Somerset Wildlife Trust, Heart of the Levels Botany Group
Feb field trip 2012.
In its third year the Groups programme of activities for 2012 puts the emphasis on field work.
Our first session was on Feb 7th. It was a fairly cold but luckily dry day. We met up at 10.30 am and walked to a small private wooded area , where the owner had planted a large variety of trees around 30 years ago.The venue was chosen to give us an opportunity to practice our winter tree identification skills.
There were 15 members present, all well wrapped up against the cold, and led by Anne Bebbington. Most of us have been with the Group since its start up with one or two recent new members.
For this field session we worked using an identification system published by CT Prime and RJ Deacock. We followed their key to identify around 20 different species. They included for example, English Elm, Crack Willow,Horse Chestnut, Cherry and Blackthorn.
As a bonus this last species gave us the chance to search for and find Brown Hairstreak Butterfly eggs.
After about 2 hours field work we had a pleasant lunch at The Angel cafe and community centre in Langport.
This was followed by another fascinating presentation by Anne using Johns very special photography to review much of the greatly magnified detail of the buds, bark and catkins we had found on our walk.
This first field session was a great success.
Our next outing in March will take place on a meadow in Curry Rivel. The aim will be an introduction to survey methods used by Botanist to identify and record the presence of flowers and plants in an organised and measured way. Such records are of fundamental importance in the conservation of the natural environment.
This is of considerable topical interest as the Government introduces Neighbourhood Planning schemes. Surveys of local remaining unspoilt fields and woods will be vital in the formulation of local planning schemes. Every Parish in Somerset needs this work to be undertaken.