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..