Saturday, August 12, 2017

Drygarn Fawr

Wednesday was a good day for an explore of this area which hasn't been recorded for some time. We hoped to find Bog Rosemary but didn't. However we came back down at the end of a long day with a good list for such high moorland. Much of it was hard going and we were glad to be guided very ably by Joe Daggett from the National Trust, which owns the land. It was also a boon to have a 380m start on the climb involved...

Nant Gewyn

In particular we found all the possible moorland [****]berries for the county (? I think ?): ie Cowberry, Crowberry, Cranberry and Bilberry. These are confusing enough names - except that the Latin ones are even worse...

Cowberry we saw quite soon after we started on a rocky outcrop but we were to see more including at the target peak.
Cowberry, Llusen goch or Vaccinium vitis-idaea

And Cranberry was soon spotted by eagle-eyed Steph and occurred in some abundance in many areas (including one that, on the map was meant to be a pool). Only a few places had berries though (and flowers were, of course, well over).
Cranberry, Llygaeren or Vaccinium oxycoccos

And here is Drygan Fawr (peak in the distance) with its two cairns
Once again thanks to Sue for many of the photographs.

Monday, August 07, 2017


I bring stuff home to check identifications and, sometimes if it has roots, I grow it on.

I was glad I had done this with some Marsh Pennywort this year because it is rare to get a sighting of the flowers in the wild and my home sample flowered. This is what you usually see when out and about:
Marsh Pennywort, Dail-ceiniog y gors or Hydrocotyle vulgaris

or even, if you are lucky, this which shows how the plant grows and extends itself:

But here are my garden flowers, fruits and buds - very small and it is hard to believe this is quite close to the Carrot Family - in fact it was at one time classified in that family.

This is how they appear in the field if you are lucky enough to find the inflorescences:

Saturday, August 05, 2017

More Wet Days

The wet days continue - it doesn't seen to matter what the forecast predicts - we get wet...

But in each case last week well worth the effort, first on a farm north of Beulah that has several "unimproved" fields and lovely (show prize-winning) ponies.

And there is a thistle "problem" this year in one or two little areas...
Creeping Thistle, Ysgallen y maes or Cirsium arvense
More on the thistles to come.

High up above the wet meadows and near the common we searched for Mountain Pansies, reported by the tenant and found this in the area:
Trailing St John's-wort, Eurinllys ymdaenol or Hypericum humifusum

We had stopped looking for the pansies in the area expected when Steph spotted one on another fieldside bank. I had already remarked that the best way to find them is not to look for them...
Mountain Pansy, Trilliw y mynydd or Viola lutea

The wetter parts had a magnificent array of the common and less common marsh plants with several patches of this relatively rare (and unusual for the family) St John's Wort:
Marsh St John's-wort, Eurinllys y gors or Hypericum elodes

But most unexpected was a patch of Musk Thistles to add to our already recorded trio of the usual suspects. They are also called Nodding Thistles.
Musk Thistle, Ysgallen bendrom or Carduus nutans

The books say "usually" found in calcereous grassland - which this wasn't really but it was near a farm track built up with stone and near an old slate quarry with the geological map saying that there are bands of sandstone and limestone calcrete which could well have been tapped into...

The ponds had several good water plants (some horticultural) and these:
Water-plantain, Llyriad y dŵr or Alisma plantago-aquatica

The ponies again ...


Then our planned day on the black mountain uplands had to be curtailed due to the weather. So we explored the lower end of the target area around the Nant Haffes - a cascade / stream near Craig y Nos. In fact Sue informed me the bed of the stream is normally dry where the main road crosses it - something I will observe now whenever I pass. In confirmation of the unsuitability of the weather for high ground explorations this is what the stream looked like on Thursday:

We found plenty near the road and all the way up to the common land:

Some (not much) Betony:
Betony, Cribau San Ffraid or Betonica officinalis

Several plants of Corn Spurry - rather hard to get at - and this is all Sue could photograph through the fence. (Quite a feat - it wasn't near...)
Corn Spurrey, Troellig yr ŷd or Spergula arvensis

We weren't going to get across the stream on this day (waymarked on the map).

We think Narrow-Buckler fern in the woodland:
Narrow Buckler-fern, Marchredynen gul or Dryopteris carthusiana

And a clump of Hemp-agrimony at the common boundary:
Hemp-agrimony, Byddon chwerw or Eupatorium cannabinum

With this on the way back in the wet area with the Corn Spurrey
Marsh Yellow-cress, Berwr melyn y gors or Rorippa palustris

Most photos by Sue.

Friday, July 28, 2017

A wet day in a wet meadow

We got a good list and the meadow near Crai was distinctively different in the mix we saw but I was lucky to get back with my records still discernible on the cards.

Actually it did get quite nice after lunch and the cards dried out in the sun.

Sue valiantly took pictures of all the interesting things we saw even when it was miserable so the main credit for this blog goes to her.

Our route to the field was via the old railway line where this old aqueduct was still standing - with a Birch growing in it:

The gate to the field looked old enough to date from the railway era and encrusted with interesting lichens:

And we saw our first Common Toadflax of the year right next to the old line - it seems to like rail or road travel and I saw plenty on the A40 near Crickhowell the next day.
Common Toadflax, Llin y llyffant or Linaria vulgaris

After lunch the view improved.

There were Bulrushes on the old railway path - one of several wet ground specialists we saw along it.
Bulrush, Cynffon y gath or Typha latifolia

And from the field Sundew fruiting:
Round-leaved Sundew, Gwlithlys or Drosera rotundifolia

Saturday, July 22, 2017

The A40 and the Byddwn

We got 170 records for the 1km square we explored on Thursday - which did include The Byddwn BWT Nature Reserve and the A40.

By the A40 where we started was Restharrow (I did say in last blog that we must keep an eye out for it!) and later on our return Heather spotted a tiny plant by the side of the road which turned out to be a new record for the county.
Narrow-leaved Pepperwort, Pupurlys culddail or Lepidium ruderale

The Byddwn is a small reserve and you walk along the old railway track to get to it. We saw a wide range of species, the Early Purple Orchids and Cowslips being over of course, but we enjoyed:
Zigzag Clover, Meillionen igam-ogam or Trifolium medium
Wild Basil, Brenhinllys gwyllt or Clinopodium vulgare
Hawkweed Oxtongue, Tafod y llew or Picris hieracioides

There was a Common Blue resting as we got back near to our start point:

and we were asked to identify a plant that had appeared in the garden of the farm we parked at that turned out to be:
Weld, Melengu or Reseda luteola
A little way from its usual habitats but no doubt another hitchhiker on the A40 like the Narrow-leaved Pepperwort and Restharrow...