Field Trip Reports 2011Field_Trip_Reports.html

Saturday 6th August - Dundrum Coastal Path

On a sunny morning, members assembled under the leadership of Graham Day, Botanical Society Recorder for Co.Down, to walk towards the Blackstaff Bridge, recording shore and trackside plants.

The Dundrum Coastal Path is a 1.6 mile stretch of disused railway line, part of the Lecale Way. The semi-natural habitats have herb-rich grassland, marginal scrub, scrub woodland, brackish pools and sea-shore plants on the rocks, sand and salt marsh of Inner Dundrum Bay. Sea-shore plants included Common Scurvygrass (Cochlearia officinalis), Sea Milkwort (Glaux maritima), Annual Seablite (Suadea maritma) and Common Saltmarsh Grass (Puccinellia maritima). Common Cord-grass (Spartina anglica) has often been planted on mudflats to stabilise wet mud but it smothers Eel-grass (Zostera marina) on which Brent Geese and other wintering birds feed. Rock Samphire (Crithmum maritimum) which has been recorded here was not re-found.

A new find was Lesser Swine-cress (Coronopus didymus), a plant of the Americas.  On the old railway line, plants new to some members were the bright yellow Common Toad-flax (Linaria vulgaris) - common in England but less so in Ireland, and Field Scabious (Knautia arvensis) which is scarcer than Devilsbit Scabious (Succisa pratensis). Wood Vetch (Vicia sylvatica) appears white in the distance but while the keel and wings are creamy white, there are purple veins on the lilac-coloured standard. Brookweed (Samolus valerandi), a relative of the primrose, was growing in damper sites. Samolus is a Celtic Druid name.

Progress halted for a short time in the afternoon, as we walked out into Dundrum Bay, the tide being out, to watch the Red Arrows make a spectacular display at the Newcastle Air Show.

Graham was thanked for his informative excursion and for introducing many of us to new plants and habitats.

Margaret Marshall


Graham Day

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Common Toad Flax (Linaria vulgaris)

Field Scabious (Knautia arvensis)

Wood Vetch

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