Saturday, April 20, 2019

Get involved in botany, they said, it will be fun, they said. This was very steep!

It has to be my companion's tweet that titles this post! (see on Twitter)

The plan was for a nice "circular walk with only 200m of ascent" near Llanwrtyd Wells. Correct but not the whole story...

Not a lot of pictures which is a pity as we "got" 131 species and many were flowering.

This as we approached had me thinking "Carex montana ?" But it's clearly not and can only be young Carex nigra I think...
Lunch occurred when we found a nice patch of unusual Violets.
Viola x intersita or Viola riviniana x canina?
We'll have to wait and see - samples are in the press and one is growing in a pot to see if it sets viable seed.

You can just see a Lizard's tail here as it disappears before the photograph could be taken:
The rocky peak we climbed to didn't have any of the things previously recorded quite a long time ago but did have this on the rock face which wasn't much in evidence in the moor around. 
Crowberry, Creiglusen or Empetrum nigrum
Getting up was just a slog - getting down again more difficult - hence the tweet. 
And the valley we descended to was great - deserves a visit later in the year. Barbara went off to investigate a rock on the side of the valley which clearly had flowers on it - turned out to be Wood Anemone and a host of good associates including:
Orpine, Canewin or Sedum telephium
(And you can see Betony leaves by it.)

Sunday, April 14, 2019

Taf Fechan

The reserve and not the reserve. It's a lovely area to visit at any time of year but we were hoping to find Alternate-leaved Golden Saxifrage.

We didn't but we were delighted to find what we did find and at least two species were new since last recorded in 2002.

The Golden-saxifrage might have been near one of the many natural springs like this one:

- but we didn't find any. I was drawn from afar to a clump that looked likely with an apparently single stem leaf as is common on the desired species:
Opposite-leaved Golden-saxifrage, Eglyn cyferbynddail or Chrysosplenium oppositifolium

This is a bract and part of the large inflorescence on these plants which are very clearly the species named above from lower leaf characters etc. This example even has a solitary flower above it.

Other species we saw:

Toothwort, Deintlys or Lathraea squamaria

We couldn't reach this vivid patch of Golden-saxifrage but I am pretty sure it is Opposite-leaved.

Celandines were abundant.
Lesser Celandine, Llygad Ebrill or Ficaria verna

As was
Marsh-marigold, Gold y gors or Caltha palustris

Great Horsetail, Marchrawnen fawr or Equisetum telmateia 

A large patch north of the reserve on the river. First record on our side of the river - it is abundant on the Glamorgan side.

Sunday, April 07, 2019

We Tolerate (almost) All Weathers

Wednesday was on the limit though and one of us was so cold after lunch in the car that they left early. It brightened up for our second stab at it and we managed to get a good list by the time we had all had enough. We got back to the cars just in time before torrential rain / sleet / hail for the drive back.

But the valley above Aber we were exploring had many delights including Wild Cherry blossom that we failed to photograph:
Wood-sorrel, Suran y coed or Oxalis acetosella 

An Early Grey moth, Xylocampa areola spotted by Alan

Maidenhair Spleenwort, Duegredynen gwallt y forwyn or Asplenium trichomanes subsp. quadrivalens

Earlier in the week I was a Craig Cerrig Gleisiad with NRW exploring the gullies where Purple Saxifrage grows. This is the view from as high as I went.
Younger, more intrepid, types found plenty of the Purple Saxifrage further up and recorded a lot more besides. I was content with this tiny plant with one flower below my feet:
Purple Saxifrage, Tormaen porffor or Saxifraga oppositifolia 
and this distant view (on lower cliffs) from below:
The plant close up from the past:

Friday, March 29, 2019

The Wye Valley Walk

But first - the Little Mouse-ear, new to the County in a Hay Car Park, has flowered:
Little Mouse-ear, Clust-y-llygoden fach or Cerastium semidecandrum

It's an annual that likes exposed habitats and obviously likes this rough slope at the edge of an access road to the farther part of the car park. How it got to Hay originally (and when) are unknown but Ray Woods found it last year. It really is very little and no doubt a few people were puzzled as to what I could be photographing.


So five of us parked on a common near the Wye and walked to a wood on the Wye bank (with landowner permission). The Wye Valley walk passes along the Wye there so we took it north up to the first encounter with a public road and then looped back to the cars. It made a great walk in lovely weather and we recorded 130 different species despite it being too early for many to be visible and others being too small for any of us to be sure what they were...

Right by the cars were several clumps of this:
Italian Lords-and-Ladies, Pidyn-y-gog Eidalaidd or Arum italicum 

Not native around here at all but happily established now.

Great to see:
Primrose, Briallen or Primula vulgaris 

Dog's Mercury, Bresychen y cŵn or Mercurialis perennis 

But we got to the wood eventually:

Among the many delights:
Marsh-marigold, Gold y gors or Caltha palustris 

An old Oak in a field on the way back:

Thursday, March 21, 2019

A Small Valley

"We're off to find Filmy Ferns." I've said that before and we failed to do so, but I was more sure this time as I has a reliable report from an NRW field worker. The only question was whether we would make it to their sites - in a narrow gorge on the edge of Abergwesyn Commons.

We did make it and found the Filmy ferns lower down in the gorge than we might have had to go (to the previous reported site). It made a great expedition for us and we were delighted by the gorge itself and the various plants we found there.

Before we had gone very far there were trees (and ground evidence) to discuss. Joan was sure that the evidence from the litter was unequivocal for Sweet Chestnut but we couldn't spot the tree. Eventually (on the way back) we found very definite and unmistakeable fruits confirming this species' presence. Joan had stuck to her guns and was right. We also found Beech on the way back and the correct fruits for that. I have to say the Sweet Chestnut debris represented a tree far from its comfort zone and were very poorly developed!

There were great displays of Polypody on the trees as we set out:
Intermediate Polypody, Llawredynen ganolig or Polypodium interjectum

The steep sides of the gorge up ahead in the mist.
Exploring the lower reaches.
There were lovely cascades of this:
Opposite-leaved Golden-saxifrage, Eglyn cyferbynddail or Chrysosplenium oppositifolium

The first cluster of the target ferns we found.
Wilson's Filmy-fern, Rhedynach teneuwe Wilson or Hymenophyllum wilsonii
This picture from a later site shows the well-developed indusia containing sporangia that hold the spores.
Sue at one of the sites.

More pictures (25/3/19 - Thanks Sue)


Monday, March 18, 2019

A Quick Look at the Wye

A quick trip yesterday to the Wye at the Warren near Hay to see if Moschatel (Town-Hall Clock) was yet findable there.

The river was higher than I have seen it after this week's rain but we are lucky here that the river still has quite extensive areas to expand into upstream without serious problems usually occurring.

I found the Moschatel at two sites - one of them nearly underwater on the bank:
Moschatel, Mwsglys or Adoxa moschatellina
(The nearly drowned example.)

Other good things to see as well - spring has arrived in Hay...
Primrose, Briallen or Primula vulgaris

Sweet Violet, Fioled bêr or Viola odorata

Early Dog-violet, Fioled y coed or Viola reichenbachiana

All phone pics so not usual standard...