A bonanza of botany and butterflies with apologies to the birders. Today a party of 12 enjoyed a very successful day's outing visiting Kiplingcotes Chalk Quarry near Market Weighton in the Yorkshire Wolds followed by a visit to Rifle Butts Quarry. Both are YWT reserves and benefit from management. The weather was cloudy all day with one or two spots of rain, nothing significant to distract the happy band. We covered several habitats, the old railway track, the quarry floor, scree slopes and grassland above the quarry. There were an overwhelming number and variety of plants (111 recorded) in this oasis also butterfly species in good numbers.
Todays "specials" included Pyramidal orchid, Basil Thyme, Centaury, Red Hemp Nettle, Carline Thistle and the leaves of Autumn Gentian. In the woodland ride we saw Meadow Cranesbill, Perforate St John's Wort, Eyebright, Elderflower, Crosswort, Comfrey, Wild Strawberry and Toadflax. On the quarry floor were Birds Foot Trefoil, Fairy Flax, Lady's Bedstraw, Pyramidal orchid, Common Spotted orchid, Wild Basil, Yellow wort, Carline Thistle and Twayblade. The scree slopes yielded Teasel, Creeping Cinquefoil, and Red Hemp nettle. In the grassland above the quarry were Greater Knapweed, Field Scabious, Quaking grass, Restharrow, Yellow Rattle, Marjoram, Agrimony, Hop Trefoil and Oxeye Daisy.
The highlight of the day was to view the armada of Marble White butterflies, in flight or feeding with wings spread on their favourite nectar sources Knapweeds and Scabious.The butterflies varied in size depending on whether they were male or female. We were thankful in having Sue with us to capture these memories. Other butterfly species included Ringlet (in good numbers), Red Admiral, Green Veined White, Small Skipper, Common Blue male and female, Speckled Wood and Meadow Brown at Kiplingcotes, also Comma at Rifle Butts Quarry. There were a variety of moths of interest including Plume and Burnet, also a Common Hawker dragonfly tantalised the group on leaving the reserve.
Bird sightings were few in comparison and included Yellow Hammer, Gold finch, Buzzard, Red legged Partridge and Pheasant. Bird song was plentiful.
Our second destination- Rifle Butts Quarry was a surprise! Its interest is in the unconformity in the rock sequence which is exposed and protected by a shelter. However we were greeted by a mass of Giant Bellflower and a patch of magenta coloured Bloody Cranesbill.
I couldn't finish without a mention of those ants that took a shine to Maddy's bright yellow fleece and hair such that she reverted to wearing her wooley hat as a protection.
Thanks go to our leaders and driver for a splendid day out.
See the photos here.Margaret