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We ave few opportunities for family outings these days as the ‘kids’ are grown up now and getting on with their lives in Bristol, London and up here in North Wales. As I think I have mentioned before, despite my best efforts throughout all their lives, still none of them get as excited as I do at the prospect of a wildlife spotting expedition, but at least all may be persuaded fairly easily to get out into the fresh air for a walk. During my  recent birthday weekend clan gathering, they all agreed to indulge me in my strangeness and we headed for the nearest mountains before they could change their minds. The addition of a new Labrador puppy to my daughter’s family gave added incentive to the outing as this was to be her first venture into the countryside.

The actual Conwy Mountain –  in Welsh Mynydd y Dref  (“Mountain of the Town”) is the remains of an ancient volcano that erupted about 450 million years ago  and lies within the foothills of the Carneddau range of Mountains; however, the whole of the  hilly area to the west of the town of Conwy, is locally referred to as Conwy Mountain.

View from Conwy Mountain down to Conwy castle and estuary (click on photo for better view)

We drove from Conwy town along Sychnant Pass as far as the pull-in area near the Pensychnant Nature Resere were we parked and left the car to walk, or rather amble, stopping frequently to indulge the curiosity of the puppy. As always when walking with a group of  people, and particularly in a popular walking spot, most birds make themselves scarce, although there were a few Stonechats about, a Kestrel quartered the mountain slope close to were we stood admiring the view,  a pair of Raven flew overhead and a family of Buzzard circled in the thermals high above the valley beneath.

Freely grazing ponies are a frequent sight on the mountainside.

We walked around the lake towards the entrance to the nature reserve

The shallow water at the edge of the lake was full of crowds of large tadpoles

Vegetation in the lake is Water Horsetail – Equisetum fluviatile

The dry stone wall that bounds the nature reserve

A Rowan tree in full blossom

Bilberry – vaccinium myrtillus

My favourite discovery of the day was definitely this lovely little Wood Sorrel plant growing on a shady mossy bank at the side of the track through the nature reserve.

Wood-sorrel-oxalis-acetosella

The flowers are solitary, each having five narrow sepals; five broad white petals delicately veined with lilac; 10 stamens and five styles.

Wood Sorrel –Oxalis acetosella – A charming and delicate herb, from the genus Oxalis, that is common in most of Europe and parts of Asia. The binomial name is Oxalis acetosella, owing to its sour taste.

The leaves are fresh green, heart-shaped, folded down the middle and held in groups of three drooping down atop a slender reddish-brown stem.

During the night or when it rains both flowers and leaves contract.