Saturday, 19 August 2017

Anglesey Adventures - The Last Day - 30/06/17

This was our final full day on Anglesey. We had visited most "must see" locations for interesting flora on the island in our short week and on this day had no-where in particular to go. As such I decided to drive up to the North of the island and explore those areas and a few on the way back if there was time.

Trearddur Bay



As ever, the scenery was beautiful and in the main, places were deserted. The weather was a bit better in that there was no rain this day, but the wind had picked up to a near gale force Northerly, so it was a bit chilly for the end of June!

At Trearddur Bay we had a short walk along the sea front by the car park where I found Sea Holly in flower with its lovely blue flowers.


The little green plants in the foreground are Sea Sandwort.


Eryngium maritimum







As you can see, the flower is actually comprised of numeorus mini flowers, all bunched into a single head.  Bumblebees really like this plant.


Nearby at Porth Diana, I found a stand of Northern Marsh Orchids in a damp field.



Dactylorhiza purpurella







Japanese Rose had escaped from a nearby garden onto the cliffs. Although their big showy flowers look great, they can spread and form dense invasive thickets as they have done in Kent and East Sussex dunes.

It would be wise to weed these out!



Rosa rugosa





This was close to a small nature reserve where Spotted Rock-Rose can be found.

Again, I failed to find any in flower, though it was still morning (their petals drop by noon).






I did take this photo of Tormentil (yellow) and Cross-leaved Heath there though.








Potentilla erecta
Erica tetralix 




From here we drove off Holy Island back onto Anglesey itself and had a slow drive to Cemlyn Bay on the North coast.

It's a favoured bird watching place as it has a long shingle ridge sheltering a brackish lagoon behind it.

We braced the strong winds and went for a walk out towards a headland away from the usual bird watching areas.


Here's a Perennial Sowthistle with Sea Kale going to seed next to it.  In the background is Sea Beet.







Sonchus arvensis






The sea was pretty rough here with an onshore near gale force wind and photography was challenging to say the least.
Cemlyn Bay



 All the common coastal species were present, including the familiar Rock Samphire, an often seen plant on the chalk cliffs of the Kent coastline.


Crithmum maritimum







I then found this unusual plant. It was very small and blowing about stupidly in the hooligan of a wind. In order to get any photo I had to sacrifice depth of field, so this is the best shot I could get in those conditions.



It's Smith's Pepperwort an uncommon plant I've only seen a few times before.



Lepidium heterophyllum






While taking this photo, lumps of sea foam were hitting me and landing in the grass, the sea whipped up into a foam.  Look closely and you could class this photo as a selfie!


Wild Thyme and Sheep's Bit was numerous along the coastal turf and occassionally they overlapped as here.

Thymus polytricha and Jasione montana





This final plant had me flummoxed as I couldn't identify it past it being a Ragwort. I took lots of photos that I sent to my County Recorder when I got home. He is of the opinion it is a hybrid between Common and Marsh Ragwort. Obviously I don't have space to put the photos here, but the leaves ended in a terminal lobe much like Marsh Ragwort, but the overall appearance didn't fit Marsh alone.

As I've never seen Marsh Ragwort let alone a hybrid, it makes this a first, which is always nice.



Senecio x ostenfeldii










It's not always the flowers that get photographed.



 From Cemlyn, we passed through Amlwch and then visited the old copper mine area. These huge spoil heaps looked amazing and I can easily imagine them being film sets for the likes of Dr Who or a post apocalypse type of film.



I assumed the soil would be so poisonous not much would grow, but plenty did. Many common species were found here, especially Heather and Bell Heather.


Here's a Tutsan in flower on this soil. It looked very odd and stunted, no doubt due to the lack of nutrients in the soil.







Hypericum androsaemum











From here we drove back South and near Pentraeth stopped for a cup of tea in a layby. The grass around it was full of Common Spotted Orchids, possibly over a hundred by the side of the road.

Looking at the OS map, I thought we could take a walk along a path to some open access land nearby, so we parked up and went for another walk.









There was no let up in the numbers of Common Spotted Orchids as we walked the path.

Here's a Small Skipper butterfly on one.





Dactylorhiza fucshii




















After a while, the path opened up into a damp meadow which was the open access land.
It was very wet and uneven ground so I was glad to have the walking boots on.











Here's one of over 50 Lesser Butterfly Orchids we found in flower here.







Very hard to find in Kent and all gone over as well in the SE so I was surprised to find them still going strong here.








Platanthera bifolia













There were also hundreds of Heath Spotted Orchids and with the Common Spotted only about 50 yards away, I looked for hybrids, though failed to spot any.













Dactylorhiza maculata
















I then found some little gems, not found in Kent, the Early Marsh Orchid, subsp pulchella which has pink flowers (incarnata - white, coccinea - scarlet)

The Kent subspecies of Early Marsh is subsp incarnata and had long gone to seed down my way, so I was very pleasantly surprised to find some still flowering here.



Dactylorhiza incarnata subsp pulchella


So ended this day with a plethora of orchids, quite unplanned and quite unexpected.



When we got back to our cottage, we had a rest then decided to drive home that night rather than risk the roads on a busy Saturday morning. So by about 1am we were back in Kent. Out of curiousity, we looked at the travel reports that morning and it would have been horrendous coming home on the Saturday with several major accidents and huge delays all along the route home. For once a good decision made.

It was a shame about the weather, but a holiday for me isn't about hot sun and lounging about by a pool, I enjoyed the changeable conditions and it concentrated the mind to make the most of any weather windows that occurred. I highly recommend a visit to Anglesey and/or North Wales, for both botany, the stunning scenery and the welcoming, friendly people.



I have lots of Kent blogs to catch up on since coming home, so keep looking in won't you.


Regards
Dave
@Barbus59


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