2023 County Report for South Aberdeenshire

Ian Francis

Botanical recording in 2023 yielded c.3,700 records, with notable finds – a few listed below. A newly formed North-East Scotland botanical network, set up by Alison Peaker and Carol Blow, visited numerous sites including a wet grassland SSSI in mid-Deeside in July, finding 226 taxa, a high total for Aberdeenshire. A Scottish Wildlife Trust outing at Potarch, with 20 attendees, covered pine woods and herb-rich grassland by the River Dee. A survey week on the NTS Mar Lodge Estate produced around 2,700 records in 52 monads, including a wide range of upland and montane species, many nationally scarce or rare (reported on in the BSBI Yearbook by Dan Watson). The Glen Shee and Cairnwell area received much attention this year, with some notable records.

Finally, Goodyera repens (Creeping Lady’s-tresses) is strongly characteristic of north-east and northern Scotland and 376 flowering spikes were found at Muir of Dinnet by Simon Ritchie. However, this finding was depressingly countered by the loss of another previously recorded large colony, growing along the top of a wall near Balmoral. This numbered hundreds of spikes in 2019 but was reported by Tristan Norton as having been completely destroyed during 2023, by vegetation stripping of the wall. Such botanical losses are not often formally recorded.

I thank all who submitted records in 2023 and Andy Amphlett and David Elston for much help.

Botrychium nordicum

Nordic Moonwort was recorded from six closely spaced locations at the Glen Shee ski area by Lyn Jones and Leslie Tucker.

Taraxacum caledonicum

The first record of this dandelion for the vice-county was made at the Glen Shee ski area by Lyn Jones and Leslie Tucker.

Sabulina rubella

Mountain Sandwort was relocated by Tristan Norton, in its only VC location, but unrecorded since 1996.

Noccaea caerulescens

An exciting find was of Alpine penny-cress in May by Simon Thomas on the Green Hill of Strathdon on south-facing serpentine outcrop. Confirmed by Tim Rich, this is now the most northerly site in the UK.

Carex buchananii

In Aberdeen, the rare neophyte Silver-spiked Sedge was found by David Elston close to Aberdeen harbour, the first VC record (confirmed by Mick Crawley).