We had our usual bumpy ride into the quarry, with the machinery and giant vehicles dwarfing our pick-up truck and never ceasing to impress.
Without the drone, our focus was on the quadrat-based vegetation survey phase of our project. Our goal was to survey five quadrats at the three survey sites, completing the work which we had begun on our previous visits.
First, we completed our quadrats on the donor meadow and found that the site showed the characteristics of a limestone heathland in places and the Common Spotted Orchid, Dactylorhiza fuchii was frequently seen. We also came across a Common Green Grasshopper, Omocestus viridulus. Despite its name, the species is becoming less common across the south of England making it an interesting find.
The weather closed in on us again but we pressed on, taking the scenic path to the tipping survey site. The site consisted of another deep sward with European Gorse, Ulex europaeus appearing. Vegetation became patchy where the soil thinned and underlying rock was exposed.
We concluded our day by surveying the bench. This site had much more sparse vegetation with large areas of scree. Bee Orchids, Ophrys apifera proved to be one of the most interesting finds.
The vegetation coverage data that we acquired will now be used to generate National Vegetation Classifications for all surveyed sites and we continue to work on the analysis of our drone imagery.