Wednesday, 15 February 2017

Wern Ddu (again) and Rudry

I made a trip to Wern-ddu yesterday to have a look for that bluetail, but on arrival there was already quite a crowd of assembled birders - some of whom cheerfully told me that they'd been there for several hours without seeing it. I lack the patience for that kind of thing, so quickly left to check out the much more easily twitched Fissidens limbatus found by Barry a few days earlier (thanks Barry...and you weren't exaggerating when you said it was tiny).
Fissidens limbatus
On the way there was a tempting pile of limestone rubble and spoil from past quarrying at Cefn Onn, which held plenty of (putative!) Leiocolea badensis and some more tiny Fissidens which will probably prove to be limbatus. A rotten log was covered in Nowellia, which might be new for ST18. As Barry mentioned, this north-facing slope is very mossy indeed and will surely reward a more thorough survey.
Probable Leiocolea badensis
Nowellia curvifolia
My main aim of the day was to look for Leptodontium flexifolium at Rudry Common, found here by  Roy Perry in 1974. I'm pleased to report that it is still grows here 43 years on!
Leptodontium flexifolium
Leptodontium flexifolium with deciduous stubby leaves at shoot tips

Leptodontium flexifolium habitat
It proved to be quite frequent on thin peaty soil around sandstone outcrops, mostly growing under slight overhangs. The main associate was Ceratodon purpureus (the overwhemingly dominant bryophyte here) with smaller quantities of Polytrichum piliferum and Campylopus introflexus. It looks like the whole site gets burnt regularly, which perhaps aids the persistence of the Leptodontium. This tetrad (ST18Y) should now be over 60 species.


  1. Very nice pics of the L. flexifolium, makes me want to go and find the site where Roy saw it in SS7093 - however, there's no immediately obvious habitat to check in that square looking at the aerial, though there's more suitable ground to the north. Glad you found the Fissidens and it sounds like the Leiocolea upon reflection is badensis.

  2. Thanks Barry. The Leiocolea I checked microscopically looked pretty good for badensis, but this was from the limestone spoil site (ST174854) rather than the area by the limekiln which you looked at (sorry I think I misled you about this on the phone earlier), so the two may not necessarily be the same species.

  3. Roy's SS7093 L. flexifolium record may have been from the Tennant Canal towpath, which is peaty in places.

  4. You might be right Charles. I couldn't resist taking a quick look on my way back from Kenfig yesterday at the crags in the very southern part of SS7094, which are very similar to those shown by George. All the usual suspects, but no Leptodontium. There were crags further down the slope in SS7093 which could easily be accessed from the track below, which I'll look at one day, if the tow path does not produce a result.