Life through a (hand) lens

by on Feb.09, 2010, under Lichens, Surveys

Monday was the second classroom session of the NHSN Lichens and Bryophytes course.  On Sunday, while I was out with Sarah on a walk through three atlas tetrads in Harwood, we found some interesting colonies of Cladonias lichens on the upturned root edges of some windblown Spruce.  As the lichens course is currently looking at Heath and Moorland, and specifically at Cladonias, this was a chance to put the classroom practice into a fieldwork context.  The two most frequent species were C. macilenta (‘Devils Matches’), and C.sulphurina (‘Greater Sulphur-cup’).  Unfortunately, the weather was a bit on the harsh side, so it wasn’t possible to take any photographs of the lichens in the field.  Never mind, that’s just a reason to go back and have another look on a brighter day 😉

The atlassing itself was a bit esoteric.  During the entire 9  miles through the forest we only came across 6 different species;

Common Buzzard 3

Sparrowhawk 1

Goshawk 1

Great Spotted Woodpecker 2

Goldcrest 5

Common Crossbill 103

With temperatures hovering around freezing and 8″ of snow still covering over a mile of the footpaths and tracks, it was no great surprise that there were so few birds.  Also unsurprising, throughout those 9 miles of beautiful, windswept, snow-covered Northumberland we didn’t encounter any other walkers.  They don’t know what they were missing 🙂

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