Friday, 9 November 2012

The Wild West

Out for four hours in the part of Kielder west of Bellingham on 7th Nov.  It was cold, windy and increasingly wet.

We were looking for unusual ferns and found a good patch of Tunbridge Filmy Fern (Hymenophyllum tunbridgense) plus (possibly) a patch of Kilarney Fern (Trichomanes speciosum).  This latter is very odd.  All ferns have two generations in their life cycle - a minute sexual generation called a gametophyte and a much larger frond stage called a sporophyte which produces the asexual spores.  Kilarney Fern in Northumberland has only ever been found as the gametophyte which looks like a green patch of "brillo pad" fibres close pressed to wet rock.  Some in the group were convinced that what the leader was pointing to was what we were looking for.  One or two of us were more doubtful!  The photo is NOT what we saw, it's an official image of Kilarney Fern gametophyte from the official fern society website.

The only higher plants we found in flower were Climbing Corydalis and Heath Groundsel.

Very few birds - a single Buzzard and a Raven.  But back in our daughter's garden at Lanehead, about 4 miles west of Bellingham, there was a group of at least 40 Waxwing.

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