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led by Don Smith
Pictures © Tom Denney & Stuart Dunlop, used with permission
As usual Don came to the outing well prepared, with lichen posters in the Church Porch, and with handouts for the attendees. He also very kindly provided a list of the species seen (below). Ten bird species were also noted.
Seven Ryenats members met at St. Nicholas Church, Bransdale to have a look at the lichen in this isolated churchyard. Bransdale is one of the more than 1500 sites that Don has visited over the years in the north of England and southern Scotland in his role as Upland England churchyard lichen survey coordinator for the British Lichen Society. Bransdale is a good site as it is undisturbed and well away from industrial pollution. In previous visits Don has identified 66 species of lichen and in our tour of the church walls and gravestones we saw a good number of these, plus one or two that Don identified for the first time in the churchyard.
Above left: Xanthoria parietina.
Don (left) pointing out the lichens on the church wall
© Tom Denney 2004
Before looking at the individual species Don outlined the three basic lichen growth forms, crustose, foliose and fruticose; and the three reproductive surface features, sorediate, isidiate and fertile. Then armed with magnifying glasses we entered the world of lichens and saw how attractive they were, often forming small gardens clinging to the old stone in the churchyard. We also learnt how to recognise the different types of reproduction features, and were shown different lichens specific to sandstone, marble and granite. Many of the lichens are tiny and similar and it was a trifle disconcerting for some of us when we saw Don having to get out his chemical testing kit to verify some species!
It was also interesting to learn of the importance of lichen through the ages starting with the ancient Egyptians, and in such diverse roles as dyes, perfumes, litmus and funeral wreaths. Also in Lichenometry, dating rock surfaces by the state of the lichen growth. Right: Hypogymnia physodes.
Following our detailed and very interesting study of the lichen we were all very appreciative of the excellent tea and cakes provided by members of Bransdale Church in aid of Church Funds. It seems a good idea to have this facility available on some of our outings, and such were the takings on this lichen foray that we are being requested to consider Bransdale Church as a venue for another outing in 2005.
Tom Denney, 11th July 2004
Sparrowhawk (carrying small prey in talons), Great Spotted Woodpecker (drumming), Woodpigeon, Swallow, House Martin, Pied Wagtail, Wren, Greenfinch, Linnet & Siskin. Thanks to Jim Pewtress
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left: Rhizocarpon geographicum (Map Lichen) and right: Porpidia tuberculosa
Surveyed: 12.8.93, Recorders Don Smith & Tom Chester. Again April 2004 Don Smith and July 2004 RNHS meeting.
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|Acarospora fuscata||church & perimeter wall|
|Belonia nidarosiensis||on north wall of church||contains the orange pigmented, long chain alga, Trentepohlia|
|Buellia punctata||wooden picnic table top||Amandinea punctata|
|Buellia aethalea||on a brick on north wall|
|Caloplaca citrina (s.lat)||mortar of church & marble h/s|
|Caloplaca flavescens||W wall church|
|Caloplaca holocarpa||church mortar|
|Candelariella aurella||church mortar|
|Candelariella vitellina||church & sandstone h/s|
|Catillaria lenticularis||marble headstones|
|Cetraria chlorophylla||mid E per.wall||Tuckermannopsis chlorophylla. Brown below, paler edge|
|Cladonia coccifera * (s.lat) (red fruits)||headstones|
|Cladonia coniocrae * (brown fruits)||headstones|
|Cladonia fimbriata * (brown fruits)||headstones||Pixie cups|
|Cladonia polydactyla * (red fruits)||headstones|
|Dirina massiliensis f.sorediata||?|
|Haematomma ochroleucum v.ochroleucum||W wall church||(the green colour due to the presence of usnic acid, an antibiotic)|
|Haematomma ochroleucum v.porphyrium||everywhere|
|Hypocenomyce scalaris||church & sandstone h/s|
|Hypogymnia tubulosa||headstones behind W end ch|
|Lecanora albescens||church mortar|
|Lecanora caesiosora||church & headstones|
|Lecanora dispersa||mortar of church & marble h/s|
|Lecanora pannonica||south church wall|
|Lecanora polytropa||church & sandstone h/s|
|Lecidella stigmatea||church & perimeter wall|
|Lepraria caesioalba||s/s hs behind church|
|Lepraria incana (s.lat)||church, h/s & perimeter wall|
|Micarea denigrata||west perimeter wall|
|Micarea lignaria||exterior seat|
|Ochrolechia androgyna||headstones & perimeter wall|
|Ochrolechia parella||church||Fish-eye lichen|
|Parmelia glabratula ssp.fuliginosa||s/s headstones||Melanelia fuliginosa|
|Parmelia saxatilis||headstones & perimeter wall||Black Crottle originally used for dyeing Harris Tweed|
|Parmelia subaurifera||right of exterior seat||Melanelia subaurifera|
|Pertusaria corallina||church & perimeter wall|
|Physcia adscendens||marble headstones|
|Physcia caesia||seat of wooden table|
|Platismatia glauca||sandstone headstones||brown below, paler to centre (compare Cetraria)|
|Polysporina simplex||end S wall church|
|Porpidia macrocarpa||E wall church - red staining|
|Pseudevernia furfuracea v.ceratea||headstones||used by Ancient Egyptians to fill mummy body cavity|
|Rhizocarpon geographicum||SW corner of churchyard||Map Lichen|
|Rinodina teichophila||N perimeter wall|
|Tephromela grumosa||church porch|
|Trapelia involuta||perimeter wall|
|Trapelia placodioides||inner retaining wall & per.wall|
|Xanthoria candelaria (s.lat)||wooden table seat rung|
|Xanthoria parietina||west church wall & picnic table|
|Xanthoria polycarpa||wooden table seat rung|
An excellent guide to the British & Irish lichens with full colour photographs is Lichens by Frank Dobson, obtainable in hardback or paperback, from The Richmond Publishing Co.Ltd., P.O.Box 963, Slough, SL2 3RS. Two beautiful A1 wallcharts in colour at £6 each, Lichens & Air Pollution (mainly inland) and Lichens on Rocky Shores are available from Brian Green, 3 Tyn y Coed, Carneddi, Bethseda, Gwynedd, LL57 3SF. Cheques to British Lichen Society. Worth framing!
The lichen pictures on this page are taken by Stuart Dunlop in Donegal, and used with permission. There are many other pictures of lichens as well as flowers, fungi, birds, insects etc. on his excellent site, A Donegal Hedgerow.
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