Monday, October 31, 2016

Sheep, fungi and fossils (with a tiny bit of botany)

I forgot to include this picture of the new Soay sheep at Henallt Common in the last post. They introduced themselves to me when I was photographing the berries. Hopefully they will increase in number and get the common under control in the coming years...

We did find Fly Agarics when out doing some late recording on Buckland Hill where we found, but didn't photograph, one Common Centaury plant in flower, some dead but recognisable Red Bartsia and several other species well worth recording especially on the rocky outcrops there.
Fly Agaric or Amanita muscaria on Buckland Hill

Earlier I joined James Cresswell for a Geologically themed walk in the Taf Fechan valley at Merthyr Tydfil and photographed these anthills in the large quarry there:

We did see these Great Horsetails on a landslip along the valley:
Great Horsetail, Marchrawnen fawr or Equisetum telmateia

Dog Lichen or Peltigera spp.

It was hard to remember at times how close we were (for the entire walk) to busy roads and Merthyr town as we walked the secluded valley. There were only occasional glimpses of the trappings of civilisation high above us on the valley edge.
The Taf Fechan
We encountered fossil coral:

and an abundance of Maidenhair Spleenwort behind the derelict Cyrfartha Ironworks furnaces:
Maidenhair Spleenwort, Duegredynen gwallt y forwyn or Asplenium trichomanes

This is an under-appreciated gem in Merthyr:
The Pont-y-Cafnau (English: Bridge of Troughs), sometimes written Pont y Cafnau or Pontycafnau, is a 14.2-metre (47 ft) long iron truss bridge over the River Taff in Merthyr Tydfil, Wales. The bridge was designed by Watkin George and built in 1793 for his employer, the Cyfarthfa Ironworks, to support both a tramway and an aqueduct to carry limestone and water into the works. A Grade II* listed building and Scheduled Ancient Monument, the Pont-y-Cafnau is the world's earliest surviving iron railway bridge.

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