Duncan was at Broadoak Quarry today with the Northumberland Natural History Society’s Wednesday Botany Group. It was an opportunity to get a good survey of the site in terms of the plants that grow there. We concentrated on the old woodlands along the Mill Burn in the part of the reserve that is open to the public, though we did also have a quick look at other parts of the Northumberland Wildlife Trust reserve.
We managed to get a list of over 200 species of plants ranging from the common and well-known, such as greater stitchwort, to some slightly more obscure species, such as some of the speedwells. Fortunately the list of ancient woodland indicators became quite long suggesting that the habitat is indeed long-standing in places.
It wasn’t all about plants, we did manage to see a few other things, butterflies were at last flying following the cold weather of late. Orange tips, green veined-whites, and peacock were among the common species but the highlight was a single female dingy skipper spotted in the centre of the site. This is a relatively un-showy species which has declined in numbers in recent years. Locally it seems to like ‘brown-field’ sites and the central part of the reserve is indeed on disturbed ground, being part of the old quarry workings.