Saturday, 14 October 2017

St James Park London and Environment Issues Network

St James Park - home of geese, algae lichens and more..

On 10 October I went to London (via Giggleswick and Lancaster train) for the Environmental Issues Network meeting of Churches Together in Britain and Ireland, which was held at Church House, Westminster.

Arriving 1 hour early, I asked the doorman for a suggestion of where to go for an hour.. He said "Go and see the Queens Swans in St James Park".

So ignoring Westminster Abbey and Methodist Central Hall and the Houses of Parliament, I trotted off to St James Park - which was indeed only 5 minutes away. I passed troupes of Japanese tourists - their guides holding a post high with a flag on it (reminded me of Venice many years ago)

It was a much more relaxing and refreshing way of spending 40 minutes than "doing historic buildings".

Greylag geese

 Assorted ducks. 
And graceful grey squirrels. - how wonderfully they unfold their tails
It was great to see them all so close up. Sadly (or maybe fortunately) I had left my sandwiches at Church House - but even  to opening my bag on the ground  pretending  to get food would draw some of the animals.

I looked at the trunks of several trees  - nearly all London Plane, and also a Lime tree

I found Phaeophyscia orbicularis (the grey one below - it has rhizine underneath, so is held slightly away fro the bark.) , Hyperphyscia adglutinata (the greener one - firmly stuck to the tree) a tiny bit of Xanthoria parietina, and lots of alga

The Phaeophyscia is very common over most of UK, but the Hyperphyscia (form this map below from the NBN Altas) Is more of a southern species but is working its way north.

 Hyperphyscia adglutinata from the NBN Atlas

Books say that both species grow where there is a lot of dust. 

I did not find Lecanora conizoides .

 Paper on Lichen and bryophyte distribution on oak in London in relation to air pollution and bark acidity

More links: lichen-lins1

There were good views from the bridge:-

Towards Buckingham Palace

A Greylag Goose

Ladybird Larva

Horse guards parade

Friday, 13 October 2017

Lichens at Lofthouse - Report of the Moorland Festival Workshop

Fourteen of us including myself met on Sunday 8th October 2017 at Lofthouse Village Hall for the Beginners Lichens Day as part of the Upper Nidderdale Moorland Festival

First we examined the crustose lichens on the walls outside the hall
Candelariella vitellina : This is the yellow lichen on the acid sandstone

In some places, another yellow lichen:- Caloplaca citrina.. 
It was growing on mortar or where water had run over the mortar and then deposited limey material

Here I am sitting in the foreground testing the yellow lichen with KOH - Ah it goes crimson - It must be the Caloplaca.
Ah this one has also turned red - It must be some more Caloplaca

This is Acarosproa fuscata. The thallus is thin  on the capstone of the relatively new wall outside the hall. Later we found it growing half a cm thick  looking like deposited mud on the gritstone wall  on the road up out of the village.(That wall is over 200 years old) 

Porpidia tuberculosa

Here is the Porpidia close up.  The black line round the very edge is called the prothallus. The thallus (main body of the lichen) is arranged in areoles (tiny islands)  with cracks in between. The blue grey marks are soralia - patches where the white skin (cortex) of the fungus allows the contents below to come out - powder made of fungal threads and algae.

We spent time in the hall looking at pictures on a screen and learning these names of parts of a lichen. Then keen not to loose the sunshine, we set off up all of 200m,  up the hill outside the village.. carrying our lovely sandwich lunch that the festival had provided.

Lunch with a view up to Middlesmoor - Later we looked at the trees on the left.

Lunch was relaxing. There were no lichens whatsoever amongst the grass of the grassland - though we did find three waxcap fungi (Hygrocybe punicea, nivalis and a yellow one)  and a Liberty-cap

After lunch we examined the lichen of the trees and the wall

 he green filamentous alga is called Klebsormidium crenulatum.  The darker brown areas - looking a bit like deposited mud are the lichen Acarospora fuscata.  Both grow well where there is lots of reactive nitrogen

Yes there is a farm nearby - but you get this Klebsormidium growing on the wall right to the very tops of these hills.

Acarospora fuscata

And below we have Parmelia saxatilis - called  Crottle or Stony Rag in English

 One person found some Stereocaulon vesuvianum. and we found several species of  Cladonia and

and looked briefly at the welcome to Lofthouse sign 

where there was more Candelariella vitellina  (yellow remember?) and some Rhizocarpon reductum with the fruiting bodies growing in concentric circles 

Then it was back to the village hall

Ah - but we had kept some of the Provisions for tea..

The participants stick some of the larger specimens to their charts with Copydex, and I show them Frank Dobson's book.


  1.  post about the exploratory day I made for this trip here - with more pictures of lichens
  2. The provisional programme
  3. More posts on lichens in this blog
  4. Read a good article about Lofthouse here- The village that was nearly flattened
  5. and make sure you call in for delicious ice-cream made on the farm here, at the foot of the Cote de Lofthouse:
    Meadowdale Icecream Facebookpage

Mint Meadowdale Ice-cream is a different green
to Rhizocarpon geographicum
 See if you can spot this yellow green Rhizocarpon geographicum - (Map Lichen)  to the top right of the plaque.

Wednesday, 4 October 2017

Provisional Programme: for Nidderdale Moorland Festival Lichens Workshop 8 October
Please Book and meet at Lofthouse Memorial Hall,
Grid Ref: 

(You are welcome to bring a couple of specimens with you from home to contribute to our display. Then you can learn the name of two lichens from where you live!)
Meet Lofthouse Memorial Hall Car Park. 

10am: Meet.  Coffee.
If you have brought a lichen specimen from home, we will put it on display.

10.10 Introductions.

10.20 Search for crustose lichens on the wall around the car park and Hall using hand-lenses

10.40: Illustrated talk"What are lichens? Lichen Structure; etc"

11.30; Model lichen
11.45: Lichen Chart
12.00: Short walk to bridge, and returen
12. 30: Lunch (Outside if fine, back at hall if wet)
1.30:  Short Moorland wall. We will drive there)
3.30: Return to hall. Continue with charts
4pm: depart.

 ( Book for the lichen day here )

More pictures coming later today.

Crustose lichens as  seen under a handlens
yellow:  Candellariella vitellina
Pale grey with black futing bodies in concentric circles: Rhizocarpon reductum

Hypogymnea - a foliose lichen

(Côte de Lofthouse  - see a cyclists view)

Lichens at Lofthouse - workshop and walk for absolute beginners

Nidderdale Moorland Festival Event - Sun 8 Oct
Lichens workshop for beginners run by Judith Allinson

This post is about the exploratory day I made before the event.
TO read the report of the event with pictures Click here

Please Book and meet at Lofthouse Memorial Hall,
Grid Ref: 

(See provisional programme and more pictures here)

If you know nothing about lichens or only a teeny weeny bit, then this day is for you!!!

Look around yourself on your walks in the countryside.

Would you like to be able to notice and understand more about the beautiful patterns and colours of lichens growing on the rocks and walls and tree bark?

Come on this rare opportunity to have tuition with other complete and near beginners in this topic. Have a fun day out.

And at the end of the day you will know more than 90% of the people in the  UK about lichens.

Please book for this event as places are limited.  Only £5-00

The workshop includes tea and coffee, and handouts.
Hand-lenses can be borrowed on the day
Please bring strong foot wear and waterproofs. However a significant part of the day will be in the hall.

Judith writes:-
I went on a short walk in September to explore the village - at the foot of the Côte de Lofthouse (Steep road going up over the moor towards Masham, used in the April 2017 Tour de Yorkshire)

Just to the top right of the metal Lofthouse sign is a yellow green lichen. A closeup follows:

This lichen looks like Rhizocarpon geographicum -
 It is not the same colour as the mint ice cream I bought from the farm below.. We'll check on the day.

This is Meadowbank Farm, at the bottom of the hill. The ice-cream is made on the farm
Hypogymnia- a foloiose lichen

Settle Community Christmas Day Meal 2017 - all Welcome

Settle Community Christmas Day Meal -  for people in Settle and Villages around - will take place again this year at St John's Church

See pictures of last year when we catered for 50 people from Settle and villages around.

Pictures of Settle Community Christmas Day Meal 2016

Adults £10, children £5.00

Please book   or phone 01729 822138

Voluteers to cook, serve food,  and transport guests also welcome.

. A poster will appear here shortly.


N.B. There we also be an afternoon tea time Drop in session on Thursday 28 Dec 2.30pm-4.30pm for anyone fancying a walk into town on 28th. This is not related to the Christmas Meal - but you might be interested to know it is happening.