Saturday, 25 March 2017


Having been in the Glenboi area for a few hours, I decided to go and check on the Golden-eye Lichen, as Martin had said he couldn't find it. Don't worry Mart, it is still there, though was looking shrivelled in these drying winds.

After checking on that, I went to Pwll Waun Cynon nature reserve, in the hope of finding some of the Lesser Celandine rust; Uromyces dactylis, but as I approached the gate, I could hear what I thought was a Willow Tit singing from the willows around the river. I stopped to listen and the "Pyu pyu ... pyu pyu" was followed by the "Tee-chee, tee-chee" of a Coal Tit which was in turn followed by "Pyu, pyu ... pyu pyu" then "Tee-chee, tee chee" again and so on and on, leading me to think that it was a Coal Tit with a funny song. While I was puzzling over that, I looked down at the river bank and was surprised (to say the least) to see some spikes of Toothwort protruding from the Lesser Celandines. I looked around and there were several patches of them; in fact the most I have ever seen in one place.

Up close the flowers were looking a little browned off; probably due either to the frost we had on Thursday morning of from the rain. Despite that, they were a welcome sight, especially as they are the first I've seen for over ten years and the first I've ever seen outside of Merthyr. The bees were certainly loving them too.
I made a quick count and got a rough total of over 400 spikes. Although the light was good, it wasn't good enough to use a small aperture and I was cursing the fact that I'd left my tripod in the car.

I was really chuffed with that find and had my cake well and truly iced by finding the rust on a leaf of some Lesser Celandine on the reserve. This is the first time I have seen this rust outside of Cornwall, though George Tordofff found some in Draethen a couple of days ago.

On my way out of the reserve, the odd "Tee-chee tee-chee ... pyu, pyu" sond was still going on and after a few minutes I managed to get to the bottom of it. The "Pyu, pyu" was being made by a Willow Tit, but it was following a Coal Tit around, which was also singing. It wasn't that they both happened to be singing in the same general area; they really were following each other around and singing tit-for-tat, in direct competition with each other. I've never seen that before. As I made my way back to the car, I could hear a second Willow Tit singing from somewhere near the bridge.  


  1. Nice find Mark and great news on the Willow Tits .