Wednesday, July 25, 2007

How to pick the wrong day.

I don't let a little rain stop my quest - oh no !

Friday 20th July seemed the day to call in near the Witney bypass for a rare sight (unique to Oxfordshire and possibly declining).

I had family reasons to visit Oxford anyway and the rest of the week had been spoken for.

The rain was relentless even in the morning - I gave up soaked in this botanically rich area soon after getting some tolerable pictures of the Woundwort. Made my family visit in Oxford and set off for home at about 3 pm with my daughter, coming to stay for the weekend.

We eventually got back to Oxford at about 10 pm - which made us some of the lucky ones - many got stuck overnight around Gloucester.

Made it to Hay the next day via the M4 and superior Welsh roads from the new Severn Bridge up through Talgarth - a 50% increase on the usual distance travelled !

Oddly we never encountered rain requiring "fast" wipers. Just several flash floods at the limit of my preparedness to venture. But I heard that after the false lull in the early afternoon many people encountered monsoon rain such as they had never seen before.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Getting there late

This week was far too late for Globeflowers at Cae Pwll y Bo Nature Reserve but I went anyway and enjoyed getting to know the place. Several not uncommon but new to FloralImages species were added. And all was not lost with Globeflowers as I got to see a straggler with all petals lost - exposing the working parts of the flower to view. So my cultivated example still leads the FloralImages resource and it will have to wait for next year to get wild examples.

Vicarage Meadows nearby was also rewarding, if wet, and I saw Dyer's Greenweed for the first time together with some past their best Orchids. Another great reserve clearly but I will have to consider upgrading my walking boots to cope with Welsh wetness. (I'm not complaining - I gather Wilson's Filmy Fern grows in the area and I would not want that to be deprived of its preferred conditions. I must seek it out some day.)

On the (not direct) way back I stopped to investigate some spectacular spikes I noticed on the Brecon - Hereford Road (just after Brecon where there is a turning on the right for T******* 3 m - I can't reconcile my notebook scrawl with anything on the map but the turning is before Felinfach and the Orchids are on the left opposite the turning.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Dashing about after flowers

Fate is conspiring to keep me away from Hay and its environs at the moment - and the weather is not inviting for local foraging in any case - but I do find increasingly that going to known sites to see a rare-ish plant is oddly dissatisfying.

Necessary to some extent to increase FloralImages' scope but getting there to find you are too late / too early / the thing just isn't performing well this year can be a bit deflating.

So a half way house is to try to stop off on other trips that happen to go near. But then you don't really have time to do the job properly.

So actually the real buzz comes in such conditions when you either stumble across something unexpected or a good friend agrees to take you on a tour of his finds. The latter happened on a visit to Plymouth (young son to be visited). David Fenwick (see his site) bustled me around the area allowing me to add 20 more species to the site. I found another five or so, partly by accident as above, on the rest of the trip so it's been quite a productive week. (See them all at this link.)

But I can't wait to spend some days exploring the nature reserves and roadsides of Powys and Herefordshire at a more leisurely pace...