The rain very kindly held back for a few hours and allowed the North Wales group to start the BBS Centenary Year with some quality bryologising in a Harlech garden. Not every garden has a waterfall, pond, cliffs, and willow carr, and not every garden abuts onto sand dunes, with a magnificent view across Tremadog Bay!
The group started down by the pond and waterfall. Several local members of the Harlech Historical Society, including our host, spent the morning learning something about the basics of bryophyte recording, although we had to compete with the lure of domestic archaeology after an old rubbish dump was discovered amongst the trees.
A moss that puzzled us all, a very dark and robust moss that was growing beneath the waterfall, turned out, embarrassingly to be Philonotis fontana. Ralph spotted Rhyncostegium alopecurum which seemed a slightly surprising find at sea level, although it has been recorded from the mountains not far away.
A lavish lunch was taken in our host’s beautiful home and immediately afterwards we all went outside to inspect the cliff behind the conservatory. A tiny green cushion, about a metre from where we had been inside, eating our lunch, turned out to be a cushion of Philonotis rigida. This is an unusual coastal species of the western seaboard of the UK. There are only a handful of records from VC48, including a 100- year-old hectad record from Harlech by Daniel Angell Jones. DAJ was the first Secretary of the newly formed BBS and the connection with DAJ was the reason I had been invited to Harlech in the first place. It was very satisfying to show our host from the Historical Society this special moss. It will be cherished in association with the memory of this distinguished bryologist from Harlech’s past.
The rain started again in the late afternoon and the seven members of the NWNFPG decided to call it a day, with a respectable list of well over fifty species. Many thanks to our very generous hosts for a most enjoyable day out.