Sunday, 8 February 2015

Merioneth Nats in January 2015

Rumex crispus subsp. littoreus
We all decided at our planning meeting not to meet in January, but as Heather and I both felt like an outing we arranged to meet in Pennal [where there is a great bar and restaurant, The Riverside, for shelter!]  We festered over coffee for ages, and then, as it was still raining, had lunch, before we set out in lovely sunshine to walk down from the village towards the River Dyfi.  Nothing sensational, but we had a good walk between the showers.  One of the more interesting plants was this dock - probably Rumex crispus subsp. littoreus, the seaside subspecies of Curled Dock, with its leathery, slightly glaucous leaves - interesting because we identified very little else to tell us we were in coastal territory.
We also saw a couple of large clumps of Scrophularia auriculata, Water Figwort, with its obtuse, rounded leaves still green and the wings on the stems,  though withered, still very much in evidence. It is strangely uncommon in West Wales, having a south-easterly distribution in Britain.

The tetrad SN79E had no previous records and the hectad [which is only just in Merioneth] had only 39 records so we were pleased to make a good list, adding another 60 species. It  definitely deserves a return visit in the summer: judging by the number of new records for the hectad, that area had never been visited before.

Wednesday, 4 February 2015

January again - sad news!

January again, and with the whole of a busy 2015 to look forward to, our plans have been blighted by the news that we are to lose our wonderful Welsh Officers, Polly and Paul, due to lack of funding.

The Welsh botanical community has always been very active and cohesive and the support of these two has made it so much more so. Their help includes offering support with Mapmate and data input, helping to organise field meetings, gently urging along our Rare Plant Registers, [making Wales potentially the first of the countries to have complete coverage of these] liaising with Local Records Centres and with Natural Resources Wales.  In the field their skills and support have enabled Vice-county recorders to re-find plants recorded long ago and they have carried our further monitoring of rare plant species.  Two such appropriate people for their work would be hard to find - and, on top of all this, they are so nice to work with!

We feel that this decision has been a big mistake and hope that all is not lost even if it has to mean reduced working hours -  we are all lobbying hard for it to be reversed.

Paul in Committee

Polly in the field