Wednesday 27 February 2019

Lichens at Black Hill Capon Hall - and then Victoria Cave

Malham Tarn has lots of floating microscopic algae in it at the moment.

I accompany Allan and Linden Pentecost in their visit to the outflow of Malham Tarn, for Allan to collect water samples to monitor the algae. We then plan to set off to look for lichens and big rocks. We plan to go to for a walk to Victoria Cave.  February 25th  is a record breaking hot day in UK (though the record may get broken on 26th and 27th).

The deeper water next to the sluice looks a bit murky because of the density of tiny algae "dots" in it -  we await a pronouncement on what the algae are. I say "I thought we only had algal blooms in late summer" Apparently not so..

The surrounding area is mostly dry, without streams, because the bedrock is limestone rock which has joints - cracks in it so water goes undergound. However Malham Tarn itself lies on the boulder clay on top of "slate" - (Ordovician greywackes to be precise). which is impermeable to water

Looking at lichens at the fault exposed unconformity near Malham Tarn

A mile to the west of the Tarn these greywackes rocks can be seen at the surface, so we go to see them. This is where the north Craven Fault exposes (sort of)  the unconformity between the slate and the limestone. We are now standing in Langcliffe Parish (outside of the Parish of Malham Moor by less than 100m). We notice daisies in flower. 

J points to some "slate" - greywacke - bedrock. You can see limestone behind.

Linden notices one lichen on the greywacke:  Protoparmelia badia

Then we drive further and walk to Victoria Cave 

Victoria Cave looks splendid in the low angle February sun. The big white lichen on the cliffs is Aspicilia calcarea . Also on the cliffs in one or two places is this tiny delicate golden lichen:
Caloplaca cirrochroa is a beautiful delicate bright orange lichen. The long lobes are just 0.5 mm wide and can have pruinose  tips. If the centre of the thallus has not fallen out, there are bright lemon yellow soralia on it.

More Caloplaca cirrochroa

Caloplaca marmorata (formerly lutea) - the one with orange apothecia

Yet to be identified

Placynthium nigrum with a Toninia verruacarioides growing on it. You can see the blue edge of the Placynthium at the top of the picture

Although we are having a warm week, I only found a few shoots of Blue Moor Grass (Sesleria caerulea) half in flower. In a week the flowers will look really blue.

On the left is Aspicilia calcarea (creamy white and a bit out of focus) and on the right is the very similar looking, but darker grey Caloplaca chalybaea

On the left  and centre is Caloplaca chalybaea -darker grey - and on the right is the very similar looking, but whiter Aspicilia calcarea


View from Victoria Cave across Warrendale Knotts and across the Ribble Valley towards  towards Pendle Hill
Then we return to Settle two miles away and enjoy supper in "The fisherman", Settle

Monday 4 February 2019

More Lichens at Painshill Park

See what we got up to in the afternoon session
(Constructive suggestions welcome)

(For the morning session see:

Lichens at Painshill Park Surrey with BLS The British Lichen Society Day field trip on 27 January 2019)

This scenic shot at taken at 12.32 shows the lake on the right, and the river on the left:  the River Mole! So the hillside we walked over near the beginning with the vineyard, must have been cut out by the river Mole as it travels through the London Clay, northwards towards the Thames.

Ah, I look at a map and see we are only 7.5 miles as the crow flies from Juniper Hall Field Centre and Box Hill. (14 to 21 miles as the Mole meanders).  The BLS will be having a Field Trip at Juniper Hall this Autumn 30 Oct-3 Nov

So we may find some of these species again then


Enterographa crassa  on the above tree

Enterographa crassa  - The people who had illuminated lenses were able to see the dark wiggly lines better than I could. (It is more common in south of UK than the north)

Now this looks like a lichen tree!  The big bluish foliose lichen is Parmotrema perlatum 

On this tree and the following we find a variety of species:

Candelaria concolor (yellow) , the liverwort Frullania dilatata (purple), and in the bottom left is a dark brown lichen with lobed edges - Melanohalea elegantula - This is more common in the south, and grows on horizontal branches, twigs (and in this case a trunk) of nutrient-enriched trees.

Melanohalea elegantula. the lobes are less than 2 mm wide. There are lots of isidia.

On the tree root there is  Lecanora campestris - this is unusual here as it usually grow on stone

This lichen which goes pale orange with UV from a UV torch.
AndrĂ© Aptroot  then tells us it is Lecanora barkmaniana 

(Lecanora expallens which goes darker orange with UV would have a whiter edge to the thallus with no soredia on the edge)

 This lichen  Lecanora barkmaniana has a grey thallus with greenish soralia when damp.  Copying from Lichens of Ireland:  
A recently described member of the Lecanora subfuscata group.
Finely cracked, powdery, pale greyish thallus with a paler whitish-grey prothallus. Punctiform soralia with pale yellowish-green soredia spread to cover much of the thallus. Apothecia rare, discs pale brown with crenulate greyish margins. Pycnidia are absent.
Thalus K+ yellow, C-, P-, rarely P+ yellow

Found on dust- or nutrient-enriched wayside trees. Scattered distribution in Ireland, probably under-recorded.

Similar: L. compallens, K-, C-. L. expallens, C+ orange
Distribution map

Map below taken from the above site with permission from the BLS- but note even the data on this map is slightly out of date as more records have been found -  I'll replace it with an updated map shortly.

Lower down on the trunk are some apothecia of Lecanora barkmaniana

Lower down on the trunk are some apothecia. The current edition of the British Lichen Society Bulletin (123, Winter 2018) gives three reports of Lecanora barkmaniana  in the "New, Rare and Interesting lichens section." e.g. Aug 2018 just 6 months earlier Lecanora barkmaniana was found fruiting by at Wisley less than 4km away - by Fay Newbery. and Mark Powell. who observed it was unusual to find it fruiting.  Well (providing I  have photographed the correct specimen) - we found some too!!

Pertusaria coccodes

This is Lecanora compallens - I think.

 Lecanora compallens -  I think. Dobson says pale green soredia spread from punctiform soralia to form a continuous cover leaving only a margin 1 mm wide of minutely warted pale grey thallus showing. The colour like mint ice-cream along with the rather white medullary layer beneath the soredia (scrathces white) helps confirm compallens.


Lecanora compallens

On a rock in the grass near the bridge we find these two lichens:

Protoblastenia rupestris (orange) and Sarcogyne regularis (black). It must be a basic rock.

Opegrapha rufescens trunk

Opegrapha rufescens 

Opegrapha rufescens  seen closer
I reach Painshill tower, high on the hill. Just over the fence is the noisy A3.  It is 2:17pm and we are due back in the car park at 3pm.
I look down and see three others waving at me.

Time to turn homewards. Lichenologists returning on the far left

I get left behind photographing greylag geese

Must catch up

Ah, but what have we here?

Lecanora carpinea: See the two discs (apothecia) at the top - they turned yellow when bleach (C) was added.
Another rarer  lichen, Lecanora subcarpinea also give a yellow disc with C.  So another chemical - Pd - was applied at the bottom of the thallus. The margins of the discs would have gone bright orange with Pd - but they did not go orange here so it is not L subcarpinea.   (Another lichen L albella  has orange margins with PD but no yellow discs.- So it was not that either.)  the Pd stain was old which is why the thallus went yellow - that would not have happened with fresh Pd)

You can see the grotto on the other side of the lake

still posing (At my request).

A fence: A new habitat

Please can someone remind me (tell me) what is this species on the tree?


On the fence is Lecanora conizaeoides  This is the first specimen of this SO2 indicator we have seen today. This used to cover the trees and fences 50 years ago when there was lots of sulphur dioxide pollution
Lecanora conizaeoides
and nearby

Lecanora polytropa on the fence


Placynthiella icmalea on the fence

 -And what is this?   Possibly Protoparmelia oleagina???

Another view of the fence

14.47pm - Just time to get back to the car park by 3. So that we could get up to London in time for our respective trains to London, Yorkshire, Scotland and Belgium.

Thank you for a great day everyone.

Back to part 1 of Lichen Trip to Painshill