Thursday, 20 August 2015

Aye Gill Pike - CCG-VC65 Botanical Surveying

Mike Canaway organised a botanical surveying day for the VC 65 botanical surveyors and Craven Conservation  Group - He described it as a good place for Polytrichum strictum hummocks,  Rushes, Blanket bog and good views.

It lived up to his description.

The group assemble on 19 August on the A 684 two miles east of Sedbergh

We bypass some bog pimpernel (not in our scheduled grid tetrad) and walk up and up and up and up
and up and up and up
and up and up and up
Mike shows us some Polytrichum strictum (as if we can't see five hundred thousand other hummocks ourselves)
It mostly seems to be growing with Sphagnum capillifolium ( a Red Bogmoss).

He pointed out that it is rare and declining in much of England - but there is plenty in the Pennines, the Lake District and Wales and Scotland

Beside a wall I get side-tracked into Leafy Liversorts:
 Lophozia ventricosa.. ..have to look the others up) .. and then I find a new plant for our list:
A baby Mountain Ash tree:

Potential Sorbus aucuparia
 At lunch, held on a stony ridge, (flags/gritsone) I amuse myself by photographing a lichen.. though I now think it is only  a Parmelia saxatilis that happens to be fruiting.

But the summit is reached and what splendid views!

With binoculars, or with a digital zoom camera we could see the white radar station on Dunn Fell - distant peak on the right and Cross Fell  on the left

To celebrate I play my tin whistle - but the wind is louder than the whistle

We look up Garsdale to Garsdale Head and Dandry Mire viaduct.

That's the same picture in wide angle.. taken from a bog pool.

Pat and Helen admire the view
And I photo the lichens on the cairn behind them. Lecanora handelii - see close up below
I think it is Lecanora handelii because the soralia (powdery areas) are at the edges of the squamules/areoles, not in the middle of them.

More on Lichens: Pseudevernia furfuracea was also growing on the cairn.

In the Sphagnum near the summit we saw quite a lot of Lichnomphalia ericetroum ( umbellifera ) This is a little white toadstool with a depressed cap.  L umbellifera grows from dark green lichen granules up to .25mm diameter.

There were patches of Cladonia uncialis and Cladonia portentosa
on drier bits of peat.

As far as higher plants go, we must have doubled our score during the last hour as we returned, skirting a little lower than the summit and joyfully running to patches of Marsh Thistle

On the way down it started raining. We stop to look at a Drinker Moth that has just laid some eggs.

It was on a grass stalk, but it crawled onto my hand and
I left it on some heather.. probably shouldn't have done
as I went home and read that the
caterpillars eat grasses, not heather.

We arrived home safely, in the pouring rain, pleased to have been out walking in the sun in the morning

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