If you are interested to read more about the ecology and conservation management that has enabled the reintroduction of the large blue butterfly (which became extinct in Britain in the 70's) then follow this link to The Guardian article published on 16th June.
Another 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.
We 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
We 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!)
This 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