New Year Plant Hunt 2017

From the first to the fourth of January I have been taking part in the New Year Plant Hunt (NYPH), an initiative by the Botanical Society of Britain and Ireland (BSBI) to get people out recording during the first four days of the New Year to see what’s in flower between Ireland and Britain.

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Glenveagh National Park, Co. Donegal – Oisín Duffy

As is normal for all my adventures in biological recording (and everything really) I was joined by the wonderful Mairéad Crawford (the other Vice-County Recorder for East Donegal). This was my third year participating in the NYPH, having recorded in Donegal, Tyrone, Derry and Armagh in previous years.


The first plant I recorded in 2017 and the first of the New Year Plant Hunt, White Clover (Trifolium repens) taken just after midnight – Oisín Duffy

My first botanical interaction of 2017 came just after midnight when I recorded a rather beautiful White Clover (Trifolium repens) which was growing relatively near my house. I was informed that for the third year in a row I had logged the first record of the NYPH event. Darkness and extremely wet ground dissuaded me from pushing my luck any further. The next morning was rather bright and chilly (a common occurrence in Donegal) and we decided to record along both of our local areas (particular around Argery and Raphoe). With one plant down on the list, it wasn’t long before we started seeing an abundance of Dandelions (Taraxacum), Daisy (Bellis perennis) and the lovely grass Poa annua. These species repeated on the list for quite a while and quite a while of time was spent looking for Ivy in flower, the majority of which had gone to berry. Eventually after walking a stretch of road, we came across a few extremely tatty Ivy (Hedera helix) flowers.


Gorse (Ulex europaeus) was one of the great constants throughout the plant hunt – Oisín Duffy

Gorse (Ulex europaeus) was another reliable plant and was in flower throughout the local area. Disturbed ground near the entrance of fields, gates and houses had great numbers of daisies and also one new species for the list Groundsel (Senecio vulgaris). While recording around Raphoe Town and the nearby environs of Mongorry we came across, a rather tattered Meadow Buttercup (Ranunculus acris), Lolium perenne and the much maligned Ragwort (Senecio jacobaea).


Views from Mongorry – Oisín Duffy

The last stop on our first day of the plant hunt was to check out a site for White Butterbur (Petasites albus), which doesn’t appear to be all that common and seems to be confined to Ulster within Ireland. We found numerous plants, but only a few were actually in flower, but I’d imagine it will be an impressive display in a short time.


Ivy-Leaved Toadflax (Cymbalaria muralis) still in flower in Convoy, Co. Donegal – Oisín Duffy.

On the way back to the car we noticed Lesser Celandine (Ficaria verna) in flower and many others not far off it and while checking nearby stonewalls, we spotted Ivy-Leaved Toadflax (Cymbalaria muralis) which had numerous flowers (not all of which were in good shape, but it was certainly nice to have a little bit of colour for the end of the day).


Our starting point on Day two of the New Year Plant Hunt – Oisín Duffy

Day two seen us travelling further North, we again set off after 12:00 as the mornings were quite frosty and road conditions less than favourable. Our first stop for the day was Inch Wildfowl Reserve, a beautiful part of the county and a favoured spot for birdwatchers. While the bird life, views and weather was gorgeous, there was very little in flower and the usual suspects were recorded (Daisy, Dandelion, Poa annua and Ivy). One thing which was found in numerous parts of the county (but we didn’t get recording at every location) was Winter Heliotrope (Petasites fragrans). This non-native plant has a tendency to carpet the ground with its large horseshoe-shaped leaves and sweet smelling flowers (the scent is something similar to vanilla or aniseed). This was taking up patches of roadsides through from Raphoe all the way to Buncrana and can outcompete or block other native plants from growing in that area.


Just before setting off around Swan Park – Oisín Duffy

Even though the temperatures were barely above 6 degrees, it felt like great weather, refreshing breezes and plenty of sunshine, the only thing that was missing was flowering plants. With this in mind we decided to take a trip to Swan Park in Buncrana. The park which has a nice range of mini habitats also has the beautiful Crana River running through it, which on this occasion looked more like glass or silk than water.


More glorious weather at Swan Park, but unfortunately not much in flower – Oisín Duffy

Before finishing for the evening we paid a visit to the amazing hillfort of Grianan of Aileach. While there was virtually nothing in flower here the views over the surrounding countryside were spectacular and well worth the visit if you happen to find yourself in the area.


Grianan of Aileach, Co. Donegal – Oisín Duffy

Even though the walks and weather was glorious, we hadn’t much luck in finding any new species. So we enjoyed the rest of the January sunshine and made our way back home with the hope that tomorrow would once again be more fruitful.


Amazing views from Grianan of Aileach – Oisín Duffy

Day three seen us going West and into the neighbouring Vice-County of West Donegal (H35), where Glenveagh National Park was the main target for the day. We arrived just in time for light showers of rain but a rather peaceful park. The remnants of many gone over plants dotted the sides of paths and long grass, but once again we were spotting very little in flower.


Glenveagh National Park, Co. Donegal – Oisín Duffy

Beautiful purple buds of Alder added colour to a somewhat grey day, but before long the sun was battling against the grey clouds and putting up a valiant fight against the rain. More of the usual suspects again, with only one new species to the list being Creeping Buttercup (Ranunculus repens). Even though the views were stunning the lack of plants and incoming heavy rain persuaded us to try elsewhere for additional flowering plants.


Donegal Roads, plenty of miles where put in travelling from site to site, not that it did much for our species list – Oisín Duffy

Ards Friary was the next location on our journey and while once again the views and scenery were amazing we actually managed to find a few extra species to add to our list.


Ards Friary, Co. Donegal – Oisín Duffy

We managed to come across Cock’s Foot (Dactylis glomerata) in amazingly good condition, reminiscent of plants we seen during the Summer while surveying. The dainty Petty Spurge (Euphorbia peplus) was also recorded as well as Nipplewort (Lapsana communis). Unfortunately with another setting sun, we made tracks back home to plan for the final day of recording of the New Year Plant Hunt.


Setting Sun at Ards Friary – Oisín Duffy

If you’ve made it this far you’ll have noticed that we had a day’s recording in the East, West and North Donegal, so there’s no prize for guessing where we decided to spend day four of the plant hunt and that was in South Donegal. One of favourite spots (and location of our BSBI field-outing this year) is Murvagh, a beautiful and diverse coastal habitat with quite a few rarities.


Nice weather and plants, just not that many in flower – Oisín Duffy

Murvagh is generally a treat to anyone interested in nature, but unfortunately for us, very little was in flower. We did however see a few “gone over good finds” which captured our attention for quite a while.


Round-Leaved Wintergreen (Pyrola rotundifolia ssp. maritima) – Oisín Duffy

This was really the common trend of the four days, only the hardiest of plants where still about and flowering, a series of hard frosts in mid/late December finished off a number of plants which I had recorded in late November.


Skies above Murvagh just before – Oisín Duffy

However we still managed to record 18 species over the 4 days (not the best total in world) but for being at the North-Western limit of the New Year Plant Hunt and to have bad frosts and rather cold conditions, it wasn’t that bad and of course the main thing was that we had immense fun, travelling our home county, seeing amazing scenery, shaking off any botanical recording rust that set in over the Winter period and I can’t think of too many better ways to spend the first four days of the New Year than being in and recording nature with Mairéad.

Below is the full list of plants which we recorded over the four days:

White Clover (Trifolium repens) – 1st of the New Year Plant Hunt
Ivy (Hedera helix)
Daisy (Bellis perennis)
Dandelion (Taraxacum agg.)
Gorse (Ulex europaeus)
Groundsel (Senecio vulgaris)
Annual Meadow Grass (Poa annua)
Ragwort (Senecio jacobaea)
Meadow Buttercup (Ranunculus acris)
Perennial Rye Grass (Lolium perenne)
Winter Heliotrope (Petasites fragrans)
White Butterbur (Petasites albus)
Lesser Celandine (Ficaria verna)
Ivy-Leaved Toadflax (Cymbalaria muralis)
Hazel (Corylus avellana)
Creeping Buttercup (Ranunculus repens)
Cock’s Foot (Dactylis glomerata)
Petty Spurge (Euphorbia peplus)
Nipplewort (Lapsana communis)

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BSBI South Donegal – Outing

South Donegal Field Meeting – East Donegal (H34)

A two day field-outing was held in the southern half of the East Donegal (H34) vice county over the 6th-7th of August. The aim of this field-outing was to collect records for Atlas 2020 and to also showcase some of the botanical rarities of H34. The weather was mixed over the weekend, with warm temperatures on the Saturday to a very windy morning on the Sunday. In fact the weather deteriorated so quickly on Sunday that we ended up cancelling the second part of the day.

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Murvagh, Co. Donegal

On Saturday the 6th a group of 11 recorders set out to the botanical hotspot of Murvagh (GRID REF). We had not left the car park more than five minutes before coming across the first rarity of the day Pyrola rotundifolia ssp. maritima (Round-leaved Wintergreen) a sub-species which is only found in two locations in the country, Murvagh in Co. Donegal and the Raven in Co. Wexford.

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Pyrola rotundifolia ssp. maritima (Round-leave Wintergreen)

The first hollow to be investigated turned up other interesting plants, Parnassia palustris (Grass-of-Parnassus) was a common sight, while Epipactis palustris (Marsh Helleborine) and Epipactis helleborine (Broad-leaved Helleborine) were also quite frequent.

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Parnassia palustris (Grass-of-Parnassus)
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Epipactis palustris (Marsh Helleborine)
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Epipactis helleborine (Broad-leaved Helleborine)

We travelled along the path passing swathes of Campanula rotundifolia (Harebell), Galium verum (Lady’s Bedstraw), Linum catharticum (Fairy Flax) and of course Euphrasia (Eyebright sp.).

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Noticed these quite cute little 6-spot Burnet Moths sharing a Harebell between them

In fact Mairéad and myself managed to take some samples of the Euphrasias found at Murvagh for keying out and confirmation at workshop with BSBI Eyebright referee Chris Metherell later in the year.

The next area we reach had equally nice species, at this stage Parnassia palustris and Epipactis helleborine were no longer captivating the crowds, however it wasn’t long till we came across Ophioglossum vulgatum (Adder’s Tongue) a prostrate form of Equisetum variegatum (Variegated Horsetail) and Monotropa hypopitys (Yellow Bird’s-Nest).

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Ophioglossum vulgatum (Adder’s Tongue)
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Equisetum variegatum (Variegated Horsetail)
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Monotropa hypopitys (Yellow Bird’s-Nest)

Myself and Mairéad had come across the Ophioglossum at the site before, but it was our first time seeing the Monotropa and I think a first time for many in attendance. After these major finds were awed at, we set about filling out the rest of the card.

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Botanists taking a closer look at a plant

Next on our recording itinerary was Turloughs even further South in the country near Ballyshannon. We came across a host of wetland species such as Veronica anagallis-aquatica (Blue Water-Speedwell), Triglochin palustre (Marsh Arrowgrass) and Comarum palustre (Marsh cinquefoil) but our next Turlough visit was halted by cattle. Diverted but not deterred we decided to record along an old laneway which led to an abandoned house. We found a number of interesting plants at this location, including two Alchemillas (Lady’s Mantle), Alchemilla xanthochlora and Alchemilla filicaulis subsp. vestita. We also recorded Anacamptis pyramidalis (Pyradmidal Orchid) Polygonum arenastrum (Equal-Leaved Knotgrass) and Epipactis helleborine (Broad-Leaved Helleborine) which only reinforced the point further in my head that you do not need to be somewhere that looks interesting to find things of interest.

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Botanists getting ready for another day of recording.

On Sunday the 7th we headed for one of Donegal’s best known beaches, Rossnowlagh. Rossnowlagh is also well known for its strong winds, and while this was good for the many kite surfers in attendance it kicked up quite a bit of a sandstorm for wide eyed botanists. As with many of the BSBI trips that I’ve been on the rather uninspiring carpark turned out to be of some interest and a nice amount of time was spent scouring its perimeter. This proved to be very useful as within two minutes of recording we came across Erodium cicutarium (Common Stork’s-Bill), Saponaria officinalis (Soapwort) and the minute Sherardia arvensis (Field Madder) Once the car park had be suitably recorded we headed along the beach to our intended grassland site.

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Erodium cicutarium (Common Stork’s-Bill)
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Sherardia  arvensis (Field Madder)

The grassland site we recorded within was relatively small, it had hordes of Lotus pedunculatus (Greater Bird’s-foot Trefoil), with even a small number of very hardy Bumblebees out feeding and Potentilla anserina (Silverweed). The strong winds created an ever changing picture of green and silver between the two plant species.

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Beautiful scenes at a rough and windy Rossnowlagh

We finished up our recording for the day in a wet grassland sites and were able to add a few new species to our list, the most interesting being Baldellia ranunculoides (Lesser Water-Plantain), Potamogeton polygonifolius (Bog Pondweed) and Samolus valerandi (Brookweed).

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Botanists showing the interesting species which can be found in a car park!

Unfortunately that was the last site that we managed to visit on the Sunday, due to an oncoming deluge. However over the one and a half days, we managed to gather a total of 432 records for Atlas 2020.

New Year Plant Hunt – Armagh

It’s that time of year again to dust off the wet gear and boots and head out searching for plants. The New Year Plant Hunt is a recording initiative run by the Botanical Society of Britain and Ireland (BSBI) with an aim to record any plants which are in flower from the 1st -4th of January.

You can read up about my first day of fun, botanising in my home area of Donegal . The next trip on the list took myself and Mairéad across the border and into (eventually) Co. Armagh, where we would join up with BSBI President John Faulkner. We had great local knowledge on hand from those who turned up and learned some interesting facts about the sites we visited.

First on the list was the very wet Victoria Lock, most of the cars we met on this road were straddling the white line as the roads were quite flooded. When the recording started it was quite mild, very calm and not even raining, as can be seen by the picture below along the Newry canal.

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One of those images you could have upside down and not many would notice – Oisín Duffy

Hedgerows, cracks in pavement and small bits of disturbed ground where fencing had been put up were the best places to look in this location. The list for the area went as follows –

  • Annual Meadow Grass (Poa annua)
  • Groundsel (Senecio vulgaris)
  • Herb Robert (Geranium robertianum)
  • Bramble (Rubus fruiticosus agg)
  • Ragwort (Senecio jacobaea)
  • Nipplewort (Lapsana communis)
  • Gorse (Ulex europaeus)
  • Creeping Buttercup (Ranunculus repens)
  • Yarrow (Achillea millefolium)
  • Bush Vetch (Vicia sepium)
  • Wavy Bittercress (Cardamine flexuosa)
  • Shepherd’s Purse (Capsella bursa-pastoris)
  • Dandelion (Taraxacum agg)
  • Daisy (Bellis perennis)
  • Lesser Swine-cress (Coronopus didymus)
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BSBI President John Faulkner (with hand lens) – showing the group Lesser Swine-cress (Coronopus didymus) – Oisín Duffy

The next area on our list was a woodland site at Daisy Hill, it was here that we finally managed to get Ivy (Hedera helix) marked off the list. In Victoria Lock it had all gone over, but here there was still some nice displays of flowers.

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Ivy (Hedera helix) – Oisín Duffy

One of the highlights of the day (at least for me) was Green Alkanet (Pentaglottis sempervirens), it was the first I had come across the species and it was quite a pretty little plant.

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Green Alkanet (Pentaglottis sempervirens) – Oisín Duffy

The list for Daisy Hill ended up like this –

  • Herb Robert (Geranium robertianum)
  • Annual Meadow Grass (Poa annua)
  • Groundsel (Senecio vulgaris)
  • Bramble (Rubus fruiticosus agg)
  • Ragwort (Senecio jacobaea)
  • Nipplewort (Lapsana communis)
  • Wavy Bittercress (Cardamine flexuosa)
  • Gorse (Ulex europaeus)
  • Creeping Buttercup (Ranunculus repens)
  • Dandelion (Taraxacum agg)
  • Laurel
  • Cotoneaster sp
  • Holly (Ilex aquifolium)
  • Lesser celandine (Ficaria verna)
  • Bush Vetch (Vicia sepium)
  • Broom (Cytisus scoparius)
  • Green Alkanet (Pentaglottis sempervirens)
  • Wild Turnip (Brassica rapa)
  • Smooth Hawksbeard (Crepis capillaris)
  • Lesser stitchwort (Stellaria graminea)
  • Ivy (Hedera helix)
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Bramble (Rubus fruiticosus agg.) – In flower at Daisy Hill – Oisín Duffy

Derrymore House added Yorkshire Fog (Holcus lanatus) to the list, while the beautiful Camlough added another 4 species, 3 grasses, Cock’s foot (Dactylis glomerata) Perennial Rye Grass (Lolium perenne) and Italian Rye Grass (Lolium multiflorum) and one flower Pineappleweed (Matricaria discoidea).

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The beautifully calm Camlough, Co. Armagh – Oisín Duffy
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Some of the group looking at the differences between the two loliums. – Oisín Duffy
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Italian Rye Grass (Lolium multiflorum) – Oisín Duffy

While on the way to finish the evening at Slieve Gullion we stopped for a few moments at an old quarry. This turned out to be a great decision as we added Bell Heather (Erica cinerea), Western Gorse (Ulex gallii), Soft Rush (Juncus effusus) and one of my other favourites of the day Scentless Mayweed (Tripleurospermum inodorum).

While the Mayweed may have been scentless, the area certainly wasn’t as there was a group of feral goats clambering up the steep slopes.

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The quarry goats (doesn’t sound like a bad name for a band actually) – Oisín Duffy

We ended the day, slightly wet but extremely happy that we managed to record 38 plants in flower throughout the 3 hours of recording. It was great to do some cross border botany, especially in a county where I haven’t spent a great amount of time. Looking forward to revisiting some of these sites during the year if time allows.

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Some of the crowd from the our day botanising in Armagh. Myself (Centre and grinning manically) Therese from the Ring of Gullion (to my right) Mairéad (2nd from right) and BSBI President John Faulkner (far right).

I may get another post out during the week for any other plants myself and Mairéad record on the 4th (weather permitting).

Again, you can keep up to date with all my latest botanical finds by following me on twitter @OshDuffy

 

New Year Plant Hunt 2016 – Donegal

It’s that time of year again to dust off the wet gear and boots and head out searching for plants. The New Year Plant Hunt is a recording initiative run by the Botanical Society of Britain and Ireland (BSBI) with an aim to record any plants which are in flower from the 1st -4th of January.

In 2015 I recorded the first plant of the year, a Daisy (Bellis perennis) just before 1 o’ clock in the morning. This year I managed to be even quicker off the mark (with the help of my recording partner Mairéad) by recording Bush Vetch (Vicia sepium) and White Clover (Trifolium repens) just after the clock struck midnight!

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Bush Vetch (Vicia sepium) photographed just after midnight – Oisín Duffy
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White Clover (Trifolium repens)  also photographed just after midnight- Oisín Duffy

The next morning myself and Mairéad set out around my local area – Argary, to find what was in flower. I had done a quick reccy of the circuit the week before so I knew exactly where to look for most of the species, which meant I could keep my eyes peeled for new species. The weather in Donegal (as with the rest of the country) has been incredibly wet and windy and a few of the plants which I had noted from the week before didn’t survive the storms. Daisy (Bellis perennis), Ivy (Hedera helix) and Herb-Robert (Geranium robertianum) were some of the first species on our list. Both Daisy and Herb-Robert are usual suspects for the plant hunt as they seem to happily grow throughout the entire year. Much of the Ivy had gone over, but some pockets of flowers remained and I’m sure the pollinators of the area appreciated it during the Winter. A very fresh looking Hogweed (Heracleum sphondylium) was next on the list and wasn’t far away from a rather sorry and battered looking Nipplewort (Lapsana communis).

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Ivy (Hedera helix) – Oisín Duffy

One of the surprises of the day was Red Campion (Silene dioica) and this was only found in one location throughout the whole day, in fact there was only 1 flower still hanging on.

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Red Campion (Silene dioica) – Oisín Duffy
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Bush Vetch (Vicia sepium) – Flowering beautifully along Ardnasool Lane – Oisín Duffy

Bush Vetch (Vicia sepium) was in flower throughout most of the area, along with some other usual suspects, Ragwort (Senecio jacobaea), Groundsel (Senecio vulgaris), Gorse (Ulex europaeus), Annual Meadow Grass (Poa annua) and Dandelion (Taraxacum agg.), while others only occurred in one spot throughout the area Bird’s-foot-trefoil (Lotus corniculatus) Bramble (Rubus fruiticosus agg.) and White Clover (Trifolium repens).

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A rather sad looking Bramble (Rubus fruiticosus agg.) – Oisín Duffy

Overall the amount of species was fairly good as many of the hedges had been cut in previous weeks and being the most North-West county also doesn’t give you any great advantages!

The complete and compiled list for the area looks like this –

Annual Meadow Grass (Poa annua)
Bird’s-foot-trefoil (Lotus corniculatus)
Bramble (Rubus fruiticosus agg)
Bush Vetch (Vicia sepium)
Cock’s Foot (Dactylis glomerata)
Daisy (Bellis perennis)
Dandelion (Taraxacum agg)
Gorse (Ulex europaeus)
Groundsel (Senecio vulgaris)
Herb Robert (Geranium robertianum)
Hogweed (Heracleum sphondylium)
Ivy (Hedera helix)
Nipplewort (Lapsana communis)
Ragwort (Senecio jacobaea)
Red Campion (Silene dioica)
White Clover (Trifolium repens)

I’ll be following this up with a piece about our day recording in Co. Armagh with the BSBI president John Faulkner.

To keep up to date with any other find during the New Year Plant Hunt you can follow me @OshDuffy

Year in Review 2015

Overall, 2015 has been a relatively good year for myself. The same can’t really be said for many of the things I spend my time looking for while I’m out and about. I’ve decided to write this “Year in Review” for myself to look back on and of course for any of my interested followers on Twitter and elsewhere, it’ll include the activities I’ve been taking part in, species I’ve come across and other bits of relevant natural world information.

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How I started off this year, out looking for plants in East Donegal

I’ll start where every good year (and the bad ones) starts, in January.

It didn’t take me very long to get back into the natural world in 2015, in fact it took less than an hour as I was the first person to a record a plant for the Botanical Society of Britain and Ireland (BSBI) in their New Year Plant Hunt (NYPH). The plant was a daisy (Bellis perennis) and the time was 00:53, not a bad way to start the year. The next few days were spent testing out my new camera (which I had just received over Christmas) and looking for plants which were in flower. On the 3rd of January I was accompanied in this mission by botanical mentor (a mentor to me in all things within the natural world) and friend Ralph Sheppard (BSBI VCR H35). We visited a number of sites, which you can read about here. On the 4th I spent the day again searching for plants, this time however with my family, even to the point that I was making notes of what was flowering in urban areas when stopped at traffic lights, in fact I really didn’t switch off looking for things in flower until the day after. Apart from the botanising early on and a small bit of birdwatching, January was relatively quiet.

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Daisy (Bellis perennis) the first plant I recorded in 2015.

February was also quite a quiet month, but a great time to get up close and personal with trees. At that time of year, when there is still relatively little about you can learn off how to identify trees by their twigs and buds. Many of the common species have quite distinctive buds which makes identification easy. Ash (Fraxinus excelsior) with its beckoning black buds, Sycamore (Acer pseudoplatanus) with its distinct green and of course Horse Chestnut (Aesculus hippocastanum) with it’s large, red-brown sticky ones [All pictured below].  Mosses and lichens are also quite interesting to study in the first few months of the year and are groups which I am constantly willing myself to get into.

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Horse Chestnut (Aesculus hippocastanum)

March is when things start properly kicking off again. The usual suspects start flowering and suddenly there is life and colour in a lot more places. Roadside verges and even wasteground came to life with yellow from Colts-foot and Lesser Celandine. Mosses along the woodland floor were joined by Golden Opposite Leaved Saxifrage. Queen bumblebees started to emerge in earnest with many Buff-tailed and White-tailed Bumblebee feeding and collecting provisions for their nests. I noticed a nice amount of these queens visiting the heather near my home back in Donegal.

By April I was properly back into the swing of things, the camera never leaving my side and lots of common and familiar plants coming back into flower. Butterflies, bees, wasp and ladybirds were also all seen on a regular basis. It’s quite fascinating to record all the species you observe especially noting firsts of the year, as there can be a great deal of fluctuation and it’s something I’m hoping to pay more attention to in the coming year. Willow and dandelions were still the real stars of the show when it came to finding bumblebees feeding. In fact by April we already had a county first for Waterford in the form of the Mountain Bumblebee (Bombus monticola). The bee has a restricted range in Ireland and is only found in a few counties, so finding it in Waterford (it’s most southern record to date) and away from its usual habitat was quite unusual.

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Mountain Bumblebee (Bombus monticola)

This was also the month when myself and my partner (in everything) Mairéad were asked to talk at the BSBI Irish members conference about our experiences recording in East Donegal (H34) and any challenges we had faced in the previous months. The talk appeared to be a success and we were approached by a number of people who said that we perfectly summed how they felt about the daunting task of entering the field of recording. When putting together our talk, it was nice to reflect on how much we had both progressed during the last few years. For myself this went from virtually knowing only the most basic plants to becoming way too excited about identifying orchid hybrids (August). I also got to showcase a collection of my photos at the BSBI conference, but unfortunately I didn’t think to take any photos on the day of the display, but thankfully I did take this shot before we left.

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A selection of my photos that were on display at the BSBI Irish Members Conference
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One of the real stars of April, the humble yet often maligned Dandelion (Taraxacum agg) an excellent food source for bumblebees near the start of the year when there’s not much else in flower.

By the time May came around I was already adding to my species list and had also visited another of Ireland’s National Parks – Glendalough.

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Glendalough National Park, Co. Wicklow

The Holly Blue butterfly which had eluded me the previous year was now a common sight and there was tonnes of activity from some of the more common species.

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Holly Blue Butterfly

I have to admit during May there aren’t too many Cuckoo Flowers/Lady’s Smocks that I don’t check for Orange-Tip eggs. The tiny orange egg is laid just beneath the flower and is an absolutely amazing sight, from there you really get the idea of nature being cyclical. On one such occasion while botanising in my home area I noticed a gathering of about 8 orange-tips, male and female fluttering together, landing on their foodplant in the wet grassland, just low enough to be obscured by the surrounding vegetation. Roughly a half hour later I noticed one just between a track and ditch in a conifer plantation.

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Orange-Tip egg on Cuckoo Flower (Cardamine pratensis)

This nosey little hoverfly (Rhingia campestris) was also there, getting his fix!

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Myself and Mairéad started filling in a few recording gaps around our home areas a mix of small town and countryside mostly dominated by agriculture.

June was a great for recording, but perhaps the highlight of the month was the BSBI Annual Summer Meeting which was based out of Coleraine this year and visited sites in counties Antrim and Derry. You can read my full account of the weekend of recording here and here . To sum it up briefly though, it was a fantastic weekend of field-outings to Garry Bog and White Park Bay in Co. Antrim and the Umbra and Binevenagh in Co. Derry. I recorded some, actually many new species that weekend and visited parts of the country I hadn’t been properly in for quite some time.

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Binevenagh

July was marked by many trips over to one of my favourite places for recording, the Raven Nature Reserve, Co. Wexford. The Raven is located along the south east coast of Ireland and is a great spot to see some nice species. It has a mix of habitats, from dunes to woodland and you’d be hard pressed not to find something interesting.

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Path through a back section of the Raven, Co. Wexford

 

 

On our first visit there it took us about 45 minutes to make it more than 200m into the reserve, as the butterfly numbers were out in force. The Raven is known for being a stronghold for some of the rarer species of butterfly found in Ireland. The site often turns up the beautiful Moss carder bee (Bombus muscorum), which feeds very happily on the large amounts of Kidney vetch (Anthyllis vulneraria) which brings me to the small blue butterfly.

The small blue really lives up to its name, being the smallest butterfly in Ireland, although I’d consider it more of a grey colour than the true blue of the holly or common blue. Perhaps my favourite find from there this year was a solitary bee (Megachile willughbiella) a group which I hope to delve further into next year.

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 Megachile willughbiella

August similarly to June was great for recording, but again a BSBI event turned out to be the highlight of the month. Similarly you can read my account of the weekend of recording in Inishowen here. Again, to sum it up briefly, we tackled a number of areas in Inishowen (which is located in North Donegal) as these were either lacking recording or had an interesting old recording attached to the sites, so our hopes were to re-find some unusual species and bulk up squares for Atlas 2020. The weekend was a great success and the highlight came on the last day when Purple Saxifrage (Saxifraga oppositifolia) was re-found at Glengad Head. It had been last found in that area by Hart (Flora of Donegal) over 100 years ago.

The rest of my time in August was spent surveying Daubenton’s bat for Bat Conservation Ireland, between Donegal and Waterford. It was also the last trip we had to do for the Car Bat survey, which involves driving around a pre-selected route while a time expansion detector is mounted to the rear passenger window. It was great fun and now only did we find bats but also, foxes, owls and deer.

September was off to a great start as we joined VCR for Westmeath Con Breen on an outing near Streamstown.

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Potamogeton coloratus

We got to see a nice variety of habitats and some unusual species, including a paper algal area surrounding a lake which was truly fascinating.

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Paper Algae

As with all the BSBI trips I’ve been on, I usually come across a few new species and this was no different. These were some of the highlights of the trip.

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Zigzag Clover (Trifolium medium)
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Small Toadflax (Chaenorhinum minus)

The BSBI AGM was also this month and had some very interesting talks from a number of records and botanists, topics included Praegar and Alien Species to look out for when recording for Atlas 2020. Perhaps the highlight of this month was partaking for the second year running in the Intervarsity BioBlitz and recording for NUI Galway. The BioBlitz was a success for NUIG again and they retained their title thanks to a great effort by all recorders. These events are a great chance to branch into other fields natural history and I ended recording plants/inverts/birds/rusts and galls/mammals and basically anything else I could see that didn’t take more than 24hrs to identify.

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Menlo Castle, across the River Corrib from the NUIG campus

By October things were starting to cool down, in terms of recording anyway! A number of hardy plants continued to flower even though the temperatures were well below double figures. Myself and Mairéad continued to teach the next generation about plants and animals and everything in between. This was also the last month that I recorded any bumblebees, generally I’ve been lucky with finding them feeding during the winter in more urban areas, but not no avail this year! I was however pleasantly surprised as one day I finally got a chance to properly photograph a butterfly species which had escaped by camera for quite a while, the Comma. Spending time down at Woodstown Strand with Mairéad and the Comma was definitely the highlight of that month

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Comma Butterfly
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Comma Butterfly

There’s nothing quite as relaxing and good for the health as losing yourself in Nature.

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The Comma and I

November was a relatively quiet, botanical recording at this time of year can be quite fun, just to observe what is in flower, but it generally gets low yields, compared to earlier in the year. This month was spent mainly birdwatching, assisting in counts in Donegal and carrying out vantage point surveys.

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Birdwatching in Donegal

I’m still relatively new to birdwatching but have thoroughly enjoyed it every time I’ve been out. It can be quite a relaxing experience to sit on the top of a hill while keeping watch for any and all birds, of course it’s much more of a positive experience when there’s not hail, sleet and snow coming at you from every direction, which is exactly what happened to me on a few occasions.

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Every layer of clothing and waterproofing was needed during the surveys!

The highlight of this month though had to be the release of the latest identification guide by the National Biodiversity Data Centre on the Trees and Shrubs of Ireland. I had been working on this project throughout the year gathering photographs and developing keys and so I was delighted to see my name listed as “Photographer and Co-Author”. The finished product looks amazing and if you want to see for yourself why not check it out here

TreeSwatchCover

December is always an odd time, there’s a slow feel to the month, as the days are so short, but there’s also a busy atmosphere as people are trying to get projects finished before the end of the year. As I’m writing this, we’re into mid-December and I’m starting to look forward to a few events which are already marked in my calendar for the coming year. First thing on the agenda is the BSBI New Year Plant Hunt and this year I’ll even be leaving the confines of my home county to lead a walk with Mairéad and new BSBI President John Faulker in his county of Armagh. More information about this can be found here  it’s promising to be a great few hours of recording so please do come along if you’re interested, hopefully the weather will behave itself!

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View from Slieve Gullion: Overlooking the Ring of Gullion AONB

If the weather is acting nicely at the start of the year then I may also take a trip into West Donegal, Derry and Tyrone! There’s BSBI workshops/conferences and field outings all to look forward to also and I’m particularly looking forward to hosting a trip to south Donegal with Mairéad in August of 2016!

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Murvagh, Co. Donegal should be one of the highlights of our botanical outing in 2016

Other highlights for next year include the return of Ireland’s BioBlitz which for 2016 is focusing its efforts on islands off the coast of mainland Ireland. There’s also a number of recording schemes which will obviously be starting back up again in Spring, along with I imagine a great selection of workshops by the National Biodiversity Data Centre. December may be a dark month, but the future is look very bright and I for one am looking forward to another year spent in nature!

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Myself on the top of Slieve Gullion

BSBI Inishowen Field-Outing

BSBI Inishowen Field-Outing East Donegal (H34) –

The Botanical Society of Britain and Ireland recently (14-16th August) held an outing in Inishowen, which is part of the East Donegal vice-county (H34). Myself and Mairéad have been recording in East Donegal for just over a year and it’s been a fantastic learning experience.

During this weekend West Galway VC recorder and Inishowen native John Conaghan led us to some fantastic spots across the peninsula in order to record for Atlas 2020 and to re-find some rare species.

BSBI Inishowen Botanists at Straghill Beach - Oisín Duffy.
BSBI Inishowen Botanists at Straghill Beach – Oisín Duffy.

Friday 14th of August (Straghill Beach and Crummies Bay)

The weekend of recording kicked off at Straghill beach where we came across a lovely site with a few rarities, most noticeably Ivy Broomrape (Orobanche hederae) and Hoary Whitlowgrass (Draba incana), both of which were new to my species list. We also came across a lot of the usual suspects, such as Harebell (Campanula rotundifolia), Lady’s Bedstraw (Galium verum) and Fairy Flax (Linum catharticum).

Ivy Broomrape (Orobanche hederae) - Oisín Duffy
Ivy Broomrape (Orobanche hederae) – Oisín Duffy
Hoary Whitlowgrass (Draba incana) - Oisín Duffy
Hoary Whitlowgrass (Draba incana) – Oisín Duffy

Our next site of the day was Crummies Bay, which was in close proximity to Fort Dunree, which has stunning views of the surrounding landscape.

Crummies Bay - Oisín Duffy
Crummies Bay – Oisín Duffy

The walk down to the bay was interjected with a host of different butterfly species, while not botanical, it was very nice to finally see a good number of butterflies as their numbers appear to be down this year. One of the first real noteworthy plants we came across was Field Gentian (Gentianella campestris) and it wasn’t long before a white variation of Wild thyme (Thymus polytrichus) was found (which I found particularly exciting as I do have quite a liking for colour variations and other aberrations). The scenery at this site was fantastic and we had the bay completely to ourselves. Before leaving the site we also came across a number of Frog Orchids (Dactylorhiza viride) and Fragrant Orchids (Gymnadenia conopsea) which turned out to have all three sub-species.

Field Gentian (Gentianella campestris) - Oisín Duffy
Field Gentian (Gentianella campestris) – Oisín Duffy
Field Gentian (Gentianella campestris) - Oisín Duffy
Field Gentian (Gentianella campestris) – Oisín Duffy
Frog Orchids (Dactylorhiza viride) - Oisín Duffy
Frog Orchids (Dactylorhiza viride) – Oisín Duffy
Fragrant Orchids (Gymnadenia conopsea) - Oisín Duffy
Fragrant Orchids (Gymnadenia conopsea) – Oisín Duffy
View near Crummies Bay - Oisín Duffy
View near Crummies Bay – Oisín Duffy
L-R West Galway VCR John Conaghan with West Donegal VCR Ralph Sheppard - Oisín
L-R West Galway VCR John Conaghan with West Donegal VCR Ralph Sheppard – Oisín

On route to the finishing spot for the day we were shown a real rarity in Donegal, Irish Spurge (Euphorbia hyberna). Irish Spurge has a very obvious SW distribution in Ireland (there are a few records in the North of Ireland and one in Galway also) and to find it in East Donegal was a real treat. We were quite fortunate to have someone point out the location of the species as it would have been easily missed growing along the roadside. Amazingly though, that wasn’t the end of the nice finds for the day and when we entered a patch of wasteground we came across the very beautiful Yellow Bartsia (Parentucellia viscosa) which is not the most common species in Ireland.

Irish Spurge (Euphorbia hyberna) - Oisín Duffy
Irish Spurge (Euphorbia hyberna) – Oisín Duffy
Yellow Bartsia (Parentucellia viscosa) - Oisín Duffy
Yellow Bartsia (Parentucellia viscosa) – Oisín Duffy

Satuday 15th of August (Lough Fád and Isle of Doagh

BSBI Botanists at Isle of Doagh - Oisín Duffy
BSBI Botanists at Isle of Doagh – Oisín Duffy

On Saturday with our botanical muscles very much limbered up we headed to Lough Fád (roughly halfway between Buncrana and Carndonagh) a lovely area of lake shore and bog which turned up some orchids and the Isle of Doagh, a beautiful site which was teeming with plant and animal life. It was very nice to revisit the area of Lough Fád and although we were there a bit later in the year than our previous trip, a few orchids were still on show, most noticeably Common Spotted Orchid (Dactylorhiza fuchsii) Heath Spotted Orchid (Dactylorhiza maculata) Northern Marsh Orchid (Dactylorhiza purpurella) and Dactylorhiza purpurella x maculata.

BSBI Botanists at Lough Fad - Oisín Duffy
BSBI Botanists at Lough Fad – Oisín Duffy
Heath Spotted Orchid (Dactylorhiza maculata) - Oisín Duffy
Heath Spotted Orchid (Dactylorhiza maculata) – Oisín Duffy
Dactylorhiza purpurella x maculata - Oisín Duffy
Dactylorhiza purpurella x maculata – Oisín Duffy
BONUS PIC - Dactylorhiza purpurella x maculata - Oisín Duffy
BONUS PIC – Dactylorhiza purpurella x maculata – Oisín Duffy

The Isle of Doagh proved to be a wonderful site and even before we had left the car park we had a card filled. The nicest find in this location was Large-flowered Hemp-Nettle (Galeopsis speciose) a plant which was new to my species listing, but one I’ll certainly be keep an eye out for in the future as it is extremely distinctive. That wasn’t the end of species which were new to my list as soon after we found Sea Fern-Grass (Catapodium marinum) a beautiful little species. Moving onwards we found Sea Aster (Aster tripolium) and this amazing Juniper (Juniperus communis) which was laden with berries. Myself and Mairéad also came across a petal-less form of Ragwort (Senecio jacobaea var. flosculosus) which had been shown to us a few weeks previous in Co. Wexford by BSBI VCR for Wexford/Waterford and BSBI Stalwart Paul Green. On sites as beautiful as the Isle of Doagh, it’s always worth getting to higher ground to truly appreciate the few, which is exactly what I did!

Large-flowered Hemp-Nettle (Galeopsis speciose) - Oisín Duffy
Large-flowered Hemp-Nettle (Galeopsis speciose) – Oisín Duffy
Sea Fern-Grass (Catapodium marinum) - Oisín Duffy
Sea Fern-Grass (Catapodium marinum) – Oisín Duffy
Sea Aster (Aster tripolium) - Oisín Duffy
Sea Aster (Aster tripolium) – Oisín Duffy
Rayless Ragwort (Senecio jacobaea var. flosculosus) - Oisín Duffy (I don't know if Rayless Ragwort is used as a common name, but it sure sounds good).
Rayless Ragwort (Senecio jacobaea var. flosculosus) – Oisín Duffy
(I don’t know if Rayless Ragwort is used as a common name, but it sure sounds good).
“Botanists keep on Botanising” – Higher Ground at the Isle of Doagh – Oisín Duffy

Sunday 16th of August (Culdaff Beach and Glengad Head)

BSBI Botanists near Glengad Head - Oisin Duffy
BSBI Botanists near Glengad Head – Oisin Duffy

Sunday was the final day of the Field-outing and thankfully the weather was glorious from start to finish. We started at Culdaff a beautiful area with views looking out to Inishtrahull Island (Ireland’s most northern point). We traversed rocks near the shore line and went up the side of hills but the rarest and best find from Culdaff was easily found.

Scot's Lovage (Ligusticum scoticum) - Oisín Duffy
Scot’s Lovage (Ligusticum scoticum) – Oisín Duffy
Scot's Lovage in flower (Ligusticum scoticum) - Oisín Duffy
Scot’s Lovage in flower (Ligusticum scoticum) – Oisín Duffy

Scot’s Lovage (Ligusticum scoticum) has a very northern distribution in Ireland and doesn’t occur outside of the province of Ulster. I had been looking forward to seeing this plant for quite a while and thankfully there was still a small amount in flower although the vast majority had gone to seed (it was much more noticeable in this form though).

Culdaff Beach - Oisín Duffy
Culdaff Beach – Oisín Duffy

The highlight of the entire weekend was found in Glengad Head, our final recording spot of the day. Along our route we came across some nice bog species, in particular Common Butterwort (Pinguicula vulgaris) and Pale Butterwort (Pinguicula lusitanica).

Common Butterwort (Pinguicula vulgaris) - Oisín Duffy
Common Butterwort (Pinguicula vulgaris) – Oisín Duffy
Pale Butterwort (Pinguicula lusitanica) - Oisín Duffy
Pale Butterwort (Pinguicula lusitanica) – Oisín Duffy
Inishtrahull in the distance - Oisín Duffy
Inishtrahull in the distance – Oisín Duffy

Again Inishtrahull was sitting out in the distance and we eventually came to a gully thanks to John’s previous readings and excellent map work and it didn’t take long Antrim VCR David McNeil to explore and find Purple Saxifrage (Saxifraga oppositifolia). We started noticing it in a few more places and finally found a clump which was amazingly still in flower (and for some, still waiting to flower). Inishowen already has a well-known site for Purple saxifrage in the form of Bulbin, but this site at Glengad hasn’t had this species recorded in roughly 100 years.

Botanists rush in where angels fear to tread - The gully where we found Purple Saxifrage - Oisín Duffy
Botanists rush in where angels fear to tread – The gully where we found Purple Saxifrage – Oisín Duffy
Purple Saxifrage (Saxifraga oppositifolia) in flower, Glengad, Co. Donegal - Oisín Duffy
Purple Saxifrage (Saxifraga oppositifolia) in flower, Glengad, Co. Donegal – Oisín Duffy
Purple Saxifrage (Saxifraga oppositifolia) getting ready to flower, Glengad, Co. Donegal - Oisín Duffy
Purple Saxifrage (Saxifraga oppositifolia) getting ready to flower, Glengad, Co. Donegal – Oisín Duffy

This was truly the icing on the cake for entire weekend and it put the importance of botanical recording (or any biological recording really) in perspective. Noting where species are found, the threats they may face, being able to monitor this is all hugely important in a world where the pressures of the modern world are hitting the environment hard. After such spectacular plants, people and scenery I can promise you that Purple Saxifrage at Glengad Head won’t have to wait another hundred years for the next botanists to show up.

BSBI Botanists taking a break for lunch - John Conaghan
BSBI Botanists taking a break for lunch – John Conaghan

Now all that’s left to do is put in the +900 records into MapMate and I think everyone can agree, that’s where the real fun begins!

Me! - Picture by Christine Cassidy
Me! – Picture by Christine Cassidy

BSBI Summer Meeting Day II – Binevenagh

Recently the Botanical Society of Britain and Ireland (BSBI) held it’s Annual Summer Meeting (ASM) in Northern Ireland.
This final post will be looking at our trip to Binevenagh, Co. Derry.

Binevenagh is a Northern Ireland Environment Agency owned National Nature Reserve and is stunning area and was the perfect place to finish our botanising trip.

Before we actually got up to the mountain we had to go through some rather nice woodland. The shade from the trees was very welcomed as the temperature increased throughout the day, it was also really nice to come across some Bird’s-Nest Orchid (Neottia nidus-avis), with about 5-6 spikes dotted on either side of the well worn path.

Bird's-Nest Orchid (Neottia nidus-avis) - Oisín Duffy
Bird’s-Nest Orchid (Neottia nidus-avis) – Oisín Duffy

It was also nice to come across one of my old favourites – Wood Sorrel (Oxalis acetosella).

Wood Sorrel (Oxalis acetosella) - Oisín Duffy
Wood Sorrel (Oxalis acetosella) – Oisín Duffy
“The Flower among them all”. Wood Sorrel (Oxalis acetosella) – Oisín Duffy

Not long after that we were given some background about the site, we were also told how the management of the area will be adversely influenced in the coming years due to budget cuts.

Getting out site briefing from NIEA workers - Oisín Duffy
Getting out site briefing from NIEA workers – Oisín Duffy

Binevenagh has a truly imposing stature –

Binevenagh
Binevenagh

After our briefing, we started up the mountain in search of plants –

Slow and Steady wins the race!
Slow and Steady wins the race!

It wasn’t too long before we came across some delightful “Burren” species.

Mountain Avens (Dryas octopetala) - Oisín Duffy
Mountain Avens (Dryas octopetala) – Oisín Duffy
Mountain Avens (Dryas octopetala) - Oisín Duffy
Mountain Avens (Dryas octopetala) – Oisín Duffy

It was really nice to see a species which has a relatively limited distribution in Ireland (especially nice to see it outside of the Burren) but this wasn’t the only case and as the day rolled on we started getting more and more rarities!

Next up was the very beautiful Mossy Saxifrage (Saxifraga hypnoides) – another first for my species list.

Mossy Saxifrage (Saxifraga hypnoides) - Oisín Duffy
Mossy Saxifrage (Saxifraga hypnoides) – Oisín Duffy
Mossy Saxifrage (Saxifraga hypnoides) - Oisín Duffy
Mossy Saxifrage (Saxifraga hypnoides) – Oisín Duffy

I noticed quite a bit of excitement around a small green cushion like mound growing on the side of one of the slopes and then when I noticed a few purple flowers I thought I was going to see Purple Saxifrage (Saxifraga oppositifolia), but it actually turned out to be Moss Campion (Silene acaulis), which also has a very restricted distribution in Ireland.

Moss Campion (Silene acaulis) - Oisín Duffy
Moss Campion (Silene acaulis) – Oisín Duffy
Moss Campion (Silene acaulis) - Oisín Duffy
Moss Campion (Silene acaulis) – Oisín Duffy

An altogether very different looking plant and also very attractive and almost “comfy” looking, no wonder it’s also known as Cushion pink.

On the slope directly across from the Moss Campion another group was gathering with cameras and hand lenses, so I promptly made my way over (well as promptly as you can over sloped and uneven ground) and again it was a species new to my list. This time it was Spring Sandwort (Minuartia verna)

Spring Sandwort (Minuartia verna) - Oisín Duffy
Spring Sandwort (Minuartia verna) – Oisín Duffy
Spring Sandwort (Minuartia verna) - Oisín Duffy
Spring Sandwort (Minuartia verna) – Oisín Duffy
Spring Sandwort (Minuartia verna) - Oisín Duffy
Spring Sandwort (Minuartia verna) – Oisín Duffy

At this point I was feeling rather chuffed with myself having recorded and photographed a few new species (quite rare ones at that) and to be in the company of some of the best botanists within Ireland and the UK.

Botanists on a Break L-R - Louise Marsh (BSBI Publicity & Outreach Officer), Ian Denholm (BSBI President and Orchid Referee), Con Breen (BSBI Stalwart who took me under his wing for the weekend) and Maria Long (BSBI Irish Officer).
Botanists on a Break L-R – Louise Marsh (BSBI Publicity & Outreach Officer), Ian Denholm (BSBI President and Orchid Referee), Con Breen (BSBI Stalwart who took me under his wing for the weekend) and Maria Long (BSBI Irish Officer). – Oisín Duffy
Botanists making the final push up the mountain - Oisín Duffy
Botanists making the final push up the mountain – Oisín Duffy

The final push up the hill was certainly worth it as we encountered Purple Saxifrage (Saxifraga oppositifolia) which has only one site within Northern Ireland. Unfortunately though it appeared to have just finished flowering, still amazing to come across and of course new to my species list (although it is a species I’m hoping to come across on Bulbin in H34).

Purple Saxifrage (Saxifraga oppositifolia) - Oisín Duffy
Purple Saxifrage (Saxifraga oppositifolia) – Oisín Duffy
Purple Saxifrage (Saxifraga oppositifolia) - Oisín Duffy
Purple Saxifrage (Saxifraga oppositifolia) – Oisín Duffy

The view was also spectacular from near the top, especially considering we were looking directly into East Donegal (H34) my homeland and the area myself and Mairéad have been botanising in since last July.

Looking out to Donegal. - Oisín Duffy
Looking out to Donegal. – Oisín Duffy
Looking from Binevenagh over to Donegal. - Oisín Duffy
Looking from Binevenagh over to Donegal. – Oisín Duffy
Looking from Binevenagh over to Donegal. - Oisín Duffy
Looking from Binevenagh over to Donegal. – Oisín Duffy

The best was certainly kept till last as Binevenagh was the highlight of the entire trip. The rare alpine species, so many of them being new to my list and the scenery and atmosphere was just superb.

Botanists searching for more rare species - Oisín Duffy
Botanists searching for more rare species – Oisín Duffy
The descent from the mountain - Oisín Duffy
The descent from the mountain – Oisín Duffy
"The Castle" - Binevenagh - Oisín Duffy
“The Castle” – Binevenagh – Oisín Duffy
Binevenagh - Oisín Duffy
Binevenagh – Oisín Duffy
Me getting a picture of Louise getting a picture of the BSBI Sumemr Meeting Gang - Oisín Duffy
Me getting a picture of Louise getting a picture of the BSBI Sumemr Meeting Gang – Oisín Duffy
One last shot of Binevenagh before the post is over! - Oisín Duffy
One last shot of Binevenagh before the post is over! – Oisín Duffy

Overall a fantastic weekend of learning and lovely people, exactly the sort of thing that I’ve come to expect from the BSBI!