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BOTANY GROUP - JUNE

by Botany Group - 11:20 on 14 June 2015

Orkney U3A Botany group

A small group (May Amar, Trevor Kay, Fiona Knox, Peter Slater and Rosie Whittles) gathered at 08.20 on Tuesday 9th June to take the ferry to Egilsay, and were joined by three others, including John Crossley, the County Plant Recorder.  Though breezy at times, and always overcast, the day was fair and without rain. When we arrived on Egilsay we walked up the road and carried on over the top of the island to the east coast, looking at the roadside verges and then in the marshy area north of the Manse Loch. We sat for a while overlooking the beautiful beach at Camquoy, then went along the sand south to Howan, following otter prints as we went. From there we took the road inland and up to the community centre, kindly left open for us so we could have refreshments and lunch before taking the 13.35 ferry back to Tingwall.

We noted a fine selection of plants in flower, most notably Sea Pink, Marsh Marigold, Lady’s Smock, Bird’s Foot Trefoil, Bog Bean, Northern Marsh and Early Marsh Orchids, Common Lousewort, Butterwort, Tormentil, Mountain Everlasting, Bulbous Buttercup, Scurvygrass, Violet and Sea Rocket. We were also able to spot various species not yet in flower, such as Meadow Vetchling, Common Twayblade, Curled Dock, Meadow Sweet, Marsh Cinquefil, Thyme, Yellow Rattle, Angelica, Sea Arrowgrass and Sea Sandwort. John’s expertise helped a lot in identifying many of these, but came especially to the fore in showing us various species of Sedge (Common, Sand, Glaucous, Pill, Flea), Horsetail (Field, Marsh, Water) Grass (Sweet Vernal, Red Fescue) and Wood-rush (Heath, Field).  All in all, an excellent day out to a lovely island, and one on which I think we all learnt a lot.

Peter Slater

As the majority of those who attend the Group are involved in Festival happenings on 23rd June it has been agreed not to meet on that day.  The next meeting of the Group therefore will be on Tuesday 7th July when a trip to Yesnaby is planned.


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