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Recorder eNewsletter June 2021

New Project in Ireland

The Rare Plant Project Ireland (RPPI) is a three-year initiative to learn more about Irish Red List plant species which will use a similar approach as the Irish Species Project and the Threatened Plant Project.  It aims to resurvey populations of Irish Red List plant species not recorded since 2000 and collect information that will inform future Red Lists and County Rare Plant Registers and improve our understanding of their ecology and reasons for any decline. Its key features are:

  • Country Recorders will use a provided BSBI Database query to identify particular hectads with clusters of Irish Red List species populations that have not been recorded since 2000
  • Aim to visit at least one hectad in each county in each year…
  • To try to re-find and record all the target populations in it…
  • Using a standardised recording form…
  • And involving local members and groups
  • Data entry will be done centrally

Please see the Rare Plant Project Ireland page for more information. If, having read it, you have questions about the project, please ask Robert Northridge who will reply and compile an FAQ.

Jim McIntosh, Paul Green & Robert Northridge

New Project in Scotland

Although the Scottish HectAd Rare Plant Project (SHARPP) has a very different acronym it is actually very similar to the Rare Plant Project Ireland – except that it aims to resurvey populations of GB Red Data List, Scottish Biodiversity List and Nationally Rare/Scarce species not recorded since 2000 in particular hectads where there is a high density of such records. Otherwise, the project’s key features are very similar (see above). We’ll launch the dedicated project webpage very shortly, and will write to County Recorders to let them know when it goes live.

Jim McIntosh, BSBI Senior Country Officer

Irish Project Manager

We are delighted to announce that Sharon Spratt has been appointed part-time Project Manager for this summer's Aquatic Plants Project and Irish Grassland Project. Sharon is the BSBI’s joint County Recorder for Co. Tyrone.

Paul Green, BSBI Ireland Officer

Aquatic Plant Project of Ireland 2021

The Aquatic Plant Project of Ireland is back for a third year! Building on the success of the previous two years, the project has another season-packed programme of training and recording events. To kick off the online training, we have aquatic plant expert Nick Stewart back to guide us in the identification of water-starworts. The event is Saturday 19th June at 10:30 and bookings are being taken here.  Everyone interested is very welcome – whether in Ireland or Britain.

Sharon Spratt, BSBI Irish Project Manager

The Discovery of the Native Flora of Britain and Ireland

Since publication in November 2017 a number of people have been kind enough to send in corrections and ideas. I expected the first, of course, and in a field where so much so many of the early records – those from 1500 up to say 1800 – is of some conjecture, given the almost complete absence of specimens, it is a pleasure to hear other views! I am extremely grateful to those who have corresponded with me. I would welcome any other comments.

Some have said that it would be nice to have a new edition, possibly more lavishly illustrated than the first, but if I am being realistic, I feel that this is unlikely.  The economics would not stack up, and 95% of the book would be the same. I have compiled a corrigendum with additions and this is available from The Discovery of the Native Flora of Britain and Ireland page or, if you prefer, directly from me.

David Pearman June 2021

Altitudinal Records

We’ve just updated the Altitudes page on the BSBI website and it includes an updated Altitudes spreadsheet for 2021. Do please review the list and try and add or improve them for your vice-county. Note that the absence of a species means that there are no records over 310 m (1000 feet). For many alpine species we have also tried to find lowest altitudes, a more difficult task. Again, any such records would be very welcome.

For all records we require at least the following details: altitude, a 6-figure grid reference, site, vice county, date and recorder, differentiating between field and literature records. GPS altitudes are not very accurate and it is worth plotting all GPS grid references on detailed OS maps and interpolating contours, rounding down to 5 m below. Please email me any new records.

David Pearman June 2021

Who owns a MapMate CUK?

A County Recorder asks how can you tell you owns a particular CUK and where a batch of records have come from? Well, you can often check who a particular centre code belongs to using this page:  If you think that will be useful then bookmark it in your browser and rename with a more useful title, like “CUK?”.

Jim McIntosh, BSBI Senior Country Officer

Common names in the BSBI Database

Another Recorder asks how can you add common names to a Database query? Well, you can use this DDb query approach for any query that groups data.

Jim McIntosh, BSBI Senior Country Officer

Field Meetings

BSBI Field Meetings have resumed after 20 months absence.  An enthusiastic group of beginners came to Cambridge for a walk round Trumpington Meadows Country Park on 22nd May.  As is often the case we didn’t stray far from the car park until after lunch!  Although I did a bit of recording, it was mostly about giving identification tips and being enthusiastic – and we had some surprise finds.  It would be great to offer more meetings next year that are specifically targeted at beginners, rather than trying to combine beginners and recording.  Do consider if you can offer one, particularly if you are in an area where there are few local group meetings.  Beginners would also enjoy meetings in different habitats so that they can be introduced to new plants.

Although Covid restrictions are easing it is still important to take precautions.  One particular aspect of this is when viewing small plants close up – make sure that you keep adequate distance when either showing or checking identifications.  A new health and safety concern, that is probably more pertinent for counties in southern England, is the risk from hairy caterpillars.  Their hairs can trigger allergic reactions, so it is advisable to avoid them.  One species that seems to have become much more common is the Brown-tail Moth, whose caterpillars make communal silken tents, particularly on Hawthorn.

Jonathan Shanklin, BSBI Hon Field Meetings Secretary

Country Newsletters

English Botanical News Issue No 2 is out and has been distributed to England County Recorders for local circulation.  It is intended for online viewing on the EBN web page, but a form suitable for printing is available on request to Jonathan Shanklin, its editor – though it is a bumper issue of over 100 pages.  Contents include reports of the England AGM talks and the England VC Annual Reports, illustrated with lots of images.

The Scottish Newsletter No 43, 2021 was published in April. It includes an interesting article on the distributions of species pairs by Michael Braithwaite, Annual Reports for 38 Scottish Vice-counties and an Annual Report by the Scottish Officer. Thanks are due to Angus Hannah, editor.

We have just uploaded the Irish Botanical News No 31, 2021 to the website. A packed issue includes interesting articles on Marsh Saxifrage (Saxifraga hirculus) in NI, and on the discovery of Stenogrammitis myosuroides, a new fern for Europe, in Kerry. Thanks to Paul Green (retiring editor), and Alexis FitzGerald, editor.

Wales Annual Meeting & Welsh AGM

There are two great talks at the online 2021 Wales Annual Meeting on Saturday 3rd July. We have Barbara Jones on Conserving and restoring upland plants and Stuart Smith on Grassland plants of the British and Irish lowlands (Stuart was one of the co-authors). The opening address will be given by BSBI CEO Julia Hanmer – her first public appearance since she took on the role. To find out more about, and to book for, the BSBI Wales Annual Meeting and / or the Welsh AGM, please click the link.

Jim McIntosh, BSBI Senior Country Officer

Nominate a botanical recorder for a NBN Award

This year's round of nominations has opened for the NBN Awards which celebrate outstanding contributions to wildlife recording by a group or individual. Why not nominate a botanical recorder? Deadline to nominate is 18th July. More info here.

Louise Marsh, Communications Officer