Species noted on lbs visit to Altcar Rifle ranges, 16 May 2014

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Species noted on LBS visit to Altcar Rifle ranges, 16 May 2014
As has become the norm for visits here, a group of us met up just outside Hightown Station and then we drove in convoy to the check-point and were admitted to the firing range, all signing in when we got to the main car park opposite to the ranges themselves.

It was a dry fine night and the Green-winged Orchids this season were in fine flower with good full heads of blossom all the way up. Last year they were just starting to flower and the year before that they were setting seed with hardly a flower left, so variable are our seasons. But this year it was just right for the orchids; however, the Cowslips were mainly forming seed-heads with very few flowers left. The Twayblade was flowering well as were the sedges: Carnation Grass, Common Sedge, Glaucous Sedge, Brown Sedge, Sand Sedge and Flat Sedge (Blysmus compressus).

Although the cowslips had mainly finished flowering in 'I' range it was interesting to note that Green-winged Orchids are increasing there, despite an overall downturn in numbers across the site, from the annual count undertaken by Steve Cross. It was also very interesting to hear of Phil Smith's record of Green-winged Orchid outside the Rifle Ranges for the first time on private land adjacent to Range Lane, just behind Cabin Hill NNR, on 17th May 2014.

The species list records all the plants we noted within tetrad SD 20 X which covers much of the site, apart from mainly the tall dune ridge along its southern edge. The wetter areas in the northern fringes of SD20W were also touched upon but extra species noted there are not included in this list.

Whimbrel was clearly heard calling to the south of the site, whilst there was much Skylark, Meadow Pipit and Reed Bunting song from within the site.

Acer pseudoplatanus


Achillea millefolium


Agrostis capillaris

Common Bent

Agrostis stolonifera

Creeping Bent

Ammophila arenaria


Anacamptis morio

Green-winged Orchid

Angelica sylvestris

Wild Angelica

Anthoxanthum odoratum

Sweet Vernal-grass

Anthriscus sylvestris

Cow Parsley

Aquilegia cvr.

Aquilegia cultivar

Arenaria serpyllifolia

Thyme-leaved Sandwort

Asparagus officinialis


Aster sp.

Michaelmas-daisy species

Bellis perennis


Berula erecta

Lesser Water-parsnip

Betula pendula

Silver Birch

Blysmus compressus

Flat Sedge

Brassica napus


Briza media


Bromus hordeaceus

Soft Brome

Carex arenaria

Sand Sedge

Carex disticha

Brown Sedge

Carex flacca

Glaucous Sedge

Carex nigra

Common Sedge

Carex panicea

Carnation Sedge

Centaurea nigra


Cerastium fontanum

Common Mouse-ear

Cerastium glomeratum

Sticky Mouse-ear

Chelidonium majus

Greater Celandine

Cirsium arvense

Creeping Thistle

Cortaderia selloana

Pampas Grass

Crataegus monogyna


Crepis capillaris

Smooth Hawk's-beard

Cynosurus cristatus

Crested Dog's-tail

Dactylis glomerata


Dactylorrhiza praetermissa

Southern Marsh-orchid

Daphne laureola

Spurge Laurel

Eleocharis palustris

Common Spike-rush

Epilobium hirsutum

Great Willowherb

Equisetum arvense

Field Horsetail

Equisetum palustre

Marsh Horsetail

Erodium cicutarium

Common Stork's-bill

Erophila verna

Common Whitlowgrass

Fallopia japonica

Japanese Knotweed

Festuca rubra

Red Fescue

Filipendula ulmaria


Galium aparine


Geranium molle

Dove's-foot Cranesbill

Holcus lanatus


Hyacinthoides x massartiana

Hybrid Bluebell

Hydrocotyle vulgaris

Marsh Pennywort

Hypericum tetrapterum

Square-stalked St John's-wort

Hypochaeris radicata

Common Cat's-ear

Juncus inflexus

Hard Rush

Leontodon hispidus

Rough Hawkbit

Leymus arenarius

Lyme Grass

Lolium perenne


Lotus corniculatus

Bird's-foot Trefoil

Lotus pedunculatus

Marsh Bird's-foot Trefoil

Luzula campestris

Field Woodrush

Lychnis flos-cuculi


Lysimachia vulgaris

Yellow Loosestrife

Myosotis laxa

Tufted Forget-me-not

Myosotis ramosissima

Early Forget-me-not

Neottia ovata


Ononis repens


Ophioglossum vulgatum

Adder's-tongue Fern

Ornithogalum umbellatum

Star of Bethlehem

Papaver somniferum

Opium Poppy

Pastinaca sativa

Wild Parsnip

Pentaglottis sempervirens

Green Alkanet

Phragmites australis


Pilosella officinarum

Mouse-ear Hawkweed

Plantago coronopus

Buck's-horn Plantain

Plantago lanceolata

Ribwort Plantain

Plantago major

Greater Plantain

Poa pratensis

Smooth Meadow-grass

Polypodium vulgare


Populus x canescens

Grey Poplar

Potentilla anserina


Potentilla reptans

Creeping Cinquefoil

Primula veris


Prunus avium

Wild Cherry

Pulicaria dysenterica


Quercus robur

English Oak

Ranunculus acris

Meadow Buttercup

Ranunculus bulbosus

Bulbous Buttercup

Ranunculus flammula

Lesser Spearwort

Ranunculus repens

Creeping Buttercup

Rhinanthus minor


Rubus caesius


Rumex acetosa

Common Sorrel

Rumex crispus

Curled Dock

Rumex obtusifolius

Broad-leaved Dock

Salix cinerea

Grey Willow

Salix fragilis

Crack Willow

Salix x forbyana

Hybrid Willow

Salix x friesiana

Hybrid Willow

Senecio jacobaea


Senecio vulgaris


Silene latifolia

White Campion

Sisymbrium officinale

Hedge Mustard

Sonchus arvensis

Perennial Sow-thistle

Sonchus asper

Prickly Sow-thistle

Stellaria media


Taraxacum sp.

Dandelion species

Trifolium dubium

Lesser Trefoil

Trifolium pratense

Red Clover

Trifolium repens

White Clover

Triglochin palustris

Marsh Arrow-grass

Urtica dioica


Veronica arvensis

Wall Speedwell

Veronica chamaedrys

Germander Speedwell

Vicia sepium

Bush Vetch

Vicia tetrasperma

Smooth Tare

Vulpia bromoides

Squirreltail Fescue

Peter Gateley

Additional notes from Steve Cross

28 members and friends visited.

Phil Smith also pointed out

Salix x holosericea Silky-leaved Osier

there was also

Carex hirta Hairy Sedge

Carex ovalis Oval Sedge

Dactylorhiza purpurella Northern Marsh Orchid

Dactylorhiza x venusta Hybrid Orchid (D.fuchsii x D.pupurella)

Lamium amplexicaule Henbit Dead Nettle

Molinia caerulea Purple Moor Grass

Papaver dubium Long-headed Poppy

Symphytum x uplandicum Russian Comfrey

Vinca major Greater Periwinkle
also Grass Rivulet Moth Perizoma albulata

and Blackcap and Willow Warbler singing.

Green winged Orchids totalled 24909 nearly five thousand down on last year,despite the increase on I Range. Cowslips numbered 1130 flowering spikes.
Steve Cross

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