Thursday, 28 April 2016

Tour de Yorkshire Preparations


19 April 2016 above Pately Bridge

Ripon turning above Pately Bridge - I hope the Daffodils will last until 29th April

THe daffoldils really are quite stunning at the top of Greenhow Hill.
And Houses en route have their flags ready to wave the riders on.

No shortage of signs here.
. actually I think the cyclists just carry straight on.

Yes, we're at Threshfield - and still Tour signs.
Here we are outside Threshfield Court,
where Mum used to live. 20 April


But then we had lots of cold weather.. which is bad for the new born lambs because the grass is not growing and the mothers cannot get  enough grass to eat

It is the 28th April now - they have closed the centre of Settle to traffic.

I drove up to Bukhaw/Bucker Brow to collect some grasses for the course I will be teaching tomorrow night. It started sleeting.

I bought a Yorkshire flag from The House that Jack Built

And am waving it on the market place. on the skyline you should be able to see the top of the Settle letters and the flag on Castleberg.

I hope everyone enjoys the race on Friday.

A sunny day

On 10th April everyone woke up to snow.

But by midday it was warm enough to sit out on the pavements in Settle

Nellie and I went for a ride Horton for afternoon tea.

Tuesday, 19 April 2016

Tetrad SD86-4

31 March. Thursday: Sun was forecast.  (See also The first trip to this tetrad)

I parked at the Layby, after Robert's barn and field but before the bend before Stangill Barn.
I joined  the path which goes parallel to the wall to the north end of the field where there is a gate which goes into Turf Hill Field. This wall had a few gritstone capstones. I photographed Lecanora polytropa and Pertusaria corallina  and Acarospora fuscata.

I paused at the gate. We used to pause here with the 6th-formers on Soils Days at Malham Tarn Field Centre, and talk about lichen and moss colonisation as a first step in soil formation.

So here I am 30 years later looking at mosses and lichens.

At SD880(05)  687(06) almost out of the monad,  was some Molina and Juncus squarrosus - podsol vegetation:
Phew. it just managed to be in the square! (NVC U6).

Plagiothecium undulatum. Hypnum jutlandicum,   then further on some tussocks of Sphagnum capillifolium, Polytichum strictum, Polytrichum commune, Dicranum scoparium.. and well that was it ..
At SD 880(87) 688(95) 20m uphill and west of the gate was a slope with shallow soil, lots of Carex and Sesleria and Breutelia chrysocoma. But I could not find anything else new.

As I walked down towards Stangill I met the top of the "dry valley" which had one small north facing cliff .. Maybe I'll write more on this cliff another time.. But I now have Gymnostemum sp on my list.

Tetrad SD 86 3 - Stangill Bridge Bend

27 March:
I planned to park and then walk up to Turf Hill. But then realised I had valuables in the boot of the car (P.A.) and I did not want to walk far away for fear of theft from the car..  So I proceeded to what I shall call "Stangill Bridge Bend" - almost a bridge- over a dry valley, and parked at the quarry-let there .  In this "micro-quarry" there was a rock with a white version of Cladonia poccilum. The quarry slope had Blue Moorgrass (Sesleria caerulea).

I walked down the "dry valley - the sides were tussocky and had occasional Hylocomium splendens but included Blue-moor grass - so seemed basic. I found some Dicranum and thought it was D scoparium (likes acid places) .. and then later realised was Dicranum bonjeani, not scoparium.

At the Pennine Way gate through the wall the mosses looked different and the ground was wet.. but they all turned out to be dry limestone wall mosses, just recently flooded..

Amongst the hummocks there  was Fissidens at last - dubius and bryoides -  and Ditrichum gacile, and Mnium marginatum 

It was windy and cold.

Total Score is now 42: Huh that is still level 2. Needs to be 44 for level 3.  But that means on the next walk I shall definitely gain level 3.

Tetrad SD86 2:

Fri 25 March
After attending the good Friday Passion Play in Settle, and sittings inside sending pictures to the Craven Herald, Methodist Recorder, West Yorkshre Ecumenical Council etc
I drove up to SD 86 tetrad z again.

And looked on the verge at Stangill Barn, and Stangill Barn plantation (tiny patch of trees - mostly planted since the snow of 1979 when the sheep and rabbits ring-barked the old ones).
Ah new habitats:- Nettles on the verge. - revealed Ciriphyllum piliferum 
Wall shaded under trees: - one patch of Anomodon viticulosus
Wall of Barn:  Tortula muralis

Well I've scraped up to 27 species. Now in Band 2 (out of 9)

Tetrad SD86 1: - Recording Wharfedale Mosses: 1

23 March

These next few posts about a Tetrad (2x2 km square) in Hectad (10x10km square) 86 are put up as a self indulgent reminder of what I did on these days.. whilst surveying for Bryophytes (mosses) -- - and probably only of interest to others who do such obscure/esoteric activities.

Dear X,

It was good meeting you at the Yorkshire Naturalists Union Conference at York Last week. I was pleased to see your maps of  Wharfedale showing the distributions of all the bryophytes you have so far recorded on a tetrad (2by2m) basis.

Thank you for sending me the map showing how many bryophytes have been recorded in each tetrad.
I see that the scoring system is:
1 1 - 21
2 22 - 42
3 43 - 63
4 64 - 84
5 85 - 105
6 106 - 126
7 127 - 147
8 148 - 168
9 169 - 191

I have chosen to study tetrad SD8868
That's the top right tetrad in the hectad SD 86.
I fact I shall start with the 1km square SD 8868. It is  at the water divide between Airedale and Wharfedale, It is on the road making life easy for me  1km north of  Waterhouses and Malham Tarn Field Centre.

So  I took my car up on 23 March morning and did the tourist exercise of
staying within 100m of the car.. for an hour or two

It  was  fascinating  working  out  where  the true "water divide" is
between Airedale and Wharfedale.

"I'll find 22 species -no problem" I thought "and get up to level 2...
maybe even over 42 and get to level 3?"


The  habitat  is  grassland -acres - (with 2 species of bryophyte)
and one limestone wall.  There was a big difference in lichens on the north and south side of the wall.

and - big treat - at the end of my morning: 1 sycamore tree.

Well,  I may have come  home  with over 22 specimens.. but could only write 18
names on the card.. Well that is level 1. Hey Ho.

I have a BIG pile envelopes labelled Schistidium, Ulota
and Orthotrichum and Didymodon...

I also made a list of 22 Lichens that I could name.

I  met  Robert  Harrison, the farmer at Malham Tarn who I had not seen for several years. He pointed to his sheep - He now has "Clins" he said - not  horned sheep. I looked it up on the internet.. spelled "Lleyns" - so I have learned a new breed. They have white faces and no horns, and crucially, they don't jump over walls as do horned sheep such as Swaledales and Dalesbred

We heard some curlew.

But no Lapwings.
We used to hear hundreds 30 years ago here.
 "The Lapwings have gone" he said.

Well  I'll  go  up  another  day  and  venture  a  bit further over the
grassland.. when it is a bit warmer..


Sunday, 10 April 2016

Wild-flowers of Malham Tarn talk - 1 June

Flowers of Malham Tarn: Illustrated Talk by Dr Judith Allinson
Former tutor at Malham Tarn Field Centre at St John’s
Methodist Church Hall, Settle. BD24 9JH
We 1 June 7.30-9pm
Adults £5 /child/stu £3
In Aid of the Rainforest Fund

All welcome

Thursday, 31 March 2016

Caloplaca flavescens

Learn your Lichens 9

Learn your Lichens Series
1. Arthonia radiata
6. Lecanora gangaleoides
7. Physcia tenella
9. Caloplaca flavescens

Caloplaca means beautiful patches

flavescens means becoming yellow, or yellowish

I think of this lichen as "Common orange pleated limestone lichen"

The edge of the thallus is pleated or placodioid.

It grows on lots of limestone walls around Settle.

Here it is growing at the porch entrance to Horton in Ribblesdale Church

Can you see it here? The bright orange one.
Remember to come to the Beginners Lichens workshop on 2nd April, 10am at Horton churchyard.

Thursday, 17 March 2016

Lepraria incana - Dust Lichen

 Learn your Lichens 8

Learn your Lichens Series
1. Arthonia radiata
6. Lecanora gangaleoides
7. Physcia tenella
8. Lepraria incana

The word "Dust" is useful for describing the genus Lepraria. The lichens have no structure and a closer close up reveals... Dust.
Well, fluffy granules.

Leparia means "Scurvy"
incana means "White, hoary"

Our Townhead area of Settle gave yet another lichen to this website series.. On Wednesday Ilona Warham said "Come and see this lichen - it grows in deep shade in crevices in our garden wall - yet it can look ever so bright"

It can sometimes be seen in the distance growing in big very pale blue green -white patches patches on the shady side on mossy tree trunks...  I need to find some pics near Settle..

I took a photo of the  south west facing wall at the edge of their garden. It was built into the hillside 30 or 40 years ago - so the lichens must have grown since then. Ignore Arrows 3, and 4 - Concentrate on the ledge just below arrow 1

The Lepraria incana has been increasing on this wall over the past few years, I was told. 

The Lepraria is bluish greyish green and is growing on the moss and in the crevices

Arrow 2 points to this crevice

When I put my camera close and used the flash you can see there is lots of Lepraria inside.

Lepraria incana in white under UV light.

It is very tolerant to sulphur dioxide pollution.

I first learnt about Lepraria incana when teaching at Malham Tarn in 1979 . The frame of the old coalhouse door at the Field Centre is made of sandstone, whereas the rest of the wall is Limestone. Oliver Gilbert describes it in his paper in 1963 on Malham Tarn House.

The pale powdery Lepraria grows on the sandstone, whereas the bright orange alga Trentepohlia grows on the limestone -- but there is overlap. Click on the article from the paper about Malham Tarn House - Its architecture and lichens by Raistrick and Gilbert in 1963

The wall faces north so is shaded all day, and it is the coal house so the wall is not heated by the building.

We are looking at the wall near the coalhouse in this picture here - the coal house is just off to the right, but you can see a white patch on the gatepost  wall which is Lepraria. (I think - need to go up and double check) - Then I'll photo the "coal house door" too. It looks fairly similar, thoough the wall was drastically repaired/repointed/plants removed 10-20 years ago.

Other plants with the name incana:

Alnus incana - grey alder
Matthiola incana - Hoary stock
Draba incana - Hoary Whitlowgrass or Twisted Whitlowgrass - a rare white crucifer that is found in our area (limestone/mountains)

Thursday, 10 March 2016

Beginners Workshop: Top Twenty Lichens of Horton in Ribblesdale Churchyard

Here is the report of the beginners workshop held on 2 April.. (The advert is lower down)

The forecast said rain but sort of clearing up. Only it didn't clear up.

I had four takers for the workshop. A big thank you to Melanie, Sue, Pauline and Penny for coming.

And a thank you to the church people for letting us use the church.

We set ourselves up at the back of the church round a table which worked well.

We went outside and as a short "pre-introduction" found examples of Leprose (Dusty) Crustose (Crusty) and Foliose (Leafy.. Lusty?) Lichens -  (Lepraria incana - in the shelter and still looking like dust) Lepraria nivalis- though rather soggy  - as Leprose;  Rhizocarpon geographicum as Crustose and Parmelia saxatilis as Foliose.

We came in and had cups of tea and biscuits (thanks Pauline).  We looked at examples of lichens I had brought in with me and talked about the structure of lichens. A visiting cyclist took a photo of us.
See we are happy.

Then we went for a walk round the churchyard using the lichens trail. Still lightly raining. But better for looking at lichens than glaring sunlight or snow or frost.

After the Nostoc (Spittle of the Moon) and Collema (Black Jelly-Lichen) we came back inside, had coffee, did star jumps, and settled down to looking at structure in more detail.

At 12.30 we went outside and concluded the trail, finishing at the overhanging ash tree with its Xanthoria parietina and Parmeina pastillifera,   and then seeing some Protoblastenia rupestris at the porch entrance, next to the Caloplaca flavescens.

On the way back to Settle we made a slight detour towards Wharf to see  Rhizocarpon geographicum in situ.

Lower on the wall was some Porpidia macrocarpa.

Porpidia macrocarpa


All welcome at the Beginners Lichens workshop 2 April: Horton in Ribblesdale. 10am-12.30pm
For details and to book contact  Judith Allinson - Cost: £15 (Children £3.00) - Concessions available.

Learn a little about this fascinating topic - then amaze your friends!

We will spend a period indoors learning about the structure of lichens, have a cup of tea, and then have a walk around the churchyard. We will use the "Guide to the Top Twenty Lichens in Horton churchyard" prepared by Judith, and participants will keep a copy of the guide. Hand lenses will be provided. Please bring warm clothes at this time of year.

People who have attended on previous years will be encouraged to test out the draft 2016 leaflet: The next top twenty lichens: (i.e. Lichens 21 to 40) ...

Here are the Display boards I prepared for the  2015 Event

If you would
Your life enrichen,
Then study Lichen
If you prefer
Hikin' and bikin,
Then study Lichen

Both pronunciations are correct - but most people say the latter - liken.

Here's Horton in Ribblesdale churchyard, on a sunny day..

Lichen number 1 is on the porch wall. 

Can you see it here? The bright orange one.
I decided to call it "Limestone orange lichen"
 in the absence of any other English name

Its Latin name is Caloplaca flavescens.
It is a crustose lichen. The edge of the lichen has narrow, pleated lobes
and this feature is referred to as "placodioid". (Click on the picture to see a larger picture

You'll recognise it again at the stile at the east.

These pictures were taken at a similar event at Horton in autumn 2014

Here we are looking at the boundary wall in the north.
You can see we are holding the
"Guide to the Top Twenty lichens of Horton churchyard"
 that I had prepared

The display 

I am happy to organise Beginners Lichens workshops at Ingleton and Grinton Churchyards and 
Beginners Mosses Workshops at Ingleton, Giggleswick and Chapel le Dale if a group would like to "book" me.

See more posts on Lichens  on this website here