Friday, May 31, 2019

Woodland with benefits and Llanwyrtyd not so rarities

But first the gap between this and the previous post was taken up with the BSBI Welsh AGM - of which a short pictorial summary:

This is what a group of eminent botanists looks like.
 And thanks to them this was spotted on Burry Port sea front:
Hairy Buttercup, Blodyn-ymenyn blewog or Ranunculus sardous

We were taken to see this which has taken up residence where a Power Station used to be:
Prostrate Toadflax, Llin-y-llyffant gorweddol or Linaria supina

Then at a lovely limestone site in land we saw a lot of good things including:
Marsh Cinquefoil, Pumnalen y gors or Comarum palustre (Potentilla palustris)
- which we don't often see in Brecknock.

And at Pembury Dunes we saw a lot more including:
Brackish Water-crowfoot, Crafanc-y-frân y morfa or Ranunculus baudotii

There were also talks and general Botanical chat...


Back in Brecknock we (the Brecknock Botany Group) went to a woodland where the owners wanted to know what they had growing there.

The most unexpected species was:
Coastal Redwood, Cochwydden Califfornia or Sequoia sempervirens 

A row of five of these trees that was well-established on what would not seem to be its natural habitat on a dryish hill in Brecknock.
It is one of the few such conifers that is capable of regrowing from a stump / fallen log as here:
There were plenty of good native plants as well including Moschatel (Town-Hall Clock), Sanicle and plenty of Bluebells. 
But, best of all, the owners had a barbecue and coffee with cake available to sustain us!


We could have done with such support for our day near Llanwrtyd where the requirements of the Atlas project required us to search for continued existence of such gems as Dog's Mercury, Moschatel and Wood Anemone. We found most of the list - with only Field Maple defeating us. The Dog's Mercury was in a hedgerow quite near where we parked but we didn't see any more all day. So it is comparatively rare there. It was a wet but rewarding day.

The Wood Anemone was looking great on the banks of the Irfon:
Wood Anemone, Blodyn y gwynt or Anemone nemorosa

And there was Hornbeam along the Irfon bank:
Hornbeam, Oestrwydden or Carpinus betulus

Burry Port Lighthouse

Sunday, May 19, 2019

Limes, Missing Orchids and a Neglected Square

Three outings last week - a lot for me (and practically two days of indoor work as a result making me a normal worker for a week).

The first was to the important woodland opposite Darren Fawr Reserve, where we found the Hutchinsia a week or two ago, particularly to see the Lime Coppice Stools there and try to find Dog's Mercury (yes!) which was mentioned as a characteristic plant of the woodland by Oliver Rackham but is (surprise to me) relatively rare in the area. It certainly is, as I found when I investigated past records, with only 9 scattered records for all time in the 10 km square. Sometimes the surprises in the recording lark are with species you dismiss with "that again"!

The woodland, Penmoelallt, is also host to rare Sorbus species but we weren't seeking them out on this occasion.

We were greeted at the car parking by a display of a rare archaeophyte species for the county:
Fairy Foxglove, Clychau’r tylwyth teg or Erinus alpinus

The evident losses from Ash-die back were sad to see. Lots of regeneration - lets hope some are resistant...

We found four in all of these old Limes
Small-leaved Lime, Pisgwydden dail bach or Tilia cordata - or possibly its hybrid with Large-leaved Lime - tbc

Towards the north of the woodland Wild Garlic became dominant - even under planted Beech. This picture was taken just at the start of the swards.
Ramsons, Wild Garlic, Craf y geifr or Allium ursinum

I didn't photograph the Dog's Mercury, Bresychen y cŵn or Mercurialis perennis but it was there - in quite some abundance albeit in patches.

At lunch I was able to photograph / record some Yew on Darren Fawr opposite us.
Yew, Ywen or Taxus baccata

And right at the top of the hill we saw a lot of this (after wading through Wild Garlic up the steep slope):
Smooth Lady's-mantle, Mantell-Fair lefn or Alchemilla glabra


Then to some lanes and public right of way paths near Hay taking us through an area where Green-winged Orchid used to grow. We found superb habitat but alas no orchids any more.

Including a new site for :
Meadow Saffron, Saffrwm y ddôl or Colchicum autumnale

It is common in the area though - apparently only since the Second World War when it is reported to have been grown commercially (for Colchicine while supplies from Turkey were cut off?)

Meadow Saxifrage, Tormaen y gweunydd or Saxifraga granulata
Which was a first for the member of the group who found it.

Lunchtime view back.

Nearby we found:
Alternate-leaved Golden-saxifrage, Eglyn bob yn eilddail or Chrysosplenium alternifolium

(Not a new record it turns out but an update and we were pleased with ourselves spotting the leaves.)

A newly dug pond in a wet area of meadow - we are looking at the Sedge in the next picture which is undoubtedly introduced.

Greater Pond-sedge, Hesgen-y-dŵr fawr or Carex riparia


The last outing was to record a neglected square near Libanus, check out the graveyard there and look at a local farm's woodland.

The neglected square had this strange bridge:

Scarlet Pimpernel, Llysiau'r cryman or Anagallis arvensis
- at Libanus graveyard. The only known site for this is the 10km square and still there from 1998.

I appreciated the mix of Bugle and Marsh Valerian at the woodland:

There was also abundant Bird Cherry around the farm, and a patch of a close relative of the sedge from the day before - this time native I am sure. (Lesser Pond-sedge, Hesgen-y-dŵr fach or Carex acutiformis.)

Bird Cherry, Coeden geirios yr adar or Prunus padus (Picture by Anne)


And lastly a picture submitted by a member of my mailing list with the questions: "Are they of any interest? Are they Spanish cross?" to which my answer was:

'Certainly interesting in that there are three white ones visible in a small area. They more normally occur at a rate of say one per ten square metres and are just a genetic variant of the English Bluebell. Spanish Bluebells hold their bells upward and the hybrid is in between and more robust. It is a curious aspect of academic botany that flower colour is often dismissed as a character – all the most comprehensive British Flora has to say about these variants is “rarely pink or white”.'

And to reinfoce the point -  anything unusual you spot in Brecknock (botanically!) is of interest to me!

Monday, May 13, 2019

Woodland and a Climb

Walking up to the woods we were going to explore took us through a Glacial meltwater channel (as marked on the Geological Map of the area). Whatever the explanation it was a magical route.

The woodland had more Early Purple Orchids than we nomally see together in Brecknock with 25 in in this small patch:
Early-purple Orchid, Tegeirian coch y gwanwyn or Orchis mascula

Herb Paris was scattered around - even on the path occasionally:

 Herb-paris, Cwlwm cariad or Paris quadrifolia (a five-leaved one in this case)
Yellow Archangel, Marddanhadlen felen or Lamiastrum galeobdolon

A lighter than usual Early Purple:
Early-purple Orchid, Tegeirian coch y gwanwyn or Orchis mascula


The climb was to The Allt near Llangorse Lake - conditions were poor but I wanted to see an unusual violet that had been spotted up there earlier by Anne - about which more perhaps later in the year. On the way up and then down again we encountered a huge amount of Changing Forget-me-not.

Changing Forget-me-not, Sgorpionllys amryliw or Myosotis discolor subsp. discolor

The views were superb but photography conditions not...

A rather hasty post...

Saturday, May 04, 2019

Meadow Saxifrage week

The searches were for Alternate-leaved Golden-saxifrage but what we got was the equally welcome Meadow Saxifrage. The areas we were searching were increasingly long-shots for the first but my feeling hat they might be good sites generally was bourn out.

My first visit was to the banks of the Mellte south of Ystradfellte where the Water Avens was in full display:
Water Avens, Mapgoll glan y dŵr or Geum rivale

The Meadow Saxifrage we saw this week was only just coming into flower - this being the "most open" at the Mellte.
Meadow Saxifrage, Tormaen y gweunydd or Saxifraga granulata 

But no Alternate-leaved (plenty of Opposite-leaved) Golden Saxifrage in this side stream.

Then we saw more Meadow Saxifrage - just coming into flower on the banks of the Irfon near Builth.
The Water Avens here was abundant (Sue's picture):

It was a lovely site with plenty to record. (And a great spot for lunch.)

Meadow Saxifrage showing the lower leaves (Sue's picture).

Exploring the banks.

Yellow Archangel, Marddanhadlen felen or Lamiastrum galeobdolon (Sue's picture)

Then on Friday I walked the path up to Slwch Tump at Brecon which I had never done before, gathering quite a few records on the way...

Navelwort, Penny-pies, Wall Pennywort, Deilen gron or Umbilicus rupestris

 Addendum - Meadow Saxifrage at its best:
(Mid-May at Hay-on-Wye).