After months of dry weather, December returned to something like normality, measurable rain falling on 15 days, including the wettest day since August on 3rd. This helped the severely depleted water-
Although I still struggle to identify this difficult group of “lower” plants, I am getting to the stage where I can spot something different from the norm. A moss on the bark of a White Willow near the Devil’s Hole was new to me, so I sent a small sample to the regional recorder, John Lowell. The news was good – just as I thought, it was the Small Hairy Screw-
While higher plants do not usually produce flowers in mid-
A few days later, another excited phone call from Josh alerted me to an even more spectacular plant find. This time it concerned the Annual Knawel, a plant that has declined so much that it is Red-
With a lot of time spent on plant surveys, birds took a back seat during December. Nevertheless, I was pleased to catch up again with the Mediterranean Gull at Southport Marine Lake. A graceful male Goosander was a regular visitor on Sands Lake, together with up to 60 Tufted Ducks. The big slack at Cabin Hill was largely dry but still produced seven Common Snipe and a Jack Snipe.
Finally, the “Buckthorn Bashers” met twice, first to clear another of the frontal slacks north of Sands Lake and then, with Gems in the Dunes, to burn a large amount of previously cut material.
The moist, mild conditions were perfect for bryophytes (mosses and liverworts), which rapidly recovered from brown, dried-