Braun-Blanquet scale (ACFOR).

A total of 12,  25 x25 cm square metal quadrats were then placed at 12 random co-ordinates in each plot and the presence or absence (frequency) of the selected species recorded. This sample size gave us an acceptable coverage of between 1-2% of the total plot size.

The data was collated over lunch in Drayton Village Hall and then discussed. The subjective assessment showed some differences between the two areas and this was confirmed by the frequency data. There were some discrepancies between the results recorded by the two methods and reasons for these were considered..

In further discussion the relative accuracy of the two methods and how and when they should be used was discussed . Members were also introduced to techniques used by the Somerset Botany Group and in National Vegetation Classification Surveys. We hope to spend a field day using National Surveying techniques next year.

The fine weather made the day a most successful and enjoyable experience. The next session in April will be looking at spring wild flowers at a different venue.

David German 12.03.12