Thursday, 31 March 2016

Tan-y-Graig (SN60S/X)

Rhabdoweisia is not a genus I've had much experience of, so I'd welcome any advice on this one. The habitat (above) and lack of a peristome on most capsules say fugax, but the leaves seem to say crispata (i.e. cell width in upper part of leaves mostly 12-15µm, leaf lamina avge cell count at 220µm from leaf tip =7 and rounded leaf shape with irregular teeth). Cynodontium bruntonii was the only direct associate, but others on the same crag included Racomitrium aquaticum, Andreaea rothii subsp. falcata, Diplophyllum albicans, etc.
Marsupella marginata var. marginata was frequent including patches in fruit

Leucobryum in Crynant

Prompted by Barry's last post I dug out a specimen I took from a Leucobryum colony H and I found in peaty Molinia heathland at the edge of an oak-birch woodland. There was just one neat colony, at the side of a path, which looked dead right for L. glaucum to me at the time.

Leucobryum in Crynant (photo taken in July 2014)

L. glaucum is more likely in this sort of habitat than L. juniperoideum (I thought). I remember checking the leaves and convincing myself that the lower, wide portion was at least as long as the narrow upper part. I recorded L. glaucum. When I revisited my specimens today I found leaves that would fit descriptions of either or both species (re: Barry's comments in last post), some with very long narrow upper portions that I shouldn't have ignored at the time. So, I cut some leaf costa sections from the lower part of the leaf and they show the 2-cell thick structure that is indicative of L. juniperoideum

Now, when I look at my original photos the colonies do look more lax than the typical compact cushions formed by L. glaucum, of which there are classic examples in the lower Hepste valley below Scwd yr Eira. Mea culpa.

Tuesday, 29 March 2016

Glynrhigos Farm

rocks in Afon Dulais with abundant Schistidium rivulare
A friendly (and slightly bemused) farmer at Glynrhigos Farm kindly permitted access for me to record along the Afon Dulais section that passes through SN70R today and I must say despite the rain, it was nice to spend an hour and a half bryologising in the evening, finishing at 7:30pm. The main highlight from this square-bash was a 15cm x 15cm mound of  Leucobryum juniperoideum (confirmed by leaf section - photos below) wedged in a root gap at the base of an oak. Other species of interest included Calypogeia muelleriana, Chiloscyphus pallescens, Lejeuanea patens, Nowellia curvifolia, Orthodontium lineare, Plagiomnium rostratum, Schistidium rivulare & Trichostomum tenuirostre. The square is now on 85 (in fact now 91 after this morning's additional dets.), but a future visit to grassy heaths and coniferous plantations on higher ground at Mynydd Marchywel, plus more epiphyte recording (poorly sampled today) should comfortably take the square over 100.
Leucobryum juniperoideum at base of oak
lower part of the L. juniperoideum mound
L. juniperoideum leaf sections
Trichostomum tenuirostre

Monday, 28 March 2016

Square bashing in RCT

We've made an effort to hit some squares in RCT this Winter and Spring. About 2 weeks ago, in glorious Spring sunshine, we visited the Blaenrhondda Waterfalls area in an unrecorded part of SN90F. A steep, moorland trail led to an old tram road which allowed us to explore 3 waterfalls and jumbles of block scree. It looked promising on the map, but we didn't see anything of great note. However, there's a nice upland feel to the bryophyte flora here and we were able to take the tetrad total up to 74. Where Nant Drysiog tumbles spectacularly over a steep vertical face, Racomitrium aquaticum and Campylopus atrovirens var. atrovirens were abundant and small patches of Marsupella emarginata var. emarginata occured on shaded rock in the vicinity. Ptychomitrium polyphyllum was common on boulders and also occurs here as an epiphyte on willows near one of the waterfalls. Racomitrium aciculare, R. fasciculare, R. lanuginosum, R. heterostichum and R. ericoides completed a diverse Fringe-moss collection and some large colonies of Preissia quadrata were notable. Some photos from the day below:

Racomitrium aquaticum, Blaenrhondda Waterfall

Campylopus atrovirens var. atrovirens, Blaenrhondda Waterfall

Today, we explored parts of SS99I and SS99J that occur along the Cwm Saerbren Trail, which starts near the railway station in Treherbert. Both these tetrads have received some attention in the past, but we were able to bring the total for SS99I up to 79 and SS79J to a respectable 101.  Again, we didn't see anything spectacular, but this is an interesting hike that leads you to the impressive face of Tarren Saerbren, where large areas of heathland and marshy grassland break up the monotony of the Sitka and Larch. In many ways it has all the hallmarks of a typical South Wales conifer zone, with ubiquitous Colura calyptrifolia, Rhytidiadelphus loreus and Plagiothecium undulatum. A large clump of Orthotrichum lyellii on a willow tree near Nant Saerbren was nice.

HH in heather/bilberry moorland below Tarren Saerbren

We stopped below Tarren Saerbren where the cliffs are begging for attention. Next time!

Part of the north east-facing scarp of Tarren Saerbren

Sunday, 27 March 2016


Bryological distractions during our Adder search at Nicholaston on Good Friday included Bryum algovicum (new for SS58), Ptychomitrim polyphyllum (first Gower Peninsula record), Racomitrum aciculare (seemingly uncommon in the lowlands) and Orthodontium lineare (a species I seem to be seeing a little more frequently this year).
rocks along lane at Nicholaston Grange with P. polyphyllum plants arrowed
Ptychomitrium polyphyllum 
Bryum algovicum in dunes below Crawley Bluff
B. algovicum exostome teeth with oblique articulations
Orthodontium lineare

Saturday, 26 March 2016

Apres-Sam sightings

After bumping into Sam, Bea and Johnny we spent a good part of the day wandering around various archaeological gems in the Parkmill area of Gower.  I tried to avoid looking at bryos - not too difficult at this time of year there is lots of other stuff to get engrossed in - as it was family day out.  Several chiff-chaffs calling in the woods added to the other spring migrant, a wheatear, seen earlier in the day nearer home.

At Parc le breos (which would be a nice place to visit if it wasn't plastered in dog faeces - although many folks had kindly packaged them up in little plastic bags before tossing them about the park) - I noticed that there a few small tufa seepages by the approach road - which might repay a closer look.    We wandered up to Cathole cave - famous for apparently having palaeolithic cave art and brown bear scratch marks beyond the locked gate -  the small cave below this had a tiny patch of Marchesinia mackaii just to right of the entrance.  Cathole itself was mainly notable for a lesser horshoe bat dangling in a small crevice near the entrance with a herald moth for company.   There didn't seem any point in jotting down the common bryos I saw in the park, as if the site hasn't already received a proper bryo survey, then it certainly deserves one as there is a lot of good habitat around.

By lunchtime we had ended up at Pennard Pill where surprised to see Frankenia - I hadn't realised it grew here,  - the only bryo of note, which stuck out like a sore thumb on the dunes, was Racomitrium canescens - the real thing.   I have never visited the castle before and it was only as we approached it that I suddenly remembered that it was home to Draba azoides - not difficult to spot as it was flowering well.  It was such a nice day that much of rest of time was spent looking at vascular plants, more archaeology, the scenery, walking on the beach, inhaling the sea air and eating ice cream - that's the problem with the visiting the Gower - too many things to distract you from bryos.

An old pic of mine of Fulgensia as mentioned in additional comment below - I expect that there have been searches for the species previously at Pennard Burrows, but the rare lichen Fulgensia fulgens may be something to bear in mind when walking around the dunes  - I took this pic at Stackpole, so it not too far away.  Apologies for straying away from bryos in this blog.

Friday, 25 March 2016

Henrhyd Falls and Penwyllt

A Good Friday expedition with Bea and Johnny included a walk behind Henrhyd Falls (which Bea had visited once, but which totally amazed Johnny), fossil hunting in the limestone of the Penwyllt quarries, and then a cwtch between Bea and some horses on the WTSWW Allt Rhongyr reserve.  My first Swallows of the spring flew past near Seven Sisters.

There were a few brief bryological distractions:

Rhytidiadelphus subpinnatus by the path down to Henrhyd Falls - first found here by Graham

An intriguingly appressed Plagiochila-like liverwort on the rockface behind the waterfall;
I hoped it might be Pedinophyllum interruptum but the leaf insertion was wrong.  However...
The leaf axils of the Plagiochila held a spherical translucent fungus, which isn't Epibryon plagiochilae -very odd!

Isothecium-like Eurhynchiastrum striatulum on wooded limestone pavement at Allt Rhongyr
Tortula subulata (poor pic, sorry) at Allt Rhongyr;
there was also some Anomobryum concinnatum and Reboulia here
We bumped into Graham, Jackie and Connor on their way to Gower; I wonder whether Graham turned his eyes away from burial chambers and towards any bryophytes...

Wednesday, 23 March 2016

Sphagnum quinquefarium in Glamorgan

Sphagnum quinquefarium in the Sychryd Valley

It is odd that we don't have many records of Sphagnum quinquefarium in Glamorgan, since there are lots of steep Sessile Oak woodlands in the county that look suitable for this ancient woodland species. This site is only just in VC41, being on the Glamorgan side of the Sychryd Valley (SN91580800) and not far from where we saw it in the Mellte Valley a few weeks ago. Some plants were a striking pink colour (see photo) and stood out even for people with compromised colour vision. Nearby, some Marsupella emarginata var. emarginata on a wet, vertical, sandstone outcrop with Saccogyna viticulosa and Lejeunea cavifolia was the only other highlight.
During a quick trip up the Pyrddin Valley to Sgwd Gwladys to photograph Anoectangium aestivans and Breutelia chrysocoma, we recorded Lejeunea patens, L. lamacerina and L. cavifolia in the vicinity of the waterfall. A rotten log there had a mixture of Riccardia palmata, R. multifida and Odontoschisma denudatum

Anoectangium aestivans, Sgwd Gwladys

Breutelia chrysocoma, Sgwd Gwladys

Afon Mellte

lunch amongst the Dicranodontium denudatum 
Sam’s final dets take the total taxon tally for the excursion along the Mellte on 4th March to 127. The following species were just some of the highlights for me on a memorable day out and I couldn't resist posting a few pics of bryologists in action:
Anastrophyllum hellerianum
Anomobryum julaceum
Barbilophozia attenuata
Bartramia ithyphylla
Blepharostoma trichophyllum
Bryum torquescens
Cephalozia catenulata
Dicranodontium denudatum
Dicranum montanum
Distichium capillaceum
Jamesoniella autumnalis
Jubula hutchinsiae
Jungermannia exsertifolia
Leiocolea bantriensis
Leiocolea collaris
Metzgeria conjugata
Odontoschisma denudatum
Plagiochila britannica
Reboulia hemisphaerica
Rhytidiadelphus subpinnatus
Riccardia palmata
Sphagnum quinquefarium
Taxiphyllum wissgrillii
Tetrodontium brownianum
...the Distchium capillaceum cliff...
...the Rhytidiadelphus subpinnatus bank...
...trunk festooned with Jamesoniella autumnalis & Blepharostoma trichophyllum... 
... trunk festooned with bryologists...
...dripping wet Tretrodontium brownianum cliff... 
... Hymenophyllum tunbridgense, H. wilsonii, Anastrophyllum hellerianaum,
Anomobryum julaceum, Cepahlozia catenulata, Jungermannia exsertifolia,
Lieocolea bantriensis, L. collaris, etc...
...and to end the day, a bit of data entry with a glass of my birthday wine.

Monday, 21 March 2016


I had the most fantastic couple of days walking in the western Cairngorms last week. I tried not to get too distracted by bryos but did make a few records and I have quite a few samples still to go through (hopefully including some Kiaeria species). There was way too much snow in the north-facing corries to investigate these for snowbed species, and some of the humidity-demanding species were probably under snow too. The richest area proved to be the riverbank at Tromie Bridge. A few highlights below...

Antitrichia curtipendula on a riverbank alder (Glen Tromie)

Aulocomnium androgynum just a few metres away on humus-covered rocks

Hedwigia sp (tbc) again just a few metres away from the above species on riverbank rocks

Ptilium crista-castrensis in open woodland slightly further downstream

Racomitrium lanuginosum heath with Cladonia uncealis at over 1000m on Carn Ban Mor. I was impressed by the extent of the Racomitrium heath up there.

And finally, just to give a flavour of how good the walking was...