A day around the “healh or valley of Cot(ta)” once again centred around the Willow Tit survey and once again with negative results. We started along the canal and finished with an extensive look at the woodland to the south of the settlement. A few Chiffchaffs and Blackcaps were singing and we found a single plant of Marsh MarigoldCaltha palustris(at the second attempt).
At least part of the plantation woodland is known as Cotgrave Gorse and is shown as such on the 1824-1839 Cassini reprint but other bits have developed naturally from abandoned fields into maturing woodland with some botanical interest in the way of Hard-shield and Soft-shield FernPolystichum aculeatum and Polystichum setiferum, SanicleSanicula europaea and a “scold” of Jays. Also, in addition to the extensive patches of Garden Yellow ArchangelLamiastrum galeobdelon ssp. argentatum there was a small patch of what is presumably ssp. montanum, the native variety.
Next to the old Fosse Way, is an area which has been graced with dumped bales of waste plastic bags and somewhat less disgraceful garden plants including Great Forget-me-notBrunnera macrophylla.
To the west of the Owthorpe road is some more recent woodland, one of which has emerged from an abandoned quarry. Here Dave picked out a single Nonesuch DaffodilNarcissus x incomparabilis …
… and a soon to be flowering European LarchLarix decidua.
Part of the nature reserve is within the tetrad for the Willow Tit survey so we incorporated this with a general nose around without much in the way of new stuff to show for it but there were quite a lot of calling Water Rails. Needless to say, there were no Willow Tits. The area to the west of Blotts is very rich in bryophytes which Dave points out and usually names but so far they have not sunk in. This photo turned out nice but the others can remain on file.
A Little Egret was unusually confiding and the Polypody is still there. Dave says is is Intermediate PolypodyPolypodium interjectum but the circular sori and parallel sides to the leaves point me to Common Polypody.
A new plant for me was Lesser ChickweedStellaria pallida. It is tiny and prostrate, has no petals on its tiny inconspicuous flowers and disappears after its early spring flourish so is understandably thought to be under-recorded. If you can find an open flower they (usually!) only have two stamens which is the only certain way of distinguishing it from Common Chickweed (which occasionally also lacks petals!)
Two Mistle Thrushes stood motionless on a grassy sward, allowing me to approach one of them for a picture.
Mags Crittenden, the county bryophyte recorder held a training session for a handful of people today and here are some of the photos that I took and that I am reasonably confident of the id. I can’t really say anything of interest about them so I’m not going to try.
However, Mags has taken a look and commented thus; The photo of Kindbergia may not be Kindbergia – it’s a real mix of things – typically it’s a little finer – some parts of the moss mixture certainly are Kindbergia but others may be Brachythecium and/or Rhynchostegium??
A cloudy and decidedly chilly start melted into a warm and breezy afternoon in deepest Vale of Belvoir for another day of filling in gaps in the national atlas. Several target species, specifically missing woodland and wetland plants were the order of the day. However the only woodland we could access had a ground storey totally dominated by what my kids call stickyweed (Galium aparine) and the Carr Dyke produced only Fool’s WatercressApium nodiflorumWatercressNasturtium officinale agg. and Water StarwortCalliriche agg.
However, as always with Dave at the helm, there was loads to see and learn and I brushed up on the elms.
The leaves of this hybrid are too small for U. glabra (and the petioles are exposed) and too oblong for U. procera. Also they were slightly rough to the touch. What I can’t describe is thirty odd years of devoted experience that went into the assessment and the indescribable jizz which that allows.
The gall mite Aceria campestricola is to blame for the pimples. It’s an odd name for something that doesn’t seem to turn up on Field Maple Acer campestre but interestingly, it doesn’t seem to occur on Wych Elm either.(Chinery 2011, Britain’s Plant Galls, WildGuides).
Perhaps because of its name Malva neglecta, I make some effort to find Dwarf Mallowas it seems sad that it is neglected. However Dave beat me to it today after much of the day and then we found loads of it about a metre from where we’d parked the car.
Plant of the day was Slender TrefoilTrifolium micranthum in a lawned verge in the village. Here it is with its larger cousin Lesser TrefoilTrifolium dubium.
This ancient tree is a False AcaciaRobinia pseudoacacia in a roadside hedge – very odd!
Hawksworth sewage treatment works is a rotating biological contactor with open access on the occasion of our visit and has quite a rich flora within its compound including Hoary PlantainPlantago media.
One Little Egret a few common butterflies, two Blue Tit nests (one found by a passing South African ornithologist) and a few unidentified flitting moths just about sums up the incidental sightings.