Last week myself and Elaine went up to Dunblane to attend the Trust's annual Wildlfower ID course. This is an in house course organised by Lindsay Mackinlay from our Nature Conservation to help Countryside staff hone their botanical ID skills. Lindsay also brought in 3 experts from the BSBI (Botanical Society for the British Isles) to help advise us on some of the trickier areas of ID.
The weather on the first day was kind, and, as you can see in the picture above, we rather took over the local park, hogging the benches and generally behaving in a peculiar way - reading out passages out of ID books in a strange botanical language and peering closely at things with handlenses. We were concentrating on being able to identify all the parts of a flower and use an ID key on common plants, and you could almost hear the locals mumbling "well I can tell the that's a buttercup without looking in a book" as they passed us by!
Day two was less kind - it was tipping it down! So we ventured out, picked some plants, and brought them back in the dry to ID. Then, in the afternoon we headed into Dollar Glen to ID some species in the fantastic woodland there. Unfortunately, Elaine and I had to head back to St Abbs at this stage as we had commitments here, but, as usual, we came away inspired, enlightened and having had a chance to explore another one of the Trust's amazing properties.