B&BC Botanical Society Newsletter - Issue 2 (2015)

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  • 8/20/2019 B&BC Botanical Society Newsletter - Issue 2 (2015)

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    2015  was another fantastic and busy year for the Society  …so we thought we would put together

    another issue of the newsletter, with this

    year’s highlights. 

    We hope you enjoy reading through it

    and join us next year for more recording!

    Newsletter Issue 2 | Autumn/Winter 2015

    In this Issue: 

    Sutton Park Flora  - The first season of recording

    Plus other highlights from 2015 including

    site visit reports from:

    Clayhanger SSSI | Daw End

    Branch Canal | Fens Pools

    Smooth-stalked Sedge (Carex laevigata)

    Sutton Park July 2015 

    SAVE THE DATE! The 2016 AGM will take place on

    Saturday 27 th

     February 2016 at 11am

    Winterbourne House and Garden, University of Birmingham,

    58 Edgbaston Park Road,

    Birmingham, B15 2RT.

    Note: entrance to Winterbourne Garden

    will be free for this event!

    Hope to see you there!

    Other dates for your diary:

    Provisional Field Recording Dates 2016

    23/03/2016  30/06/2016 

    07/04/2016  05/07/2016 

    16/04/2016 03/08/2016 

    26/04/2016 13/08/2016 

    09/05/2016 25/08/2016 

    20/05/2016 09/09/2016  01/06/2016 19/09/2016 

    11/06/2016 30/09/2016 

    21/06/2016

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     2 │ B&BC Botanical Society Newsletter Autumn/Winter 2015

    FENS POOLS 15TH July 2015

    We met Anne Daly, our leader for the day, outside the

    warden's base at the junction of Pensnett Road and Bryce

    Road in Brierley Hill, and after negotiating the busy B4179, we

    headed off along the section of canal known as ‘Wide Water’ 

    in the direction of Fens Pools. The typical vegetation along

    the canal towpath comprises Field Maple, Hazel, Alder,

    Rowan, Guelder-rose, willows and some very large poplars,

    and in one spot a large Crataegus pedicillatus  Cockspur

    Thorn , the first of many interesting plants we were to encounter during the day. 

    Moving on from where the canal ends we headed along the

    main path, keeping Grove Pool to our left and Middle Pool to

    the right, and leaving this path onto a smaller path, we made

    our way to the “Perry Ponds”, a group of small ponds named

    in honour of the late naturalist Alan Perry, one of the two

    local men (the other being Brian Jones) who had the vision of

    saving the Fens as a nature reserve, and started the Pensnett

    Wildlife Group, without which the reserve may never have

    been created.

    The ponds were originally excavated to provide a cluster of

    breeding ponds for amphibians, and in particular, for the

    large population of Great Crested Newts that Fens Pools is

    renowned for. The typical vegetation in and around the pond

    margins included Eleocharis palustris  Common Spike-rush ,

    Myosotis laxa  Tufted Forget-me-not , Juncus tenuis  Slender

    Rush , Elodea nuttallii   Nuttall’s Waterweed , Ceratophyllum

    emersum Rigid Hornwort and in each of the small ponds we

    encountered a submerged aquatic not found in the others.

    The first pond contained a colony of  Zanichellia palustris 

    Horned Pondweed and a small amount of Lagarosiphon

    major   Curly Waterweed, the next held Potamogeton

    berchtoldii   Small Pondweed and in another, on drying out

    mud, mixed in with Callitriche  sp. was a small-flowered

    Crowfoot with capillary leaves only which we tentatively

    determined as Ranunculus trichophyllus  Thread-leaved

    Water-crowfoot, a plant previously not recorded in

    Birmingham and the Black Country so we were very pleased

    when it was later confirmed as this by John Hawksford, BSBI

    Recorder for Staffordshire.

    Once satisfied that we had recorded everything from the

    Perry Ponds we continued along the main path towards the

    cindery mounds where Cerastium arvense Field Mouse-ear, a

    low-growing, early-flowering perennial has been known from for many years. In Britain this rather large-flowered, native

    Mouse-ear is frequent only in the east of England, and as far

    as we are aware the only extant Birmingham and Black

    Country site for this plant is here at Fens Pools. Several plants

    were soon located although, as we expected they were well

    into seed at this time of the year.

    Moving on in the direction of the ridge and furrow meadow

    we passed more Slender Rush. This  increasing alien rush is

    relatively tolerant of trampling and is often found along path

    edges.

    The “Perry Pond” containing Ranunculus

    trichophyllus Thread-leaved Water-crowfoot 

    Ranunculus trichophyllus Thread-leaved Water-crowfoot 

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     3 │ B&BC Botanical Society Newsletter Autumn/Winter 2015

    On reaching the ridge and furrow meadow, known locally as

    “the bumpy field” because the ridges and furrows of a by -

    gone agricultural system are still very evident in places, it was

    noticeable that there were far fewer ponies here since the

    clampdown by Dudley Council on stray horses. For many

    years this meadow has traditionally been a favourite spot for

    locals to graze their ponies and with very few animals here now the long-term effect this will have on the flora in this

    area remains to be seen. Ophioglossum vulgatum  Adder’s-

    tongue fern has long been known from this meadow and at

    one time was relatively easy to find. In recent years heavy

    grazing from tethered ponies has all but eradicated it from

    the open parts of the meadow so a challenge was put out to

    the group to see who would be the first to find an Adder’s-

    tongue. After several minutes of searching the honour went

    to Paul Reade who discovered several plants tucked well in

    amongst bracken, one of the few places that the ponies tend

    to avoid. A closer inspection revealed this to be quite an

    extensive colony which extended well into the bracken

    thicket.

    From here we made our way up the bank which brought us

    into an area of short, open grassland where lunch was taken

    seated on the brickwork remains of a building that once stood

    here. Suitably refreshed we set off in the general direction of

    Russells Hall Hospital, following a well-defined track which

    soon became wooded on both sides. In the half-shade at the

    side of this track were four flowering Verbascum lychnitis 

    White Mullein plants, somewhat of a rarity elsewhere in

    B&BC. The scrubby woodland here also contains many

    naturalised Cotoneasters, the most frequent of them being

    Cotoneaster rehderi  Bullate Cotoneaster. Others Cotoneasters

    found here include C. horizontalis Wall Cotoneaster , C.

     franchetii Franchet’s Cotoneaster and  C. simonsii   Himalayan

    Cotoneaster. Skirting the metal-railed fence enclosing a

    factory, and descending a slope towards a wet area, we

    passed a colony of Sambucus ebulus  Dwarf Elder on both

    sides of the path whose flowers were just beginning to open,

    and a little further on, we encountered a fine specimen of  Athyrium filix-femina  Lady Fern growing next to a patch of

    Osmunda regalis Royal Fern, another local rarity.

    Time constraints prevented us from exploring the large area

    of open grassland that opened out before us, so reluctantly

    we started to make our way back, pausing briefly to admire more White Mulleins and a small colony of Oenothera

    cambrica  Small-flowered Evening-primrose in a clearing just

    off the main path. As we headed along the top of the bank

    overlooking Fens Pool we could not resist stopping once again

    to admire the colony of Inula conyzae Ploughman’s-spikenard

    growing on the top of the bank overlooking Fens Pool ,  and

    yet another of the many intriguing plants found at this site.

    Besides the plants Fens Pools are rich in other wildlife and

    during our visit I noted Ringlet, Painted Lady, Small

    Tortoiseshell, Meadow Brown, Large Skipper, Large White,

    Common Blue Damselfly and Broad-bodied Chaser.

    Two further visits were made to Fens Pools later in July and

    many more species were added to the list for this site. Our

    record sheets have been submitted to EcoRecord and to John

    Hawksford, the BSBI recorder for Staffordshire and will form

    part of the BSBI database for Atlas 2020 which will provide:  

    Maps for both native and introduced taxa

    Interactive maps able to display frequency and

    distribution at a variety of scales

    Analyses of changes, summarising the state of the

    British and Irish flora in 2020

    Should anyone wish to become more involved with recording

    for Atlas 2020, information on how to do so can be found at

    http://www.bsbi.org.uk/atlas_2020.html 

    Mike Poulton

    Sambucus ebulus Dwarf Elder  

    Osmunda regalis Royal Fern 

    http://www.bsbi.org.uk/atlas_2020.html http://www.bsbi.org.uk/atlas_2020.html http://www.bsbi.org.uk/atlas_2020.html

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