Offa’s Dyke, Llangollen 12th July 2012


Chris Butterworth, David Bryant and I made an early morning decision to head out to Llangollen. After alighting from the infamous X94 bus we took a taxi the short distance to World’s End. We walked up the lane towards the weir before continuing along the Offa’s Dyke Path which follows the limestone Eglwyseg Escarpment before dropping back down into Llangollen.


Although the weather clouded up there was plenty of interest to see and we came away with an impressive list and interesting finds. Birds included: Sparrowhawk, Common Buzzard, Peregrine Falcon, Feral Rock Pigeon, Woodpigeon, Common Swift, Green Woodpecker was heard, Barn Swallow, House Martin, Tree Pipit, Meadow Pipit, Pied Wagtail, Dipper two birds on the stream close to World’s End, Common Redstart – a rather worn looking male, Northern Wheatear – a few young birds and again a haggard looking male, Song Thrush – a juvenile with a noticeably short tail, Common Chiffchaff, Willow Warbler, Nuthatch was heard, Magpie, Jackdaw, Carrion Crow, Raven – including one feeding on a dead sheep carcass on the escarpment, Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Lesser Redpoll was heard.


Rabbit Oryctolagus cuniculus was the only mammal excluding the numerous Shaun the Sheep. Butterflies and Moths included: Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary Boloria selene that were flighty and frustrated me as I tried and failed to get a shot, Speckled Wood Pararge aegeria, Ringlet Aphantopus hyperantus including one individual whose wings were all crumpled usually caused when it is hot and they dry too quickly after emerging, Small Heath Coenonympha pamphilus, Cinnabar Moth Tyria jacobaeae. A few Snails were noted with a number of Wrinkled Snails Candidula intersecta on the leaves of Dog’s Mercury Mecurialis perennis, a Cellar Glass Snail Oxychilus cellarius underneath a rotting log and a few Brown-lipped Banded Snail Cepaea nemoralis.Insects included Early Nesting Bumblebee Bombus pratorum, Mountain Bumblebee Bombus monticola, Buff-tailed Bumblebee Bombus terrestris, Sexton Beetle Nicrophorus sp. and a Spider Hunter Wasp Pompilidae sp.

A couple of Galls were noted on Common Alder Alnus glutinosa leaves:  Blister Galls caused by the Mite Eriophyes laevis and a Gall caused by the fungus Taphrina tosquinetii which can swell the leaf up to twice its normal size.


Alder Blister Galls

Fungi included: Eyelash Fungi Scutellinia sp. Chicken Of The Woods Laetiporus sulphureus, Meadow a.k.a Buff Waxcap Hygrocybe pratensis, Scarlet Waxcap Hygrocybe coccinea, Giant Puffball Calvatia gigantea, Horse Mushroom Agaricus arvensis, a young Red Cracking Bolete Boletus chrysenteron which was being eaten by a Slug – Chris split the cap in two to show the pore network and the blue bruising and the Slime Mould Lycogala epidendrum.


Meadow Waxcap


Red Cracking Bolete

We noted that a number of the plant species that have already gone over closer to home were still in full flower here and there seemed to be ‘smaller’ versions of species such as Eyebright and Herb Robert on  the scree slopes of the escarpment. Plants included: Germander Speedwell Veronica chamaedrys, Wall Speedwell Veronica arvensis, Brooklime Veronica beccabunga, Wood Forget-me-not Myosotis sylvatica, Herb Robert Geranium robertianum, Hedgerow Cranesbill Geranium pyrenaicum, Jack-By-The-Hedge Alliaria petiolata, Hedge Woundwort Stachys sylvatica, Bush Vetch Vicia sepium, Tormentil Potentilla erecta, Wood Avens aka Herb Bennet Geum urbanum,  Dog’s Mercury Mecurialis perennis, Red Campion Silene dioica, Crosswort Cruciata laevipes, Wild Thyme Thymus polytrichus, Lady’s-mantle Alchemilla sp. Foxglove Digitalis purpurea, Wall Pennywort Umbilicus rupestris.




Wall Pennywort

Common Comfrey Symphytum officinale, Wood Sage Teucrium scorodonia,  Crow Garlic Allium vineale, Common Cat’s-ear Hypochaeris radicata, Spotted Cat’s-ear Hypochaeris maculata, Mouse-ear Hawkweed Pilosella officinarum, Nipplewort Lapsana communis, Slender St John’s Wort Hypericum pulchrum, Bird’s-foot Trefoil Lotus corniculatus, Meadow Vetchling Lathyrus pratensis, Musk Mallow Malva moschata.


Musk Mallow

Wild Marjoram Origanum vulgare, Fairy Flax Linum catharticum, Eyebright Euphrasia officinalis, Small Scabious Scabiosa columbaria, Honeysuckle Lonicera sp. Spear Thistle Cirsium vulgare, Marsh Thistle Cirsium palustre, Creeping Thistle Cirsium arvense, masses of Musk Thistle Carduus nutans,  Common Spotted-orchid Dactylorhiza fuchsia, Rosebay Willowherb Chamaenerion angustifolium, New Zealand Willowherb Epilobium brunnescens and a notable tree Rock Whitebeam Sorbus rupicola.

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