Kirkcudbrightshire Botany Group, Fellcroft Loch, 15th July 2022

Fellcroft Loch falls completely within one monad which is very handy for recording. The slopes below Suie Hill would probably warrant further investigation but the loch and its immediate border provided plenty of interest for one day.

Eight of us set out from the near the northern tip of the loch where there was plenty to get started with and we quickly realised that we had a fun day ahead of us. Water Plantain Alisma plantago-aquatica with its lovely tall spikes and both White Water-lily Nyphaea alba and Yellow Water-lily Nuphar lutea had been spotted on the way in. The boggy area directly in front of the car parking space yielded, Marsh Cinquefoil Comarum palustre, Bogbean Menyanthes trifoliata, Branched Bur-reed Sparganium erectum, Bog Myrtle Myrica gale and both Common Spotted-orchid Dactylorhiza fuchii and Heath Spotted-orchid Dachtylorhiza maculata.

We eventually set off around the NE shore of the loch where the ground rises up towards Suie Hill. One or two wandered up the slopes returning to report on Bog Asphodel Narthecium ossifragum and Round-leaved Sundew Drosera rotundifolia, which are often found together, Common Butterwort Pinguicula vulgaris, Bog Pimpernel Anagallis tenella and Heath Milkwort Polygala serpyllifolia.

Others remained at the loch side which proved to be rich in water plants. Shoreweed Littorella uniflora was found around the entire loch, some under water and many just above the water level in flower.

Also, Bottle Sedge Carex rostrata, Floating Club-rush Eleogiton fluitans, Lesser Marshwort Apium inundatum and just before we stopped for lunch, Sarah was excited to spot a large clump of Saw Sedge or Great Fen-sedge Cladium mariscus a short distance from the shore.

Moving towards the South-East tip of the loch we found a few plants of Lesser Skullcap Scutellaria minor and in one patch of grassland near the dam some flowering Whorled Caraway Carum verticillatum, Yellow Rattle Rhinanthus minor and Ivy-leaved Crowfoot Ranunculus hederaceus on the muddy track. Rounding the end of the loch and heading back towards the cars we actually recorded Daisy Bellis perennis, Foxglove Digitalis purpurea, nettles and dockens, normally some of the first to be recorded but almost missed with so many other things to pay attention too.

On the final leg when we thought to be almost done Jim hesitated beside a tall clump of sedge with long, fine leaves. It had very few spikes but on closer inspection the utricles turned out to be very hairy and it was identified as Slender Sedge Carex lasiocarpa. Very nearly back at the cars we passed burr reed which was close enough to photograph and ascertain that it was Unbranched Bur-reed Sparganium emersum which has only one spike with 3 to 10 male flowers at the top of the stem.

There really was not a dull moment with something like 150 plant species recorded and insect and birdlife flitting around us the whole time.

Lee Paton



Great Fen-sedge: this is a new site for this rare species of which there are only 3 others in the VC, all around Colvend.

Lesser Skullcap: another scarce species, found at a few sites in the south of the VC.

Very many thanks to Lee for organising and leading this meeting, and for writing up the report.  A very successful day with 140 species recorded

David Hawker

BSBI county recorder for Kirkcudbrightshire VC73

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