Fewston & Swinsty Reservoirs, 24th Aug 2020

Submitted by Wildlife Field… on Thu, 27th Aug 2020, 4:09pm

This was a figure of 8 walk starting from the car park that lies between the two bodies of water, on the western side of the dam wall. It was a lovely day, albeit not as warm as we would have liked, unlike the awful forecast for the following day which was for rain all day!

We headed south on the western path in the direction of Otley. Little wildlife was encountered but plenty of puddles! The southern flank of the dam wall is a botanical delight & I recalled that many years ago whilst looking over it I saw a pair of Clouded Yellow butterflies. I haven't seen any in the UK since!  As I could see lots of Bird's-foot Trefoil I knew it would be ideal habitat for Common Blue butterflies and a total of three were seen but disappointingly no other species? It was probably too breezy & not that warm either.  Nothing of note was seen on the eastern side of Swinsty.

As we knew we would be returning to the car park around lunchtime we had left our flasks & sandwiches in the car to save having to carry them. One of the tables nearby fortunately became immediately available so we took our lunch within feet of where we had parked. I have never seen as many cars there. When we arrived at 10:50 virtually every space was taken! This, no doubt due to very few people going abroad this summer!

Shortly after taking the western path alongside Fewston we began seeing butterflies; Small Torts, Meadow Brown, Large White, Green-veined Whites & delightfully a Wall Brown. The latter is nowadays one of our least seen species. By the time we reached the northernmost tip we had also seen Small Skipper, Peacock, Speckled Wood & a second Wall Brown. This side appears to be more sheltered & has plenty of knapweeds, ragworts & thistles; all of which are attractive to butterflies.

The large expanse of marshy land at the northern end appears to be dominated by Trifid Bur Marigold & Scentless Mayweed.  No doubt there will be other lower growing plants but it isn't possible to get close enough to explore. Little bird life was about apart from Mallards, Grey Lags, gulls & Cormorants. A single Buzzard made an appearance. Very few butterflies were spotted on the eastern path.

During autumn Fewston is a top place to go looking for fungi but today I was completely out of luck!

A good day out. Of the two reservoir walks I prefer Fewston as it has a greater range of flora & fauna (apart from the southern dam wall of Swinsty!)

Photo here. 

John Gavaghan

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