Thursday, 27 April 2017

Habrodon at Merthyr Mawr

I was at Merthyr Mawr today for a site meeting with Duncan Ludlow, and having mentioned Habrodon perpusillus while we were chatting in the car park Duncan offered to show me the sycamore which hosts this rare moss. Despite Duncan leading me to the exact multi-trunked tree I couldn't spot it, but I nipped back afterwards for another look and found numerous small patches on one of the trunks (circled yellow in photo below).

I was struck by the superficial similarity to young Cryphaea, as Sam and Barry have commented previously.

The good news is that Duncan has removed the Holm Oak that was shading the host tree, and plans to fell further Holm Oaks slightly further away. Hopefully this will allow enough light onto the sycamore trunk for the Habrodon to persist.

Saturday, 8 April 2017

Mossy Moneymakers

It's the first time I've seen this van in the area. I'm not sure if this is big business or a good bit of local entrepreneurship?

Also noticed this product in Wyevale today, I only hope the marketing on the back of the bag is true?

Thursday, 6 April 2017

Moss puzzle

I did some work in Swansea Docks yesterday and finally managed to add 22 species to the previously unrecorded SS69Q. There was nothing of special note, though a single capsule of what superficially looked like Microbryum rectum seemed a little odd. The habitat comprised a mossy turf growing on a marine silt/grit crust over concrete, regularly inundated by wave spray during storms. The most prominent species were Limonium binervosum agg., Hennediella heimii, Didymodon tophaceus and Tortella flavovirens. Under the microscope the seta seemed thick and too long for M. rectum, plus the leaves looked more like those of H. heimii, with smooth cells, costa ending below the leaf tip and with a few marginal teeth near below the tip. I gently squashed the capsule under the slide cover to reveal some unripe spores. Given the habitat and the leaf characters I'm suspecting this is just a deformed capsule of H. heimii, but thought I'd post it, just in case someone else knows better.

Also of interest, the crusts of D. tophaceus were punctuated by frequent fruiting bodies of one of the bryoparasitic Pezizales, probably a Lamprospora species, though the Octospora website does not list D. tophaceus as a known host.

Tuesday, 4 April 2017

A walk in the woods

I was off work last Thursday - and where better to spend a warm early spring day than in limestone woodland. I spent half of the day walking the woods around Dinas Powys, with one of the aims being to improve on the miserly total of 31 bryo taxa recorded in ST17L. Around 60 taxa were recorded on the walk, with the solid if unspectacular cast including Riccardia chamaedrys, Orthodontium lineare, Dialytricha mucronata (on concrete by the Cadoxton River), Cirriphyllum crassinervium and Lejeunea lamacerina.  The highlight was an unexpected limestone crag at ST147723, which added Mnium stellare, Porella platyphylla, Eucladium verticillatum and Tortella tortuosa, among others.
Mnium stellare
In places it was hard to avoid treading on Herb Paris
Earlier in the day I called at the Cardiff Bay Wetland Reserve to try and add a few species for ST17X (which had a reasonable list of grots but hardly anything else). Around 10 taxa were added, taking the total for this tetrad into the 40s, including Fissidens incurvus, Orthotrichum lyellii and a nice fruiting patch of Bryum radiculosum on a wall.

Pal y Cwrt pit stop

Last Saturday we went for a drive over Mynydd Du and during a pit stop at Pal y Cwrt in the hope of a migrant Ring Ouzel (none, but lots of Wheatears in song) I noticed a lovely patch of Antennaria dioica, which was lf in a 6m x 4m area at SN67681813. I made a very quick list of associates and grabbed a small sample with a mix of liverworts and some fruiting Weissia for checking, from the location arrowed above, these being: Ctenidium molluscum, Ditrichum gracile, Encalypta streptocarpa, Hypnum cupressiforme var. lacunosum, Lophozia excisa, Plagiochila porelloides, Thymus polytrichus, Tortella tortuosa and Weissia brachycarpa var. obliqua. My sample also contained shoots that look very much like Bryum kunzei, which is not known from Carmarthensire, so I'll send the sample to Tom, unless Sam would like to take a look first.

Monday, 3 April 2017

Brecon Beacons Pit Stop

 We stopped briefly in a lay-by below Storey Arms - actually an old quarry (SS971208) -  during a journey across the Brecon Beacons on Sunday afternoon. The occurrence of small patches of Philonotis calcarea and a Scorpidium, which at the time I assumed was S. revolvens, indicated a significant amount of base-flushing. Also in the vicinity were Preissia quadrataCtenidium molluscum, Gymnostomum aeruginosum, Tortella bambergeri and some impressive Asplenium viride, all indicating a calcium influence.

Scorpidium in small quarry, Brecon Beacons

Asplenium viride in small quarry, Brecon Beacons

It was fortunate that I took a small sample of the Scorpidium because after checking leaf cell structure under the microscope it appears to be S. cossonii. Once upon a time they were both Drepanocladus revolvens!

Porose, mid-leaf cells of Scorpidium with blunt (transverse) ends

The wet rocks also had small amounts of Blindia acuta and Empetrum nigrum was scattered in heathy areas above the quarry. Fascinating to think that this collection of Boreo-arctic montane species is only few miles away from an exemplary collection of hyper-oceanic species in the Upper Nedd and Mellte headstreams.

Blindia acuta in small quarry, Brecon Beacons

Blindia acuta leaf showing characteristic alar cells

Saturday, 1 April 2017

Anthoceros punctatus revisited

At last, abundant sporophytes on the Afan Forest Park population.

Anthoceros habitat, Afan Forest Park

Abundant sporophytes on Anthoceros punctatus, Afan Forest Park

Anthoceros punctatus, Afan Forest Park

Saturday, 25 March 2017

Filling in the gaps

During the last few weeks H and I have been revisiting a lot of NPT monads in an attempt to fill in the gaps in the records of several common species like Bryum dichotomum, B. argenteum and Funaria hygrometrica, mostly along forestry roads.

Bryum dichotomum

Bryum argenteum and Funaria hygrometrica

Funaria hygrometrica

Now is a good time to record these seemingly prosaic species, which are important ruderal pioneers. Although we haven't seen anything very special, it was nice to see a colony of Blasia pusilla along a cinder track near the Tennant Canal in Jersey Marine yesterday. Unfortunately, the plants were rather decrepit and they had lost their flasks, but there were a few stellate gemmae.

Blasia pusilla, Jersey Marine

Stellate gemma of Blasia pusilla 

 This is the third population we've seen in NPT, but colonies are always rather transient.

Southernmost Aphanolejeunea

Graham and I have nearly finished our report on the oceanic bryophytes of Coedydd Nedd a Mellte SAC, with our own photos plus a few by other South Wales Bryologists.  The only gap was the Aphanolejeunea colony in the middle of the footpath to Sgwd Gwladus - in Glamorgan and the southernmost patches of this species in Britain.  Bea and Johnny were keen on a visit to the waterfall today, and I managed to surreptitiously grab a photo of the tree as well.  Double success :-)

The Aphanolejeunea tree - admire but do not collect!!

The only other bryophyte I noticed was a relatively large Fossombronia on one of the dry promontories in the river (again in Glamorgan); sadly there were no sporophytes and I didn't want to check its rhizoids because there were only two thalli.  Something to revisit.

Kenfig revisited ...

Note the footpath through the scrub around the western margin of the pool is now flooded!
My quest for Petalophyllum at Kenfig continues without success, though I've still not given up hope of refinding it. This is one of a small suite of species that have either disappeared, or are at critically low levels at the site, despite much good work having been done to restore and create favourable habitats. In addition to an apparent absence of Petalophyllum, I've not encountered any populations of the following:
Abietinella abietina - last recorded by Smith in 1963.
Distichium inclinatum - a small amount recorded by Sam in 2012, so possibly still present.
Moerckia flotoviana - last recorded in tiny quantities at two sites by Sam and the SAC monitoring team in 2012. I have looked briefly at these sites but failed to relocate any plants.
Preissia quadrata - the last records were of two tiny colonies noted by Sam in 2012.
Racomitrium canescen - last recorded by Peter Jones in 1984.

Species which would appear to be critically low include:
Leiocolea badensis - still present but highly localised.
Riccardia incurvata - the population found by Sam in 2012 is still present, but appears to have declined markedly.

Thankfully there is some good news and those species species holding their own, or possibly even doing well include:
Amblyodon dealbatus - since its discovery at the site by Sam and Clive Hurford in 2012, at least six sites have now been identified. Last Thursday I came across a new colony with lots of developing capsules (in fact this is the first colony I've found with capsules). I'll be back to photograph it in a few weeks after they ripen and I have marked a couple of patches (white plant label tops in photo), should anyone feel inclined to check it out for themselves [8+ patches (largest 10cm x 6cm) in 2m x 1m area SS7914881233].

Bryum intermedium - first recorded by Sam in 2012 and then by David Holyoak in 2015. Last year I noted plants at David's site with young fruit, which looked good for this species, but unfortunately the site has been destroyed (only temporarily I suppose) by bikers, who are a constant presence in this area.
Campyliadelphus elodes - added to the site list this year.
Drepanocladus sendtneri - locally frequent in a dozen or more slacks.
Pseudocalliergon lycopodioides - frequent in nine or more mature slacks.

To date 157 bryophyte taxa have been recorded at KNNR. Amongst my casual records last Thursday I was surprised to find both Thamnobryum alopecurum (photo) and Brachythecium rivulare were additions to the reserve list, so next time you visit this large site, don't assume it's all been done.
If anyone knows what species of Hypoxylon this is I'd be interested to know (on Salix)

Thursday, 23 March 2017

The easternmost of the west

Work took me to the valley of the Afon Diliw, which forms the border between Ceredigion and Montgomeryshire.  A couple of hours looking for bryophytes (and lichens) produced about 80 species in the main tetrad (SN87I) and 50 in the fragment of SN87J that falls within VC46.  Getting here involves driving in from the east (so it's a major trek from Aberystwyth) because the road in from Cwmystwyth is only suitable for 4x4, so as far as I know it was completely unknown bryologically.

There weren't any major surprises, and my hoped for oceanic liverworts were absent (except for copious Colura).  The most interesting species were Pohlia elongata (photo) on a rock outcrop, Jungermannia obovata by the river, Sphagnum girgensohnii (photo) and S. russowii (photo) on steep banks, and a patch of Lophozia incisa.  Lichens need a bit more checking, but Usnea filipendula and potential Hypotrachyna sinuosa were highlights.


Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Went looking for Daltonia, found Herzogiella

I had a quick jaunt up to Llantrisant Forest (ST0284) this morning, with Daltonia firmly in mind. I followed the Nant Cwm-du from the lane down to the River Ely, but unsurprisingly there was no Daltonia to be found (it probably wasn't humid enough - the conifers being largely hemlock and larch rather than spruce - and there were no willows). There was ample compensation though, with a small patch of fruiting Herzogiella seligeri on the end of an old conifer log.


Close associates were Tetraphis pellucida, Mnium hornum and Pseudotaxiphyllum elegans.

It was nice to see some Bog Beacon too, the fruitboides poking their heads out of a shallow pool which also held some Sphagnum squarrosum.

The bryo total for ST08H is now into the 70s.