HomeBotanyThe North East New Year Plant Hunt-Off – The Results
The North East New Year Plant Hunt-Off – The Results
The Botanical Society of Britain and Ireland’s (BSBI) New Year Plant Hunt is an annual event in which botanists, expert and amateur alike, head out to record the plant species bucking the trend to bloom in the depths of winter. Having now surpassed its ninth year, the four-day survey is both an enjoyable way to spend a winters day, and an important means by which to assess how changing weather patterns are altering the behaviour of our wildflowers.
Given the interest of many NHSN members in all things botanical, as part of the 2020 plant hunt, we wanted to go one step further than merely encouraging participation. As such, we opted to trial a national first: one which would see two teams of Northumbrian plant-hunters go head-to-head in an attempt to record the highest number of flowering plants in a three hour period on New Year’s Day. Chris Metherell, BSBI County Recorder for North Northumberland, expert botanist and (until last month) BSBI President led a team on Holy Island; while amateur botanist and NHSN Communications Officer, James Common, led an event in Heaton.
Urban or rural, inland or coastal, which team would triumph? Well, neither it turns out, with the event culminating in a friendly draw. Both teams managed an impressive feat of recording 40 species in bloom on their respective surveys – a significant total for Lindisfarne, in particular, where conditions are less hospitable than those in the relative warmth of the city. A huge well did to both teams for their plant hunting efforts, and to those who came along and helped on the day. We hope to contribute again to the New Year Plant Hunt but, for now, here are two short accounts right from the horses’ mouths: