Thursday, 25 August 2016

A Hedgehog fungi and Montanum Day (23rd August 2016)

Well I have lots of stuff to blog about as soon as I can and will share with you soon.  I have recorded but not yet put into blog a piece on “Flowers I have found on the edges of Maize or Fodder Beet fields in Dalton near Burton in Kendal” you may be surprised just to see what variety we get take for instance: Solanum nigrum or maybe better known as the Black Nightshade and what about Galinsoga quadriradiata which isn’t but just looks very similar to it’s relation the Gallant Soldier.  But that’s all for another day because today I want to talk about what went on Tuesday last when I decided to make it a Hedgehog and Montanum day.

Hypericum Montanum No.3 - Click to enlarge
It started whilst going through Dalton Crags and looking out for just anything available and worthy of note.  It was even worth (to me) to make gps notes to where all the Hypericum Perforatum was and subsequently recorded, because this information could be very beneficial to just where the species was on the Hutton Roof complex and its association (perhaps) to another rare hypericum species which I have been fortunate to recently find.  I didn’t mean going out of my way, but to record all I could see from the forestry track on my way up from Nineteen Trees and onward through the Crag. 

Climbing up through the lower crags and stopping off talking with folk and making notes and stopping to take the odd photo I eventually arrived at the little beauties which were my first intended destination of the beautiful day to check out the near hypericum montanums (population no.3) or known as the Pale St. John's Wort. So out with the camera to capture the plant (see left). I also found another nearby (20ft at least) and up to seven seedlings which hopefully will mature and prosper and be on view in future years.  Its always worth checking the leaves of our specimens on HR because so far every one I have checked have shown perforatum within the leaf and according to all the text books at my avail, this should not be happening.  So you can see why I am noting even common species such as "Perforated" because I wonder if some hybrid meddling has taken place here somewhere along the line.  Another "perforatum" species I regular encounter up here on Hutton Roof is Hypericum Pulchrum (or Slender St. John's Wort) and maybe that species could well have also played its part in this strange phenomena.  Time will tell.

No sooner had I left the little beauties than I was to bump into this fabulous chap which I can only
Dung Beetle - Click over to enlarge
imagine maybe he was some sort of dung beetle, he was large and had large folded brown transparentish wings which now and again he would display in a sort of threatening posture as though perhaps I was too close and he was showing me he was ready to take to the wing should I go one step further. I enjoyed watching him for another ten minutes or so whilst he took on his mountainous terrain and at times wobbling on the "tipping point" similar to how you see the land-rover on a assault course.  The amount of times I find these larger beetles on their back with legs waving about and helpless.
This chap today seem to be doing fine.

Climbing even further through Dalton and again noting all "perforatum" on the way up and just before the "Line of Trees" I glanced across to the butterfly bush (buddlea). All the times I go up here and have never noticed it before.  It looked well out of place up here amongst all the natural stuff but I guess it would be playing its part in bringing in lots of the more abundant butterflies like the Torts, Red Admirals and Peacocks which I were seeing plenty of today

Its quickly becoming that time of year again "Visible Bird Migration".  Good job I had my binoculars with me and checking out the far wall was not to be disappointing with a fabulous Wheatear with the most upright posture I have ever seen, a proper standing to attention bird! and only perhaps a few metres to its left a lovely Stonechat which later made off to the ground and quickly back up onto some shrub high point where it could have its temporary "watchpoint". I was wondering if this would be the pair already come back to their regular wintering territory or would it be just a solitary bird passing through!  I guess the wheatears are on the move and will have come in overnight and dropped in to feed up before setting off again later that night onward towards their final destination of South Africa. I was to also see another Wheatear as I got further around and coming down through Lancelot Clark Storth.

"Ramosum " A. Scollopendrium Click to enlarge
Onward and upward through the boundary and on to the Common stopping briefly at the Trig Point to take in the magnificient views. Soon I was looking for "Ramosum" and sure enough he gave me a quick wave with his many tentacle fingers. He doesn't change much from year to year its a very strong looking plant and always worthy of yet another photograph.

Descending the Crags and then ascending the next set of Crags in search of the small hedgehog fungi better known as the Spiny Puffball fungi.  Back in 2014 I had seven of them but last year this was down to one and this year I just drew a blank with none at all showing. I checked out all the surrounding areas without success.

Its not long before I am fighting my way through lots of undergrowth barely penetrable but hiding yet another beautiful pavement, and this is were Montanum No.2 lives, just a singular plant which seems to survive in the most precarious of places on the side of a well fractured gryke.  I have now watched this plant over three years and as yet there have been no additions, neither have I noticed any set seedlings in the immediate areas.  Its lies about one mile away from No.1 and some one and a half miles away from No.3 yet here again we have another rare specimen with the unique "perforatum" leaves!

During my adventures today I was fortunate to see quite a few butterflies which were mainly Small Tortoiseshells, Red Admirals and at one point whilst entering Lancelot Clark Storth (A Cumbria Wildlife Reserve) I had the pleasure to see a Wall Brown Butterfly on Ragwort.

Soon I arrived at the home of Hypericum Montanum No.1, and this was the very first specimen of this particular species which I located back in 2013 and it has done well every year since.  Or should I say that is up to this year.  For some reason the main group of eight plants has just not appeared this year although the surrounding plants are all doing fine.

Finished off the day checking out Angular Solomon's Seal, lots of gone over Epipactis "orchids" and also the rare Southern Polypody Ferns.