Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Merioneth Nats, 28th March 2013

I wonder if I am just getting impatient in my old age or if this year spring is really late in showing signs of arriving. Last year we had so early a summer that everything was over by August so perhaps that's why I am impatient to get going.

*Narcissus pseudonarcissus: our native daffodil?
Last week, four of us met in Talybont on a bright cold day and walked through holiday chalets and caravans to follow the north side of the River Dalar as it approaches the sea.  We made a good list of ruderals including Erophila verna, Common Whitlow-grass.  This little plant is such an opportunist that it fruits almost as soon as it appears, but these were so tiny and showed no signs of any fruits, so I have recorded them as E verna sensu lato without being able to determine them more precisely. Then we walked through the planted areas, which included many cultivated daffodils: However we were all convinced by the nativeness* of a population of perhaps 100 flowering plants on the river bank as we left 'civilisation' and approached the fields.

Roger Cope, botanist!
After a sunny but chilly lunch we looked at a field with many weedy species but pressed on towards the sea hoping to find more small ephemerals, but it took a careful search by Roger on his hands and knees to find even a tiny bit of Cerastium semidecandrum, Little Mouse-ear!  We recorded predictable dune plants like Ammophila arenaria, Marram Grass and Rosa spinosissima, Burnet Rose but the nicest finds near there on shingle were non-flowering plants of Glaucium flavum, Yellow Horned-poppy.

As we trudged back to the village and our cars we all, I think, wondered when we would be able to start recording in earnest, and when the jet stream causing all these cold winds from the east would move away north and let a typical soft, mild spring begin.

* But now determined by Mick Crawley as "a venerable cultivar, Narcissus 'Princeps' "

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