Friday, 13 June 2014

Merioneth Nats, May meeting

The landscape of our south-eastern boundary
with Montgomeryshire, VC47
The routine, now I am living in Preston, is to spend a few days either side of our scheduled monthly meeting in the vice-county doing more recording.  I have stayed with friends, to whom I am really grateful for putting up with a nomadic botanist. However, this time I stayed at Y Llew Coch, The Red Lion, in Dinas Mawddwy, which is a 'proper' pub with good food and ale, and comfortable and reasonably-priced rooms.

I came via Llandrillo, happy to find that I no longer mourn my little bungalow by the river, rather I am happy that the many worries about a timber-framed house are not mine any more! We have woods and a nature reserve in Preston, too, and our own river in France!

I reached Machynlleth in time to join old friends Penny Condry, Arthur Chater and David Elias for lunch in the Quarry Cafe which was a delightful occasion. Then I went off for a square-bash in the  afternoon, walking from the Brigands Inn at Mallwyd up a steep incline until I was walking above the Afon Cleifion just north of the vice-county border with Montgomeryshire.  Lovely airy views and a good list for a nice acid roadside with abundant Pignut, Conopodium majus, and swathes of Hawthorn, Crataegus monogyna, garlanding the countryside.

Tegwyn Jones, our knowledgeable companion.
The next day, as I arrived in good time at the agreed meeting place, the farmer, Tegwyn Jones, rolled up in his Land Rover and made history by asking if he could join us for the day!!!  We were delighted to have his company as he is really well-informed about the plants and other wildlife on the farm, and I am sure we might have overlooked things without his input.

The five of us walked quite briskly up to the further tetrad where we began recording a lot of nice things typical of better-quality grassland. There was Thyme, Thymus polytrichus, and a good number[8] of sedges including Flea Sedge, Carex pulicaris, and perhaps the best show of flowering Common Butterwort, Pinguicula vulgaris I remember seeing

A lovely drift of flowering Butterwort
 Heath Milkwort, Polygala serpyllifolia was abundant in the turf and a small patch of a tiny Euphrasia was probably E scottica.  When we stopped for lunch, Tegwyn went off on his own, declining our offers of food from the rest of us - and came back with a clutch of 'bits' to add to our list of records for the day. 
Rowan, Sorbus aucuparia, in full bloom
A splendid display of Potentilla erecta

 It was the burgeoning abundance of flowers everywhere that was so lovely. Even the commonest species such as Tormentil, Potentilla erecta were looking their best

Part of the team, in working mode
 To round off on the way back down to the farm we took a detour up to a stream which is the site of a proposed hydro-scheme.   It is a delightful little valley, quite steep, with Water Avens, Geum rivale and Beech Fern, Phegopteris connectilis the stars of a lovely assemblage of plants typical of this habitat. With Heath Spotted Orchid, Dactylorhiza maculata in a very nice damp meadow and a clutch of weedy records from the farmyard we managed to raise the day's total  to around 140 species.

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