Friday, 13 December 2013

December Social

We held our annual Merioneth Nats social meeting yesterday at my house, Quillet, Llandrillo, sadly, for the last time, as I will be moving to Preston before Christmas.  Recording in the county will continue from a static caravan in a nearby site which we will be using as a base several times during the year.

Some of the usual members, enjoying the fireside food and chat 

As usual I forgot to take any photographs until it was almost too late but these give a flavour.  Twelve people gathered for soup, bread and cheese with other goodies including Polly's gorgeous home-made brownies and a magnificent chocolate cake brought by Paul.  We decided to stick next year to a monthly meeting, on the fourth Thursday of each month [except in January, as the caravan site will be closed then].
We talked a bit about data flow and how to avoid duplication of records, by submitting them through the Vice-county Recorder in the first instance. We also looked at the distribution map of the county, newly decorated with brightly-coloured
dots showing the number of records, black= 51-100, red= 101-150, blue=150-200 and green=>200 records.

I couldn't reproduce the dot map, but this distribution map, taken as a screen shot from the county Mapmate database shows pre and post 2000 species density.  We have a huge amount of work to do before 2020!!

Spurred on by these data, Martin, Clare, John and I decided to do our planned walk in an unrecorded square so we chose one near Parc, SH83X which had no tetrad records at all!  We came home triumphant with about 110 records in the bag enabling me to put a red dot on the map straight away!

Not bad for Friday, December 13th!

This seems a good occasion to thank all those who have turned out and supported my meetings month after month - also everyone who came to Caerdeon providing more records there, too.  I am looking for even more help.  I am getting rather creaky in the knees and would be delighted to have any offers of practical help in leading meetings in the more remote parts of the county.  Eventually I would like to find someone who would share the recordership and eventually take over from me, so if you feel you fit the bill, please say.  The requisite skills, it seems to me, are a degree of botanical knowledge and organisational skills, but above all a passion for botany - and, really importantly, knowing what you don't know!!!

Sunday, 1 December 2013

Glanlafar 28th November

Paul Green and Andrew Graham in the field
We had no great hopes of the meeting on Thursday but it turned out a really lovely day.  It was a window in the cold, grey days of late November, mild and not too damp and we were six recorders eager to go. As usual we collected a number of ruderal records as we left the cars but then we reached the Open Access moorland where Paul and Andrew veered off towards an interesting-looking wet patch and immediately saw Rhynchospora alba, White Beak-sedge,     and Vaccinium oxycoccus, Cranberry. There was also a tiny stem of Menyanthes trifolia, Bogbean, [what else could it be?] and an equally minute piece of Drosera rotundifolia, Sundew.

Rhynchospora alba
Photo: John Crellin 

We followed an old drover's road towards the "Roman Practice Camp"  marked on the OS map at Dolddinas - I wish we had done our homework, as the Snowdonia National Park [SNP] website says: "This group of practice camps, about two miles south of Tomen y Mur, is among the best preserved in Britain." The  work of investigating the site by aerial photography has been done relatively recently and has exposed the extent of Roman activity in the whole area around Trawsfynydd.  Sadly, we didn't appreciate this importance as we ate our lunch - we simply noted the outline of one of the camps on the ground!

Lunch near the Roman Practice Camp

The extensive wet moorland of the Migneint is straddled by huge pylons carrying electricity for the National Grid and a new road has been created across the moorland to enable the re-cabling of the network. We picked up this road after lunch to reach some abandoned mine-workings where we were very pleased to find three Clubmosses, Lycopodium clavatum, Stag's-horn, Huperzia selago, Fir and Diphiastrum alpinum, Alpine Clubmoss.

                                Huperzia selago
Lycopodium clavatum
The Fir Clubmoss was so small that I wondered at first if it could be a diminutive L clavatum. A reminder from "Poland" that L clavatum has very long [4mm] hair tips to the leaves was enough to confirm that we had both species.

With a flurry of roadside records from the indefatigable Mari as we returned to the cars at the end of a long day, we made the grand total of 134 records - a most satisfactory meeting.  We are sure that there would be more records to come during the summer months - for instance a previous record for the tetrad, Carex magellanica, Tall Bog-sedge, would not be easily found outside its flowering time.  Maybe it would be a good target for Caerdeon in August next year?

Poland, J and Clements E J, 2009: The Vegetative Key to the British Flora