Saturday, May 31, 2014

Pwll y Wrach always delights

I joined the some of the Powys Road Verge Nature Reserve volunteers for their annual joint outing at Pwll y Wrach yesterday. This is billed as Brecknock Wildlife Trust's most popular reserve and deservedly. In my experience it always has delights in store at any time of year.

Possibly yesterday's highlight was the largest population of Hard Fern I have seen - looking magnificent in the dappled sun. I don't suppose this photograph does full justice...

Hard-fern, Gwibredynen or Blechnum spicant

We were also pleased to encounter Water Avens (or maybe its hybrid with Wood Avens) on the climb up to the waterfall.

This probably is is Hybrid Avens, Mapgoll groesryw or Geum x intermedium

And we saw much more - including on the road verge on our return - it's one of the verges in the scheme.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Craig y Cilau

Two of us set out in iffy weather to re-familiarise ourselves with this great National Nature Reserve on Tuesday in preparation for the joint Wildflower Society / Brecknock Wildlife Trust walk on  14th June.
(Do come if you can - you will need to join one of the Socs !)

This reserve, if you don't know it, has everything. Industrial archaeology; limestone cliffs; a raised bog; caves; wonderful scenery... I could go on.

Mossy Saxifrage was everywhere:

... and hopefully will still be flowering but we are really targeting the following species:
Angular Solomon's-seal, Llysiau-Solomon persawrus, Polygonatum odoratum on an exposed ledge but we should be able to get within sight of it.

Rare Whitebeams (Sorbus)
Plus rare Hieraciums or Hawkweeds (many of both genera are endemic or even unique to the reserve) but don't expect us to necessarily be able to identify all of these accurately ! (We may not be able to get close enough for one thing.)

Then there should be Alpine Enchanter's-nightshade, Llysiau-Steffan y mynydd, Circaea alpina with:
Wilson's Filmy-fern, Rhedynach teneuwe Wilson, Hymenophyllum wilsonii

growing nearby. Both of these are rare in the reserve and the Circaea pretty much on its tod in the area in a small relict population. (Although its offspring: Upland Enchanter's-nightshade Circaea x intermedia is actually commonish in the county.)

The other planned visit for last week has been postponed until 3rd June - terrible weather !

If you would like to join the Brecknockshire Botanical Group and help us record species such as the above do please contact me. Prior botanical experience is not essential - we need sharp eyes in the group for spotting things and you will learn alongside us!

Oh - and we only got really soaked on the last leg to the car - over the moor above the reserve with swallow holes and other geological features.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

A walk along the Llynfi

It was glorious weather for our outing last week and we recorded 130 different species altogether.

The Llynfi and a Poplar, hardly in leaf yet, with Mistletoe

The river is the outflow from Llangors Lake and flows into the Wye at Glasbury where we started from the church. (This is despite the next village along having the name "Aberllynfi" in Welsh. It also meant we started off in Radnorshire for botanical purposes.)

It was especially welcome to see as much Meadow Saxifrage as we did on species rich banks of the river bounded closely by barley and other crops. We only saw tiny patches of spray damage - so full marks to the farmers between Pipton and Pont Ithel.

Meadow Saxifrage, Tormaen y gweunydd, Saxifraga granulata on the river bank

There was Hemlock in profusion (and Comfrey even more so) nearer the Wye. Among the many Russian Comfrey plants we found an unmistakeable native Common Comfrey plant.

Hemlock, Cegiden, Conium maculatum

Russian Comfrey, Cyfardwf Rwsia, Symphytum x uplandicum or Symphytum officinale x asperum

An oak gall presumably at an early stage

Horse-radish, Rhuddygl poeth, Armoracia rusticana on the verge walking back to the cars (but still in Brecknockshire VC).

And here is a picture of us among Comfrey from Sue.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Another very hasty one

Here are some pictures of Fedw Wood, which was well worth braving the rain for. (the rain soon stopped as well.)

The bluebells were very good but not a lot else in the understory. There were interesting trees though - a regenerating Wych Elm and an assortment of Birches including these magnificent ones - with very fissured bark:

And then next day Steph and I were looking at Globeflowers of a tributary of the Llynfi:

(A very species rich meadow in private ownership.)

Friday, May 02, 2014

Ignore the forecast

I do watch the weather forecast but Thursday was the only day I could manage and it didn't look too bad... So I was very pleased that three joined me for a spot of recording in Cwm Cadlan with the off-chance of confirming a record from 1983 of a rather unlikely (but not impossible) species of Mouse-ear. We didn't find it but intriguingly found habitat it wouldn't be out of place in and the two common relatives were there as expected. But best of all we had glorious weather - even sun and some great views, albeit after a dampish but bearable start.
Eating our lunch with this view:

I was very glad Paul Green was with us - in the grazed turf there I would have taken twice as long to find half as much. As it is I learnt several species in minimal vegetative state under Paul's guidance. We even saw some dandelions which I was able to say half-literate things about.

Common Whitlowgrass, Llysiau’r-bystwn ar or Erophila verna - abundant in places
Brittle Bladder-fern, Ffiolredynen frau or Cystopteris fragilis in the rock crevices
Looking back as we returned.
Botanising along the rock ledges
An old lime kiln used by locals in the past ?

And finally - a preview of the Pwll y Wrach walk at the Talgarth festival on Sunday (when the weather is set fine). Many thanks to Dainis Ozols for the picture and especially for clearing our path for Sunday.