Saturday, 30 August 2014

Polypodium cambricum (Southern Polypody)

Polypodium Cambricum (Southern Polypody) on Lancelot - Please click over the photos to enlarge
I don't think it would be possible for me to get better specimens to photograph than these.  They do give the complete photo picture to one of the rare ferns from this area.  The Photos clearly show the deltoid shape of the fronds, together with the clean light green colour and narrowness of the individual pinnae. Also with the cambricum you can usually see the sori immpressions coming through the topside of the frond. Whilst other Polypodies are pretty well worn by now, the cambricum is at its very best right now with it being the last to show! If you would like to see all the photos I took today of these Cambricum then please click here.

Meadow Pipits have been collecting with two parties noticed, one party of 30 plus in Dalton Crags and a further party of 20 or more on the Common itself.  Also one or two pairs making their way across HR.

Without doubt odd individual Swallows and a party of three were making their way South on migration, you can usually tell them out from the local feeding birds, by their direct Southern flight and you see them in and see them out.  A couple of days ago I noticed also odd individuals crossing over Booths at Carnforth following their ancient flightpaths crossing over in the direction towards perhaps the Trough of Bowland and then out South. I suppose it will now be a gradual build up until we get the peak movement South which will be on or around the 24th September.

Maybe up to thirty Mistle Thrush collecting in the lower Dalton Crags, making the most of the Rowan berries.

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Hart's Tongue (Asplenium scolopendrium) Variant: Ramosum

I found this unusual Hart's Tongue Fern today on Hutton Roof Common
It was nice to find this unusual Hart's Tongue fern today and I have already had it confirmed by Alec that it is a variant called "Ramosum".

It was great to see lots of Spotted Flycatchers in Dalton, between the top of the lower crags to include the area from where the charcoal burners used to be and all the way across to the entry with the upper Dalton Crags area or the start of the "deforested" areas. Most of the birds where immatures but also a few parent birds present.  (probably a dozen or more in total).  The date almost ties in with previous sightings of this species whilst on their annual passage through Dalton Crags.

Autumn Gentian or Fellwort
Click over to enlarge
Then it was nice to check out the Autumn Gentian (or Fellwort) which is on the Common in several areas.  This year there are two plants within 18" of one another and one of the plants is shown here (left) and of the usual regular purple colour, whilst the other plant the flowers are white. This seems to happen quite a lot up here were they will come up one colour or the other.

Not far from the Fellwort I was lucky enough to find even more of the special fern called the Southern Polypody (or Polypodium Cambricum). As usual it was down a shallow gryke with some six spaced out fronds, all of which would have been between 4" to 6" in length and of delta shape. 

Hypericum Montanum
Click over to enlarge
Also today checking out some (new to me pavement) which I have never had chance before to investigate, but today found the time and listed several good (but gone over) Epipactis Helliborines.  But the star attraction today just had to be some "Hypericum Montanum" or the Pale St John's Wort which has become very rare these days around these parts.  Obviously the plant was well over, but you could still see lots of reasonable clues.

Besides making notes of gps readings for Angular Solomon's Seal, Epipactis Helliborines, Spring Sandwort, it was really interesting to find some of the fabulous Hypericum androsaemum or perhaps better known as Tutsan within the Dalton Crags area and here below is a photo of it showing its much reddened leaves.

Tutsan found in Dalton Crags

Thursday, 14 August 2014

Its just another Polystichum Aculeatum!

Also please check out any latest updates at bottom of blog

The Top photo shows what the position was like in 2013 showing a small immature fern to the front of the plant.
The bottom photo shows the development in 2014, clearly showing the immature from 2013 is now a fully fledged adult frond (No.3), and also of much interest was and still is this year's plant and the immature frond to the rear right hand side.  Will this also turn out to be a fully mature plant in 2015, it will be interesting to see what happens.  I suppose for now we know the score! (famous last words) its just another P. Aculeatum 
Lots of us were getting rather excited!  why!  Well although we know we have got something really really special with the fabulous Holly Fern (Polystichum lonchitis), some of us also thought that we may have also had the lonchitis hybrid simply known as Polystichum x illyricum.  Its has already been recorded from two areas in Scotland and also within Ireland, but as yet there have been no records ever for England.

So would'nt it be nice to have the rare hybrid.  Well I guess for now we will just have to "keep on searchin"

The beautiful fresh Polypodium cambricum
Found today. Click over to enlarge
Wow, these rarities!  found some more of the rare Southern Polypody (Polypodium cambricum) today and this time its within a new tetrad.  Also someone else has found some more Ceterach.

Well I checked out one of our old (long established) Black Spleenwort (Asplenium adiantum nigrum) sites on Saturday and again today just to make sure, we have always had a good growth of the fern whilst sharing 50% of its territory and alongside the Brittle Bladder Fern (Cystopteris fragilis), and guess what?  its gone, completely disappeared, the Brittle Bladder Fern (Cystopteris fragilis) has taken over completely.  Not to worry still got several Black Spleenwort (Asplenium adiantum nigrum) sites to go at, In fact I was also lucky enough to find yet another plant today which was growing at the ridiculous position of 2 metres down the side of a gryke. There's one thing for sure, no beast will try and eat that one.

LATEST - Other news:
13th August 2014  Had a single Swift heading South, somewhere near the River Bela by the Wings School which lies between Holme and Milnthorpe, Cumbria.

15th August 2014  At least one Chiffchaff with broken song, and lots (10+) of Willow Warblers giving off their "houwit" contact call were collective on Vicarage Lane, Burton In Kendal, quite close to the "Grim Reaper" natural wood statue and close to the Dalton hamlet side. Presumed resting up whilst on passage. Immediate local area not usually associated with these species during breeding season.

21st August 2014  Just found out that the Spotted Flycatchers have again bred within Dalton Park and were seen with young.  

SPOTTED FLYCATCHERS ON THE MOVE: In both 2011 and again on the same day in 2012 large parties (up to 12 or more), of Spotted Flycatchers were seen flitting about within the trees and will have been resting or feeding up whilst on migration passage, were seen in 2011 in Dalton Crags near to where the charcoal burners were, and again on the same Lat/Long line in 2012 but further across to the BAP Memorial Seat on Lancelot Clark Storth, coincidence or what but the magic date was August 24th.  Missed checking it out last year (2013). 

24th August 2014 Arthur and Linda P had a Wall Brown Butterfly over on the Farleton side by Newbiggin Crag. 

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Epipactis Helliborine variants "Purpurea" - 2014 has been extroadinary!

This will probably be my last blog this year on the subject of Epipactis, unless I can get something more together on this years "Schmalhauseneii" studies which do need to be published soon,  because by now the helliborines are going over rapidly, so I do hope to get into the FERN mood for a few weeks before the onslaught of the Visible Bird Migration in September.  For now though please enjoy this piece as a quick summary to the work I have carried out on the beautiful "2014 Purpurea variants"

Epipactis Helliborine  (Broad Leaved Helliborine)  “PURPUREA”

Fig 1 - Specimen 1 within canopy
(Click over to enlarge)
This year (2014) on the Hutton Roof complex we seem to be getting quite a lot of the beautiful E. Helliborine variant “Purpurea” with several plants showing very deep purple coloured flowers.  Although I have been checking the variants over the past three years, there have never been so many recorded in such a small area and neither have they before had this very strong deep burgundy colour, although they have obviously showed lighter “purpurea” colours.

Although the colours do vary,  they can easily remind you of the colour you would normally get from a E. Atrorubens, e.g that dark red burgundy wine colour. Because for some reason this year most of the purpurea have been showing this typical colouring. 

Fig 2 - Specimen 2 On edge
of Woodland (Please click
over to enlarge)
All specimens so far recorded have been in the close vicinity of a Hazel bush or under a Hazel canopy.  I don’t know whether this bears any reflection on the plant at all but this was always the case, although I also should mention that Hazel is the predominant species and found almost everywhere up there on Hutton Roof.  

The variance in the shade of colours has depended on where the plant is situated, the deeper the colours are, usually is also a indication to how far back in the canopy the plant is situated, whilst the plants on the edge of the woodland with direct sunlight to one side are shown to be a slightly lighter colour. This can been seen here by looking at Specimen 1 (Fig 1) against Specimen 2 (Fig 2), which lie only 3 or 4 metres apart, but one is in deeper canopy whilst the other has direct access to sunlight on one side.

In the majority of cases the plants already recorded have been helliborines of sizes ranging between “460mm to 600mm in height”.

Fig 3 - Specimen No.17
note the large shiny dark
green leaves (click over to enlarge)
Most of the specimens are green stemmed throughout, but I have noticed that with some of them that the bottom 50mm will be stained “purple” colour. This can be a regular occurrence within the species.

One thing that seems to stand out a mile with these “purpurea” variants is that in the majority of cases the primary leaves are of unbelievable striking size and shape, and are not what you would normally associate with the e.helliborine eg: approx 65mm to 95mm in length and between 55mm to 65mm in width, and have a sort of oval look about them, and this also applies on almost all the five or six primary leaves associated with the plant.   Here is a typical leaf layout of a plant I have recently been studying (in this case Fig 3 Specimen 17 which is 430mm in height). The leaf layout is generally starting from the base with a single small basal rounded leaf of only 30mm in diameter approx (this basal leaf can sometimes be easily missed
Fig 4 - Specimen No.16
Note the regular shape
and lighter coloured leaves
because it can be tight up and clasping the stem just like a sheath), this leaf will be about 40mm up the stem from the source, followed by another leaf (secondary) which is just a little bit bigger than the basal which lies at 60mm from the base but almost opposite of the stem, after these two leaves, you have a set of five or six very large (primary) leaves gripping the sides of the stem and going around the stem in a more spiral direction towards the head of the plant, this spiralling is very typical of the “helliborine” leaf structure.  So the third leaf going up the stem will lay at approx 95mm from the base, the fourth leaf will be at approx 117mm from the base, the fifth 140mm from the base, the sixth 150mm from the base, the seventh 165mm from the base and finally the eighth will be at approx 183mm from the base.

The colour of these leaves is also striking in that they seem to be a very dark shiny green with a crinkly silky material texture feel to it, especially noticeable to the underside.  The silky shine is clearly visible to both the topside and the underside of the leaf. This dense dark colour of the leaves is not normally associated with the majority of straight e. helliborines which I see which do tend to be more of a lemony or lighter green which you can see here in Fig 4 or Fig 6. Again I think it must have something to do with the overall “purpurea” making a darker staining throughout, whilst adding to all this is another important factor in that when the plant lies further within shaded density then darker the leaf colour along with darker the flower will appear. The leaves are so well grooved, and in this particular case will show at least 11 to 13 primary grooves or ridges across the length of the leaf, and these will be interspersed with a further 30 secondary grooves bringing a total of 43 grooves which are equally distributed with 21 to the left, then a main central groove or ridge, and then 21 to the right. The grooves or ridges are in a curvature fashion. 

Fig 5 - Specimen 15 in 2013
Aborted before flowering
Although I am collecting evidence from several plants, I would just like to mention that over the past three years I have been keeping one particular plant under closer observation, this plant is named Specimen 15 and again lies well within the inside of a canopy of hazel.   In 2012 the plant first came to my attention with its beautiful “purpurea” colouring.  The same plant in 2013 actually aborted its buds which just dried up and fell off some four weeks before maturity. And in 2014 the same plant is again showing “purpurea” but in a more deeper or denser burgundy colour which is far darker than it was back in 2012. This same colour density seems to be appearing all over the place this year within these variants on Hutton Roof. Of special interest also in close proximity to Specimen 15 was a further colony of some twenty plus e.helliborines of which several showed a leaning towards purpurea, but not all, and neither were the variants grouped in a close linear measured area, the purpurea was very much ad hoc in nature eg: One purpurea, then a couple of normal, then one purpurea. I mention this purely for the fact that back in 2012 I thought it had something to do with the ground metallic content, but now think different because of the ad hoc layout.

Fig 6 - Not a purpurea
but flowers to one side
like what you get with
In 2012 I must say that I did at first think that perhaps these “Purpurea” specimens held a clue to some “hybrid happenings” and after speaking with learned friends who also had these similar inclinations of their being some sort of atrorubens influence, thought at the time there could have been a sort of F2 cross breed situation lurking. Because if I remember at that time we had also got variant e.helliborine specimens with flowers just coming down two sides of the stem, like you would get with a typical atrorubens. And probably the most important factor at the time was that I did notice that one particular plant did have slightly “frilly” bosses, which obviously you could only ever associate "frilly bosses with atrorubens. And perhaps most striking has been the stronger “red colour” influences within the actual e.helliborine flowers.

These plants are always showing at the same time (late July to early August) as what you would expect from any typical E. Helliborines, which means that they are about three weeks following on from the best period of the atrorubens. 

Burton In Kendal Swift Study Group  The last 2 Swifts were seen flying over the village on Friday last the 8th August 2014.  We wish them a safe journey.......