2020 County Report for East Lothian

Marion Moir

We collected a total of 14,318 records in 2020, some by Botany Group members within a radius of their homes in East Lothian before mid-July. Before the first lockdown, we re-recorded Petasites fragrans (Winter Heliotrope) and then Lathraea clandestine (Purple Toothwort) on the River Tyne, starting near Fala, through Humbie, past Haddington and down to East Linton. In early July we checked the Ophrys apifera (Bee Orchids) on the verge of the A1. Then to Torness Power Station to count the Orobanche minor (Common Broomrape). During July, we re-found Parapholis strigosa (Hard Grass) and Sagina nodosa (Knotted Pearlwort) on the edge of the dunes beside the saltmarsh at Behaven Bay. We surveyed Festuca arenaria (Rush-leaved Fescue) in the dunes along the coast, with old records. The Botany Group did a study day at Belhaven Bay looking at the special plants of the dunes and saltmarsh; this was arranged, because of Covid, in a small group of those interested. At Belhaven Bay, in the Hedderwick Hill Plantation we found a Tor Grass and as a result of this, we consulted Arthur Copping who helped to sort out the 3 different Tor Grasses: - Brachypodium rupestre at Yellowcraig, B. sylvaticum in the dunes at Belhaven and along the steep grassy slopes around Tantallon Castle, and B. pinnatum at Belhaven Bay hinterland. We increased the records of Scabiosa columbaria (Small Scabious) found beside the golf course at Dunbar, and along the cliffs at Tantallon Castle. The beginning of August was spent up on the Lammermuirs, and we looked for old records of Berula erecta (Lesser Water Parsnip) near Whiteadder Reservoir; the water was very low so found Rorippa palustris on the mud presumably brought by the geese. An interesting day was spent with David Long at Kate’s Cauldron below Soutra Hill to try to refind Hymenophyllum wilsonii (Wilson’s Filmy Fern) but to no avail. A difficult place for plant recording so we were pleased to come away with a good list; the cliffs had several plants of Rubus saxatalis (Stone Bramble). In the Autumn, we collected specimens of Polypodies and looked with the microscope to identify the differences between Polypodium vulgare and P. interjectum. Our 2020 records were sent to The Wildlife Information Centre (TWIC) and the Council Rangers received records for Aberlady, Gullane and Yellowcraigs.