Wednesday, 18 May 2016

More North Wales Limestone

Still in North Wales on the limestone outcrops, here is the green-winged orchid. The only previous detailed record I had seen said 16 spikes, but last week I found around 70, and a few more just into the next 10km square. This is a great time of year to visit your local populations and check on them - a count is useful.
Anacamptis morio - Green-winged orchid

Thursday, 12 May 2016

A day on the Orme

I had the joy of spending a day on the Great Orme with Wendy McCarthy, the county recorder (and others) yesterday. Wendy lives on the Orme so her knowledge is unrivalled. We began with a visit to the sole remaining plant of Antennaria dioica - mountain everlasting. Another population on the Orme seems to have disappeared - after grazing was reduced the sward is so much longer and thicker. Could Antennaria still be present but invisible? We would hope so, but the reintroduction of sheep grazing is an urgent need. 
Antennaria dioica - mountain everlasting
 We paid a visit to the Cotoneaster cambricus - wild cotoneaster, behind its rabbit-proof fence, which appears to be doing well, although propagation efforts are paused while an investigation into possible hybridisation is carried out. Nearby, we saw the Hieracium cambricum - Welsh hawkweed - spotty with big teeth!
Hieracium cambricum - Welsh hawkweed
 Back at the southern end of the Orme, Helianthemum oelandicum - hoary rockrose - was coming into flower and preparing for a fine show. We visited some of the other specialities of the Orme - although Cerastium pumilum - dwarf mouse-ear - was drying up and past its best.
Helanthemum oelandicum - hoary rockrose
 Hippocrepis comosa - horseshoe vetch - was in fine flower, glorious yellow. We tried a count of flowering plants, although these varied in size from one or two flowering shoots to ten or more. Then we realised there were plenty of small, non-flowering plants, including seedlings - this seems to be a healthy population structure.

Hippocrepis comosa - horseshoe vetch
 Finally, something that is not really a rarity, though it is only found on western coasts. Scilla verna - spring squill. I love this little plant, but I would definitely describe it as blue. The "Rough Crew" in Ireland reported a sighting but described it as a delicate pink. Are Irish squills a different colour to Welsh ones?
Scilla verna - spring squill