Welcome to the Balsam Blog, home in the internet world of the Falkland Islands Protected Areas Project.

I'll be using this blog to let people know what I've been up to and to share bits of useful information I pick up along the way. My project is subtitled 'Co-operative management of biological diversity', so that means you. The project will need your knowledge, concerns and hopes for the future to drive it along, so do contribute.

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Meeting the Plane

.....or 'biological diversity in the most unpromising places'.

I had to go to put parcels on the plane today and it occurred to me that Fox Bay airstrip might be worth a look for some unusual or just lovely things in the plant world. The airstrip has had a (mostly!) stockproof fence around it for the last 20 years or so and is reverting to whitegrass- fachine acid grassland, one of the priority habitats for the Falkland Islands. It's a priority habitat because it's a home for birds, invertebrates and special plants, so I was quite hopeful........

As well as these lovely examples of common plants flowering now, I also found some plants that might be quite special. I've sent the pictures to Richard Lewis, one of our plant experts, as I'm not sure what they are, but I have high hopes for them...

Fox Bay Airstrip is half way between Fox Bay East and West and can be visited without permission as it's part of Fox Bay Common and is FIG land. Be careful to avoid the fence as the top wire is hot (I didn't!).

I can email GPS data for plants on request.


  1. The second to last photo is of the silvery buttercup - Hamadryas argentea. This is a species endemic to the Falkland Islands and is listed as Near Threatened on our international Red List. The last one is an orchid and it will be interesting to see what the flower looks like in due course to properly ID it! Good work Clare - we didn't previously have any record of the silvery buttercup at Fox Bay so that's a real find!

  2. Thanks Rebecca, I was hoping it might be a silvery buttercup, but I'd never seen one before.

  3. Hi Clare,
    Good idea! I love blogs they are so immediate rather than Web Pages which always seem to me to be long term.

    I am not sure if the plants below your text are the ones you do not recognise but I am pretty sure the bottom one is the yellow orchid that I said was there many years ago. There should be lots soon. (I have never seen so many orchid plants behind the Yorke Bay Sand Dunes before). Great to see that the dog orchid is there as well. I think that I said to you that in view of all the plants in the airstrip area it might have been difficult to site the air strip there today!

  4. That's an interesting point Richard, although the orchids are not protected, and the other things may have come back because of the fence. I think that the fence and thus the airstrip has been a net gain for plant diversity, conservation and development objectives not always being in opposition.