Bailies of Bennachie Guided Tree Walk
A group of 18 met at the Bennachie Centre on the 30th June 2010 to study some of the trees on Bennachie. The walk was led by Bailies Council Member Dr Colin Millar. The emphasis was on recognition and identification of individual trees on the basis of their form and leaf and fruit characters. The group quickly learned to distinguish the main species of conifers (trees with needle like leaves ) and broadleaved trees near to the Centre and then walked from the Centre taking the path towards Esson’s Croft. They gradually increased the list as they found new species by the path. On the walk 20 different trees were encountered.
The relationship of trees to fungi was pointed out and the merit of plantation species such as Scots pine, Norway spruce, Sitka spruce, Larch species and Douglas fir was noted.
Participants were encouraged to get a good book on trees and to learn to use the keys to identification. which can often be achieved without flowers. Most conifers can be identified throughout the year but broadleaved trees generally need at least the leaves and their arrangement on the shoot.
Tree spotting is often easier than bird spotting especially as the tree do not fly away except in the strongest winds!!
Dr Millar recommended the Collins Guide to the Trees of Britain and Northern Europe by Alan Mitchell which describes 800 trees including the meagre 35 native species which are in the British Isles.