The warmest year on record seems to be allowing a number of plants to cling on in flower. Perhaps they’re limbering up for the BSBI’s New Year Plant Hunt, which this year is being coordinated with assistance from Reading graduate Ryan Clark. Both Scentless Mayweed (Tripleurospermum inodorum) and Common Knapweed (Centaurea nigra), pictured below in flower on December 15th, were also found by Dr M and teams in their 2014 MSc New Year plant hunt back in January, so perhaps it is no surprise to see them again this winter. Nevertheless, they provide a welcome flash of colour on the darkest days of the year.
If that isn’t enough enticement to get out on campus, whilst I was taking these photographs a small group of mistle thrushes was flying about, noisily shouting their ‘football rattle’ contact call, and a sparrowhawk came hunting low in front of the newly rebuilt Bridges Hall before alighting on a nearby rooftop. A good lunchtime’s birding and botanising.