WFV Lathkilldale 14.07.09

Submitted by Wildlife Field… on Wed, 15th Jul 2009, 7:35am

Red hemp-nettleRed hemp-nettleThis season's extended day out was to Derbyshire and the limestone delights of Lathkilldale.  Brian's cousin Jo and her friend Peter proved to be very knowlegable guides and Jo's leaving her car at the finishing point of the walk to allow us to retrieve the minibus enabled us to do a linear walk from Monyash to Over Haddon which added much to our enjoyment of the day.  We had one or two light showers, but apart from that the rain held off until we were safely enconsed in the Lathkill Hotel for aperitifs prior to our evening meal (the local Whim Ale's Hartington Bitter was almost worth the trip in itself!).

Lathkilldale is a narrow steep-sided glacial melt-water valley and is part of the Derbyshire Dales National Nature Reserve.   An abundance of butterflies and moths flitted about all day long and we recorded 10 species.  The vast variety of flowers to identify and record ensured that the speed of the walk never got above crawling pace at most times with the total plant count eventually being confirmed at 176 which included 130 species in flower.  This week's highlights were Jacob's Ladder, Hoary Mullein, Red Hemp-Nettle and Nettle-Leafed Bellflower. In Sue's absence, Julia was chief photographer and she took some super shots of what Peter hopes will prove Joan's identification of the red hemp-nettle, which Peter advised us would be a first record for Lathkilldale.  Birds were not too numerous but dipper, spotted flycatcher and redstart were welcome sightings.

Another excellent day's outing was arranged by Joan, Brian and Margaret (who had to miss the trip as she is still unfortunately hors de combat - we all wish her a speedy recovery).




WFV Nosterfield Nature Reserve 07.07.09

Submitted by Wildlife Field… on Tue, 7th Jul 2009, 10:20pm

bee orchidbee orchidA select group of eleven members enjoyed at day at Nosterfield Nature Reserve, near Masham, where we were met and shown round the site by Simon Warwick, director of Lower Ure Conservation Trust, and his wife Jill. Simon gave us a detailed background of the reserve and its geological formation which provides diverse habitats for plants and wildlife.  Well over 100 species of flowering plant were recorded including bee and common spotted orchid and the rare but uninspiring mudwort (a first for Joan, and we can't record that very often!)  The absence of bird recorder Donald Lightowler and the fact that many ducks were in eclipse resulted in our bird count being lower than we might have hoped for at 26.  We did however enjoy the avocets and black-tailed godwits whilst the songs of skylark, chiffchaff, linnet and greenfinch struggled to compete with the raucous black-headed gulls and oystercatchers - and we did get a super close-up view of a curlew which flew over a hedge into our path.  Butterflies and damselflies abounded incuding a super comma butterfly of which hopefully Sue will append a photo. (view the gallery)

The weather was again kind to us as we discovered when we returned to Bradford to signs of recent heavy rain - we had endured only a couple of light showers.  Another very enjoyable BEES Tuesday.



WFV Railway Terrace/Toad Holes Beck 30.06.09

Submitted by Wildlife Field… on Tue, 7th Jul 2009, 9:56pm

Plume MothPlume MothThis week's trip was very local, to the Raw Nook area of Low Moor and to Oakenshaw to visit the Railway Terrace (formerly Raw Nook) Nature Reserve, Bradford's first urban nature reserve, and Toad Holes Beck Nature Reserve which has recently been renovated and which would be officially re-launched a few days after our visit.  Railway Terrace is an area of lowland heath reclaimed from land which had previously spent 150 years or so as railway sheds and sidings and which was officially opened last year after much effort to bring the reserve to fruition by former BEES leader Peter Boyd and local naturalist Martyn Priestley.  Toad Holes Beck nature reserve was formed from local industrial wasteland and includes three ponds which provide a variety of wildlife.

The BEES reputation for fine weather was lost on the weather gods in the morning as we explored Railway Terrace when the highlight was a kingfisher which flew straight between our party as we investigated the pond.  We made use of the facilities at Woodlands Cricket Club at lunchtime but by then the weather had relented and stayed fine for the rest of the day allowing us to explore Toad Holes Beck at our leisure.

The bird count was low, although we were serenaded for much of the day by birdsong, especially chiffchaff and blackcap, but there were a few dragonflies and lots of damselflies and butterfiles about, mainly ringlets and meadow browns.  Joan Dobson did a very careful plant count at both locations and by the end of the day had increased the site count to 125 for Railway Terrace and 128 for Toad Holes Beck.


An enjoyable day spent not far from home was enjoyed by 15 members.



WFV, Warton Crag, 23.06.09

Submitted by Wildlife Field… on Tue, 23rd Jun 2009, 11:13pm

High brown fritillaryHigh brown fritillaryEric Beety led this week's outing to Warton Crag, Silverdale, the first time that BEES had visited this site since 2001.  A full minibus duly arrived ready for the predicted heavy showers but the forecasters had overlooked the fact that it was a BEES' Tuesday and the further Northwest we travelled the better became the weather and we enjoyed a beautiful summer's day with extensive views South-West over Morecambe Bay to the newly-restored Art Deco Midland Hotel in Morecambe, with Blackpool Tower providing a backdrop, round to the Langdales and the more distant Lakeland fells to the North-West and Ingleborough to the East.

The Carbiniferous limestone habitat supports a multitude of plants and a total of 85 flowerings species was recorded by Alice who is doing a sterling recording job in the absence of both Joan and Margaret, both unfortunately hors de combat at the moment.  The habitat supports few birds and although we were serenaded by chiffchaff and willow warbler for most of the day, few others identified themselves.  Butterflies did flit around all day long with a vivid orange fritillary prominent, but they were very flighty and dificult to identify - our guide suggested High Brown, so we'll settle for that.  Sue will no doubt apend a few images of our sightings on the day.  A contented minibus party duly returned to Bradford after a full and fullfilling day.




WFV, Moses Gate Country Park 16.06.09

Submitted by Wildlife Field… on Tue, 16th Jun 2009, 9:25pm

Moses GateMoses GateAnother Tuesday, another fine day, and the return of Joan Dobson from holiday to lead a full minibus on a visit to Moses Gate Country Park near Bolton. The first plant of the day, and a first for BEES, was an en route tour of Bolton's recycling plant when our navigator got his radar wrong but that didn't delay our arrival by too many minutes.  A surprisingly well reclaimed industrial site of 750 acres is the habitat for much wildlife and includes the SSSI site of Nob End which produced a great variety of plants and birds.  We recorded four species of orchid (including early marsh which we didn't record last week) in a total of 112 flowering plants (not including the helleborines which were still only in bud) with perhaps the highlights being skullcap and blue-eyed grass.  The habitat was particularly good for warblers and four of these these contributed to a total of 33 birds including cuckoo and yellowhammer - good records as both are scarcer this year.  An accident on the motorway somewhat delayed our return but it was a happy minibus that returned to Bradford after a full and very pleasant day's outing.



WFV Otley Wetlands & Sun Lane Nature Reserve 09.06.09

Submitted by Wildlife Field… on Wed, 10th Jun 2009, 5:27pm

Otley Wetlands, banded demoiselleOtley Wetlands, banded demoiselleWe spent the morning at Otley Wetlands, a private site extremely well managed by Wharfedale Nats, where Neville and his wife pointed out the special features of the site. We saw many different plants and birds together with evidence of otters, which are regularly about by very rarely seen, and an enormous amount of damselflies. In Joan's absence, Alice recorded a total of 73 flowering plants. The forecast rain fortunately did not materialise and we enjoyed a very pleasant afternoon having a guided tour of Sun Lane Nature Reserve, Burley-in-Wharfedale, also managed by Wharfedale Nats, with Anne. This reserve is also very well managed and has a very active support group - quite local and well worth a visit if you didn't make this trip. Because soil was imported from different sites when the old village tip was reclaimed, the reserve has a wide variety of different interesting plants. We added a few birds to our list and saw lots more damselflies! Total flower count here was 120 and the total bird count for the day 36. Marilyn Barber and Brian Ellis led this week's trip which was enjoyed by 16 members.
View more photos from the day in the wfv gallery

WFV, Scar Close National Nature Reserve, Chapel-le-Dale, 02.06.09

Submitted by Wildlife Field… on Tue, 2nd Jun 2009, 9:48pm
 green-veined white butterfly on lady's smock green-veined white butterfly on lady's smockA full minibus conveyed us to the foothills of Ingleborough on a glorious summer's day for today's outing organised very thoroughly as usual by Margaret Rees. Surprisingly, the landlady at the Hill Inn was not keen for us to park the minibus in her car park but after assuring her that we would definitely return to buy some drinks from her, Margaret convinced her to allow us access. The mixed environment of Scar Close which comprises limestone, acidic soil and some marshy areas provides habitats for a diverse range of plants. Exactly 90 species of flowering flowers and ferns were recorded, the highlights of which were baneberry, butterwort, lily of the valley, globe flower, lesser meadow rue, bird's eye primrose, creeping willow, marsh valerian, marsh lousewort and green spleenwort. The tree-sparse habitat does not encourage bird life and few species were recorded, but we were entertained throughout our stay by the delightful singing of willow warblers and skylarks. Butterflies were also thin on the ground with none of the current influx of painted ladies (which one member had seen on the summit of Ingleborough only a few days before) evident. We did spot green-veined whites and Sue took a lovely photo of one which hopefully she will add to this blog. After refreshing ourselves, true to our word, at the Hill Inn we proceeded back to Bradford on a circuitous route via the YWT reserve at Globe Flower Wood where the globe flowers were in full bloom and where we also recorded melancholy thistle and wood cranesbill. An optional toilet/ice cream stop was afforded in Malham (with more opting for ice cream rather than toilets - it was a hot day!) before we finally returned to Bradford after 6.00pm to conclude another very successful day. Stuart

WFV, Rother Valley Country Park, 19th May, 2009

Submitted by Wildlife Field… on Tue, 19th May 2009, 6:30pm

Great Crested Grebe on nestGreat Crested Grebe on nestWe were one person short of a full minibus for our visit to the Rother Valley Country Park led by Donald Lightowler. Closure of part of the M62 required that we take the scenic route to our destination. Our walk started along the River Rother where we observed grey wagtails feeding young. The vertical banks of this section of river betrayed its canalisation. The showers were interspersed with welcome, fleeting glimpses of sunshine. We were pleased to note the first damselfly sighting of 2009, possibly a common blue damselfly. After negotiating the path between the lagoon and the fishing lake we stopped for lunch despite the rain. The showers gave way to more persistent and increasingly heavy rain, and our resolve was fading. We headed back to the visitor centre and sought refuge in the café. Many of us were wet through and after leaving the café, the general consensus was to depart earlier than planned. 68 plants in flower were recorded. Our bird tally of 30 would no doubt have been higher if we had explored the woodland area as planned. A highlight for me was seeing a great-crested grebe on a nest.  

Sue (understudy to Stuart our regular, more eloquent blogger!)


WFV Upper Teesdale 12.05.09

Submitted by Wildlife Field… on Wed, 13th May 2009, 10:09pm

Upper Teasdale, Spring GentianUpper Teasdale, Spring GentianThis season's extended day out took us to Upper Teesdale where a fine blustery (make that windy!) day allowed ample time to explore the areas of Moor House National Nature Reserve, which included Cow Green Reservoir and Cauldron Snout, and the High Force area.  The altitude (1500ft) meant that most plants were not inclined to put their heads too far above the ground and so some flower recognition was not easy. The wind and the altitude meant also that bird species were limited, but the botanists were especially thrilled with sightings of spring gentian, bird's eye primrose, mountain pansy and moonwort whilst the ornithologically inclined members were over the moon with sightings of a pair of ring ouzels and even more excited when the nest was observed with the female in residence.  The juniper area produced woodcock with young and a fly-past by goosander and RAF Hercules.  Total bird sightings was 36, which considering the altitude and the wind was very good, whilst 46 flowering plants and 7 ferns were recorded.

The day was rounded off with dinner at the Good Beer Guide listed Langdon Beck Hotel, where the Black Sheep was on good form before we returned to Bradford as the clock entered the last hour of an enjoyable day.

The full minibus trip was superbly organised once again by Joan Dobson and Eric Beety.

Please look in the wfv gallery for other photos of the day


WFV Cattal (Aubert Ings) & Staveley Nature Reserve 05.05.09

Submitted by Wildlife Field… on Tue, 5th May 2009, 10:07pm

there are about 200 varieties of dandelion, some of them quite beautiful like this one captured at Staveley today.there are about 200 varieties of dandelion, some of them quite beautiful like this one captured at Staveley today.Joan Dobson and Sue Zajaczkowska led this week's superbly organised outing to Nidderdale which a record number of 22 members enjoyed. Again we seemed to be lucky with the weather as we headed East, away from the Pennine cloud and rain.

The large attendance meant that we needed to take two minibuses - a first for the group.  Some older members did find entry into and egress from the new minibus somewhat vertiginously challenging but this did not seem to spoil their day.

At Cattal we recorded 24 plants in flower, the stars being wild tulips (which unfortunately had mostly gone over*) and early purple orchids.  The highlight for the birders was the group's first sighting this year of swifts as ten or a dozen streezhed** their way around the site.

Staveley sedge warblerStaveley sedge warblerStaveley produced another first -the group's first recording of rats feeding underneath the bird feeders - very healthy they looked, too!  52 plants were in flower and reed buntings and sedge warblers, amongst many others, sang to us and their intended.  Sue was disappointed that some birds which she had seen on her recce the day before did not show, but not all species take kindly to having their space invaded by 22 bodies!

Total bird sightings for the day was 41.

* Gone over - botanical name for 'died'

** Streezhing - Tordoff name for the call of swifts from the superbly onomatopoeic Russian name for a swift - Streezh