Spring is bursting all over, bolstered by the warmest February on record. Heralding longer days outside (perfect for surveying), blossom on trees and the return of colour and scent to our woodlands and verges.
On the first day of spring, initial findings from woodlands surveyed over four years as part of the National Plant Monitoring Scheme (NPMS) show that the highly invasive, non-native Himalayan Balsam is reported more frequently than native wild flowers such as bugle, ramsons and woodruff.
We're back in the office after our 2017 series of training days in Scotland for the National Plant Monitoring Scheme (NPMS), held in Dumfriesshire, Perthshire and the Cairngorms.
Here is a flavour of what was involved at the training days this year...
The morning session at each training day includes the background to the NPMS survey and what is involved in taking part. In small groups we look at example survey maps, to see how to find out what habitats are present, and how to choose where to locate small plots in which to record the NPMS wild flowers.
It has been a fantastic second year for the NPMS. We’ve pulled in some great numbers:
It's a mild day in May as we approach our designated square - a lovely location on the edge of the New Forest where woodland edges on to open fields. The survey is habitat based and our map suggests we have two key habitats to look out for – broadleaved woodland and lowland grassland. So far so good. The guidance notes and advice on the website suggest that recommend a visit to your site beforehand, but we have a fair idea of our site, passing it regularly to and from work.