Monday, 1 January 2018

A frosty day at Llantrisant Common

On 28th December I spent a sunny day recording bryophytes on Llantrisant Common with Karen Wilkinson and Caroline O'Rourke.
Although the weather was beautiful the ground frost never cleared - Karen was reduced to ripping up chunks of frozen Sphagnum to take home to identify. We probably missed some smaller species as a result - there was no chance of picking through Sphagnum in the field to look for small liverworts, for example.

We covered the western bits of the common and succeeded in upping tetrad ST08M from 46 to 75 taxa. The existing site list was largely made up of records from CCW vegetation surveys in the 90s, topped up with a few grots I recorded in 2015. There were no epiphytes on the list however, and these made up the bulk of the additions. We'd hoped to re-find Scapania paludicola, recorded in several places by CCW, and got excited by some promising Scapania in M15 wet heath, but this proved on closer inspection to be S. irrigua.
The highlight of the day was a small patch of Atrichum crispum close to a stream (5th Glamorgan tetrad, top photos below). Other finds included Calliergonella lindbergii (below left) among short grass in several places, Pseudephemerum nitidum and vegetative Physcomitrium pyriforme (hopefully safe to record) rubbing shoulders in a rushy ditch (below right) and Orthotrichum stramineum on an old willow.

Karen recorded 6 species of Sphagnum including S. fimbriatum and S. fallax new for the site, as well as some beautiful wine-red S. capillifolium.

We strayed into the southern part of the common, which falls within ST08L, and took the total for that tetrad from 53 to 63 taxa. We didn't have time to explore the extensive eastern side of the common and are planning a return visit sometime...

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