Field meeting reports

Meeting date: 31 July 2010

(Leader: Nick Sturt)

The Field Convenor for vc13 has difficulties with the Julian calendar but most members managed to assemble on the day intended, including the esteemed P. A. Harmes who looked svelte in shorts and wellington boots.  He and Frances led one contingent off into TQ22V where they amassed nearly 40 additional species. Meanwhile in TQ21U the author and his henchman Arthur plodded around, adding nearly 40 species.  The highlight was a mill leat with pretty Scutellaria galericulata (Common Skullcap) and Lythrum salicaria (Purple Loosestrife). The morning had been a mere aperitif to the banquet that was the afternoon, starting from Gatehouse Lane, Burgess Hill, and entering a small wood with a selection of ancient indicator species – Crataegus leavigata (Midland Hawthorn),  Sorbus torminalis (Wild Service-tree), Veronica montana (Wood Speedwell), Carex strigosa (Thin-spiked Wood-sedge).  At the damper end of this wood Frances discovered a huge specimen of Black Poplar hitherto unknown to her; she checked it very carefully since it bore an unusually light bark, but all the characters tallied.  Out into clay fields resplendent with Pulicaria dysenterica (Common Fleabane) which yielded such gems as Lathyrus nissolia (Grass Vetchling) and Achillea ptarmica (Sneezewort), then across the ring-road into a botanically dull suburb of Burgess Hill with only one spike of Epipactis helleborine (Common Helleborine) to cheer.  More profitable surroundings on the homeward leg culminating in Euphorbia platyphyllos (Broad-leaved Spurge) near the cars.  On adding up the score, however, it was found that, although 82 new species had been found, the total for the tetrad was now a tantalising 10 short of the magic 300.  While others departed with honour, Judy forced the author to convey her to an industrial estate where the deficit was quite quickly made up.  Even then she was reluctant to leave and eventually the only recourse was to apply force and sedate her with Harveys Sussex Bitter.