Tuesday, April 24, 2018

A lot of botany for the time of year

So a bit of a pictorial summary...

The hottest day of the year so far saw myself and Paul, the BSBI Welsh Officer having a very pleasant walk near Abergwesyn. It was not a botanically rich landscape at all but, with Paul to spot things I wouldn't dream of naming with certainty, we managed a list of 104 records.

We got to 494m at Pen Carreg-dan.

The view
And on the way back Cae Pwll y Bo Reserve was looking all tidy and trim ready for splendid Globeflower display (I am sure) later (soon) this year.

Then yesterday the group went to The Byddwn Reserve for a morning recording the early plants there and around. Right by the gate was this unusual Primrose.
Primrose, Briallen Fair or Primula vulgaris forma caulescens

The Celandines were abundant in the reserve (as well as road verges all about the county).
Lesser Celandine, Llygad Ebrill or Ficaria verna (Ranunculus ficaria)

And Cowslips at their best.
Cowslip, Briallen Fair or Primula veris

In the afternoon we called in a Llangorse to re-find the Alternate-leaved Golden Saxifrage previously recorded there. My hunch where to look was right (again!) and we saw it within a few metres of stepping off the path into this wet woodland by the shore of the lake.

This may be my best picture yet of the two side-by-side. Opposite-leaved on the left.

And I finish off with an Artichoke Gall from the Byddwn.
Yellow Gall Midge, Artichoke Gall (Yew) or Taxomyia taxi (I think!)

Monday, April 16, 2018

Setting a Challenge

Last week's outing was notable for finding Alternate-leaved Golden-saxifrage at a site not recorded for some time and this prompted me to set a challenge for members of our botany group to re-find it at sites in the six 10 km squares in Brecknock that so far have no 21st Century records for the plant.

But one of those squares being my home one, and the site where last seen (in 1982) only a short distance from home, I soon realised I had better take up my own challenge.

And I was successful... It was still in the 1km square recorded in 1982 and my hunch where to look paid off. A stream crossing the Offa's Dyke path did indeed have a population within sight of the path.

Alternate-leaved Golden-saxifrage, Eglyn bob yn eilddail or Chrysosplenium alternifolium

Of course this species is much easier to find while flowering and also I had my eye in from last week!

Five 10 km squares to go now!

And what was this just emerging on the way back?
White Bryony, Bloneg y ddaear or Bryonia dioica

Friday, April 13, 2018

Walked straight into it

Sessile Oak, Derwen mes di-goes or Quercus petraea

I was anticipating some laborious searching but, for once, we found the target species right on our path as soon as we entered the "zone of expectation".

The reasons to explore this area on the Dulas Brook near Felin Fach were:
  1. to re-find the Alternate-leaved Golden-saxifrage last recorded there in 1999 and
  2. that it is an area of geological interest with samples held in Cardiff Museum of an unsuccessful mining operation near there.
Most of my searches for this species involve a lot of peering at stream edges and seeing an awful lot of the commoner Opposite-leaved species before, if I am lucky, finding one small patch of the quarry. In this case, although we did see Opposite-leaved Golden-saxifrage first as we came down the steep path to the stream, no sooner were we at the water's edge than I nearly trod on a patch of the one we were looking for.
Alternate-leaved Golden-saxifrage, Eglyn bob yn eilddail or Chrysosplenium alternifolium
Both the Golden-saxifrages are in this picture - they seem to grow happily together without forming a hybrid.

Crouching down to photograph soon led to discussion about other leaves we were seeing and soon flowering Moschatel was found near a tree base. The search for this and other things in the whole area soon revealed that Alternate-leaved ... was actually quite abundant in the whole area.
Moschatel, Mwsglys or Adoxa moschatellina

So we ended up with a good list for the time of year - bolstered by the casuals and neophytes adorning Maes y Berllan Chapel Graveyard.

Other species we photographed:
Opposite-leaved Golden-saxifrage, Eglyn cyferbynddail or Chrysosplenium oppositifolium

Common Bistort, Llysiau’r neidr or Persicaria bistorta

Dog's Mercury, Bresychen y cŵn or Mercurialis perennis

Wood Anemone, Blodyn y gwynt or Anemone nemorosa

We were helped on our way by a local lady who lived near the Chapel and told us about some early Purple Orchids growing on the verge nearby.
Early-purple Orchid, Tegeirian coch y gwanwyn or Orchis mascula

She told us to aim for the Oak pictured at the head of this blog to find the path - at the time it was dimly visible in the morning mist!

Other delights included many lichens (and knowledgeable company about them), tree-creeper, woodpecker, nuthatch and several interesting fungi including:
Witches' Butter or Exidia glandulosa

And the weather was kinder than expected..