Friday 28 May 2021

Exploring for Riverflies and other insects at Low Bentham Churchyard (plus more flowers, mosses and lichens)

 Doris Cairns and I have visited Low Bentham Churchyard several times. She is going to make some flower paintings for the book they are going to produce one day. I offered to record some lichens

Lichens of Low Bentham Churchyard - SD644692 

On Wed 2nd June we are to go for a walk with Rev Tim Fox and I hope Rev Anne Russell the vicar and one or two of the church parish council team.

On 24th May local entomologists Sharon and Peter Flint from High Bentham came to explore for insects.

Searching for insects resting on the churchyard wall, with the river Wenning beyond.
Note the splendid lichens on the young oak tree in the foreground.

Here is a weevil - 




Riverflies,  spend their young stages in water, and their adult stage looing for a mate in the air: There are three groups: Mayfly, Caddisfly and Stonefly 
mayflies (Ephemeroptera), caddisflies (Trichoptera) and stoneflies (Plecoptera).

We found a Mayfly.  Their wings are raised high.

Mayfly - first adult stage - the wings are shaded grey.
It will cast this coat and then spend the rest of it short adult life with a second coat with much lighter more transparent wings.

Mayfly. Mayflies usually have three tails but some species such as this one only have two tails.


Sharon was pleased to find an adult caddis. This one is called Rhyacophila dorsalis. The one in the video  is a male. Later we found a female.  This species has a fawn/cream diamond from above when the wings close together or a fawn triangle when seen from the side.
Rhyacophila dorsalis

Later we found the female. It has a dark triangle near the end of its body when seen from underneath

We found a yellow Stonefly called "Yellow Sally" - I hope to add a picture of that later.

Later we explored the rest of the churchyard, and the strip of land by the river beyond.

We were delighted to find the big lichen - Ramalina fraxinea which was once thought to be rare but is now increasing.  (How had I missed it on my previous visits to the churchyard?) - Sharon had found it further west in Lancashire 15 years ago.

Ramalina fraxinea

Ground Ivy

Goldilocks: this woodland Buttercup flowers earlier than than the three more common ones: Bulbous buttercup  Meadow Buttercup and Creeping Buttercup. It always as at least one petal deformed. The basal leaves have three lobes.

Bulbous buttercup - this buttercup is easily recognised by its backward pointing sepals

Sweet Vernal Grass is one of the first grasses to flower.



Polytrichastrum  - Hair moss

Orthotricum anomalum  Anomalous Bristle-moss

A cowslip plant carefully protected from the mower!!

Earthnut  also known as Pignut 

SD86 - 23 - SD8216a -Settle Market - east - Trapelia coarctata


I found a new lichen for me in SD86 whilst collecting (for Christian Aid) in Settle Market Place.

I had thought there were very few lichens at all in the market place, but on the sandstone capstones of the wall next to HSBC bank there was quite a variety of crusts.

The reason I decided this lichen could be Trapelia coarctata is because of the "teeth" round the rim of the apothecia. and the thallus was a pale pinkish fawn colour. The pale rims of the apothecia had teeth. The areoles are about the same size as the apothecia. 

Trapelia coarctata is on the right and is pinker than it appears in this picture.   The picture is 1.8 cm across

It reminded me of the Trapelia coarctata I shad seen in Monigaff Churchyard with a BLS tip to Newton Stuart and it reminded me of a picture Bob Vaughan had shown in the Lichen Zoom-Improvement group of some he had found on brick in London. Well if it can grow in London it can grow in Settle.

The lichens are on the sandstone capstone of the wall next to the HSBC bank in Settle,  next to the red bag.
It's the pale pink patches in the centre foreground on top of the sandstone

Trapelia coarctata - I tried wetting it. the discs should have gone red but they didn't

Trapelia coarctata - closer up: See the teeth

I tried testing it with KOH and Bleach. Not much seemed to happen. A specimen I had been shown in Scotland three years ago had turned a drop of bleach pink. So why had my specimen not turned pink with bleach? 

I went back today with fresh bleach (Milton) and applied two drops to the thallus. With a lot of imagination one could say they went slightly pink, at least bits of the areoles in the thallus did very briefly. But equally, if you were trying to persuade me that there was no reaction I could believe you.

You can see where I have added the bleach - but are these areas pink/red?

I'm not going to give up!

I went back this evening (29 May) with some "Easy - Seriously thick bleach - original" poured fresh into a little bottle and a toothpick.

Yea!  Pink!
You have to look as you apply the bleach because the colour rapidly fades.
white tissue retains the pink stain



Here are some pictures I have of Trapelia coarctata from elsewhere:

1. From Bob Vaughan on Brick in London: (from our Zoom-Improvement Group)

2. From Monigaff Churchyard,  Newton Stewart (a BLS trip)

Trapelia coarctata at Monigaff, Newton Stewart

3.  picture in my collection labelled Trapelia coarctata  on BLS trip (Ardwell)
 - showing   turning red/pink with bleach

Thallus white to pale or blueish or pinkish grey, thin to moderately thick, continuous or somewhat cracked, more rarely more dispersed-areolate, testing C+ red with bleach, lacking soredia or isidia; apothecia small but sometimes swollen when wet, red-brown, black when dry, forming within the thallus surface and initially looking more like immature perithecia or pushing up to form white spots, when mature with white, halo-like, often ragged, residual rims of thallus. Widespread and locally common on siliceous rocks, brick and stonework.

Perseverance in standing my time collecting - people donate if you put in the time.
Perseverance in looking round, wherever you are. There is so much to see if you only look
Perseverance in finding some bleach that worked.

Pentecost Walk to Austwick, Oxenber Woods and Feizor on Sun 23 May 2021

A 6 km (plus) hilly walk: bluebells, primroses - showers - sheep  - solution hollows - good company - our own company and the company of "Rose and others in Kenya who have to walk 8km a day just to collect water".. and tea at the hamlet of Feizor 2/3 of the way round.

There were five of  us. We stopped four times  to use the meditations given in the 2021 Christian Aid Booklet "A seven-day devotional", then read the last three on the way home in the car (through the rain) The theme was climate change and life in Africa. especially Kenya

Churches Together in Settle held a walk to celebrate Pentecost on 23 May. This 6km - (4mile) walk passes through some beautiful hazel - bluebell woodland with areas of limestone pavement. The length of walk, and mixed weather forecast may have put off some people, but the five of us who went had a great time, and met other people en route.

May 23 - this is the first Hawthorn I have seen in flower in this area. (there was some out by the motorway at Lancaster a week ago


Examining the depression - Preglacial Solution Hollow?
and Ancient Anthills.

The Pentecost Flower was not yet out - only in bud

We hope to lead other walks in the coming three weeks, some more specifically for children contact

Thursday 20 May 2021

Settle Wildflowers - Day 111- This year I visited the Spring Cinquefoil and Horseshoe-vetch in time!!

Spring Cinquefoil.

This plant is a rarety and grows in very shallow south and west facing soil on top of limestone outcrops.  I have seen it in specail places in Langcliffe, Stainforth and Giggleswick parishes.

I visit this plant on 17th May 2021 and pat myself on the back because this year I  have made the visit BEFORE Tormentil comes out. (Tormentil looks very similar) I brave the rain showers. 

The plant has survived the hail storm

I check up on my last years posting (Day 33)

- only to discover I had found it by 2nd of May last year. Well we did have a wonderful spring last year! and we had a very cold, very dry April this year.

Distribution of Spring Cinquefoil - from BSBI maps

Lamb and Spring Cinquefoil

Spring Cinquefoil - a bit battered by the rain and hail

Bulbous Buttercup just one or two out

Horseshoe Vetch

Click here for more flowers coming out around Settle