Monday, 23 July 2012

Glynhir 2012

Last week saw what has become over some years a regular gathering of botanists in Carmarthenshire. Around 16 people stayed in comfort at Glynhir Mansion, where excellent home cooking and the screeches of peacocks combine to make an unforgettable setting. While most of the group were there for a full week, I was only able to spend three days there, but still had three fascinating days out.

On Monday we visited part of the SSSI at Rhosydd Llanpumsaint and were fortunate enough to be accompanied by local CCW staff who were able to give some insight into the management. The site is dominated by pingos or ground-ice depressions, an unusual glacial landform, which have allowed the development of a range of different bog habitats. Unfortunately the weather was very wet, although it did clear slightly in the afternoon.

Perhaps the cool weather had confused this lizard who was probably
trying to get warm -and thought Alison's coat a good bet!

Tuesday saw a visit to the National Wetland Centre at Llanelli, where Barry Stewart was requesting assistance to determine a putative new species of duckweed, Lemna valdiviana. The group recorded especially wetland plants in a number of ponds and ditches, with special thanks to Barry who seemed ever willing to wade in and hook out some specimens for inspection. We finished the day with a sticky muddy trip over the saltmarshes to find the Zostera  (eelgrass) beds - to record this curious plant which is the most marine species found in Britain (compared to most saltmarsh plants, this is found lower in the intertidal zone)

Intrepid Barry hooking out pondweeds

Zostera  on estuarine mud at Llanelli
On Wednesday I spent the day with Andy Jones exploring the floodplains of the Afon Tywi. Our aim was to find Persicaria minor, small water-pepper, which has been recorded around ponds at nearby Dinefwr Castle. Logically, we argued, it should also be found around ditches and oxbow ponds elsewhere on the floodplain. We spent a good day (the rain which was torrential at breakfast-time cleared rapidly once we left) searching along the margins and recorded a reasonable number of species. However, there was no sign of Persicaria minor and so the challenge remains. One reason to search for this species is that it is included in the BSBI's Threatened Plants Project this year, so anyone who knows of a population is requested to fill in a form so we can gain a better understanding of this species.

No comments:

Post a Comment