January 1. The traditional New Year’s Day outing took place under mild, overcast skies. There had been frosts in November, but December was generally mild and wet. Plants in flower were generally few and far between, with the most frequently flowering species being Veronica persica (Common Field Speedwell). We started around the information centre, pond and copse, somewhat surprisingly finding one plant of Erigeron acris (Blue Fleabane) still in flower. We walked along the spine road, then through Middle Green to the Martin Car Park area. By the pond we found the previously reported Isatis tinctorum (Woad) and a Teasel, which was not as previously reported D. pilosus (Small Teasel) but D. strigosus (Yellow Teasel). We had our picnic lunch in the Barn, then headed up Red Meadow Hill for a view across Cambridge. On the way down we added Sinapis alba (White Mustard) in flower. Continuing via the permissive tracks we eventually re-joined the spine road. A small group continued round Rowans Field and the Orchard, finding a couple more species in flower. By the time we returned to the information centre we had made 194 records of 133 species, of which 23 were in flower. This was the lowest total since we began counting species in flower, and well down on the 58 found last year, and the median number of 35.
The latest detailed Government guidance unfortunately means that meetings in May cannot go ahead. This means that the visit to Coton Countryside Reserve on May 27 is cancelled. CNHS will review the position again in June to see if the next meeting can go ahead or not.
The detailed guidance does say you can now spend unlimited time outdoors, that you can drive anywhere to green spaces (though you cannot stay away overnight) and that you should not use public transport to get to them. Dogs should be on lead in areas used by other people – see https://www.gov.uk/government/news/coronavirus-guidance-on-access-to-green-spaces
Jonathan Shanklin, 11 May 2020
Walks are allowed for exercise, so it is a good opportunity to make the most of your local environment without the distraction of the roar of traffic. Birds are nesting, butterflies on the wing and plants are coming into flower. If you do make records make sure that they get to your local recorder (see https://www.cperc.org.uk/links.php), or send them via iRecord (but make sure you use your real name rather than an alias) or to CPERC at https://www.cperc.org.uk/submit-records/
For botanical recording, see the information at https://legacy.bas.ac.uk/met/jds/cnhs/vc29.htm which includes recording guidelines, record cards, lists of species, both common and rare, found in Cambridgeshire, and more.