Everything was set fair for a good day out at Ledsham Bank and Fairburn Ings but when Sue & Rob arrived to prepare the minibus they found that it had been broken in to and so departure was delayed to allow the police to collect their evidence. Thank goodness for mobile phones as people at the two collection points could be kept advised of events. Some lateral thinking by the group waiting to be collected at the Unitarians produced an alternative plan of travelling by car as volunteer drivers with a sufficient number of seats were available and so it was that the group eventually departed about 45 minutes late in three cars.
Our first stop was at Ledsham Bank where we were hoping to see the rare member of the orchid family, autumn lady’s tresses. A trawl through the banks eventually revealed the object of our search after Joan had correctly identified the most likely habitat. Other interesting plants seen at this stop were autumn gentian and rock rose which, surprisingly, was the first time this plant has been recorded in flower on a Bees trip this year. There was not much aerial activity although buzzards circled high above and kestrels and sparrowhawks patrolled the lower air space.
A 10-minute journey then took us to our second site, Fairburn Ings RSPB reserve where we had our lunch. It was good to see that the beautiful summer’s day had attracted lots of enthusiastic families to various organised events and the area round the visitor centre was buzzing with activity. Whilst we lunched, Brenda thought she heard a whinchat and we were impressed when its presence was confirmed when we checked on the day’s sightings in the centre’s diary.
Different options offered themselves for our post-prandial perambulation. Robert, Linda and Eden decided to go pond dipping, Gillian’s new hip wasn’t able to take her much further than the close environs of the visitor centre, Sally decided to do some birding on the original lagoons while the rest ventured along the relatively new riverside path towards Lin Dyke. Dragonflies darted and butterflies flitted whilst we strolled slowly along the path and identified such plants as great burnet and golden melilot in a total of 67 plants in flower or fruit to add to the 65 species that we recorded at Ledsham Bank.
We reconvened at the visitor centre in mid afternoon to drive the mile or so to the day’s third destination – the Lin Dyke hide of the RSPB reserve but by this time the heat was telling and one car load decided that they would bail out at this point and return home so we were down to six people by the time we arrived for the short walk to the hide where we spent a pleasant half hour watching water birds and although most ducks were in eclipse there was sufficient activity to maintain our interest with greenshank being the highlight of this stop. Buttonweed grew in abundance in front of the hide and Alice also recorded marsh woundwort, water pepper and skullcap at this stop.
The total flower count for the day was 135, bird species 45, butterflies 7, with the highlight being small copper and in John’s absence we didn’t distinguish between the various dragonflies.
So a contented group returned eventually to Bradford having enjoyed a hot summer’s day's outing. The drivers who volunteered their cars were Joan (to Moorend), Sue, Stuart and Robert to whom the rest of the group were most grateful.
Check out the gallery photos here.
P.S. We overlooked last week to record the fact that we now have over 3000 photos on the WFV gallery - 99% of them attributed to our star photographer, Sue. Well done, Sue, you have added another dimension to our blogs with your excellent photography work.