This is now quite a big annual event in the BSBI calendar. On any day from 1st to 4th January BSBI members and their friends go out to record plants flowering in the wild in a limited area for three hours. It's amazing what you can find nowadays at this time of year! Records are then submitted to BSBI headquarters and the data is analysed and presented. Inevitably, there's a certain degree of friendly competitiveness in all this.
In 2020 Martin Rand is going out on two days to record in his vice-county. See the Calendar listings for details of where to meet and what will happen. Contact Martin to join him. He will limit numbers to 5 or 6 so that the group doesn't get unmanageable. You come at your own risk, but events will be cancelled in the event of bad weather.
If you are going out on a Hampshire Plant Hunt of your own and would like it publicised, contact Martin.
Rob Still has set up a Whatsapp group for sharing lifts to Flora Group events for members and guests. It will be operated as a closed group and if you would like to participate, you need to text Rob on his mobile (07702 737456) to be added to the group. This is a sensible contribution to keeping both financial and carbon costs down for meetings.
Winter may be coming on, but don't forget there are two indoor meetings coming up in November.
This trip will provide an opportunity to go behind the scenes at Portsmouth City Museum to see its historic plant collections and hear about plans for the future of the museum's natural science resources from the curator, Christine Taylor. As a bonus, there will also be a short talk on phytoliths (flinty plant remains that don't decay with the rest of the plant) and their use in archaeology, introducing a project that you may like to get involved in.
As usual, full details are in the latest issue of Flora News (see below). Martin Rand has two spare car places available to anyone travelling from the Chandler's Ford / Eastleigh area.
To avoid clashes with other events, this convivial meeting is taking place a bit earlier this year. Again, for full details see the latest edition of Flora News.
This is now available to read or download on the Newsletters page.
Cath Shelswell of Plantlife writes:
"As part of Colour in the Margins we’re developing a new series of leaflets showing the lifecycle of arable plants from seed to seedling, to adult plant, flowering and setting seed. Although there are some great resources already available (see https://cereals.ahdb.org.uk/media/1117908/G47-The-encyclopaedia-of-arable-weeds-2015-branding-.pdf) there are quite a few gaps that we’d like to fill. I’m emailing to ask whether you might have any photos that you wouldn’t mind us using to create such as resource? This type of thing is particularly useful for farm advisers and agronomists.
"We’re after any photos of arable plants throughout the different stages of their lifecycle. In particular, pictures of seeds and seedlings as this is where we have gaps in our photo collection, but we’re after lots of different photos so that we can show all of the characteristics of plants as they grow.
"If you’re happy to donate any photos, please can you send them to Zoe.Morrall@plantlife.org.uk. Please make sure that you give us consent to use the photos for this purpose, and put the name of the plant and credit into the name of the photo (i.e. Spreading hedge-parsley c Jane Doe, or if it’s a joint credit Corn Buttercup c Joe Bloggs - Plantlife). For any bigger files, or multiple photos, please zip them together.
"We’re going to be collecting photos over the course of this year to produce the leaflets and using any photos you may have will really help our the production of these resources."
Tony and Martin have now published their planned visits: for the year in Tony's case, for the early part of the season in Martin's case, with more to follow. They are a mixture of 'square bashing' in individual tetrads, as in previous years, and chasing up old records across the county (usually a hectad at a time). The latter can lead to quite a few disappointments, but also some surprises on the way. Don't forget that you are welcome to join them on these trips, although they may want to limit numbers at times. Just email or phone in advance.
To help with tracking down plants that have not been seen anywhere in a hectad (10km x 10km square) since 1999, there are some new facilities available on the 'Atlas 2020' pages.
Workshop notes for the Atlas 2020 review session on 24th February are now posted here.
This is now available to read or download on the Newsletters page.
Below are details of a couple of early meeting days, in advance of the next issue of Flora News appearing in late January.
Saturday 9 Feb 2019, 10.30am-4pm
County Museums Service, Bar End, Winchester
Leaders: Martin Rand and Tony Mundell
This workshop is designed for people who are considering making collections for a herbarium (often necessary for critical groups of plants and new discoveries), and will cover the following: reasons for collecting specimens (and when not to!); how to collect; pressing; mounting; what to do with your specimens. It will include a practical workshop and a short guided tour of the Winchester herbarium, which holds interesting and historic collections. It will be led by Martin Rand and Tony Mundell, with the assistance of staff and volunteers at the Chilcomb collections.
Meet at Chilcomb House, Bar End, Winchester, SO23 8RB, OS grid reference SU491 284. There is plenty of parking on site. The nearest bus service is to the St Catherine's Park and Ride from many points in Winchester, from where there is a short walk out to the Bar End Road and then down Chilcomb Lane; people with bus passes can use them on this service. On arrival, follow the signs to reception and come to the meeting room which faces you down a short hall after you enter the building.
Fee £7: Booking is essential (by Tuesday 5 February at the latest) for this event, as numbers will be limited and part of the fee goes towards making up 'starter packs' for each participant. The remainder of the fee will go as a donation to the Hampshire Cultural Trust, who maintain the collections. Bookings should be made to Martin Rand, and fees will be collected on the day. Please contact Martin if you have any queries. Bring your own lunch, but there will be facilities for hot drinks.
Sunday 24 Feb 2019, 10.15am-12.15pm, 1pm-3.15pm
(1) Atlas 2020 Review Session
(2) Workshop on GPS, mapping and recording technology
Testwood Lakes Centre, Totton
Leader: Martin Rand
This indoor meeting is split into two halves. You are welcome to come for either or both of them.
The first session will look at progress with the national Atlas recording work in Hampshire, and review work for the final year of recording in 2019. There will be a chance to see new facilities on the Hants Plants web site for tracking down elusive species that look under-recorded, and some time to answer questions. Time permitting, there will be a short session on things to occupy our hours once 2019 is over, including work on an online Supplement to the 1996 Flora, showing how you can contribute if you want to.
The second session answers a demand from several HFG members, and will look at techniques and technologies for finding out where you are and for making records in the field. It will cover use of paper maps; basic GPS; apps like GridReferenceFreeOS; apps for smartphones and tablets with GPS, such as OS Maps and ViewRanger, that can be used even when your phone signal disappears; and the iRecord app for recording on smartphones and tablets.
Meet at the Wildlife Trust's Testwood Lakes Visitor Centre, SO40 2RW. The approach is from Brunel Road, Totton. Ignore public car parks on the way and continue to the Centre at the end of the road, where there is ample parking. The event will take place in the upstairs meeting room. Please arrive promptly at the start of your chosen session(s).
Both sessions are free, but you need to book providing a contact phone number, so that in the event of bad weather we can contact you. Please contact Martin Rand for bookings and queries. There are refreshment facilities at the centre for a small donation to the Wildlife Trust. As a small “thank you” to Atlas 2020 contributors, there will also be free cake (gluten-free and glutinous) in the morning to go with your tea or coffee. If you are staying for both sessions, please bring your own lunch.
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