Saturday, April 18, 2015

Skylarks and Vipers Bugloss

Meaux Road , Routh ER
Cyling through the lanes around Sutton in Holderness with my school friend Christine Addinell over 50 years ago I remember the first Wild Flower I could not identify at all not even its  family . 
I remember just where it was, in the hedge, just before Routh Church (brass rubbing expedition) and could not wait to look it up .
Experience now tells me that it was probably a garden escape, but it was there in my book nevertheless Echium vulgare (oka Vipers Bugloss). 

I still use my childhood flora, though have had to progress to Roses 'Wildflower Key' , and Staces 'New Flora of the British Isles' after my serious Botany courses :still intuitive identification , though not scientific , rarely fails me as long as I have plenty of info to back it up. Years and years as the daughter of a fisherman  led to a childhood of sitting still by river banks; Derwent,  Hull , Bain, Cover and Ure with nothing to do but watch and listen . My sisters and I learned to recognise Mayflies, Stone flies ,Damsel flies and the like so that we could tell our father what fly to use.

It sounds idyllic but it wasn't always, sometimes it was just boring. I probably became a reader at that time too. I soon learned to name all the plant life , loved fungi  and lichens as well as the vascular plants  and started my own collection of Wildflowers pressing and drying and displaying in accordance with Instruction for Collectors PLANTS  (British Museum ,Natural History 6th Edition).
So  I nearly threw away all the Rowling Herbarium when we moved back to the cottage from Kiaora , but I started again and have for the past 5 years been enjoying monitoring for Plantlife  on KM Square OS TA1081and collecting again . I look again at the specimans collected as a child , and remember the river banks!

This year Plantlife and the BSBI *have moved on in the National Plant Monitoring Scheme , a more scientific and rigorous Survey has just launched . My allocated KM GRID square has changed to OS TA1281, and so now I have the opportunity to monitor some different habitats including  Maritime cliff tops and slopes

 I joined FBOG (Filey Bird Observatory and Group) last year. I'm not a dedicated birder but their latest Bird Report makes it quite clear that the study and understanding of the flora of the Filey Area (and beyond ,DG) is integral to the wider picture of what is now called Filey Nature**. I have member benefits now , and can have access to Rocket Pole Field for my survey so will be introduced to the protocol by Jack Whitehead next week. Sue Hull tells me that a wildflower patch has been sown there and is keen for that to be monitored .

Burton Agnes E .pininana 08
The child who learned to watch Skylarks and spot Yellowhammers down East Carr Lane every Sunday, and at 15 found her first Echium is now aiming for the National Collection . Not really, but am thrilled to be expecting a good inflorescence on my allotment of Echium pininana which , is safely through the winter. 

*Botanical Society of the British Isles ** Yahoo Group .

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