Monday, 26 August 2013

Holly Fern - Polystichum Lonchitis

                               I searched out that “revered of ferns” year in year out.
                                A record in 1957, with frond preserved in herbarium,
                         Since then it’s remained a mystery, or thought to be extinct!
                                Until now in 2013 when “Holly” was “ferned” again.…
                                                                                                                                            9th September 2013
Holly Fern (Polystichum Lonchitis) found on Hutton Roof since its last record of 57 years ago If you want to check out all my Holly Fern photos please click here and then click in right bottom corner to enlarge. 

Tuesday 17th September 2013 1100hrs - 1600hrs - (With Wal, Charles and Ann and Steve. Checking out rare Ferns and sculptured pavements.

It was great showing my party the Holly Fern, the Spleenworts and the beautiful limestone pavement.

Just could not believe it!  found another Holly Fern on Hutton Roof.  It was sort of being disguised by a "Hard Shield Fern" yet when you looked very close you could clearly see the beautiful Holly Fern fronds in the centre of it! it was sort of intermingled with its Polystichum cousin. Eight fronds on show, perhaps a little darker in colour than the Holly Fern found a week or so ago.  Also this one was facing West and being shadowed from the East with a Hazel.

It was nice to see a returning brown coloured Wheatear on Hutton Roof. Was it a female or was it a juvenile?  Wonder why at this time of year all returning Wheatear seem to be brown birds. Never ever see a Blue coloured or male Wheatear on the return their always "brown" ones.......
Also a "struggling" party of about twenty Mipits trying to battle with the wind and having to regularly go to ground.

"Its made my day,
No! its made my week,
In fact it's made my year!
Holly fern here, and holly fern there.
I can't give up now, the search is on,
To find that holly fern everywhere".

 With new found Holly Fern (photo kindly taken by Andrew Walter - Cumbria Wildlife Trust)

Monday 16th September 2013 Checking out Shore Road, Carnforth and also near Curwen Wood, Burton. Wind speed: 20 mph W. 0830-0930hrs.

Its now the start of the visible bird migration time and I decided to do some preliminary checks for sampling "hirundine" passage through both Carnforth and our village of Burton. Although there did seem to be a minimal passage of birds heading South this morning, it definitely did not represent any peak or near peak passage, which I would now expect to happen any day now, as long as the weather improves.

Saturday 14th September 2013 Hutton Roof Common via Dalton Crags 0900hrs-1100hrs

A beautiful bright sunny morning with little wind, but certainly very little movement in regards to vismig. The only thing on the move seemed to be a small party of 6 Chaffinch which were heading South East. The party of Mistle Thrush (17 plus) which I saw on Thursday were seen again today enjoying the "rowan berries" in lower Dalton Crags and were seen again later in Dalton Crags (upper). There were at least 30 Goldfinches enjoying the Thistle tops. The Kestrel was seen chasing a carrion crow.  Its usually the other way around but not the case today.

Checking out more limestone pavement today and finding two sites for Angular Solomon's Seal, one site for Lily of The Valley, but the best was a small colony of six largish clumps of "Green Spleenwort". The clumps consisted of a 30 frond, 10 frond, 50 frond, 60 frond, 20 frond.  they were all in a close vicinity of about 15ft radius some near the top of grikes, whilst a couple of the clumps were some 3ft down the grike.

I looked for it for years - Asplenium viride,
for years I found  - Asplenium trichomanes,
but at last I've found viride's motherland,
with dangling "dreadlocks" all around,

Thursday 12th September 2013 Hutton Roof Common 1400-1630hrs

Two parties of Swallows heading South West, one with 12 birds and the other one with 3 birds. Also flushed a Woodcock on the common (so close I nearly stood on him) I guess he frightened me more than I him.  Also when coming back down Dalton Crags lower had a party of 17 Mistle Thrush crossing over to the West.

Checking over pavement 6A near the Trig Point and found more of the rare Green Spleenwort (see photo) - this one the best ever with at least 100 fronds. Also some new to me Angular Solomon's Seal, Common Rock Rose, Black Spleenwort, a good spent Broad Leaved Helliborine.

Decided to check on a Rigid Buckler Fern which I noticed a couple of months ago at the top of Lancelot Clark Storth.  It certainly looks far different to the "norm" one next to it, so I took a few photos which I would love to share with you. Please click over the photos if you wish to enlarge.

“The green spleenwort dangles like dreadlocks,
It’s home, a dark wet nook, crevice or cleft,
Or fissure, crack, cranny or slit or split.
Half expecting reggae – but settle for it’s rock”

"Green Spleenwort dangles like dreadlocks"

Rigid Buckler Fern - looks different to the usual.

Again the odd looking Rigid Buckler Fern alongside a normal one.

The Rigid Buckler Fern Fronds - The abnormal one to the left and the normal one to the right.

Another of the Green Spleenwort showing another colony to the left of the main.
Tuesday 10th September 2013 Lancelot Clark Storth 0930hrs-1230hrs

I checked the "Spring" and the Palmate's were not about today. I also thought I would check out a tip off for the Rusty Back Fern, but it is still eludes me. It seemed to me that I had checked every boulder on the site but could only find the Maidenhair Spleenwort, Hart's Tongue and Broad Buckler Fern. However just on leaving the general area I found more boulders to the southern end of which one of the boulders had lots of fronds of the rare "Southern Polypody" (Polypodium cambricum) growing on the top of it. Have now consulted with Alec Greening who confirms my diagnosis!

I took several photos of the rare " Southern polypody" and another photo of a boulder been leant up against a ash tree and the tree has sort of grown around the "cutting in" boulder!

Also below is a couple of photos showing the "Gallent Soldier" which is growing in a field near Dalton directly under the current maize crop. Can only think that the seed came in when the maize was planted. I believe this is a flower which has colonized us from the North America's and is far more familiar with the Southern Counties of the UK.

"Hey Mate, hey pal,
Newt in Spring today,
Onward South for Ceterach,
Summer gone,
And back
To Rusty Autumn".

The boulder well attached to the tree

A young polypodium cambricum (Southern Polypody)

Another photo of the polypodium cambricum (Souther Polypody) - the ovalness of the frond

Showing the huge colony of "Gallent Soldier" beneath the maize

A close up of the "Gallent Soldier"

Monday 9th September 2013 Heysham Nature Reserve 0900hrs-1130hrs

Paid a visit to my old friend Pete Marsh down at Heysham where as usual he was busy with "tis, tat and tuther".  He was doing a bit of vis whilst at the same time monitoring his nets and checking birds for ringing. He had some good "stuff" while I was there including a "Sedge Warbler and a Whitethroat". Also there were the other "sylvias" flirting about the site which included a female Blackcap which brushed straight past us.

For me it was good to see a good number of Mipits on their way through South or more to the point "South East" (at Heysham).  They averaged about 40 to the hour which I suppose is pretty good for so early on. Also there were several Swallows on the move.

(1300hrs - Back home to pen my ditty)

To find the raging sea with swirls and black holes and all,
Then leave the rig, and head norwest, you must look to your right.
And follow below those "White Clints",
And soon you pass that bouy upon your left,
Soon after, its left and follow the rugged contour,
Clear the headland and on the swing around - you enter,
That secret sea of raging grey with sinking black - holes everywhere.

9th September 2013.

That Raging Sea with swirls and Black Holes everywhere (click over to enlarge)

Saturday 7th September 2013 Hutton Roof - 0900hrs-1300hrs

On my way up to Hutton Roof from Nineteen Trees in Dalton, I recorded some Square Stalked St. John's-wort (Hypericum tetrapterum) directly in the middle of the main forestry track. Then I recorded a couple of patches of the rare Juncus compressus just at the bottom of Dalton Crags, these were shown to me on Thursday last. I was pleasantly surprised to hear a party of Crossbill overhead which landing nearby on the tall trees.

Today I had set my sights on checking out a couple of records given to me during the past couple of days. It involved Hypericum montanum and the other one was the Limestone Oak Fern, but sadly after spending some time looking for them without success I have temporarily given up because the heavens opened up and the rains came down.  On the common west of the Trig Point I had a party of five "Tree Pipits" which were trying to get through on Southerly routing, but constantly brought down with the strong winds.

Thursday 5th September 2013 Hutton Roof - 0930hrs-1200hrs

It was a great pleasure today to be able to show Dr. Halliday, the rare Holly Fern, the locally rare Green Spleenwort Fern and the most magnificent limestone pavement I discovered only yesterday. I really don't know which is the Jewel in the Crown between Polystichum Lonchitis or the "Runnel holed turbulent wavy sea which that pavement could well have been" - There is certainly no contest here! they both share the Jewel.

We took measurements of that fern, distances, directions, noting other close by species which occupied that same area.  It was all necessary information required for future inclusion of the updated record which will be shown within the "BSBI Rare Plants Register" (Cumbria - now in preparation - Mike Porter/Dr Geoffrey Halliday).

I just could not resist taking yet another photograph of that "Runelled holed turbulent wavy Sea"

This is but one example, there are many more
Wednesday 4th September 2013 - Mapping out and searching for rare ferns on Hutton Roof (0900hrs-1300hrs)

Very busy this morning pacing out limestone areas and trying to get access to pavements which in places were well overgrown with low and high vegetation and took lots of negotiating.  Did find some really nice Brittle Bladder Fern and a large Black Spleenwort colony.

So striking was the beautiful pavement I had never seen before and it would easily be missed because of the vegetation on its borders to all sides.  But this place was so special I have never seen anything like it, there were deep holes within the "up and down sloping pavement" and at the top of the holes were sort of channels down into the holes were obviously water had made its mark over the many years.  There may have been about 20 of these holes, some had vegetation growing out of them.  But what a wonderful sight.  Here some photos for sample, but if you click on this link you can see all my photos. Click here and then select your preferred photo and click over it, if you want it enlarging go to right corner and click.

Tuesday 3rd September 2013 - Mapping out and searching for rare ferns on Hutton Roof.  (0930hrs-1230hrs)

A few blogging Meadow Pipits in Dalton.
Spent most of the morning mapping out and re-locating the "Green Spleenwort".  Got a better photo of the Trio of spleenworts. Also found another colony of "Green Spleenwort" with 50 frond within about 30 ft of the one found yesterday. (see photos)
Green Spleenwort found today with at least 50 frond - in open area on very slanting limestone pavement, close to woodland in damp cleft within gryke - click over to enlarge.

Sunday 1st September 2013 - Searching for rare ferns on Hutton Roof.
0900hrs to 1230hrs
Another fern I have been trying to find for over a year or two is the Green Spleenwort and today I managed to find a plant with at least 11 fronds.  It was in a shallow gryke with mossy limestone all around and completely canopied by large vegetation.

On my way back down to Dalton I checked out the Pale St. John's Wort (var: perforatum) and noted that yet again this year the deer had taken the tops of the 6 colony.  Although they had not bothered the others.  Also found yet another specimen within 6 foot of another.  Can't believe I could have missed this one.

Also checked out the variant Epipactis colony and although most of the plants had by now gone over. Plants 7,8,9 and 20 which are showing with drooping heads in the sketch, are still looking the same although have aborted their buds like many of the others. This has certainly been a interesting situation this year and for me as yet cannot understand why so many of the plants have been affected this way.

On way back and going past fields full of maze I noticed lots of "Gallant-soldier" just beneath on the edges of the maze, can only presume this stuff came in with the maize seed. Was introduced from South America initially and now established mainly in the South and South East of England.

Green Spleenwort

Green Spleenwort underside showing plenty of sori

Saturday 31st August 2013 - Searching for rare ferns on Hutton Roof.
0900hrs to 1200hrs
On way up through Dalton Crags (upper) there were at least 40 Goldfinch feeding on the spent ragwort. Also a 18 Meadow Pipit party blogging. Also a Tree Pipit going overhead South, also another two Tree Pipits over towards the Cairns area.
Found lots of Lily Of The Valley remnants and Limestone Polypody.

Friday 30th August 2013 - Searching for rare ferns on Hutton Roof.
1000hrs to 1300hrs
Checked a good area, some of the areas where hard to access owing to growing and thickening vegetation, but did manage to find plenty of new area.
Thursday 29th August 2013 - Searching for rare ferns.
1400hrs to 1800hrs
Covered a good area with lots and lots of Hard Shield Ferns found.  Also found some more small pockets containing the odd clumps of carex ornithopoda (Birds Foot Sedge). Areas now generally noted and now included in the carex ornithopoda map.

Monday 26th August 2013 - Looking for rare Ferns on Hutton Roof.

I have spent some considerable time over the last three years looking for this rare species on Hutton Roof and today all the searching finally paid off.  That's no "Hard Shield Fern" it's the special one! the one I've been looking out for, its Polystichum Lonchitis, the one lots of people thought might have become extinct on Hutton Roof.  On the way home I called off to let Alec the fern expert share in the good news and check out the photographs.

I searched out that “revered of ferns” year in year out.
A record in 1957, with frond preserved in herbatorium,
Since then it’s remained a mystery, or thought to be extinct!
Until now in 2013 when “Holly” was “ferned” again.…

9th September 2013

Showing it appearing from under a cleft along with Maidenhair Spleenwort (click over to enlarge)

A closer photo of the fronds (click over to enlarge)

A nice photo of the underside showing the "Sori" (Click over to enlarge)

Showing the fern from a distance to show the general "in situ" (Click over to enlarge)
I also found another closeby "fern" which at the moment has left me puzzled, and yet it has been suggested that it could well be a "early" forming "Black Spleenwort".  Here are some of the photos:
Please click over to enlarge

Please click over to enlarge

Showing underside (please click over to enlarge)

Please click over to enlarge

Please click over to enlarge