Tuesday 27 October 2015

Caloplaca flavovirescens near Settle

Learn your lichens 2.

Distribution map of Caloplaca flavovirescens in UK

Caloplaca flavovirescens forms big pale yellow  egg-yolk coloured patches (up to 15 or 20cm) and the margin of the patch is whitish. It should be called Fried Egg Lichen.

Around here it seems to grow on cement type substrata.

I have found it in four places:

1. E and J's house doorstep, Stackhouse Lane

2. The Locks, Langcliffe
3. One patch on a stone in the north wall at Horton Churchyard
4. Paving stone beside War Memorial outside Ingleton Churchyard

1. It grows on the front doorstep of a house on Stackhouse Lane overlooking the school 

A drop of  strong alkali  - in this case
sodium hydroxide solution -  turns
 the minute fruiting bodies from orange to crimson

Here, another species of Caloplaca  (Caloplaca holocarpa - grey with orange fruiting bodies) isgrowing next to it,  and prevents the C flavovirescens from making a circular patch

Frank Dobson's Lichens book is placed near the Caloplaca  flavo-virescens,
with a view across the road to the school trees

Reverse view.

Stackhouse Lane in autumn

I was first shown Caloplaca flavovirescens at Ingleton at the war memorial outside the church

Caloplaca flavovirescens

Caloplaca flavovirescens - This turns red with alkali

Caloplaca flavovirescens


This morning (27 Oct 2015) I went down to The Locks at Langcliffe to rephotograph the Caloplaca flavovirescens It also on the wall top to the north of the stone "bridge/dam" at the top end of the Locks, and next to the stile opposite. 

This is front right in the picture above,..
though it is on the wall to the left of me above that
Next to the stile

The same ones looking to the bridge

The same ones larger

Finally an autumn view of the river

Wednesday 21 October 2015

Arthonia radiata at Giggleswick Churchyard and churchyard work parties

Most lichens have disc shaped reproductive bodies. Arthonia radiata has reproductive bodies that look like little black stars or ink blobs
"The thallus (body) of the lichen is a smooth, greyish white crust
with  embedded,  black,  variable  but  usually  irregularly  stellate
apothecia (fruiting bodies) (typically 1-2mm in diameter);"

Arthonia radiata disappeared from areas where there was a lot of sulphur dioxide pollution in the air (during the industrial revolution and up to the smogs of the 1950s. ) However the air has become cleaner with respect to sulphur dioxide and lichenologists are finding it in lots of places now.

Whilst I was there I  met Tony and Wendy Carroll busy strimming and raking the long grass in the churchyard and discovering memorials under the mounds of False Oat-grass. They told me about the team of volunteers from the village (and elsewhere) that has just started meeting on Monday afternoons to maintain the churchyard.

The front is always neatly maintained - Here the holly berries are out in autumn but will be gone by Christmas

Prof Mark Seaward showed me some on a beech tree in this churchyard in 2009, when he ran the lichens day here for the Institute of Biology

I went back to that tree  on 21 Oct 2015 and the patch is still there.

(I think this is the Arthonia .. I am open to correction.. the ink blots do seem to have stretched horizontally somewhat.




Autumn Colours at Skipton - 19 Oct

 19 October  at Skipton - this is Springs Branch of the Leeds Liverpool Canal.

I took this after W.R.Mitchell's funeral.  The Craven Herald Offices used to be in the right of this picture.

This was at the Locks Settle quite a few days later.

Sunday 18 October 2015

Climate Change display in Church Hall for Paris Climate Talks.

 Here is the display  on  the noticeboard in St John's Church Hall, Settle

From the side

The two side banners are all in French. It is a fun infographic  (For those who do not understand French, well, the posters are jolly. Concentrate on the central material.)

I will be interested to see peoples reactions.

I wanted to include an answer to the questions:-

"What evidence is there of local climate change - and how does this affect Farmers especially financially, and wildlife?"

1.  We used to have much colder winters.  There was lots of snow in the winters 1979 to 1983.  Ask the local farmers, they will remember them. 

2. Fewer frosty days over winter means it is harder to find days to drive on the land when it is hard to do muck spreading.

3. Graphs from the weather records at Malham Tarn Field Centre show that we have had more days with extremely heavy rainfall (Thanks to David Hodgson and Robin Sutton)  recently: In 1961 there were on average 4 days with more than 3cm (1 inch) of rainfall in a day, and by 2011 there were on average 6 days with heavy rain a year.  This is more pronounced when you look at the number of days per year with more that 6cm (2 inch)

4. Church wardens and building officers elsewhere report that they have to put bigger gutters and dig bigger drainage channels to cope with the heavier downpours.


1.) We have more species of butterfly now than 40 years ago. The Speckled Wood has appeared since 2000. The comma has appeared.


Speckled Wood
Map derived from NBN gateway

2. - (Not necessarily climate change) At Malham Tarn Field Centre the Reeds growing in a few pools have extended the area they cover. This is of concern as they are out-competing more delicate rare plants which grow on the fen there.(This could be due to warmer weather, or more likely due to to increased nitrogen compounds which act as fertilizer arriving in the rain.  Or it could just be natural succession..)

However, Climate change is not distributed evenly over the planet.  Inf fact  the Irish sea is often seen to be getting colder (minus 0.3 degrees). And We in Settle are half way between the Irish Sea which is getting colder and the mainland of Europe which is getting hotter (up to 2.5 degrees). so maybe we cannot expect to see big changes.

This year we had a cold late spring (though in fact that worked out well for many of the crops)

I am not 100% sure that presence OR absence of examples of local climate change now  in UK is strongly correlated with the amount of Climate change we are going to get. However:-

  1. The concentration of CO2 and other climate gases (Methane from cattle and mining and industry and rubbish tips; nitrogen oxides from cars and slurry and manure and fertilizer; CFCs from various sources), are definitely increasing, and this is a cumulative process.
  2. The sea is warming. (93% of the heat energy absorbed in the greenhouse effect goes to warming our huge oceans, only 2.5% goes to warming the air). This causes it to expand.

These two things are happening and may be harbouring up problems for the near future.

  1. Part of my love of nature is understanding or finding explanations for phenomena I see around me. It is good to try and work out why the weather and soil and vegetation are as they are, and to observe changes.
  2.  People like to see and understand weather and features where they live. 
  3. The politicians will have to make difficult decisions about how to reduce climate change, and will need to carry the public with them.

Just a thought:

It's 23 years since the Earth Summit at Rio.. 23 year since we had the poster at Malham Chapel inviting people to use the building to pray for the Earth Summit.

Could your church put up a poster inviting prayers for the talks at Paris?

In the 23 years since then, the mean air temperature has risen between 0.2° and 0.4°  -- but this is uneven - some places have risen much more, some less.

Here are graphs of changes .. (click to get bigger picture or go to source - page 6 and 7 (38 +39)  of the 2013 IPCC Report
or better to the shorter, clearer 2013 summary for policy makers)

Observed change in surface temperature 1901–2012

You can see that the Atlantic to the West of Ireland has actually got colder.

Saturday 17 October 2015

Bentham Walk for Creation - 10 Oct 2015

Bentham's Eco-Prayer Walk is now the fourth "Walk for Creation" of Pilgrimage I have been on. It was organised by Rev Timothy Fox, and nine of us joined him from three different denominations and from 5 different churches. We were blessed by fine calm autumnal weather.
We remembered other groups that are taking part in pilgrimages now, leading up to the Conference in Paris

We met at the Horse and Farrier at 2pm and set off on our 3 mile walk.
  1. Looked at Lichens with hand-lenses. I mentioned that someone at the Coventry Conference had said Lichens were an "extreme" example of reconciliation in the the algae and fungi in Lichens need to live together 
  2. Saw an old mill in Bentham
  3. Saw a garden with working model railway and slumbering cat.
  4. Stopped on a bridge on the Leeds to Carnforth railway next to a crab apple tree. father Paul Hypher   .. read paragraph 240 from Laudato Si - about the Trinity and everything being linked
  5. Reading from Laudato Si

  6. We saw two butterflies in a hedge.
    a) a "Speckled Wood" - it flew away. This picture here is one I took in 2005, also near the Wenning four miles away, when it was one of the first ones which had been seen in this area. It has been spreading north. (Climate change?) Look at subsp tircis in the map from the NBN Gateway.
  7. .
  8. .

  9.   b) a"Red Admiral which posed obligingly. These are much more common

  1. We walked through a caravan site which keeps extending along beside the river Wenning.
  2. Then beside the Wenning. We - well especially Sue picked up litter as we walked along. Collette read an amusing piece about children sharing food.
Some of the flowers seen en route include Herb Robert, Yarrow, Betony, Wood False-brome, Ivy in bud, Ground-ivy in leaf only (it has a strong smell) 

The "summit" of our journey was - our "deepest" point - to the Wenning oak, a huge old oak tree, in a bend in the river, its old roots exposed.  Timothy Fox read a piece about trees.

Timothy said "Look downstream - can you see something unnatural?"
We looked and someone spotted the carpet. It has become colonised by algae.

We thought about all the plastic being washed out to sea.. and were glad that at least the new law on plastic bags had started.

We returned via a shorter route over the railway. Just before Bentham we stopped again and Timothy read a passage by Vaclav Habel about Hope

If you look at the video full screen size you may notice that he had taken the quote from Green Christian's monthly prayer guide - September 2015.

Thank you everyone for coming. and thank you reader for accompanying us on this walk.

Friday 9 October 2015

Malham Chapel 150 Years Old

On September 6th 2015 Malham Chapel celebrated its 150th Anniversary.
(I used to attend Malham Chapel when I taught at Malham Tarn Field Centre)

At lunchtime some members of Skipton circuit went on a walk around Bordley, two miles up from Malham,, starting from Newhouses Farm -(See next post in blog)
I nipped back to Settle to collect Bill Mitchell (former editor of the Dalesman), and we arrived in time for the tea before the evening service.

Bill, who attends St John's Methodist Church,  used to come here as a local preacher many years ago.. (60 years ago??) - and tells how he would leave in time to get the bus back to Skipton.

A feature of the afternoon was to troop outside and have our photograph taken - to match the photo taken 50 years ago.

(Numbers being augmented this time by people from round the circuit plus former ministers and friends from afar.

Bill is fourth from left, middle row. (Third from left is John Geldart)

Lead me O, though great Jehovah,

Rev Atkinson.. trying to organise us ready to take the photograph

Bill,second from left

Rev David Emmison (who used to be minister here
and at Skipton) came back to lead the service