Midhurst Common

Field meeting reports

Meeting date: 16 June 2007

(Leader: Bruce Middleton)

Tension in the air as sixteen members focused on Bruce: he was looking relaxed, but could he do it?  Through heathy woods, diversions into boggy areas and roadsides, Alan’s pencil flickering across the card.  Acclaim for the selection of weeds in Bruce’s allotment, including Misopates orontium (Weasel-snout), Oenothera x fallax and Erysimum cheiranthoides (Treacle Mustard), and then to Bruce’s HQ where we notched up many more species, pride of place going to Carex muricata subsp. lamprocarpa (Prickly Sedge) in some quantity.  Having had flaming June in April this year, April showers in June were not really surprising but they could not dampen spirits – and some members playfully tossed crumbs to Alan who had forgotten to bring his lunch.  Via Carron Lane to the cemetery where Danthonia decumbens (Heath Grass) and Nardus stricta (Mat-grass) in profusion delighted; here we also spotted what looked like shiny red wigs spread out on the slope: closer examination revealed Cuscuta epithymum (Dodder) only just coming into flower.  Filing through more allotments, admiring Agrostema githago (Corncockle), and back onto the Common where a short search located little spires of Pyrola minor (Common Wintergreen), first discovered here by Robin Crane of SWT fame in, I think, the 1970s.  We scoured part of the old Midhurst Whites site where Blackstonia perfoliata (Yellow-wort) put on a fine show. Alan announced that the 300 mark had been passed, but that was not the end, for species were still being spotted and still up the magical Middleton sleeve Eriophorum angustifolium (Common Cotton-grass)…  So with 340 species another SBRS record smashed, but perhaps, as we cheered him by the cars, I detected in Bruce’s eyes just a glimmer of anxiety: how could he top this one?