Saturday, May 19, 2018

Car Parks and Commons

We explored the border with Carmarthenshire on Thursday. In fact most of our time was spent in that county as the border has changed since the "recording borders" were set in 1850 or so.

Mike, my co recorder, was able to come out with us which helped a lot with identifications - several plants I would have had to examine in detail or even take home to check were instantly recognised.

But before I got there I had to check on two rarities Ray Woods had alerted me to:

First a tiny annual that has mainly done its thing by now in Hay Market car park. A first sighting for a very long time in Brecknock.
Little Mouse-ear, Clust-y-llygoden fach or Cerastium semidecandrum

And this is in Brecon Theatre car park.
Spotted Medick, Maglys brith or Medicago arabica

Again not something we see in Brecon at all often. Growing with Black Medick which we are familiar with.

After photographing these I eventually got to the target area and joined Mike who had already identified many species at the parking area there. Including:

Bird Cherry, Coeden geirios yr adar or Prunus padus

A source of eternal confusion to those of us who have a smattering of Latin as the close relative, Prunus avium, isn't "Bird Cherry"!

We soon came upon a significant patch of this Brecknock rarity. Not in flower yet but readily identified by my co-recorder:
Fragrant Agrimony, Llysiau'r-dryw pêr or Agrimonia procera (photographed near Stanner Rocks)

These are the type of leaves we saw - which should have been familiar to me as I do grow it at home...

Up on the common in the afternoon we got some lovely views and quite the greatest abundance of Wood Sorrel in open ground I have seen. (Open now but Bracken-shaded later.)

And plenty of this as well:
Thyme-leaved Speedwell, Rhwyddlwyn dail teim or Veronica serpyllifolia

In all we recorded 140 different species - many of which won't have been recorded recently enough for the Atlas.

Thursday, May 10, 2018

A Lake and a Wood

One of my group lead a walk for the Talgarth Walking Festival at Llangorse Lake on Monday with myself backing up. This yielded some first records for some time from the churchyard wall – including Erophila verna and Saxifraga tridactylites.

Common Whitlowgrass, Llysiau’r-bystwn ar or Erophila verna

Rue-leaved Saxifrage, Tormaen tribys or Saxifraga tridactylites

We also saw Ranunuculus bulbosus - recorded before for the meadows around the lake - but not very often. It later turned up at the meeting point for yesterday's meeting - again not recorded there (in Brecon) for a long time.

Bulbous Buttercup, Blodyn-ymenyn bondew or Ranunculus bulbosus


Then yesterday we went to record in and around a woodland in Glyn Tarell - of which we got a great view later in the day:
Glyn Tarell near Brecon

We saw plenty of good things including:
Bilberry, Llusen or Vaccinium myrtillus

Yellow Archangel, Marddanhadlen felen or Lamiastrum galeobdolon

Marsh Valerian, Triaglog y gors or Valeriana dioica

... and a Liverwort in full display:

Not forgetting the Bluebells...

And we heard a Cuckoo...

Wednesday, May 02, 2018

Woods and Roads

I was in a woodland near Llangenny last Thursday - with many great things to see and record - perhaps the highlight being this:
Sweet Cicely, Creithig bêr or Myrrhis odorata

It may not actually be a native but has been mentioned in print over many years as a plant that grows along the Grwyne Fawr River. This is the first time I saw it in that wild-growing habitat.

Then yesterday two of us set out for my spring long walk in rather cold, later wet but ultimately pleasant weather.

The view back from Heol Cefn y Gaer as we set out from Defynnog

Heol Cefn y Gaer is clearly an old track - now a bridle path that takes the ridge south of Defynnog towards Cray and beyond before meeting up with the still used road known as Heol Senni.

This took us through six 1km recording squares so involved some paper-juggling as we proceeded.

In all we made 164 records of 110 different species.

Silver Birch, Bedwen arian or Betula pendula

Wood-sorrel, Suran y coed or Oxalis acetosella and
Intermediate Polypody, or Polypodium interjectum

Brychgoed Welsh Independent Chapel
(There were some interesting naturalized plants in the walls - Snow in Summer and Caucasian Stonecrop - and copious Maidenhair Spleenwort which we didn't see anywhere else all day.)

Detail picture from Sue:

This was very common all along the old byway:
Wood-sorrel, Suran y coed or Oxalis acetosella

And Sue spotted one small patch of this gem.
Moschatel, Townhall Clock or Adoxa moschatellina

Fan Frynych with Pen y Fan behind to the left taken from Heol Cefn y Gaer.

More pictures from Sue:

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

A lot of botany for the time of year

So a bit of a pictorial summary...

The hottest day of the year so far saw myself and Paul, the BSBI Welsh Officer having a very pleasant walk near Abergwesyn. It was not a botanically rich landscape at all but, with Paul to spot things I wouldn't dream of naming with certainty, we managed a list of 104 records.

We got to 494m at Pen Carreg-dan.

The view

And on the way back Cae Pwll y Bo Reserve was looking all tidy and trim ready for splendid Globeflower display (I am sure) later (soon) this year.

Then yesterday the group went to The Byddwn Reserve for a morning recording the early plants there and around. Right by the gate was this unusual Primrose.
Primrose, Briallen Fair or Primula vulgaris forma caulescens

The Celandines were abundant in the reserve (as well as road verges all about the county).
Lesser Celandine, Llygad Ebrill or Ficaria verna (Ranunculus ficaria)

And Cowslips at their best.
Cowslip, Briallen Fair or Primula veris

In the afternoon we called in a Llangorse to re-find the Alternate-leaved Golden Saxifrage previously recorded there. My hunch where to look was right (again!) and we saw it within a few metres of stepping off the path into this wet woodland by the shore of the lake.

This may be my best picture yet of the two side-by-side. Opposite-leaved on the left.

And I finish off with an Artichoke Gall from the Byddwn.
Yellow Gall Midge, Artichoke Gall (Yew) or Taxomyia taxi (I think!)

Monday, April 16, 2018

Setting a Challenge

Last week's outing was notable for finding Alternate-leaved Golden-saxifrage at a site not recorded for some time and this prompted me to set a challenge for members of our botany group to re-find it at sites in the six 10 km squares in Brecknock that so far have no 21st Century records for the plant.

But one of those squares being my home one, and the site where last seen (in 1982) only a short distance from home, I soon realised I had better take up my own challenge.

And I was successful... It was still in the 1km square recorded in 1982 and my hunch where to look paid off. A stream crossing the Offa's Dyke path did indeed have a population within sight of the path.

Alternate-leaved Golden-saxifrage, Eglyn bob yn eilddail or Chrysosplenium alternifolium

Of course this species is much easier to find while flowering and also I had my eye in from last week!

Five 10 km squares to go now!

And what was this just emerging on the way back?
White Bryony, Bloneg y ddaear or Bryonia dioica

Friday, April 13, 2018

Walked straight into it

Sessile Oak, Derwen mes di-goes or Quercus petraea

I was anticipating some laborious searching but, for once, we found the target species right on our path as soon as we entered the "zone of expectation".

The reasons to explore this area on the Dulas Brook near Felin Fach were:
  1. to re-find the Alternate-leaved Golden-saxifrage last recorded there in 1999 and
  2. that it is an area of geological interest with samples held in Cardiff Museum of an unsuccessful mining operation near there.
Most of my searches for this species involve a lot of peering at stream edges and seeing an awful lot of the commoner Opposite-leaved species before, if I am lucky, finding one small patch of the quarry. In this case, although we did see Opposite-leaved Golden-saxifrage first as we came down the steep path to the stream, no sooner were we at the water's edge than I nearly trod on a patch of the one we were looking for.
Alternate-leaved Golden-saxifrage, Eglyn bob yn eilddail or Chrysosplenium alternifolium
Both the Golden-saxifrages are in this picture - they seem to grow happily together without forming a hybrid.

Crouching down to photograph soon led to discussion about other leaves we were seeing and soon flowering Moschatel was found near a tree base. The search for this and other things in the whole area soon revealed that Alternate-leaved ... was actually quite abundant in the whole area.
Moschatel, Mwsglys or Adoxa moschatellina

So we ended up with a good list for the time of year - bolstered by the casuals and neophytes adorning Maes y Berllan Chapel Graveyard.

Other species we photographed:
Opposite-leaved Golden-saxifrage, Eglyn cyferbynddail or Chrysosplenium oppositifolium

Common Bistort, Llysiau’r neidr or Persicaria bistorta

Dog's Mercury, Bresychen y cŵn or Mercurialis perennis

Wood Anemone, Blodyn y gwynt or Anemone nemorosa

We were helped on our way by a local lady who lived near the Chapel and told us about some early Purple Orchids growing on the verge nearby.
Early-purple Orchid, Tegeirian coch y gwanwyn or Orchis mascula

She told us to aim for the Oak pictured at the head of this blog to find the path - at the time it was dimly visible in the morning mist!

Other delights included many lichens (and knowledgeable company about them), tree-creeper, woodpecker, nuthatch and several interesting fungi including:
Witches' Butter or Exidia glandulosa

And the weather was kinder than expected..