Monday 31 March 2014

An oasis of flowers - 35 wildflowers in flower in Birmingham car park edge -and it's still only March

Red Clover leaves near the road
On 28 March, The day before the conference in Birmingham on "Joy in Enough" - about ecologically sustainable economics - run by Christian Ecology Link -  I took time to explore ..

..the narrow strip of "grassy" bank opposite the church, between the main road and station car park.

What a find!

It wasn't just grass - It was a myriad of brightly coloured flowers and mosses  (and some grass)

Maybe I should be  concerned that so many species of wildflower can be IN FLOWER before the end of March - (Climate Change?)
 By the time I have finished looking at the tiny pieces I brought home - I realised there were 35!

Maybe the plants don't have the same kudos as Arctic Alpines that have been in this country since the end of the last Ice Age, as do some flowers near where I live...

Maybe I should be intrigued that so many are "introduced" have only been in our country for a few hundred years..

But the are all wild, not brought here by a the council or car park gardener (unless someone emails me to tell me differently)
Corn Salad (Lamb's Lettuce) - Valerianella locusta - seen close up
(Click on the pictures to see them bigger)

They are in flower - and providing nectar/pollen for insects.

And delight for humans if only they would look!!

Look!   Look!   Look!

Thank you for the flowers. That is what gave me Joy at this Conference.

Spring Whitlow-grass

Rocket -- Eruga vesicaria (possibly subsp sativa?)

The Rocket is growing below the big advertising hoarding.
 It should be advertising the diversity of wildflowers here.

Some will have spread in along the railway line system,
such as this Oxford Ragwort (first recorded in England in 1794)
Oxford Ragwort

Dandelions are coming into bloom this week - providing food for Insects.

Coltsfoot is still out


We are looking towards Carrs Lane Church Centre,
and the Travel Lodge beyond.

Small Melilot

Armenian Grape Hyacinth
(very much like a garden escape)

Veronica persica  Common Field-Speedwell


I explored high and low during my stay

- from the Market near St Martin's Church and the Chinese pagoda garden in a roundabout (Shepherd's Purse and Pineapple Mayweed added to the list)

- to the Secret Garden at the Summit of the Library .

but only found a handful of wildflowers struggling to get in amongst the planted plants and wood chip.

I'll be adding the list shortly.

Sunday 23 March 2014

Ingleton churchyard Lichens- all the Sites

Here are the seven sites we are going to visit, (marked with white and red numbers on the picture below).. both on this web tour of Ingleton Churchyard, and on the workshop on 24 May 2014 as part of Ingleton Underground Overground Festival. 10am-12pm

Poster for Lichens Workshop on 24 May at Ingleton - please download and display

1. The lichens on the cross but just lower than this picture (this post)
2. The lichens on the wall in the foreground to the left of this picture
3. The lichens on several graves near to this one:-
4. The lichens on the flat slab of this table tomb
5. The white lichens round the door to the church
6. The lichens on the branches of the tree
7. The lichens round the back of the church

The top of the gravestone below has the grey foliose lichen "Parmelia saxatilis" once known in some areas as "Crottle" or "Stony Rag" that can be used for dying cloth or Easter eggs.


Menu of other Lichen posts on this blog 

Top Ten Tips on Museums and Nature - from YNU Conference at York 2014

Terry Whitaker and Sharan and Peter Flint and I went to the annual conference of the Yorkshire Naturalists Union from Craven Conservation Group. Thanks for driving us Sharon. We parked at Park and drive. Other people came by train as the venue was next to the station.

Museums and Nature: the Modern Perspective

Yorkshire Naturalists’ Union Conference 2014
22nd March 2014, Conference Centre, Royal York Hotel, York

The people attending were naturalists from some of the 43 natural history societies in Yorkshire that are members of the YNU, plus some curators and volunteers from museums.  Int the coffee breaks and lunch breaks I met individuals  interested in Wasps, Bees, Fungi, Mites, Plant Galls,  Birds, Higher Plants, Beetles, Butterflies, Aquatic Plants, Molluscs, Mammals, Geology, Conservation volunteers and a host of other groups.

The papers that were given at this conference are eventually going to be put on the web. They will make useful reading.

Here are just some of the most interesting points I learned:

1. Always make sure your specimens are well labelled including..  (A.N/B.E)

Who collected it: you - (make sure it is labelled with your name - if all your specimens in future get handed to a museum  en block, your name may not be with each specimen. Who knows, one of your specimens may be new to science so then it is important to be able to credit it to you.)
Location name
Accurate grid reference
Vice County
Habitat - what plans or animals it was growing with
Name and who identified it to this name.  If you don't know its name, don'e worry, some expert later may identify it.

2. Make sure you arrange some power of attorney, and that it is written down what you wish to happen to your specimens and records.  (A.N)

People there an relate many cases where specimens, records and important photographs have been  binned/lost when a person has to go to a care home suddenly or when a person dies.

3. If you have natural history specimens you wish to bequeath to a museum, make sure the naturalist at the museum and the senior management of the Museum know and want it

4. It costs £30 per cubic foot per year to keep museum material in storage.  (A.N)


5. Most of the Museums in Yorkshire have lost the posts of permanent natural history curator and taxonomists.

6.  We don't have a "national museum" in Yorkshire, but we have three museums with "accredited status": Leeds, Sheffield and York.   (A.N.)Sheffield (Local/ Derbyshire).  York (Yorkshire)  Leeds (National).

7. There are many other museums in Yorkshire: including Scarbourough, Doncaster, Keighley, Huddersfield,  Sand Hutton.  (And I can think of many more )

8. The Yorkshire Philosophical Society was founded in 1822 and dealt with material from Kirkdale Cave near Kirby Moorside. It opened the Yorkshire Museum, York in 1830 in time for the Inaugural meeting of the British Association of the Advancement of Science (Now changed name to BSA) in 1831. (Sarah King who has been  the Curator of Natural Science at the Yorkshire Museum for four months gave a talk)

9.. There are many ways to send in your natural history records online (which can then be fed to the NBN Gateway). However a plea was given by the vice-county recorders of  Lepidoptera to send your data direct to the vice-county recorder of the group (whatever the group).  If it goes onto one of the more general websites (I-Spot, even the YNU website), the data still gets fed to the county recorder, but it takes them much more time to check the record.

However it is better if the same record gets sent in twice (or even three times) than not at all.

10. You can find out more about the YNU at  The  AGM will be held in November at Malham Tarn. The VC 64 Field Meeting will be held at Austwick Moss and Lawkland moss in July.

More pictures from the conference room.

Ingleton Churchyard Lichens - 6

(Go back to Ingleton Churchyard Lichens 5 ) 
(Go to menu for  Sites 1-7 of Ingleton Churchyard Lichens.)

This page will be written shortly - It includes lichens on the trees.

Ingleton Churchyard Lichens - 7

(Go back to Ingleton Churchyard Lichens 6 ) 

(Go to menu for  Sites 1-7 of Ingleton Churchyard Lichens.)

This post has not been written yet.. but will include the lichens round the back of the church.

Ingleton Churchyard Lichens 5

Site 5: 
On the sandstone archway of the churchyard porch, and the corners of the porch is a distinctive thick white lichen

This may be Lecanora albescens

This may be Lecanora albescens

On the sandstone corner of the porch to the left of the arch are two patches of a lichen with orange fruiting bodies

Protoblastenia rupestris

Protoblastenia rupestris

End of Site 5

Sites 6 and 7 will be written another day.

I hope you have enjoyed the trip so far. Do join us for the real Ingleton Overground Underground workshop on 24 May - £5-00 Adults,  (concessions available). Includes cup of tea and handouts. It will be warmer in May. email 

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Saturday 22 March 2014

Ingleton Churchyard Lichens - 4

Here is the table tombstone near the church door.

There is more of this lichen with areoles. It is on acid rock, it is Acarospora 
It is most probably Acarospora fuscata. as it does not change colour with alkali.

A nearby lichen on the same flat table tomb is this one:
Rinodina gennarii

Seen close
Rinodina gennarii the fruit bodies are surrounded by a pale margin. Rinodina means little plate

More lichen on the tombstone.

Over much of this table is Lecanora soralifera   "Usually with numerous yellow-green-green soralia forming delimited patches which arise from the centre of the squamules and may unite to cover much of the thallus."

There is another table tombstone in front of it, further from the church door:-.

The north side of this tomb has 
an orange to tan coloured lichen that forms mosaics. 
It is Opegrapha gyrocarpa.

Opegrapha gyrocarpa.

The flat top of the tabletomb has Lecanora soralifera

Lecanora soralifera

There is a flat ground level tombstone near the door which has Lecanora dispersa

Now go to the next site, which is the arch at the church door.- site 5

Ingleton Churchyard Lichens 3

(Return to Site 2)                  (Go to menu with choice of 7 sites)              (Go on to Site 4)

Leave the outside wall and go up the steps, through the gate into the church yard. On the left  is a cherry tree. On its trunk is a bright, pale pastel green powdery lichen: Lepraria incana

This is site 3a

Site 3 is divided into several parts.

Ste 3a is this tree.
Site 3b is the grave you can see on the lawn to the right of this tree.
Site 3c is the grave that was in the initial picture
Site 3d is doubling back to the flat table grave very near where we started.
Site 3e and site 3f and site 3g follow.

Site 3a

Lepraria incana

Even when seen close up Lepraria incana just has a simple powdery structure.

Lepraria incana

Lichens that have a powdery structure like this are said to be leprose.

Round the other side of the cherry tree trunk, hidden in a crevice is a yellow lichen.

Candelariella reflexa (Common on shaded nutrient enriched trees - e.g by dogs)

Site 3b

It is the one with some Bank Haircap moss (Polytrichastrum formosum) at the foot. -

Useful Links:
The British Lichen Society has a map of all the churchyards surveyed in England and Wales and the number of lichens recorded. The map show that Ingleton was surveyed in 1995 by Don Smith who found 32 species.  He found 29 at St Leonard's churchyard. (There are just over 1800 species of lichen in Britain, and just over 1000 species described in the 6th Edition (2011) of Frank Dobson's book
Lichens: An Illustrated Guide to the British and Irish Species (only 860 in the 5th edition). The high scorers in our area are Dent (89 by Oliver Gilbert, Ivan Pedley and Tom Chester in 1999)

Site 3c: is this gravestone.

See the green alga on it - Klebsormidium crenulatum.  A sign of NO2 pollution.

Site 3c gravestone.
Site 3b is the slate stone behind on the right, near the tree at 3a

Lecanora soralifera should be spelled with an a - need to change this

site 3d
Doubling back so you are next to the wall again  is site 

With low sunlight the edge of the apothecia stood up.

Testing with a chemical

Acarospora smaragdula

Acarospora smaragdula - because it turned red  with K

We found Rizocarpon reductum which has small round thallus and the black fruiting bodies from circles.

Site 3e  The old wooden notice board has a green filamentous alga on it ..Klebsormidium 
(This is yet another example of Klebsormidium on this website - evidence that there might be blanket pollution of nitrogen compounds from fertilizer and car fumes over this part of Britain)

Site 3f

Lecanora albescens on top of the tombstone

Lecanora albescens 

Site 3g

The yellow is Candelariella vitellina on the acid tombstone

The top of this same tombstone has Parmelia saxatilis (left) and Melanelixia fuliginosa (the blackish one on the right)

The top of this same tombstone has Parmelia saxatilis (left) and Melanelixia fuliginosa (the blackish one on the right)
Parmelia saxatilis (left) and Melanelixia fuliginosa (the blackish one on the right)

Site 3f

Lecanora handelii

Lecanora handelii

Lecanora handelii:-  the soralia (powdery patches) are round the edge of each bit of thallus, not at the centre.

End of Site 3

Click to go to Site 4

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