Poor old Gilbert is getting restless. Despite the fact that there is more interest in wildlife than ever before, it seems that most of the so-called conservation organisations are losing interest in species. Instead they prefer to babble on about landscape scale conservation and ecosystem services (whatever they are). Could this be because most of their staff don't have any knowledge about species if they don't have four legs?
This is my attempt to encourage an interest in good old-fashioned natural history.

Tuesday, 16 June 2015

Lung relief

My reader claims that there is actually a second person who reads this nonsense and that that person has been complaining about the absence of postings. So for their benefit here's something that I got up to in April.

One rainy day I decided that I had to get out of the house and Narrow-leaved Lungwort was calling me so I researched a couple of sites with recent records and headed off to the New Forest. The Collins Guide claims that they have basal leaves up to 60cm long in autumn so I reasoned that even if it wasn't in flower yet, I'd be able to find the plants.

After scouring two sites and the surrounding areas throughout the afternoon with just a single Brambling to provide some interest, I had to admit defeat.

The following week I was back in the Forest looking for the first Wood Warblers of the year. No luck there but I had a chat with a guy who, it turns out, is a very active naturalist in the Forest (but like many of the best naturalists, tends to keep himself to himself). He mentioned that he had seen Narrow-leaved Lungwort in flower in the same wood I had visited the week before and gave me some directions but I've got a head like a sieve so no chance of remembering where to go.

I spent a couple of hours freezing my nuts off, trying (and failing) to find a Stonechat nest and decided that I needed to do something more active to warm up so I might as well go and have another crack at the lungwort. Despite my very vague recollection of the directions I soon found a dozen or so by the edge of a track.

Narrow-leaved Lungwort is a rare species, being confined to the New Forest and the Isle of Wight. In the Forest at least, it seems to be declining quite badly for reasons that are not immediately apparent. I am left with one question: where the **** are the 60cm basal leaves Collins?