Worcestershire Record No. 23 November 2007 p. 52


Ann Hill

This has been a busy year for Worcestershire bryophyte recording. The Worcestershire Bryophyte group has held five outdoor and one indoor meeting during the year and has recorded more than 200 species (41 liverworts and 160 moss species) in the VC37 during 2007. After our annual indoor microscope session held in February at Lower Smite Farm we had a number of successful field trips to a variety of habitats around the county.

Field Trips

28 April 2007 - Broadway Tower. We had an excellent and rewarding field trip to Broadway. The site was well worth a visit and we recorded 61 bryophytes. No rare species were noted but the delights for the day were Calypogeia fissa, Fissidens pusillus, Metzgeria fruticulosa, Syntrichia ruraliformis and Tortula subulata. All species typical of their habitat and this area of the county probably holds other bryophyte species that have not yet been discovered in the county.

23 May 2007 - Feckenham Wylde Moor Worcestershire Wildlife Trust Reserve. The Reserve was a very interesting habitat to explore and different from the usual woodland habitats we visit. None of the species recorded were rare or unusual for the habitat (Drepanocladus aduncus was locally abundant) but the 29 species recorded was quite a good total for a small reserve.

24 June 2007 - Park Wood, Malvern. Despite the weather we had an amazing field day and recorded an impressive total of 65 bryophytes. Remarkable species found on the day included Campylophyllum calcareum, Campylium stellatum var. protensum, Taxiphyllum wissgrillii, Trichostomum brachydontium, Trichostomum crispulum and the liverwort Chiloscyphus pallescens. As always, it was a most enjoyable day with superb timing, so that the field trip ended just a few hours before the start of “The Great Deluge”.

17 October 2007 - Clent Hills. The Group had a very successful field day to the Clent Hills and the weather was kind to us - bright sunshine after heavy rain. We recorded 49 bryophytes of which Scapania nemorea and Platygyrium repens were notable records. Paul Reade found P. repens on a tree trunk. The species is possibly a recent arrival to the country but as it often persists only as a single colony for a short time its occurrence in Britain may be of longer standing. P. repens has previously been recorded in the vice-county in the Wyre Forest, Teme Valley woodlands and Hunthouse Wood. On the same day Lorna Fraser found S. nemorea growing on a log by a pool. The species is locally common throughout much of the British Isles but rare or unrecorded in many central counties of England and we only have a few records of this species in VC 37.

11 November 2007 - Wilden Marsh. The Worcestershire bryophyte group recorded 72 bryophytes in this diverse habitat - our best effort of the year. The two notable records of the day were both found by Mark Lawley. Mark found Syntrichia amplexa on the bank of the River Stour, this species is new to the county and is a very exciting find. It is a tiny species growing in dense green tufts just a few millimetres tall. The riverside habitat fits well with S. amplexa having made its way out of disturbed clay pits and into the wider countryside. Mark also found Aphanorhegma patens which is a de-bracketing for VC 37 (the species has not been recorded in the county since 1950). It was locally abundant in the mud around the dried out ponds to the north of the site. It is a minute plant that appears as an ephemeral green patch in dried out ponds.

Smaller groups of keen individuals and enthusiasts made additional field visits to Broadway, Wyre Forest, Bournheath, Grange Farm, various sites around the Malvern Hills, Ribbesford, Burlish Top, Rock Coppice, Hawkbatch Valleys and Sapey Valley. Species of note found on these trips include Tortella bambergeri, a new record for VC 37 that was recorded by Mark Lawley beside Dowles Brook not far from Knowles Mill, Wyre Forest. All British records for this species to date come from upland areas in the north and west. However, our knowledge of the ecology of this species is incomplete at the moment. Mark also found Sphagnum denticulatum in the Wyre Forest. This species is common throughout the British Isles but is a de-bracketing for VC 37.

Recording for the British Bryological Society (BBS)

I am currently the Regional Recorder for VC37 for the British Bryological Society - all records to be submitted to them should be done so via me, please. Dr Ann Hill, 114 Battenhall Road, Worcester, WR5 2BT. Tel: 01905. 359554. email Ann@GAEHill.f9.co.uk

Recording cards for Middle Britain are available to those who would like to record, either from the BBS website (http://www.britishbryologicalsociety.org.uk/) or from me. I will send a copy of the records to the BBS and a copy to the WBRC.

If species are "rare" or if you wish to have confirmation of a specimen, please enclose a voucher.

If species are new or need de-bracketing for VC37 then a voucher specimen MUST be enclosed with sufficient material for the species to be checked first and then confirmed/determined/lodged with the BBS.

2008 field trips

We are a small informal group that goes out to Worcestershire sites to record and learn about bryophytes. Our broad aim is to assist everyone, especially those who are new to mosses and liverworts, to become more experienced and confident at identifying bryophytes. We have no formal membership or constitution and each person goes out at his/her own risk. Beginners are always very welcome, the only equipment needed is a hand lens (x10 or x20) and some paper packets for collecting specimens. Whilst we usually spend the morning concentrating on bryophyte identification, during the afternoon our attention tends to wander towards more general natural history, dependent on the interests of the individuals present on the day. Some people stay all day whilst some people leave at midday. Next year we have the following days booked:

Saturday 26 January 2008 at 10:00am Worcs Wildlife Trust HQ, Lower Smite Farm: Indoor microscope session (Booking is essential if you wish to attend)

Saturday 16 February 2008 at 10:00: Grafton Wood Ancient semi-natural broad-leaved woodland

Wednesday 19 March 2008 10:00: Malvern Hills Acid grassland and woodland

WBRC Home Worcs Record Listing by Issue Worcs Record Listing by Subject