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Saturday, September 01, 2018

Round up

Two of us made the climb up to Llyn Cwm Lwch under Corn Ddu - well worth it for the lake itself.


The views were great as we climbed and we saw many birches - some if which I am sure are the Iberian Birch that has only been realised to be common in Wales in the last few decades.
Iberian White Birch or Betula celtiberica

The lake had some interesting species growing around it and masses of this growing in it.
Stonewort, Chara sp.

I think Chara vulgaris - Common Stonewort but I have sent a sample for checking. (Llys y Môr Cyffredin?)

We collected samples of Blinks which was common and this one flowered on my windowsill. Its seeds look to be Montia fontana subs. fontana. The tiny flowers are hardly ever this well open in the wild.
Blinks, Porpin y ffynnon or Montia fontana

The next outing was to the riverside and woodland at Abercraf, yielding a long list with many ferns. eg
Borrer's Male-fern or Dryopteris borreri (Dryopteris affinis subsp. borreri)

Then by the New River in Cheshunt, north of London I noticed a population of this which is also spreading along the Brecon Canal - obviously a favoured environment for the plant.
Bristly Oxtongue, Tafod-y-llew gwrychog or Helminthotheca echioides (Picris echioides) 

Several of spent a day helping Steph survey some fields near Allt Rhongyr that are of interest and we found a long list of plants including this which isn't seen at all often in Brecknock:
Small Toadflax, Trwyn-y-llo bach or Chaenorhinum minus 

The fungi were abundant andChris, who was with us, was able to name most of them.
Blusher or Amanita rubescens

I called in at Cae Egwys reserve on my way to an area near Upper Chapel and this new species for the reserve was flowering. This is the agricultural species of Flax and probably derives from that source but may establish at the reserve, you never know.
Flax, Llin or Linum usitatissimum

My recording near Upper Chapel included a stint on this old byway - now a bridle path.

Not a lot seems to be known about this, obviously once important, route. It starts at Sarnau near Llandefaelog and ends at the border of the Epynt Army Range. But old maps from before the range was there also show it going up to the uplands and stopping so the Range isn't the reason for the ending. In the distance can be seen Ffynnon-oer (Cold Spring?) and the road carrying on round the hill that has Gaer Fach at its summit. Further south the route passes by Battle Hill.
The old route passing Gaer Fach and Ffynnon-oer

This was one quite surprising find in the valley below the area shown above.
Wood Horsetail, Marchrawnen y coed or Equisetum sylvaticum 

And this was right where I parked the car.
Red Bartsia, Gorudd or Odontites vernus 

Then, helping Steph again with Local Wildlife Sites, we saw a wide variety of wet woodland pasture plants and other gems in open pasture near Llangammarch Wells
Rostkov's Eyebright, Effros blodau mawr or Euphrasia officinalis subsp. pratensis or Euphrasia rostkoviana

Fen Bedstraw, Briwydd y fign or Galium uliginosum
Most things weren't actually flowering though but quite identifiable.

Other botanical finds recently have included:
Green Spleenwort, Duegredynen werdd or Asplenium viride
Found by Anne at Craig y Cilau - first record for the area for quite a while.

Field Scabious, Clafrllys y maes or Knautia arvensis
Not common these days in Brecknock (and very like the commoner-for-us Small Scabious found at eg Allt Rhongyr). Steph found this on the Brecon canal bank.

And lastly an oddity. This turned out to simply be the common Figwort minus flower colouring - but for a while we thought possibly something more exciting.
Common Figwort, Gwrnerth or Scrophularia nodosa - not it's usual colour at all!

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Far and Wide


Back in mid July we explored near the head of Cwm Senni with a long list obtained. The highlight was probably approaching this display, which we don't often see in Brecknock.
Hedge Bedstraw, Briwydd y clawdd or Galium album (Galium mollugo as was)
There were lovely floriferous meadows near the Afon Senni itself:

Then two of us attempted a longish walk in the Rhiwnant Valley (south of Caban-coch Reservoir, Elan). The day was much hotter than forecast!

My co-recorder had already recorded this and we hoped to find further populations higher up the valley but failed on that quest.
White Beak-sedge, Corsfrwynen wen or Rhynchospora alba

But there was plenty else to see and record including Sundew in flower.
Round-leaved Sundew, Gwlithlys or Drosera rotundifolia

Then I was over to France for a week to join family but couldn't help spotting some notable flora.
Field Eryngo, Celynnen y maes or Eryngium campestre

This is very rare on our south coast but I saw it in two channel coastal locations there on road verges and the top of sea-cliffs. Obviously it is a relative of Sea Holly which is a common enough coastal sight in the British Isles.

The Foret Domaniale d'Hesdin was impressive and we would have done a longer walk in cooler (less than 35°C) conditions. It is dominated by huge Beeches with a substantial population of Hornbeam as well.
And we stumbled on this (three sites in Brecknock) delight.
Dwarf Elder, Danewort, Ysgawen Fair or Sambucus ebulus

and a Thistle I didn't know until I looked it up. It's a rare casual in the UK.
Cabbage Thistle, Ysgallen dail bresych or Cirsium oleraceum


On return a group of us did a linear walk from Pentre-bach north of Sennybridge to Llywel on the A40. It's a lovely well-marked bridle way to start with but less easy to find at the end!

With varied habitats along the route we got a good list of species. This patch of Cudweed was notable for its density.
Marsh Cudweed, Edafeddog y gors or Gnaphalium uliginosum

And right in the middle of the walk on the upland common the nearly dried up stream was supporting a large population of a Water-crowfoot that I have yet to ID properly. Hopefully my sample will produce flowers in captivity or there will be a long walk next year to see this in more normal conditions. The population we saw was notable for the complete lack of normal laminar leaves.

Common Water-crowfoot? Crafanc-y-frân y dŵr or Ranunculus aquatilis?

The next outing took us to the areas around the Afon Llia - which is the stream near the standing stone Maen Llia.
Maen Llia photographed some time ago.

Thankfully this area was not completely dry (we felt the local sheep were relatively lucky) and there were patches of this fern near the streams.
Lemon-scented Fern, Rhedynen bêr y mynydd or Oreopteris limbosperma

There was plenty to record here where we had our lunch including Alternate Water-milfoil.
But not flowering as profusely as this example from Traeth Mawr.
Alternate Water-milfoil, Myrdd-ddail blodau bob yn ail or Myriophyllum alterniflorum


We noticed these rocks with a thin algal growth and bubbles formed on them in the sun.

Right by the parking place this cropped up - it's all over the county now!
Sand Spurrey, Troellig arfor coch or Spergularia rubra

Then two of us visited Gilfach Reserve (Radnor Wildlife Trust) for a glorious day looking at lichens and doing a small amount of recording for the reserve. It's good to get out of county occasionally!


Blood-spot Lichen or Ophioparma ventosa

And a few days ago I had some time to kill in Hereford where a walk along the Wye revealed this magnificent example of Mistletoe on a Black Poplar:
Mistletoe, Uchelwydd or Viscum album

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Hotter and hotter


The hot weather had started when we went to waterfall country so thankfully we had some cover a lot of the time from trees and occasionally got near enough the waterfalls to feel their cooling effect. A good and varied list was obtained. Cow-wheat perhaps being a highlight in the woodland:
Common Cow-wheat, Gliniogai or Melampyrum pratense

And we found this one Helleborine - unfortunately snapped off before flowering...
Broad-leaved Helleborine, Y galdrist lydanddail or Epipactis helleborine

And the Sgwd Clun-gwyn waterfall had an out of reach display of, we thought, Mimulus...
Our BSBI Field meeting (recording) was held on a very hot Saturday and a very good list was gathered by the experts for an area not recorded at all recently.
This included a fern I am yet to be adept at spotting. The field where we saw this had plenty though and I think I now have it for the future. This location was disappointing for richness but luckily the second site we had selected for the afternoon made up for that.

Narrow Buckler-fern, Marchredynen gul or Dryopteris carthusiana

We even saw this county rarity on the way up to the farm we were targeting:
Sheep's-bit, Clefryn or Jasione montana

And the next Tuesday saw us at a normally extremely wet location on the Epynt where the Cilieni river rises.
Conditions were perfect for this exploration with only minor squelchiness underfoot most of the way.
Examining Marsh fern - a Brecknock rarity.
Marsh Fern, Rhedynen y gors or Thelypteris palustris 

And we all agreed the more rare member of the, ubiquitous in Brecknock, Cotton-grass genus was the most well-groomed and classy one.
Broad-leaved Cottongrass, Plu’r gweunydd llydanddail or Eriophorum latifolium

Then a few days later two of us explored a lane or two in an under recorded area near Llanwrtyd Wells, finding this on a Heart of Wales railway line bridge
Pale Toadflax, Llin-y-llyffant gwelw or Linaria repens 

We found a few surprising casuals to add to the list near this very deep ford on the river Irfon. The road is a public road but with warnings. There must be times when the ford is impassable to all but the biggest all-terrain vehicles.

In the afternoon we explored a little of a high common nearby - which turned out to be incredibly  dry with only a little dampness at the bottom of obviously normally wet gullies. But Skullcap was bravely completing its mission nonetheless.
Lesser Skullcap, Cycyllog bach or Scutellaria minor 

And it wasn't the ideal conditions for exploring an area of very early mining activity on the south of Llangattock Mountain for the next outing.
This is where the second lowest seam of the South Wales coalfield outcropped on the plateau and the scene of early coal extraction. The remaining cliff supported a lush community that obviously still had access to moisture unlike the spoil tips nearby. (Bilberry, Heather and not a lot else though.)
Botanising a dry industrial heritage landscape

But there were compensations such as:
Small Cudweed, Edafeddog fach or Filago minima

And nearer the cars a big surprise - Bell Heather has not been seen in the area for a very long time. In fact there is an almost Brecknock-shaped hole in its distribution map.
Bell Heather, Grug y mêl or Erica cinerea

Sue and Keith, not out with the botany group, managed another find that is a first for the 10km square where found:
Sand Spurrey, Troellig arfor coch or Spergularia rubra

And, most recently, Steph and I spent a day with Ray Woods near where he lives with the excellent result that he was able to lead us straight to the richest areas and another very long list was obtained (again for an area not recently recorded). The definite highlight was a very large population of...
Ivy-leaved Bellflower, Clychlys dail eiddew or Wahlenbergia hederacea

… and quite a lot of it was this pure white form:

Just visible in the Sphagnum - blue form again.

Just one of the many other choice plants we encountered.
Round-leaved Sundew, Gwlithlys or Drosera rotundifolia 
(Note that the top right leaf has a catch...)

(Collecting Callitriche brutia)
Thanks for these, Anne, (I think!)
Photographing Small Cudweed