Thursday 28 April 2011

Settle sparkles with blue and red bunting for the wedding.

Today is very sunny. Settle market place is looking great with the blue red and white union jack bunting out.

More Early Flowering Grasses and Flowers

Tomorrow I am travelling by train down to Juniper Hall near Box Hill to teach a Grasses Identification Weekend.

So today I went to near the Layby on Bucker (Buck Haw?) Brow to collect some plants to show them - Blue Moor-grass, (in flower of course).

But I was amazed to find Meadow Oat-grass in flower - I had gone to collect vegetative shoots of that because they are "More Poa-like" than the Poas.  I found Smooth Meadow-grass in flower and Sheep's Fescue. At the bypass junction the Compressed Meadow-grass was not out, nor the Squirrel-tail Barley nor the  Reflexed Saltmarsh grass..

The ground is Oh, so dry.

Wednesday 27 April 2011

More First Flowering Times April 27th

I saw a couple of hawthorn trees on Skipton Bypass out -- then nothing much till Ripon bypass where there were a lot of hawthorn trees in blume. There were wonderful sheets of Red Campions on Skipton bypass. the lilac and Sweet cicily were both fully out at Grassington. At Yarnbury there were lots of yellow mountain pansies and the spring sandwort.

At the summit of the Airton Settle road the wavy hairgrass was almost out but no yet. Two days ago at Malham the hare's-tail cotton-grass was in flower but not with big white cottony heads yet.

Tuesday 26 April 2011

Early Flowering Times This Spring

Around here the day that the trees start to show green (so I tell people) is 17th April and the day that they are fully green is 17th May (or 17th-26th May)

Here, for the records, are notes on what I have seen in flowers and in leaf. Many plants are three weeks ahead of what we had last year.

This year by the 17th April the trees were definitely just starting to go green - maybe I should have looked harder on the 15th April. I will put in some photos that I took then, later. 

But by 24th April the sycamore trees were almost fully out (though still light green). A view towards sycamore trees looked almost like mid summer. But a view towards ash and oak still looked like winter!

Today at the Ash and Oak tree next to Miss Hilary's cottage (Sandhills) the oak tree was definitely coming into leaf whilst the ash was still only flowering. (So we are going to get dry weather)

By 24th April the lilac was just coming out, and horse-chestnut were in full bloom as are apple trees and bird cherry. Usually they don't come out till May

The beech and birch are half way out.

On Sun 24th I went to look at the Spring Cinquefoil which is fully out and doing well on the limestone grassland - though the grassland looks very dry. The Tormentil is not yet out.  I have pictures from mid May last year of us looking at the Spring Cinquefoil. There was lots of cowslips out but I did not notice Early purple orchids

The Purple Saxifrage was out in mid-March this year on Pen y Ghent (I am told). By 9th April it was certainly over, as I noticed on the BBS moss trip.

The Yellow Mountain-pansies are out, and Violets (Viola riviniana), in a field above Stainforth.

I noticed some Cuckoo flower out in the Middle school Playing field on our Lichens Day.. very early. there has been a lot since then in the field opposite me - two weeks ago - presumably no grazing.

Early Scurvy grass (Cochlearia danica) has been out for over a month but there is lots of it now. It is spreading along the road on the road path opposite the ex-Youth Hostel (where is has been for several years) to the path at almost to Stainforth Car Park (where I have not seen it before.)

Today 26 April I have seen Mountain Aven in flower, (and one Tormentil flower), lots of Bird's-eye Primrose, Primroses and Cowslips and Pyrenean Scurvey grass. 

At Malham Tarn Lawn there were lots of Early Purple Orchids. the Marsh Valerian and Bog bean were in bud but not quite out. the Globe flowers were just coming out (I usually tell people mid-May for these). 

The road verges have Sweet Cicely coming out. There are also a few plants of Cow Parsley which are just coming out but not as obvious as the former. The Sloe is going over. Apple blossom and Cherry and Bird cherry is out. Red Campion is out. 

Fibrous Tussock-sedge is in flower as is Spring Sedge, and several other sedges the flowers are emerging. The Brown sedge was not in flower.

On the Fen there was Cuckoo -flower but no Greater Bittercress yet. It was easy to see the fen mosses as the sedges and other fen plants are not too dense. We heard Willow Warbler and saw Swallows.  But not Sedge warbler or Reed bunding - but we did not go everywhere on the fen.  On the tarn we saw two Greylag geese and a Canada- goose. We watched pondskaters on the pools pounce after insects that landed. The Cranberry was in bud. The Marsh Violet was in full flower on tussocks in the fen. Goldilocks was just coming out.

There were lots of Water Crowfoot leaves but no flowers in the side stream that flows into the inflow stream.

In the afternoon I drove to Airedale and noticed one hawthorn tree in flower and one in bud. That's all.  In general Hawthorn is not in flower.

The weather has gone cold today so maybe it will hold things up, and let us stay in this delicious "Just coming out stage" for a while longer.

I have seen Meadow Foxtail flowers for about two weeks - but not noticed any other grasses yet (apart from Blue Moor-grass of course.

I stopped at the garden centre with my neighbour but she said "I never buy plants till the end of May - there is lots of time for frost yet!" So we just enjoyed looking. We had a rain shower for half an hour - that is not enough to replenish the water in the ground!

The Daffodils by the roadside are mostly dead, thought there are still a few white Narcissus type ones left.
Dandelions have been lining the road verges for about two weeks now. 

Wood Anemones have been out for three weeks. I noticed a few Bluebells at Bolton Abbey Woods on 12 April - I do not expect to see them till May.  The Lily of the Valley in my garden box is just coming out.

Well that's enough notes for now.

Saturday 23 April 2011

£1 a day for food for 5 days - Live Below the Line Challenge

Could you live off just £1 a day for five days? 
Join the livebelowtheline challenge - 2-6 May (Find out more)
Become aware of how much we consume unnecessarily - and how difficult it is for poor people to survive on £1-00

I  am going to join the challenge.

I shall donate the money I save from not spending more on food to the Rainforest Fund. 

And I shall get sponsored for Methodist Relief and Development Fund which does support some ecologically orientated projects. Would you like to sponsor me?- Just click here  

Would you like to take part?  There are a variety of partner charities you can support - Christian Aid, Salvation Army, 

Just think, nearly a quarter of the people in the world have to survive off less than £1-00 a day - and that's for everything, not just food.

I first read about this project when I heard that Alison Tomlin,  President of Methodist conference is taking part. Read more

Friday 22 April 2011

Settle Passion Play - Journey to the Cross - on Good Friday

 Pictures from the Passion Play "Journey to the cross" at Settle this Good Friday morning.

Singing the final hymn

Sunday 10 April 2011

BBS British Bryological Society - Mosses Week 7-13 April

The British Bryological Society are meeting this week based at Scargill House, Kettlewell 7-13 April. I am going out with them most days. Great. Here we are in Raisgill in Upper Wharfedale, near Yockenthwaite.

Below is Leucondon sciuroides on a rock.

 And here on another rock is Orthotrichum anomalum - you can see the setae (capsule stalks) - on many other species of Orthotricum the setae are shorter so the capsule is almost immersed in the leaves.

Well, I'd like to tell you about Friday and Saturday but they will have to wait.

Saturday 2 April 2011

Opal Lichens Settle

I ran a lichens morning for Craven Conservation Group today (2nd April). After saying for a year "We must record some trees for the Opal Lichens Survey" we finally did it! and I have data for two more trees to enter... Which will show that we have nitrogenous pollution here

 Here is some Xanthoria parietina - which likes high nutrients - sometimes called Bird-perch lichen

 The lichens "walk" appeared in the Flowers of the Dales booklet and four people came as a result of that, including one man from near Burnley. One lady came as a result of my "Events emails" - and the others three were Craven  Conservation Group people.

I had asked permission from the Settle Middle School to use their edge land and trees, which was given (apart from the steep slopes and the nature area). The walls turned out to be interesting because they are built out of a variety of stone.- the side of the valley are carboniferous limestone, but the soil in the floor is made from glacial deposits and then alluvial deposits and the glacier cut through a who variety of rocks.

 On the acid greywacke/slate there was Map lichen (Rhizocarpon geographicum) -flourescent yellow green with a black margin. On the grit there was Candelariella vitellina  a conglomeration of orange blobs with orange apothecia.
On the limestone were huge white patches of Aspicillia calcarea and small black patches of Verrucaria nigrescens and orange patches of Caloplaca flavescens 

When we returned to the trees near the car park and school the buds were unfolding... it seemed some had opened in the two hours we had been away from them.
This branch had a good variety of lichens. If you click on the picture below you will get an enlarged view.
From left to right
Melanelixia (I think) -dark khaki green
Physcia tenella (tiny grey but leafy, with eyelash extensions underneath)
Xanthoria parietina (yellow)
More bits of Physcia
Parmelia saxatile (blue grey, leafy, )
Leconora chlarotera (grey crustose with pinkish apothecia) - far right.