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Sunday, August 04, 2019

A Bog, a Quarry and Limestone Scree

The bog was right on the southern border of Victorian Brecknock.  It was just as well the weather has been dry as it allowed us to explore it thoroughly and find several choice species that were yet to be recorded since 2000, including masses of Marsh Cinquefoil.

Marsh Cinquefoil, Pumnalen y gors or Comarum palustre (Potentilla palustris)
(OK - I cheated - we've missed the good flowers, despite seeing a lot of this species, in Brecknock this year - this from Rhos Goch in Radnorshire a while back...)

This had us temporarily scratching our heads:
Bogbean, Ffeuen y gors or Menyanthes trifoliata

There were plenty of leaves about so we had already recorded it but didn't immediately recognise the fruiting inflorescence.

It was nice to stumble upon this:
Bifid Hemp-nettle, Y benboeth hollt or Galeopsis bifida

Books give the impression this is about as common as Common Hemp-nettle but that isn't my experience - of course for a large part of the year with no flowers it is impossible to tell which species you have. But when they do flower, in my experience, more than 10:1 they are the correctly-named "Common" species. Even the excellent Vegetative Key by John Poland gives up on this one - you need a flower.

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Then a trip back to the disused quarries on the Brecon - Penderyn Road to collect this hopefully to confirm it with the referee.
(Possibly) Ostenfeld's Eyebright, Effros Ostenfeld or Euphrasia ostenfeldii

We went up to the peak above the quarries (which incidentally appear to have become disused before 1885 judging from old OS maps) - finding a few unexpected gems at the top such as Lady's Bedstraw and Green Spleenwort).

There were small sections of Limestone pavement up there and more areas of broken up pavement.
- with a few plants such as Herb-Robert in the crevices (or grykes) and rather unexpectedly:
Dog's Mercury, Bresychen y cŵn or Mercurialis perennis 

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A trip to Darren Fawr and the area around was again for various purposes including mopping up a few missed species.

Braving the roadside was worth it for this and other gems on the lower slopes:
Pearly Everlasting, Edafeddog hirhoedlog or Anaphalis margaritacea

And one species we had almost given up hope of seeing was finally spotted by Anne after I had scanned this treacherous slope (of lime-burning spoil?) too perfunctorily.

Musk Thistle, Ysgallen bendrom or Carduus nutans

And, in the quarry, this Lizard was basking on an old pallet.
A male Common or Viviparous lizard, Zootoca vivipara