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Fritillary Fest 2022

We have done more than usual for fritillaries this year, first and foremost being the publication of the Biological Flora of Britain and Ireland: Fritillaria meleagris by Irina Tatarenko (FMP/OU), Kevin Walker (BSBI) and Miranda Dyson (OU). The account presents information on all aspects of the biology of snake's-head fritillary including distribution, habitat, communities, responses to biotic factors, responses to environment, structure and physiology, phenology, floral and seed characters, herbivores and disease, history, and conservation. It is now available to all here, free to download https://besjournals.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/1365-2745.13886

We also attended the Ducklington Fritillary Festival and talked to visitors about the species, habitat and the management of Ducklington Mead, with Edmund Strainge, the farmer who manages the site. This is always a lovely day not held for the last two years, with lunches and cream teas and up to 1000 people visiting the meadow, which is only open for this one day in the year to the public. The Parish Council run it and raise funds for Ducklington Church which also has stained glass fritillaries in the windows.

 Olivia Nelson

Guided walk at Ducklington Mead Fritillary Festival. Photo: Olivia Nelson

We went a step further this year and returned to Ducklington Mead to collect a baseline data set of the fritillary population using our usual recording method at 50 locations. We had been asked to arrange a day out for the School of Environment, Earth and Ecosystem Sciences, within which the FMP sits, and fritillary counting had been suggested. We therefore had an excellent willing set of about 30 volunteers who enjoyed a lovely morning counting flowers, returning to the village hall for lunch and an afternoon of team meeting type activity. We are not at this stage intending to repeat this survey at Ducklington, but it means we now have comparable data from 4 sites across England. We will be able to place the population at Ducklington into context for the Parish Council and landowner as well.

 Mike Dodd

Some of the staff from the School of Environment, Earth and ecosystem Sciences (Open University) at Ducklington Mead. Photo: Mike Dodd

Finally we were back to pre-COVID fritillary counting at North Meadow, replete with cake provided by the Cricklade Bloomers and 40 volunteers. We were blessed by the weather and the display this year was brilliant! 

 Mike Dodd

Training in counting fritillaries at North Meadow. Photo: Mike Dodd

If you want to be added to the fritillary volunteer mailing list, please let us know at floodplain-meadows-project@open.ac.uk


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