Springtime along the Afon Dwyfor

With a couple of hours of free time to explore, there could be little more enticing than a footpath along a wooded river in North Wales. It was a little early for some of the spring flowers to be fully out, but there was more than enough to keep me busy!

Just below the bridge at Llanystumdwy, I watched a dipper on the rocks which was soon joined by a second which flew from downstream. They proceeded to perform a courtship display which was a treat to watch, but was poorly captured due to the wrong lens I’m afraid!

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There were many of these caddis flies out amongst the sedges and rushes – this is one of the more attractively patterened species, to my eye, called Philopotamus montanus

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Daffodils are widely naturalised as ornamentals, but there are natives amongst them – Narcissus pseudonarcissus subspecies pseudonarcissus. Some of these will be naturalised natives – ie. those of the native variety which have nonetheless been planted as ornamentals. There were several patches of obviously ornamental daffodils along the river, but some looked tantalisingly like the natives – with the grey-green leaves, lighter outer petals around a yellow trumpet and their lack of other ornementation. Also their positioning was often far from where you would choose to plant a daffodil, in awkward locations or almost out of sight.

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Wild primroses – Primula vulgaris – were scattered throughout the wooded banks of the river – these are an ancestor of many of our more colourful garden varieties.

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Marsh marigold or kingcup – Caltha palustris – was flowering in wet flushes which creep across the path to join the river. These are a member of the buttercup family and were growing alongside one of their diminutive cousins – the lesser celandine.

 

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Opposite-leaved golden saxifrage – Chrysosplenium oppositifolium – is a common low-growing species around damp habitats such as along streams and rivers. Its lime-green flowers are more prominant than you might expect and light up damp patches of the banks.

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This is a closeup photo of the flowers of dog’s mercury – Murcuralis perennis – a very typical flower of older woodlands.

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These wood anemone – Anemone nemerosa – were just beginning to come into flower, rather behind many woodlands further south and east.

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There were plenty of naturalised snowdrops – Galanthus nivalis – along sections of the banks which had clearly been planted to create a more attractive woodland walk

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These strange structures are the sporophtes of a liverwort – one of the Pellia species – which was growing amongst the rocks. The spores are held aloft on these thin, filaments called the thallus. The brown coloured capsules are open and releasing spores to seed the next generation.

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