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Recorder eNewsletter February 2021

BSBI Staff Changes

After over seven years in post Jane Houldsworth our Head of Operations has left BSBI to take up a new role in a charitable foundation. Her last day at BSBI was the 22nd January and she opened a leaving present and card from staff and officers during a Zoom meeting earlier that week. We are very grateful for the way she has transformed the Society and has worked to put us on a much sounder footing. I’m sure you’d want to join with me in wishing her all the best in her new role.

We are currently advertising a Chief Executive Officer (CEO) post to replace the Head of Operations with a closing date of 7 February. In another exciting change to our staffing, Sarah Woods will take up our new Fundraising Manager post on the 1st March.

Chris Miles, Chair, BSBI Board of Trustees

New Year Plant Hunt: analysis of results

Our analysis of New Year Plant Hunt records has been published and it shows both the effect of a warmer autumn and winter on the number of species in bloom (710, our highest ever total) and also the impact Covid-19 has had on how we record wildflowers. With no group Hunts on offer this year, thanks to the pandemic, people recorded individually or in small family groups; we saw almost a 50% increase in the number of Hunts carried out and lists submitted, but the total number of participants was only up by about 5% compared to last year. Lots of media interest though!

Louise Marsh, Communications Officer

Last Call for VC Annual Reports

Thank you very much to everyone who has submitted their 2020 VC Annual Report. It is really surprisingly how much botanical discovery, recording and other activity took place in 2020.  We have received 98 reports so far – which is absolutely fantastic given the circumstances, but this is just two thirds the total number of counties. So, we are making one final call for any outstanding reports – could you submit them as soon as possible?  Here is the link that County Recorders can use to send us their Report.  Many thanks!

Perhaps this would be a good moment to thank all County Recorders and members for their splendid contribution to the Society which is evident from reading these reports and is also clear from any analysis of the Atlas 2020 project. I’m not sure if we say that enough. Thank you indeed.

Jim McIntosh, Senior Country Officer

How to identify “Not Refound” taxa

The simplest way to identify taxa not recorded since 2000 is to run this Database (DDb) query – after logging in and changing the VC.  Then download the results and sort on the latest year column. This DDb search uses a different approach.  Change the year in the 2nd part to meet your needs.

These queries do have quirks regarding how they treat date ranges. For example, if a date range, they use the first year of the range, or if a record is given as before a year e.g“-1999”, no year is returned by the query. I used “taxon name (including qualifier and authority)” because if you group by species you get odd results when a common subspecies is only rarely recorded, and the query will indicate that it has not been recorded for many years.

Andy Amphlett, Joint County Recorder, Easterness

Toothed Fireweed

My dear friend Zoë Devlin has written about how her recent discovery of Toothed Fireweed (Senecio minimus) helped her during an extremely difficult year because of the pandemic. She is one of Ireland’s best-known and most loved botanists thanks to her website, Wild flowers of Ireland and the follow-up book of the same name which has sold 14,000 copies so far. Finding Toothed Fireweed, an uncommon plant, near her home in Dalkey is a timely reminder that even the most seasoned recorder can make surprising new discoveries in their local area and find comfort in botany during the darkest of times.

Paul Green, BSBI Ireland Officer

English News

The England Annual Meeting will take place by Zoom on Sunday, 28 February, starting at 2pm.  The agenda and other information will be on the England AGM page.  Compilation of the 2021 edition of English Botanical News is beginning and the editor would welcome contributions in the form of short articles, details of exciting discoveries or items of England-wide interest.  The Committee for England is looking for additional members, so have a look at the volunteering page if you are interested.

Jonathan Shanklin, Chair BSBI Committee for England

Irish Spring Conference

The BSBI Irish Spring Conference will take place on the morning of Saturday 27th March. Starting at 10am through to 1.30pm, with a coffee/tea break in the middle. The conference will be a live webinar event. Details for booking will be advertised on the Irish Conferences page nearer the time.

There are ten short talks planned covering a wide variety of topics. Including the discovery of Epipactis dunensis (Dune Helleborine) in Co. Dublin, a new orchid for Ireland (read about it in Irish Botanical News 2020), and on the conservation work for Saxifraga hirculus (Marsh Saxifrage) in Northern Ireland. Jim McIntosh will tell us about some of the new Country projects that are being planned, and Jessica Hamilton about the very successful 2021 New Year Plant Hunt. At the halftime break, it is planned to have a slideshow of ‘Nice Finds’ from around Ireland. If you would like to include a photo please send me your pictures.

Paul Green, BSBI Ireland Officer

Scottish Spring Conference

The 2021 Scottish Spring Conference will be held on 20th March by Zoom at 10am. There will be a major announcement about our new Scottish recording projects, followed by a couple of related talks. There will also be talks on Carrifran Wildwood, the importance of local groups, an update of BSBI news from the Scottish Officer followed by a discussion on members’ access to the DDb in Scotland.  Put the date and time in your diary now! More details very soon.

Jim McIntosh, BSBI Senior Country Officer

BSBI News: surprising plant finds reported in the January issue

The latest issue of BSBI's members-only newsletter features a quintet of surprising botanical records, including the Long-lipped Tongue-orchid which turned up on the south coast; a second extant plant of the ultra-rare Catacol whitebeam on the Isle of Arran; and the second Irish record of Mibora minima. The January issue of BSBI News boasts 88 pages of essential reading for the botanical recorder; if you are not yet a BSBI member, you can find out more about this latest issue here.

Louise Marsh, Communications Officer

BSBI Handbook no.21 published

The Monograph of British and Irish Hieracium section Foliosa and section Prenanthoidea by Tim Rich & David McCosh is published this month with a RRP of £30. Until the end of February, BSBI members can benefit from a special discount price of £21 (excl P&P) on this latest addition to the series of BSBI Handbooks. Details of how members can claim their discount are available here and on the flyer inside the latest issue of BSBI News.

Louise Marsh, Communications Officer