2020 County Report for East Lothian

Marion Moir and Helen Jackson

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 the first lockdown, we re-recorded Petasites fragrans (Winter Heliotrope) and then Lathraea clandestine (Purple Toothwort) on the River Tyne banks, 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 and at Torness Power Station counted the Orobanche minor (Common Broomrape). During July, we increased records of Parapholis strigosa (Hard Grass) and re-found Sagina nodosa (Knotted Pearlwort) on the edge of the dunes beside the saltmarsh at Belhaven Bay. The Botany Group did a study day at Belhaven Bay looking at the special plants of the dunes including Festuca arenaria (Rush-leaved Fescue) and Carexes on the saltmarsh; this was arranged, because of Covid, in a small group of those interested. At 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 Hedderwick Hill. 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 re-found old records of Berula erecta (Lesser Water Parsnip) near Whiteadder Reservoir; the water was very low and we recorded 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 re-find Hymenophyllum wilsonii (Wilson’s Filmy-fern) but to no avail; an interesting find on the cliffs were several plants of Rubus saxatalis (Stone Bramble). Our 2020 records were sent to The Wildlife Information Centre (TWIC) and the Council Rangers received records for Aberlady, Gullane and Yellowcraigs.