Saturday, August 09, 2014

Visits to Reserves

In the last week I've been to Kenfig National Nature Reserve near Swansea for a BSBI meeting and also taken a visiting BSBI member to one of our local Reserves, another location that is a sort of informal reserve in the National Park and Brecknock Wildlife Trust's newest reserve to make a plant list and record what is in the area. (The latter being our weekly recording meeting.)

Kenfig is a wonderful place but we were shown contrasting aerial images showing that vegetation cover has increased hugely since the 1970s - rather disadvantaging the speciality plants of the reserve which rather like moving sand that creates new habitat from year to year. So we were roped in to assist in monitoring of new "scrapes" where the top layer of vegetation has been deliberately removed to simulate conditions that favour the rarities.
Some serious surveying of newly scraped areas at Kenfig

This is one of the real rarities that is benefiting from the new work - in fact we were not encouraged to walk into one of the scrapes where it has several young plants newly established:
Fen Orchid or Tegeirian y fign galchog, Liparis loeselii
(Past flowering)

Also among the dunes were:
Round-leaved Wintergreen or Glesyn-y-gaeaf deilgrwn, Pyrola rotundifolia

Autumn Gentian or Crwynllys yr hydref, Gentianella amarella

Then on Monday I took my guest to see some sites near Hay including the only Welsh site for this sedge
Flat-sedge or Corsfrwynen arw, Blysmus compressus
(very abundant at Henallt Common this year.)

Henallt Common isn't a reserve and is actually a common shared by four farms but The Brecon Beacons National Park and Natural Resources Wales look after it well.

Then we visited Brechfa Pool - a magical location even if there were no special plants or birds to see. It is a Brecknock Wildlife Trust Reserve. This is the view from above the pool which shows a panorama of the Black Mountains; Brecon Beacons and just in the distance The Black Mountain at the other end of the county.

But BWT are battling to control an alien invader (which we saw all too much of) there:
New Zealand Pigmyweed or Corchwyn Seland Newydd, Crassula helmsii

This however was a welcome sight on the drying mud:
Mudwort or Lleidlys, Limosella aquatica

Finally the recording group (well two of us) did a comprehensive botanical sweep of BWT's new Cae Lynden Reserve near Ystradgynlais on Thursday. We saw Golden Rod, Devil's Bit Scabious and lots of different Willowherbs but I only photographed:
Slender Rush or Brwynen fain, Juncus tenuis

Heather or Grug, Calluna vulgaris

It was a perfect day for such work - not too hot and sunny all day.

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