Monday, September 15, 2014

New Reserve and a Long Walk

Early last week we assembled to explore the southern part of the new Ystradfawr BWT reserve. There was plenty to see and determine, including two species of Cotoneaster that had established themselves in the wet woodland.

The marshy grassland also had plenty to see including a relative rarity for the county:
Smooth Tare, Ffacbysen lefn or Vicia tetrasperma

And, on an old mining spoil heap we encountered a large population of a plant new to all of us:
Pearly Everlasting Edafeddog hirhoedlog Anaphalis margaritacea

It's where we had lunch - enjoying the view and speculating what it might be. It wasn't in any of the books we had with us but we felt sure was a close relative of the daisy family members like Cudweed and Mountain Everlasting. It turned out, after I had made the identification back home, that Mike Porter had found and identified it in the area in 1970...

There were severl Rose Galls to marvel at as well:
Bedeguar gall, Robin's Pin Cushion or Diplolepis rosae

Then on Thursday three of us set out from the end of a narrow road north from Gurnos to explore a little one of the remotest areas of the county (indeed of England and Wales). This, of necessity, meant striding out to get our target location and not adopting the usual botanists 0.01 mph for the first 100m but we soon encountered some wet ground that required a short stop to take in Square-stalked St John's Wort and Marsh Violet. Then later, crossing the Gwys Fach a longer stop was required to record several species including Lesser Skullcap and Ivy-leaved Bellflower. So by the time we had reached the upper Gwys Fawr valley, over some very tussocky ground for parts of the way, there wasn't a lot of time for the thorough scouring of the square we had planned. But we extended the list quite a bit here before turning back to reach the car in good time for dusk.
The Gwys Fawr Valley and headwaters

The Gwys Fawr Stream (photo by Sue Goodhead)

Round-leaved Sundew, Gwlithlys or Drosera rotundifolia (photo by Sue Goodhead)

Ivy-leaved Bellflower, Clychlys dail eiddew or Wahlenbergia hederacea

All in all it was a good day for our first venture into the area (which is the very broad "back" of the Black Mountain). In a future year we need to plan a long day in midsummer for more exploration of the area and the hope of confirming even more that hasn't been recorded since the 1980s.

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