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.
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.
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 – 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.