Thursday, 27 February 2014

Moss bros

The low, scudding cloud, keen wind and drenching rain disappeared at about the same time as Graeme Lyons, Seth Gibson and I arrived at the top of Ditchling Beacon this morning. We were then joined by Tony Davis who made up a quartet of pan-listers - our aim?  - to be schooled in the ways of moss, by our tutor for the day, Graeme.

It all worked rather well. Graeme showed us the typical species of bryophyte to be found on chalk grassland, explaining the features to look out for and the confusion species to be aware of. After half-an-hour of this came mini-tests, then a full-on exam as we tried to show each other what we had been shown. I must admit that, at last, some of this moss lark had stuck in my mind! For a most enlightening account of the mosses of Ditchling Beacon's north face, please see here for an earlier post of Graeme's.

After the 'moss-fest' we then started on a new pastime for me - sieving vegetation for invertebrates (and anything else that happened to be present). This entailed taking handfuls of the ubiquitous moss Rhytidiadelphus triquetrus and shaking it over a sieve, with the inverts falling into a tray placed underneath. This was more than successful, with a fine cast of species to pick through - click here to see Graeme's account of our results.

Bryophytes up close are beautiful. Rather than prattle on, please take a look at a representitive selection of today's haul. If any of these have been mis-identified, it is down to me and not my excellent tutor. My thanks to Graeme for suggesting today's outing, and to Seth and Tony for being such great field companions.

Hylocomium splendens

Neckera crispa

Ctenidium molluscum

Thidium assimile
Rhytidiadelphus triquetrus

Dicranum bonjeanii

Ditrichum gracile

Scapania aspera

2 comments:

  1. Some cracking macro shots there, Steve. Nice one.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Dean. The closer you look, the better they get.

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