Friday, July 28, 2017

A wet day in a wet meadow

We got a good list and the meadow near Crai was distinctively different in the mix we saw but I was lucky to get back with my records still discernible on the cards.

Actually it did get quite nice after lunch and the cards dried out in the sun.

Sue valiantly took pictures of all the interesting things we saw even when it was miserable so the main credit for this blog goes to her.

Our route to the field was via the old railway line where this old aqueduct was still standing - with a Birch growing in it:

The gate to the field looked old enough to date from the railway era and encrusted with interesting lichens:

And we saw our first Common Toadflax of the year right next to the old line - it seems to like rail or road travel and I saw plenty on the A40 near Crickhowell the next day.
Common Toadflax, Llin y llyffant or Linaria vulgaris

After lunch the view improved.

There were Bulrushes on the old railway path - one of several wet ground specialists we saw along it.
Bulrush, Cynffon y gath or Typha latifolia

And from the field Sundew fruiting:
Round-leaved Sundew, Gwlithlys or Drosera rotundifolia

Saturday, July 22, 2017

The A40 and the Byddwn

We got 170 records for the 1km square we explored on Thursday - which did include The Byddwn BWT Nature Reserve and the A40.

By the A40 where we started was Restharrow (I did say in last blog that we must keep an eye out for it!) and later on our return Heather spotted a tiny plant by the side of the road which turned out to be a new record for the county.
Narrow-leaved Pepperwort, Pupurlys culddail or Lepidium ruderale

The Byddwn is a small reserve and you walk along the old railway track to get to it. We saw a wide range of species, the Early Purple Orchids and Cowslips being over of course, but we enjoyed:
Zigzag Clover, Meillionen igam-ogam or Trifolium medium
Wild Basil, Brenhinllys gwyllt or Clinopodium vulgare
Hawkweed Oxtongue, Tafod y llew or Picris hieracioides

There was a Common Blue resting as we got back near to our start point:

and we were asked to identify a plant that had appeared in the garden of the farm we parked at that turned out to be:
Weld, Melengu or Reseda luteola
A little way from its usual habitats but no doubt another hitchhiker on the A40 like the Narrow-leaved Pepperwort and Restharrow...

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Close to home

Ray Woods told me that he had seen Common Rest-harrow near Hay Old Castle earlier in the year but I waited for its flowering time to go and see (well that's my excuse). (All of a 300 metre walk!)

Common Restharrow, Tagaradr or Ononis repens

It's even visible from the path down from the road to the old railway / tram paths but the prettier flowers shown are higher up the bank.

The BSBI Map for it's distribution shows a marked reluctance for the species to cross into Brecknock (although there are some older records) but I note it has been seen more recently in Radnorshire - we must keep our eyes out for it.

There was also one plant of:
Burnet-saxifrage, Gwreiddiriog or Pimpinella saxifraga

and plenty more to record of grassland plants.

Wet limestone

We managed to find the place in Brecknock that had rain all day and surprisingly low temperatures last Saturday but nonetheless it was rewarding on south Brecknock limestone.

One species we don't often see was only just opening its flowers so I took a small sample home to check and photographed the flower next day:
Knotted Pearlwort, Corwlyddyn clymog or Sagina nodosa

And another test for my ID skills was:
Limestone Bedstraw, Briwydd y calch or Galium sterneri

There were several Nodding or Musk Thistles including this barely opened one looking very pretty
Musk Thistle, Ysgallen bendrom or Carduus nutans

And a white patch of Thyme had us intially stumped:
Wild Thyme, Teim gwyllt or Thymus polytrichus

Carline Thistles were everywhere.
Carline Thistle, Ysgallen Siarl or Carlina vulgaris

The grazed common was quite superior with abundant Heather and Ling
Cross-leaved Heath, Grug croesddail or Erica tetralix

Thanks to Sue for most of the pictures.

Friday, July 14, 2017

I am going to have to think of a new title for "catch up"

It's a month since I posted and lots of botany has been done so here are the highlights:

Directly after the last posting we went to West Cork where the
New Zealand Holly, Llwyn-llygad-y-dydd celynnog or Olearia macrodonta

was even more abundant around Bantry than I ever remember. It likes the climate there but is, of course, an alien - and special for being a woody shrub in the Daisy Family.

Another highlight was finding one of the many Tree Ferns (Dicksonia antarctica) at Dereen gardens had Filmy Ferns on its trunk:
Wilson's Filmy-fern, Rhedynach teneuwe Wilson or Hymenophyllum wilsonii

The Navelwort was also having a good year there:
Navelwort, Deilen gron or Umbilicus rupestris

Back to Brecon and I was next at one of our very few sites for Wood Crane's-bill, finding several plants in the company of Jonathan from NRW but a little late for the flowers.
Wood Crane's-bill, Pig-yr-aran y coed or Geranium sylvaticum

This is very like the Meadow Crane's-bill currently adorning our road verges through much of the county but with a more purplish-pink coloured flower and is rare in South Wales.. The pair of species are one of the few where the serious books actually mention flower colour as a significant difference. 

Then a few of our group visited some private, RSPB-owned, meadows near Elan where we were treated to a feast of Greater Butterfly Orchids, Wood Bitter-vetch and many other choice meadow plants.
Great Burnet, Bwrned mawr or Sanguisorba officinalis near Elan

 Greater Butterfly-orchid, or Platanthera chlorantha in one of the meadows

We found
Bell Heather, Grug y mêl or Erica cinerea
near the roadside there.

More meadows were enjoyed by all at Bertlywydd farm near Ystradfellte at an open day after that with again Greater Butterfly Orchids in the delightful mix.
Berthlywydd Meadows

One of our group (Joan) made a discovery while walking between her National Plant Monitoring Scheme plots - a new site for
Sand Spurrey, Troellig arfor coch or Spergularia rubra
This adds a site for the Rare Plant Register.

Then I was off to London visiting family and brushing up on my botany identification in the Surrey chalk grasslands.
Greater Yellow-rattle, Cribell felen fawr or Rhinanthus angustifolius
and distinguishing between:
Field Scabious, Clafrllys y maes or Knautia arvensis
Small Scabious, Clafrllys bach or Scabiosa columbaria
(Size isn't much of a steer despite the names.)

When I got back, Chris at BWT Ystradgynlais had found a
Broad-leaved Helleborine, Y galdrist lydanddail or Epipactis helleborine
near the cycle path there.

Correction! August 2017
And at Llangorse (for the Wetlands Trust Water Plant identification day) one of our number spotted:
Hoary Plantain, Llyriad llwyd or Plantago media
Greater Plantain, Llyriad llwyd Plantae or Plantago major subsp. intermedia
right by the lake shore.

There was plenty else to see including
Lesser Bulrush, Cynffon-y-gath gulddail or Typha angustifolia

Hoary Willowherb, Helyglys lledlwyd or Epilobium parviflorum

and I cannot omit a picture of the
Fringed Water-lily, Lili’r-dŵr eddïog or Nymphoides peltata