Saturday, 4 February 2017

Aberthaw shingle

A few spare hours on Tuesday took me to the shingle beach at West Aberthaw - the draw being that this tetrad (ST06D) had no previous bryo records despite obvious potential.

Things started well with Scorpiurium circinatum and fruiting Rhynchostegium megapolitanum on a stony bank by the car park, as well as a mystery Bryum sp. (photo below - not sure if this is B. kunzei or another member of the caespiticium group - any comments welcome).

The broad leaf of Rhynchostegium megapolitanum
Scorpiurium circinatum

West of the car park, an area of ruderal vegetation behind the shingle beach was awash with small, fruiting acrocarps, including Microbryum davallianum, M. rectum, Tortula protobryoides and Phascum cuspidatum.
Microbryum rectum
Microbryum davallianum
Microbryum davallianum spores
Tortula protobryoides

Further west still, the back of the shingle beach was quite well vegetated, the bryophytes including Aloina aloides (fruiting), Tortella nitida, lots of Scorpiurium and some more M. rectum.

Tortella nitida on old rope among shingle

This left me a little time to try and add some epiphytes in the north of the tetrad, but these were few and far between - I couldn't even find any Cryphaea. Of more interest was yet more Scorpiurium in Gileston Churchyard and small cushions of Gymnostomum aeruginosum on the mortar of a railway bridge.

Many of the species mentioned above have their Glamorgan headquarters on the South Gower limestones and few records from further east - but this is partly due to the Vale being badly under-recorded. Lots of work to do here!


  1. That's an impressive haul of notable species! Given the range of small Pottiales and the shingle habitat it might be worth a search for Pterygoneurum papillosum there (see a recent J Bryol from 2015 for details)

  2. Those little Microbryums are fabulous and some nice photos for comparisons too. Great work George.

  3. Great return George, looks like you have some rich hunting grounds to explore in that area and could build up quite an assemblage.

  4. Thanks all. It was a fun outing in slightly unfamiliar territory.

    Sam - now that really would be a find! I don't have access to the 2015 paper but have found a few photos online - it looks pretty distinctive, if rather small. Perhaps worth another visit in the spring anyway, as some other Pottiales may be fruiting by then.