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Sunday, April 30, 2017

Another encounter with Marsh Violet and other walks

It may be the right time of year but was certainly a surprise to me to find flowers of Marsh Violet for the second time in a week when we went up through woodland to get onto Carngafallt Nature Reserve near Elan. It was Sue who first suggested we were seeing leaves of this but I was unsure - having not encountered it in woodland before - but the flowers we then found in relative abundance higher up confirmed it. It isn't a species I expect to find in woodland so maybe I have been missing it in the past.
Marsh Violet, Fioled y gors or Viola palustris

There plenty else to record and admire in the wood (a 1970s arboretum planting that has gone wild and is now managed by the Woodland Trust) including this delicate plant firmly expected in woodland and even named to say so.
Wood Horsetail, Marchrawnen y coed or Equisetum sylvaticum

We reached the common for lunch and  started exploring there.

- encountering plenty of Bilberry
Bilberry, Llusen or Vaccinium myrtillus

and then in a very boggy area a variety of wet specialist plants including:
Hare's-tail Cottongrass, Plu’r gweunydd unben or Eriophorum vaginatum

Steph's eagle eyes found the minute threads of Cranberry and this picture is of a flower in bud held in her mitt.
Cranberry, Llygaeren or Vaccinium oxycoccos

The blanket bog was too deep and quaky to fully explore to its centre - and we were told by a farmer that he had lost a cow there.

This view is taken on our way down and shows the A470 following the Wye down from Rhayader.


Then I went with Hay U3A Geology group to Pwll y Wrach Nature Reserve where we had the geology trail very well explained by Wendy and also saw the Wild Service Trees there just coming into leaf.
Wild Service-tree, Cerddinen wyllt or Sorbus torminalis

The reserve was dryer than any of us can remeber ( a relief) and looking quite stunning.

Other plants encountered included:
Toothwort, Deintlys or Lathraea squamaria
Early-purple Orchid, Tegeirian coch y gwanwyn or Orchis mascula
These two pictures by Martin

And then I led a walk at the Talgarth Walking Festival around Llangorse lake and up onto Pen y Comin for a moderate climb to a superb view:


where the group took their lunch.


Saturday, April 22, 2017

Through some trees and along a river

I finally got out on a little local excursion I'd meant to do since early April on Tuesday - to explore some inviting and criss-crossing footpaths not far from Hay with the promise of spring woodland.

It was well worth the effort - despite some paths not exactly conforming to the latest OS maps - but there were more rather than less so it was good to explore them. There was plenty of early woodland interest including rather few bluebells:
Bluebell, Clychau’r gog or Hyacinthoides non-scripta
a ford to negotiate,
 and the Brecknock county flower well in evidence already:
Cuckooflower, Lady's Smock, Blodyn llefrith or Cardamine pratensis
plus some great views.
(Thanks to Liz for the pictures)

Then on Thursday, Sue and I set off up the Cilieni river into restricted territory (with permission I must add).

This river arises on the Epynt and is consequently unspoilt. A warden we met told us it is good for Crayfish but we didn't see any in the very clear water. We hope to go again later in the year but there was already plenty to record:

Almost the first flower we saw was Water Avens
Water Avens, Mapgoll glan y dŵr or Geum rivale
- maybe with a touch of Wood Avens in the genetic mix for this one.

Goat Willow was flowering:

Goat Willow, Helygen ddeilgron or Salix caprea

And rather unexpectedly we found a patch of Butterbur fully in the flowing river:
Butterbur, Alan mawr or Petasites hybridus

At least that was our pretty-sure identification (aided by Sue's binoculars) after initially assuming it was Colt's-foot.

There was Lesser Pond-sedge in the ditches near the river:
Lesser Pond-sedge, Hesgen-y-dŵr fach or Carex acutiformis

The ditches were alongside the raised road by the river which started life in the 1860s as a railway embankment for the Sennybridge to Llangammarch Wells railway which never saw active service. Histories talk of a few earthworks remaining - in fact we saw them all the way up the Cilieni to not far from the source. (Shown clearly on the 1886 OS map.)

Stunted and lichen festooned Wild Plum (?) trees made an interesting display:
Wild Plum, Coeden eirin gwyllt or Prunus domestica (probably)

And Wood-sorrel was everywhere
Wood-sorrel, Suran y coed or Oxalis acetosella

Getting up to nearer the source we started to find more specialised plants not all of which I photographed (many at a very early stage) but we were delighted to come across a Marsh Violet flower:
Marsh Violet, Fioled y gors or Viola palustris


And Primroses adorned the banks up there:
Primrose, Briallen or Primula vulgaris

Saturday, April 01, 2017

Getting going

We went out as a botanical group for only the second time this year last week but first a quick catch up on some observations in between.

A reconnoitre for the Talgarth walking festival took us around Llangorse lake and up onto higher ground nearby. Not much to see botanically but this small enclosed field with snowdrops was right near the lake.
Snowdrop, Eirlys or Galanthus nivalis

And towards then end of our exploration, as we approached the common north of the lake, we saw this very wet field with more herons than I am used to seeing.

A few weeks ago Tim Rich stopped near Storey Arms on his way to a BSBI meeting in Brecon to record these daffodils in a gully above the road - certainly not native but quite far from the nearest garden as well!
Head-to-head Daffodil, Narcissus x cyclazetta or Narcissus tazetta x cyclamineus 

Tim gave us a practical session on the Whitlow-grasses in the car park near the BBNP offices over lunch and pointed out this "good specimen" of the common species. I have already featured the closely related Glabrous Whitlowgrass, Llysiau’r-bystwn llyfn or Erophila glabrescens that grows there in this blog.
Common Whitlowgrass, Llysiau’r-bystwn ar or Erophila verna sens. str.

Last week's recording day was also a reconnoitre - for Biodiversity week in June when Brecknock Wildlife Trust will have a variety of events including botanical walks near Llangattock.

We found plenty to record though even in late March and enjoyed seeing these introduced but thriving flowers in Llangattock churchyard.
Fritillary, Britheg or Fritillaria meleagris

Growing nearby was our county flower - making itself known along our verges now.
Cuckooflower or Lady's Smock, Blodyn llefrith or Cardamine pratensis


Taking the pictures...

And the canal featured a show of yellow.
Marsh-marigold, Gold y gors or Caltha palustris


Recording on the canal bank.

Above Dardy we saw a lot of this - not the woodland native but a garden escape that seems to flower less than the native subspecies while having showier leaves.
Lamiastrum galeobdolon subsp. argentatum
- closely related to Yellow Archangel, Marddanhadlen felen or Lamiastrum galeobdolon subsp. montanum that grows in our woodlands.

There were good displays of Wood anemones.
Wood Anemone, Blodyn y gwynt or Anemone nemorosa

And a rather Tolkienesque tree.


And Steph found a rather large bug.

On our return we ended up at some canal works - passing a do not enter sign the wrong way as we returned to Llangattock!

Thanks to Sue for several of the pictures and to Tim for the Daffodil picture.