Sunday, 1 September 2013

June and July - the summer slipping away

Anglesey -
Burial chamber near Moelfre
Anglesey - Cors Bodeilio:
Dactylorhiza purpurella

I have deserted Merioneth and this blog almost since Caerdeon.  Only a few days after that was over [when it was still very cold and un-summery] we had the BSBI AGM in Anglesey.

Almost straight afterwards we were in France. Martin and Clare Rand arranged a wonderful botanical holiday just south of Auxerre, in the heart of the Burgundy country. We stayed in a gite big enough to take 11 of us in comfort, with a large kitchen and open-plan living room, and its own pool. This was more than welcome as the weather got quite hot as the week went on. 

Botanising in Burgundy
The botanical highlights were numerous including some wonderful arable weeds such as Althaea hirsuta, Hairy Mallow and Legousia speculum-veneris, Venus’ Looking-glass.  Perhaps the highlight for me among so much superb habitat was the woodland with many orchids including my favourite Cephalanthera rubra, Red Helleborine. Martin’s knowledge of the region and its botanical riches was amazing and enabled him to take us straight to the best areas for plants and grand scenery.

Le Buget at nightfall

From there John and I went to Le Buget, our “second home” in Auvergne and we managed some good botany though the grain harvest was well under way and many of the arable weeds had disappeared.  Most of the time, though we were working hard in the garden, clearing heaps of building rubble and laying doorsteps etc.

I returned to Llandrillo in early July to find a garden looking more like a jungle and clearing it really has had to be a priority, but we had a good field meeting during the last week of July.
Yellow Water-lilies [Nuphar lutea] on Llyn Cwmorthin
Five members of Merioneth Nats met in Tan–y-Grisiau, among the extensive slate workings of Ffestiniog.  We recorded in two tetrads, notching up 170 records altogether including updating Andy Jones’ 1997 record of Floating Water-plantain, Luronium natans.  

Luronium natans
Photo: chinch gryniewicz
Coincidentally, I was sent another record of the same special plant with a superb photograph which I’ve put in here – it gives a much better idea of it at its best than my poor efforts!

Disused quarry house by Llyn Cwmorthin

Disused house below Llyn Cwmorthin 
The walk up to Llyn Cwmorthin was interesting with many relics of former quarrying times and showing the uplands so much more populated than nowadays.  What a bleak life it must have been - but giving rise to so much of the richness of Welsh society and culture.

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