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 Marigold Caltha palustris (at the second attempt).

Photo of Chiffchaff
Photo of Marsh Marigold
Marsh Marigold with Josse’s Lock beyond

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 Fern Polystichum aculeatum and Polystichum setiferumSanicle Sanicula europaea and a “scold” of Jays. Also, in addition to the extensive patches of Garden Yellow Archangel Lamiastrum 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-not Brunnera macrophylla.

Photo of Great Forget-me-not
Great Forget-me-not

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 Daffodil Narcissus x incomparabilis …

Photo of Nonesuch Daffodil
Nonesuch Daffodil

… and a soon to be flowering European Larch Larix decidua.

Photo of European Larch
Larix 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.

Photo of Pseudoscleropodium purum
Pseudoscleropodium purum
Photo of Little Egret
Little Egret

Little Egret was unusually confiding and the Polypody is still there. Dave says is is Intermediate Polypody Polypodium interjectum but the circular sori and parallel sides to the leaves point me to Common Polypody.

Photo of Intermediate Polypody
Intermediate Polypody

A new plant for me was Lesser Chickweed Stellaria 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!)

Photo of Lesser Chickweed
Lesser Chickweed

Two Mistle Thrushes stood motionless on a grassy sward, allowing me to approach one of them for a picture.

Photo of Mistle Thrush
Mistle Thrush



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??

Photo of Aulocomnium androgynum
Aulocomnium androgynum
Photo of Brachythecium rutabulum
Brachythecium rutabulum
Photo of Kindbergia praelonga
Kindbergia praelonga
Photo of Metzgeria furcata
Metzgeria furcata
Photo of Mnium hornum
Mnium hornum
Photo of Orthotrichum diaphanum
Orthotrichum diaphanum
Photo of Orthodontium lineare
Orthodontium lineare
Photo of Orthotrichum affine
Orthotrichum affine
Photo of Syntrichia sp.
Syntrichia sp.



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 Watercress Apium nodiflorum Watercress Nasturtium officinale agg. and Water Starwort Calliriche agg.

However, as always with Dave at the helm, there was loads to see and learn and I brushed up on the elms.

Photo of Ulmus glabra x minor
Ulmus glabra x minor

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 Mallow as 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.

Photo of Dwarf Mallow
Dwarf Mallow

Plant of the day was Slender Trefoil Trifolium micranthum in a lawned verge in the village. Here it is with its larger cousin Lesser Trefoil Trifolium dubium.

Photo of Slender and Lesser Trefoil
Slender Trefoil on the left with Lesser Trefoil

This ancient tree is a False Acacia Robinia pseudoacacia in a roadside hedge – very odd!

Photo of Robinia pseudoacacia
False Acacia

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 Plantain Plantago media.

Photo of Hoary Plantain
Hoary Plantain

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.