Field Survey 16th June 2020

After a change in the weather we have had a week of rain and then sky high humidity and fog, very strange weather. I waited an extra day to survey because the weather was foul and visibility very poor, but 1 day extra no biggie, and the Tuesday was much clearer.

The field is showing an unprecedented flush of flowers. In all the years we have managed this area I don’t think its ever had so many flowers at this time. Species wise its not much changed from the previous weeks, still dominated by the late spring flowers; Speedwell, Pig Nuts etc. But now the summer plants, like a particular fetching tall Buttercup (don’t know which one of the 500 odd buttercups it is), which are starting to come in. The slow turn of the season spring into summer is starting to happen

The Lesser Butterfly Orchid is coming well, after counting 60 in only a part of the field we stopped to do again when we could mark and properly count the individual plants. We have done this for 15 or so years for Plantlife Scotland as part of their ongoing splendid efforts to monitor rare plants and habitats across Scotland.

Not all of the plants are super rare and spectacular, the star for me this week was the flowering of the humble White Clover in the field. Clover is a keystone species for sheepies, its likened to rocket fuel for the growth and health of lambs and sheepies, what makes me most happy is that this Clover is the natural one for the area, self selected and widespread through careful management of the height of the vegetation. If the grasses are allowed to get huge they shadow out the smaller plants and they diminish or vanish which is the opposite of what wildflower management is about. So managed grazing is vital to the diversity desired in the field. I will write much more detail on this subject in a separate article when I get time.

So, see you next week.

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