Sunday 19 February 2023

Fairtrade Fortnight Settle 2023: 27 Feb - 12 March

 It is Fair Trade Fortnight soon (27 Feb  – 12 March). I have just been looking to see what Fairtrade goods we can buy in what shops in Settle. Premier has Brown sugar and Maltesers

What FairTrade goods (note the logo) have you seen in other shops?

Settle Eco-Explorers (Family Nature activities at 4pm on alternate Wednesdays) will be making a display this Wednesday 22 Feb, (Meet at St John's Church) and are collecting #FairTrade labels for this. 

All welcome

Fairtrade goods at Trevors

Which if these is Fairtrade Chocolate? - at Church two Sundays ago.

Fairtrade at Premier

Fairtrade at Premier

Fairtrade at Premier

Fairtrade at the Coop

Fairtrade at the Coop

Fairtrade at the Coop

Fairtrade at the Coop

Fairtrade at the Coop

Fairtrade at  Booths

Fairtrade at  Booths

Fairtrade at the Booths

Fairtrade at Booths

Fairtrade at  Booths

Fairtrade goods at Trevors

First Blue Moor-grass of the year - & Do my recordings show the distribution of carparks? Hymenelia sp of lichen

My first Sesleria caerulea  Blue Moor-Grass in flower this year - At Winskill Stones (Plantlife) car park. 

My first Sesleria caerulea in flower this year - At Winskill Stones (Plantlife) car park.  (See lower down for pics in May 2020)

It is growing with I think mosses Pseudoscleropodium purum and Rhytidiadelphus squarrosus.

My red hat marks the place where it is in flower - though there is lots of it in leaf on the cliff ledges and slopes.

I am giving a talk to Settle Gardening Club on Wednesday 22 Feb, on (Settle) Lockdown wildflower discoveries " 2pm. Sett;e Quaker Meeting House,  so nipped up (in the car) to see if it is in flower yet.
While I was here I recorded some lichens.. mostly in the cliffs of the car park at eyelevel

Solenospora candicans

Opegrapha calcarea (in a ledge) - though not my first record for the site or monad.

There was quite a lot of this pink stuff or variations of it. I don't know what it is

close up

It scratches yellow when wet.

Now if this "yellow" represents orange then the algae is Trentepohlia  lichen is Hymenelia epulotica. If the yellow represents green the contained alga is trebuxioid and the lichen is Hymnelia prevostii

Here are pictures of Sesleria on 9 May 2020  -on a lockdown walk at Winskill Stones that lasted till after 20.44- I had  walked up then!!


Sunday 12 February 2023

SD86 - 13 - SD8163 - Childrens Play area near Booths, Settle - Hyperphyscia-adglutinata- and Paranectria oropensis - new for SD86

Is this Hyperphyscia adglutinata?  If so it is a new record for the hectad SD86. It's not recorded here yet on the BLS map. I discovered it whilst prospecting for a children's walk (see end of this post)

And these peach coloured blobs  growing on some of the thalli? Maybe the lichenicolous fungus Paranectria oropensis
(I have since been told by Mark Seaward, County Lichen Recorder for Yorkshire that these have been found before in SD86 and VC65- Just seems that the records have not been put up on the distribution map website)

I found them on Saturday 11 Feb 2023 on the hornbeam tree in the Bond Lane children's play park next to Settle Primary School and Booths.  SD81706361

Hyperphyscia adglutinata - the green grey thallus is less than 1cm across. 
Hyperphyscia  (means large Physcia) agglutinate (slightly different spelling) means "firmly stick or be stuck together to form a mass"
Negative chemical reactions. 
The thallus lobes are less than 0.5mm wide and are are palmate. The lobes have a few simple rhizines.  Dobson says: "The upper surface splits and the greenish soredia fill the crater shaped soralia."
 As I looked lower down the trunk towards, if not to the dog pee zone, (this is a children's playground after all) well, to the soil splash zone I noticed that the thalli increased in size and abundance.
Dobson says "on rather shaded nutrient enriched trees (especially elder), frequently near the base, rarely also on nutrient enriched vertical rocks. Most common in sites subject to nutrient enrichment from dust and is rapidly spreading in urban areas. In the North, it may be becoming more common possibly due to global warming".
Well all this fits. The trunks are getting shaded as the closely planted trees keep growing. I shall have to look for it on the other hornbeam tree in Ashfield Car park, and on any elders I find.
Location of SD86

Then I found some thalli with  bright flesh-pink/peach-pink furry balls. At first I thought it was  Erythricium aurantiacum but then I looked carefully. 

It is  Paranectria oropensis which Mark Powell in Dobson says" The small pale fluffy perithecia sit on a diffuse cobweblike sheet of hyphae" - that bit - cobwebby - fits.  Then with more care at higher magnification  I could see the ostioles (holes) in the perithecia.

This picture is about 3 mm across - so each pink ball is diameter 0.1 to 0.15 mm diameter. Can you see the dark orange of the ostioles? 

If I had time I would look at them under the microscope, and look for the large muriform ascospores with thread like extensions at each end. - but I have so many other jobs to do.. Maybe another day.
Paranectria oropensis

The hornbeam trunk was covered in green "algae"

Another thallus of Hyperphyscia 

Closer inspection of the above picture : at the top is a small piece of Physcia tenella with longer white rhizines/cilia. then to the left of it some of the "algal" lumps have yellow tips - i.e. yellow soredia - So maybe this is the lichen Candelariella reflexa rather than "just an alga" - Needs further investigation...

The hornbeam tree is in the centre near the path.. Its crown has a symmetrical shape. These trees are less than 25 years old. It does not seem two minutes since 1998 when this area was one large long green field, and the people of Settle, myself included, were campaigning to keep it that way against proposals for a supermarket and a new primary school.  By 2000 the primary school and then the supermarket were starting to be built and presumably these trees planted then.  Now we value the new school and Booths supermarket. And from today the variety of trees planted here.

Here is a picture I took of the same tree  on 15 December 2022, two months earlier: I like the symmetrical shape

Indeed I even noticed this new lichen then (Hyperphyscia-adglutinata) and took a photo on 12 December -  then not knowing what it was.
And I photographed these unknown black fruiting bodies nearby here... Must go back another day.

My "good deed" may have paid off. Thank you!.

I came to this young children's play area in Settle, right next to the primary school and local supermarket, mainly to check out the trees and lichens with the possibility of coming here in three weeks time with "Eco Explorers" for a family after-school-walk (8th and 22 March). I got out my hand lens while listening to the amazingly melodious singing in the background of "incy-wincy-spider" by a six year old on the swings.

I specially wanted to revisit the Hornbeam tree. I had discovered it during my "Let's explore Trees to recognise and photograph their bark" phase just before Christmas (Not written up yet). This is only the second hornbeam tree I have seen in Settle.  But I did not imagine I would find two new lichen/fungi species for the hectad on it.

Also in the play area is a 200 year old Beech tree. And young trees: Goat Willow, Cherry sp, Ash, Birch sp Grey Alder. And enough lichens and fruit on fallen twigs for us to be able to take a few specimens home should we wish to on our coming visit.

Saturday 4 February 2023

Giggleswick School Chapel - Summit of First Day of the month - Climate Walk - Feb 2023


Wednesday 1 February 2023: the destination of our walk is Giggleswick School Chapel, with its landmark dome seen from so many places around Settle. It is one year since our walk in Feb 2022 which involved walking from Giggleswick and over the hill just to the south of the Chapel grounds 

All are welcome to come on these walks.  They are publicised through Churches Together in Settle and through Craven Conservation Group  (All are welcome including people who are not naturalists and who are not Christian or religious)  

We discover and learn about our environment - both natural history facts - and about new places near where we live.

We take litter collecting bags and usually pick litter en route..

We raise awareness about Climate change - We usually have a short stop for reflection on route and use the latest sheet produced by a group called "Prayandfastfortheclimate" and sometimes Green Christian's monthly guide

Because history is happening so fast in these strange times that the world situation will be different again by the next months -I'll just mention some of the items in the sheet for this month: 

1. On the 24th of February, it will be a year since Russia invaded Ukraine. 

2.  Fairtrade Fortnight starts 27 Feb. This year February is being treated as Fairbruary   At present, there is profound injustice. Many small producers contribute little to climate change, yet are suffering some of the worst impacts, as smaller yields and crop losses affect their livelihoods. The Fairtrade Foundation is asking us to contact our politicians to ask for proper funding for climate action in low income countries, ideally with a focus on helping farmers.

3. In recent years, California has been in the news because of its drought and forest fires: this year, however, has started with epic rains and floods. A sequence of storms, known as ‘atmospheric rivers’ because they originate from long currents of exceptionally moist air, has left more than half the state’s counties as disaster areas

4. Warming oceans and melting ice have the potential to lead to tipping points

Here shortly I will put a nice picture I took of Giggleswick Chapel (I think from above Mitchell Lane above upper Settle)

So, to our walk:

We have obtained permission from the School - and  the key- so that we can look inside. This proves a good choice of venue since it is raining - This is only the second time in the 26 walks we have walked, that it is raining. But only intermittently. The sun does break out once on the scenic way down:

Before entering the chapel we look at the gritstone rocks and some the plants growing on them - Heather and Mat-grass, and other moorland plants able to grow just here where there is no grazing by sheep, (a contrast to the sheep pastures outside). There is Springy Turf Moss in the lawn grass beside the road.  

Pictures in the new book "Giggleswick School Chapel" (obtainable for £12.50 at the School in aid of the Chapel Fund or readable on the internet here and published November 2020) show a picture on page 9 of the chapel being built - on the natural platform of the gritstone outcrop here.  There was a big celebration when the foundation stone was laid in October 1997 in the the Jubilee year of Queen Victoria.

This guide was written by Barbara Gent, keeper of the School Archives. I am really pleased that she invited me up to see the carvings of plants carved in the wooden furniture.

I read the book. It pays great tribute to Walter Morrison. I had not realised what a very big part he played in the building of the Chapel.

Walter Morrison , MP, and philanthropist lived at Malham Tarn House which he was given on his 21st birthday (ish) which became Malham Tarn Field Centre in c 1948. There was a picture of him above the Fireplace in the Library when I worked there, and each "First evening" we told students about Walter Morrison and the important people who came to visit the Centre. 

More than that, I met Harry Gill, the old field centre gardener, who retired the year I joined the field centre.  When Harry was 18 he had worked for Walter Morrison - and had helped when the cutting was dug out at the field centre to make the drive gradient gentle enough for Walter's first car to be driven up.

Sadly last August the Field Studies Council withdrew from renting and running the field centre - with all the tradition of over 70 years of school, university and research students and expert amateurs (more knowledgeable than many of the University lecturers on natural history) now finished. I don't know what has happened to the picture of Walter Morrison.

Anyway, I was delighted to see his picture in one of the stained glass windows.

I admired the pictures in the west window of Creation - lots of animals in the air land and sea - the artist had had fun - and I hope my generations of children have enjoyed looking at it.

I looked at the carvings on the pew edges again.. and wondered about presumably all the tropical hardwood used to make them... Taken for granted 120 years ago - Now it is heart wrenching as big trees are pillaged from the world's remaining areas of forests.  Indeed the benches in the science lab at my old school and many other schools were made of wood from tropical forest.  They have now been replaced with plastic.

Actually I read just now in the Chapel guide that all the Chapel furniture is of cedar wood imported from the province of Tucaman in Argentina. this wood is known for its scent and its fine sheen.  Wilipedia says the alter is Brazilian Rosewood.

(a) You could see a video of Ben Okri speaking at Settle Stories Festival 2022 - lamenting the trees removed whilst he was a schoolboy in Nigeria. But that finished this Feb 5th)

Two members of our group told me of the concerts they have enjoyed here.

We were privileged to look round.

We are privileged to live here at Settle

Looking at mosses  
on the grit on the way down
(NB - the grass on the thicker soil between  the rocky outcrops in this field
is botanically not species rich - but, hmmm,
it supported a rich abundance of colourful waxcaps in autumn 2022!