Thursday, 7 April 2016

BBS in Radnorshire - day 1

I joined 4 other bryologists on Maelienydd Common (SO17) in northern Radnorshire on the first day of the spring meeting.  Two other, larger groups were out elsewhere in the county (SO08 and SO18).  We started with a circuit of the central part of the common, passing neutral to base-rich flushes with Scorpidium cossonii, Campylium, Ctenidium, Breutelia and Sphagna, soon reaching a pool edged with 10,000s of Hamatocaulis vernicosus.  Its inflow stream held intriguing submerged Calliergon giganteum.

yes, that's all Hamatocaulis!
Mark Lawley had visited the site once before and had found Barbilophozia kunzeana (a S42 liverwort) then.  He spotted today's first colony, followed a little while later by another patch found by Lucia and Emily, and rounded off by a patch that I spotted (I've only ever seen it once before, at Julian Woodman's site in SW VC35).  It was a reassuringly distinctive thing, with oddly pinched-looking leaf lobes and a couple of underleaves visible on most shoots.  The habitat of Sphagnum mounds in neutral mire seems pretty consistent, but it is always very localised on a site and is easily missed.  There was also some Scapania cf paludicola with very arched keels, but there's ongoing debate as to whether our Welsh plants are actually that or extreme S. irrigua.  A candidate for Jamesoniella undulifolia (which Mark has found at 3 or 4 sites alongside B. kunzeana) may well just be Odontoschisma.
After lunch we headed slightly further west on the common and worked our way up a slightly base-enriched gully with Trichostomum brachydontium, Gymnostomum aeruginosum and Amphidium mougeotii but sadly nothing more exciting.  The highlight there was Aulacomnium androgynum on a lane bank: a real rarity in Wales with very few records in the last 10+ years.  The list was rounded off with a bevy of Orthotrichum on a bridge and trees.

With a couple of hours left until "tea time" we disobeyed Mark Hill's orders to stay in SO17, which we knew another party were also recording in, and headed west into SO07.  We chose some forestry west of Abbeycwmhir, largely because it wasn't included on the programme for the official SO07 visit on Tuesday.  Almost as soon as we parked I spotted Colura new for Radnorshire on a willow (Radnorshire lacks Colura hunters of Charles and Hilary's calibre!).  Typical conifer plantation species such as Plagiothecium curvifolium (new), Polytrichum perigoniale (new), Pohlia annotina, Diplophyllum obtusifolium and Racomitrium ericoides followed.  All in all, it was a good start to the BBS week in Radnorshire, and I don't even know what the other groups found...


  1. Fabulous Barbilophozia Sam. Looking forward to daily bulletins!

  2. Well that's certainly whetted my appetite!

  3. Sadly I won't be there again until Monday, but I know Barry is going soon, and George will be going on a couple of days. I'm looking forward to Monday's "cook's tour of Stanner".