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Otmoor – 29 May 2017

David Morris led a joint field trip with the Oxfordshire Flora Group at Otmoor on Monday 29 May. The walk started from the RSPB car park, where Turtle Dove and Grasshopper Warbler were heard. First destination was the wonderful SSSI meadow next to the Ministry of Defence firing range. On the way, a ditch was passed with Greater Burnet-saxifrage and Celery-leaved Buttercup and David found Spreading Hedge-parsley near the rifle butts. The meadow itself was superb, with a purple haze of Meadow Thistle, together with the pink of Ragged Robin and the yellow of Meadow Buttercup. Close to the gateway were flowering Dyer’s Greenweed, Heath Spotted-orchid, Common Meadow-rue and Pepper Saxifrage, plus leaves of Saw-wort, Devil’s-bit Scabious, Betony, Great Burnet and Sneezewort. A darkish-blue violet was identified as Heath Dog-violet. A significant proportion of the abundant Meadow Thistles were affected by a white fungus. Amongst the sightings in the damper ditches were Tubular Water-dropwort, Marsh Stitchwort, Marsh Pennywort, Marsh Ragwort, Tufted Forget-me-not and the nationally-scarce Downy-fruited Sedge. Paler blue violets were identified as hybrids between Heath Dog-violet and Fen Violet. A Turtle Dove called from the top of an isolated Oak and a Cuckoo was heard. Then good numbers of the white-flowered Fen Violet were found. This meadow on Otmoor holds most of its UK population. It has not been recorded for several years from its two other British sites, Woodwalton Fen and Wicken Fen. Several Four-spotted Chaser dragonflies were spotted down in the grass.

The afternoon was spent at The Pill, an area of grassland with shallow pools, on MOD land in the danger zone beyond the rifle range. The pools are protected from the agriculturally-polluted waters of the River Ray by an extensive buffer zone of grassland and they contain a number of rare wetland plants. Sightings here included Water-violet, Frogbit, Lesser Marshwort, Greater Bladderwort and Lesser Water-plantain. A Marsh Harrier flew across from the adjacent RSPB reserve and a large hairy Garden Tiger caterpillar was climbing through the vegetation above the water in one of the ponds.

Pictures by Laurie Haseler

RDNHS trip to Otmoor 29.5.17 led by David Morris; list of plant species
Six RDNHS members and eight members of Oxfordshire Flora Group attending
Scientific name English name Grid reference Comments
Carex riparia Greater Pond-sedge SP5713
Carex hirta Hairy Sedge SP5713
Hesperis matronalis Dame’s Violet SP5713
Geranium pyrenaicum Hedgerow Crane’s-bill SP5713
Silene latifolia White Campion SP5713
Pentaglottis sempervirens Green Alkanet SP5713
Rhinanthus minor Yellow-rattle SP5713
Primula veris Cowslip SP5713 In fruit
Veronica chamaedrys Germander Speedwell SP5713
Ranunculus acris Meadow Buttercup SP5713
Silene  flos-cuculi Ragged-Robin SP5713
Filipendula ulmaria Meadowsweet SP5713 In bud
Valerianella locusta Common Cornsalad SP5713
Pimpinella major Greater Burnet-saxifrage SP5743613108 Leaves
Angelica sylvestris Wild Angelica SP5713 Leaves
Ranunculus sceleratus Celery-leaved Buttercup SP5713
Lathyrus pratensis Meadow Vetchling SP5713
Carex remota Remote Sedge SP5713
Potentilla reptans Creeping Cinquefoil SP5713
Lysimachia nummularia Creeping-Jenny SP5713 Leaves
Erodium cicutarium Common Stork’s-bill SP5713
Bromus hordeaceus Soft-brome SP5713
Arenaria serpyllifolia Thyme-leaved Sandwort SP5713
Anthriscus sylvestris Cow Parsley SP5713
Anisantha sterilis Barren Brome SP5713
Sisymbrium officinale Hedge Mustard SP5713
Geranium molle Dove’s-foot Crane’s-bill SP5713
Silene vulgaris Bladder Campion SP5713
Persicaria maculosa Redshank SP5713
Torilis arvensis Spreading Hedge-parsley SP574130
Carex acutiformis Lesser Pond-sedge SP5713
Field with rare plants that require very nutrient-poor soil:
Genista tinctoria Dyer’s Greenweed SP5740013059
Aphanes arvensis Parsley-piert SP5713 Leaves
Cirsium dissectum Meadow Thistle SP574130
Thalictrum flavum Common Meadow-rue SP5713
Serratula tinctoria Saw-wort SP57381304 In bud
Festuca filiformis Fine-leaved Sheep’s-fescue SP57381304
Carex pulicaris Flea Sedge SP57381304 Only site in Oxon
Potentilla erecta Tormentil SP5713
Sanguisorba officinalis Great Burnet SP57381304
Achillea ptarmica Sneezewort SP57381304
Succisa pratensis Devil’s-bit Scabious SP5713 Leaves
Betonica officinalis Betony SP5713 Leaves
Viola canina ssp. canina Heath Dog-violet SP5733312900
Carex hostiana Tawny Sedge SP5712
Carex panicea Carnation Sedge SP5712
Oenanthe fistulosa Tubular Water-dropwort SP5712 Leaves
Cardamine pratensis Cuckooflower SP5712
Senecio aquaticus Marsh Ragwort SP5712
Ranunculus flammula Lesser Spearwort SP5712
Stellaria palustris Marsh Stitchwort SP5735912989
Vicia cracca Tufted Vetch SP5712 Leaves
Dactylorhiza fuchsii Common Spotted-orchid SP5712
Dactylorhiza maculata Heath-Spotted-orchid SP573129
Silaum silaus Pepper-saxifrage SP5712 Leaves
Viola persicifolia Fen Violet SP5733012902
Hybrid of V. canina x V. persicifolia SP5734112916
Galium palustre Common Marsh-bedstraw SP5712
Carex flacca Glaucous Sedge SP5712
Carex caryophyllea Spring-sedge SP5712
Mentha arvensis Corn Mint SP5712 Leaves
Anthoxanthum odoratum Sweet Vernal-grass SP5712
Carex filiformis Downy-fruited Sedge SP5733212802
Lotus pedunculatus Greater Bird’s-foot-trefoil SP5712 Leaves
Moehringia trinervia Three-nerved Sandwort SP5712
Iris pseudacorus Yellow Iris SP5712
Carex otrubae False Fox-sedge SP5712
Myosotis discolor Changing Forget-me-not SP5712
Myosotis laxa Tufted Forget-me-not SP5729912809
Silene flos-cuculi Ragged-Robin SP5712
Hydrocotyle vulgaris Marsh Pennywort SP5712 Leaves
Rumex acetosa Common Sorrel SP5712
Carex ovalis Oval Sedge SP5712
Carex disticha Brown Sedge SP5712
Boggy Field:
Carex nigra Common Sedge SP5713
Potentilla anserina Silverweed SP5713
Ranunculus repens Creeping Buttercup SP5713
Ranunculus peltatus Pond Water-crowfoot SP57291396
Veronica scutellata Marsh Speedwell SP57291396
Hottonia palustris Water-violet SP57291396
Apium inundatum Lesser Marshwort SP57291396
Eleocharis palustris Common Spike-rush SP5713
Baldellia ranunculoides Lesser Water-plantain SP57261404
Hydrocharis morsus-ranae Frogbit SP57261404 Leaves
Mentha aquatica Watermint SP5714
Utricularia vulgaris Greater Bladderwort SP5729514018
Persicaria maculosa Redshank SP5714 Leaves
Scutellaria galericulata Skullcap SP5714 Leaves
Alisma plantago-aquatica Water-plantain SP5714 Leaves
Butterflies and Moths:
Anania fuscalis SP5712
Epirrhoe alternata Common Carpet SP5712
Euclidia glyphica Burnet Companion SP5712
Phlogophora meticulosa Angle Shades SP5712
Tyria jacobaeae Cinnabar SP5712
Arctia caja Garden Tiger SP5714 larva
Polyommatus icarus Common Blue SP5712
Coenagrion puella Azure Damselfly SP5713
Libellula quadrimaculata Four-spotted Chaser SP5713
Streptopelia turtur Turtle Dove SP5712
Locustella naevia Grasshopper Warbler SP5713 heard
Cuculus canorus Cuckoo SP5712 heard
Alauda arvensis Skylark SP5713
Anthus pratensis Meadow Pipit SP5713
Circus aeruginosus Marsh Harrier SP5713

List by Renée Grayer, Sarah White and Jan Haseler

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