Last December as I stumbled about in low cloud and gale force winds trying to find some dip-wells at Waun Fach in the
Black Mountains, I came
across several scattered bits of sheep dung sitting on bare peat, which had a
few small patches of infertile Splachnum
sphaericum. As I have never seen this species with sporophytes I
brought a sample home and left it in the greenhouse over winter (wife not too
pleased!) to see if I could grow it on - four months later and I have a turd
almost completely covered in moss with lots of nice sporophytes - I am at Waun
Fach next week so will take it back home. This appears to be first (or at
least first modern) record for the Black Mountains.
I think this species is still bracketed
for Herefordshire and Monmouthshire, but hopefully it might turn up there soon with
Waun Fach being only a few kms from the boundaries of both these counties.
I think the only other places I have seen Splachnum sphaericum in south Wales is at Mynydd Llangatwg (several times, although seems much less frequent there now than it was 15 years ago) and near Ystradfellte.
Recently I was sorting through some photos of archaeological sites and came across one I took last year of a cairn on the common above Cwm Cadlan (in RCT, but the old V-c 42). Although situated in a very exposed and dry spot, in the hollow of the cairn is a small patch of Tetraplodon mnioides. Presumably a bird coughed up a pellet onto the small mat of moss, which holds just enough moisture to allow the Tetraplodon to grow - probably always worth having a search around these bird perching areas on the moors.