Lichen Trip report

Brown Cove Lichen Report 11 June 2023

Participants: Geoffrey Haigh, Raymond and Sue Griffiths, Pete Martin, Caz Walker, Chris Cant, Jack Tomlinson, Clare Shaw and reporter Peter Bisset

After a long spell of hot dry weather, things looked more promising for the eight lichenologists than the solitary bryologist. Clare Shaw searching along the beck and tarn has already reported on her findings and pointed out some to us. The blazing sun and steady climb dictated even more slowly moving exploration than normal. What a contrast to the Naddle meet, how lucky we are to live in a country with such distinct seasons. I followed Clare up the beck admiring the colourful mounds of bryophytes with little clue as to what I was looking at and came across some Peltigera, I called it out to Caz who accepted my membranacea determination without climbing down to me. Looking at the photographs later it was clear that this was mixed with P. praetextata, a new record for the monad.

Keppel Cove dam
Keppel Cove dam

Brown Cove has an interesting base rich chemistry, but being shallow with plenty of green algae – not appealing for a wild swim. Known as the only UK site for Dermatocarpon deminuens and intensively surveyed by Alan Orange the monad is well recorded. However, it was good checking what could still be found. The intermittently inundated shore line with the water level now very low made it easier to spot the Dermatocarpon, jelly lichens and Ionapsis lacustris. D. luridum and D. intestiniforme could be distinguished by the former going green on wetting, but any others need lab work to be sure. Pete pointed out Lathagrium (Collema) dichotomum on the rocks, a species normally found under water.

An extended lunch break is always good for looking at the lichens on the rocks under your legs, a dropped sandwich often extends the species list, Lecanora soralifera was one of these.

Being a somewhat superficial lichenologist I like the showy or unusual, Umbilicaria cylindrica and Ophioparma ventosa provided the former. Agonimia tristicula one of the latter. However, the high point of my day was when the track crossed the corner of a new monad on the way back down. Peering into a sandy/peaty hole to contribute to the quick assessment, an unusual looking light green lobate species in amongst the Micarea lignaria had me opening page 44 of Dobson (7th edition), generic keys – ‘foliose’ but I wasn’t getting anywhere. Caz immediately identified it as Baeomyces placophyllus, new to me and saving me a frustrating time in the keys where the genus is ‘crustose’.

Baeomyces placophyllus
Baeomyces placophyllus

It was a hot day for a hike so thanks for arranging parking at Greenside. A fitness event in Glenridding would in any case have made parking impossible at any price!

Text and photos: Peter Bisset