Monday 29 August 2022

Climate Walk at Rathmell Common - 1st September


Five parts to this post:-

  1. Explanation of Climate Walks 

  2. Prewalk visit (28 Aug) note we are in SD76 

  3. Post walk report (1 Sept)

  4. Go straight to Lichen Section:  Lichens Section -1 (Ochrolechia androgyna and O. tartarea
  5. Lichens Section - 2 (Fuscidea lightfootii - dry and wet and more lichens)

Note we are in SD76, in the Forest of Bowland: - not my beloved (from a lichen survey point of view) SD86.

We are at SD7761 - 2.6km to the west of SD86. 
Pity. Ah well.

  1. Explanation of Climate Walks 

We from Settle go on a walk on the 1st of each month and stop at a couple of places and have readings about the climate and nature emergency. In two month's time we will have been doing this for 2 years.

Part of the idea of this is to raise awareness.  However this summer with the current extreme drought in China, in Kenya, in Europe and the south east of Britain, surely people and governments are aware of the issues? Surely?

The walk is organised by Craven Conservation Group and members of Churches Together in Settle and District, and open to anyone who enjoys a good walk in the countryside.

  1. Prewalk visit (28 Aug)

"The Walk on 1 September will be to Rathmell Common, beyond Wham. It is 3 miles West of Giggleswick Station. We will meet at 3pm at Settle Methodist Church to share transport.  Bring strong shoes. The road is open to the moorland for a short stretch." I announced.

I went up early Sunday evening of 28th plan the walk, so here are a few pictures.

 It was ever so peaceful and quiet. As the evening drew closer, sound travels further and I head the noise of traffic on Settle bypass 3 miles away.

I found cranberries, sundew, seven species of Sphagnum (bogmoss) and on the wall, and few boulders, lichens.

Up the hill, just 1 mile south west of me Yorkshire finishes, and there is the boundary with Lancashire.  (It leads over to Gisburn Forest and Stocks Reservoir,)

View. Penyghent and Fountains Fell can be seen faintly in the distance


A very few late Cranberry flowers (normally come out in June)

Sundew on Sphagnum papillosum
(a bog moss that needs very wet bogs) 
This Sphagnum is dry-- a sign of the drought
 - even though we have had quite a bit of rain this past week.

Cross-leaved Heath

Sphagnum fallax  (I think) - a VERY common Sphagnum, but a nice big patch.

  1. Post walk report (1 Sept)
The late afternoon/evening itself was sunny and bright.

We found our cranberries, moorland flowers, and some sort of insect "nest"

There were interesting soil profiles

And birds.

Geoff donated big marrows (courgettes) to the rest of us.  And we returned home.

Then next 1st day of the month is Sat 1 Oct. It is likely to be a "Fungus Foray" walk - maybe starting off along Watery Lane at 9.30am.  However this will be decided nearer the time when the state of fungi is seen.

The rest of this post is about lichens.

4. Lichens Section -1 (Ochrolechia androgyna and O tartarea; )

Ochrolechia androgyna
Next: I found this white crustose lichen with white soredia  - on a gritstone boulder in the field. (I checked there were no coraline isidia and that it was not  Pertusaria corallina and P pseudocoralina which were also around). It went red with bleach (right blob) and very slightly yellowy or not - maybe just wetted green with KOH - left blob.  (Sorry the blobs are a bit big - I have this week resorted to using glass dropper bottles again).
I have decided to call this Ochrolechia androgyna  (K-, Cred)

The bleach (right) colour is starting to fade

Then on another rock nearby I found a big patch of a whitish lichen which was warty and had no soredia and had lots of young apothecia.
It tuned KOH strongly yellow and bleach went red.

View back towards Settle.
The lichen on the right in the foreground is Ochrolechia tartarea - see also picture below

KOH on the left, C(Bleach) on the right: The KOH really has turned yellow!
 Ochrolechia tartarea (I think) on the rock and spreading onto the moss on the rock. It has lots of young fruiting bodies. It has no soredia

It was great to find these two species - It is the first time I have found them around here... A shame they were not in my hectad SD86.


This wall separating the open moor of Rathmell Common from the adjacent sheep pasture was an obvious home for lichens.  (Penyghent and Fountains Fell can be seen in the background).

So I was peering at the very top of the wall and found a patch of Xanthoria ucrainica (a typical bird perch site)

There was an old wooden gate and gatepost
(Ingleborough and Penyghent in background)
Gate post - another habitat for lichens. The big one is Hypogymnia tuberculosa Ingleborough and Penyghent beyond in the haze

On the leached wood of the old gate there was this warty grey lichen with quite big black apothecia - the edges of the black apothecia flowing over the warts or the warts impinging on the apothecia

A squirt of water from my moss spray bottle turned the thallus green so I call it Fuscidea lightfootii.

Elsewhere on the wall/boulders were these distinctive patches - which I put down as Fuscidea cyathoides.. but am not sure.

Other Lichens Posts

Then next 1st day of the month is Sat 1 Oct 2022. It is likely to be a "Fungus Foray" walk - maybe starting off along Watery Lane at 9.30am.  However this will be decided nearer the time when the state of fungi is seen. So do check with me first

Sunday 28 August 2022

What do we find at Hampton and Puttenham Common, Surrey, with the British Lichen Society?

Here's my account of the BLS trip to Hampton Park - If there are any misidentifications I am very open to positive suggestions

Sat 20 August 2022: Members of the British Lichen Society defy the drought and meet at Hampton Park SW of Guildford. 

The field meeting has been arranged in August as part of the month celebrating the life of Frank Dobson, author of the standard British Lichen Field guide.

Myrtle's Courtyard where we meet is surrounded by parkland with old oak trees. We are greeted by the owner and given a short history of the place.

Some of us will then walk up through what had once been heathland, but is now birch and young oak trees, to the top remaining part of Puttenham Common that is still heathland. Today the grassland and heathland is scorched white by the sun and drought. There are 15 of us. 

What will we find?

Here we are, holding our Dobsons. For the record, the white lichen on the brickwork is Lecanora albescens

We set off to the first oak tree near the farm. See how scorched the grass is.

What is on this branch?

Parmelina tiliacea

Using Dobson

On the next tree is some Physconia grisea - fruiting

 We try to make it into the much less common Physconia perisidiosa  which is isidiate and has black black 'bottle-brush' rhizines, but ours only has white simple rhizines so it is P grisea.

More Physconia grisea

 John Skinner shows me some Schismatomma decolorans. It is the one with medium dark grey isidia.
Maxine showed me that it scratches orange yellow green.

The pale green lichen is Lecanora expallens

The grey lichen here, in the cracks of the dry trunk, with pinkish
lumps (when seen very close) is Cliostomum griffithii

Melanohalea laciniatula on a spreading side branch of the same tree

On another tree trunk we find a species special to veteran trees in south of Britain: Opegrapha prosodea
Opegrapha prosodea

Opegrapha prosodea

Opegrapha prosodea

We then leave the grounds of Hampton Park and enter the adjacent area of Puttenham Common. There is an old oak tree next to the lake.

Photo by Juliet Bailey

Andy records the species seen. Photo by Juliet Bailey

This is some Graphis scripta growing
on an exposed root of the same tree.

Phylloblastia inexpectata see distribution map  on holly
Ha, I have spent quite a lot of time looking for this on box leaves. Now I know what it looks like, I will keep on looking.
(Probably  P inexpectata I should say. It should be examined microscopically to confirm which species of Protoblastenia)

We find some good Pyrrhospora quernea  with its red apothecia  on an oak trunk close to the path. Paul searches hard and reckons he finds a small black apothecium of the new lichenicolous fungus that was only described (if I get this correct) by Neil the previous day.

Paul later said: "The new lichenicolous fungus we were looking for on Pyrrhospora was Lecidella parasitica (see Neil did find it, but what I found turned out to be on Lecanora expallens not Pyrrhospora, and it appears to be undescribed (see Lots more to learn about LFs..."

Note to self: There is a gap at SD86 in the distribution map for Pyrrhospora quernea where I live - I must look out for it.. though it is quite hard even to find an oak tree in SD86 in Craven, N Yorks

Maxine finds an oak tree in the scrub and woodland 
that has lots of light and spreading branches. She wants to make a list. Here this grey crust goes yellow with ? but not orange.: Lecanora barkmaniana- click for distribution map

Close up 

We find a much branched Usnea.  

We are still waiting to see
whether it is the usual Usnea subfloridana
or whether it could be something else. The base of the holdfast unfortunately does look a bit black as in Usnea subfloridana

We reach the summit (well almost) - the heathland  (!!?!)  that Juliet has forged ahead to survey.  A whole 100m above sea level, 40m above the lake below.

The next two pictures are Juliet's:

Lichens on lignum  - by Juliet Bailey

Posing, to give the scale of the hole (Why is it there?)
Looking at Cladonia chlorophaea - photo by Juliet Bailey

After that  it is a brisk, downhill walk back to Myrtle's Courtyard, and tea and cake. 

A big thank you to Andy Cross for organising the day, to Fay for organising the cake and to all the other members and experts who came and shared their knowledge, and to the Hampton Estate for letting us explore.