Thursday, 5 May 2016

Monad SD 8768 - 1- Turf Hill

Starting a new monad today (4th May 2014) (and tetrad): SD 8768 :
Today with the help of Sue and Les Knight.

from 415m to 540m in this monad
 and to 591m (on Knowe fell) in SD 8668
and 613m on the ridge leading towards Fountains Fell in the highest part of the tetrad SD8669

Today we visited Turf Hill which I used to visit from  the Field Centre to study soils: Rankers/Rendzinas (CG9- Blue moor-grass grassland); Brown Earth (U4-Common Bent grassland); Acid Soil (U5 - Mat-grass); and Podsol (U6 -Heath Rush)

No trees in the tetrad -
Just stone walls -mostly limestone with odd bits of sandstone/gritstone, grassland, bog and occasional patches of limestone outcrops/pavement -

But there are many micro-habitats within this that give home to different species of moss and lichen, which I'll deal with below

Having surveyed the adjacent monad I was delighted to look in parallel micro habitats and be able to predict what I might find: (See table lower down)

"Let's look for 20 or 22 mosses, then stop and look for 20 Lichens" I said. So, once in our monad, we did this.  We progressed a whole 50metres within an hour and a quarter.. by which time it was lunch time.

We sat on some limestone rocks in a dip near the wall, in the sun, and sheltered from the wind. A walker appeared, descending from Fountains Fell. He had walked up via the Pennine Way from Malham in the morning - and was now returning on a different route.

We had seen two lapwings - not the 100s I used to see 30 years ago - but we had seen two. and a curlew.

There were skylarks and meadow pipits.

This is Candelariella coralliza.
It grows on the top side of acid rocks which have harsh conditions- both heat and cold -
and which may be bird perches and thus get extra nutrients 

Some amazingly big Aspicillia contorta 
on a limestone rock in a wall.
with a tuft of Schistidium moss

Collema fuscovirens - This black jelly lichen is quite thin.
It grows on the tops of rocks 
and the middle part of the thallus has usually blown away
Thelidium decipiens (probably) 

Thelidium decipiens

We spent time searching in the scree in this dry valley
 (that leads down to Stangill Barn, and thence to Cowsde beck)
Les told us of a lichen that looks like a wiggle worm that grows on BURIED scree, that Brian Coppins had once shown him. We failed to find this. But we found Farnoldia jurana (tiny black dots on scree stones) and Opegrapha dolomitica (saxicola) 

Farnoldia jurana

Opegrapha dolomitica (saxicola) 

Limestone wall (N Side) Neckera complanataVerrucaria nigrescens
Sandstone in wall (Top/N side)
Parmelia saxatilis
Foot of wall (more moist)Plagiochyla porelloides, Plagiomnium undulatum
Moss on Limestone wall
Wooden fence post
They are a bit hard
Limestone pavement- side of shady grykeThamnobryum alopecurum
Limestone pavement bottom of shady grikeConcocephalum
North facing limestone cliff face and crevice
Solorina saccata, Lepraria nivalis
South facing screeNoneFarnoldia jurana, Opegrapha dolomitica
Turfy long limestone grasslandHylocomium splendens
Pile of acid and basic stones in a depressionRacomitrium lanuginosumCladonia furcata and rangiformis
Polytrichum commune tussocksPolytrichum commune 
Sphagnum areasSphagnum palustre etc

Well we covered one field.
There is another 100m (300ft) of ascent in this monad, and a further 50m in the next.. will that reveal different habitats?

Rough counts gave just over 45 Mosses and liverworts and just over 40 Lichens. I'll give the actual totals once we have checked our packets.

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