Wildlife Field Visit, Barlow Common, Selby, 3rd July 2018

Submitted by Wildlife Field… on Wed, 4th Jul 2018, 1:50pm

Mullein Moth CaterpillarMullein Moth CaterpillarThe June heatwave is still with us. Although the day began cooler than recently it soon warmed up but with a gentle breeze. However, as the day progressed the temperature rose to the mid-twenties. Luckily there was enough tree cover along sections of the site to provide our group of nine with much needed shelter.

The site has a toilet block. We ate lunch at the nearby tables.

This is the first time we have visited this YWT reserve, though I do remember coming here in the early 1990's with Butterfly Conservation. It is much changed since then as I don't remember any of these facilities.  There is a wonderful array of heathland plants due to the site once being used as a rubble dump from bomb damaged Hull. Plants just love this type of environment!

Over 100 plants plus 3 ferns were recorded, the highlights being: Viper's Bugloss, Dark Mullein, Yellow-wort, Agrimony, Evening Primrose, St John's Wort & Common Centaury. Some of these plants were seen in great numbers as were Teasels, Brambles and Nettles. Four species of thistle (Creeping, Spear, Welted and Marsh) also seen.

Butterflies were plentiful; Large,Small and Green-veined Whites, Speckled Wood, Ringlet, Meadow Brown, Gatekeepers, Small Heath, Small Tortoiseshell and Comma. Moths = Silver Y and Mint Moths (Pyrausta purpuralis). A lovely caterpillar feeding on Dark Mullein was instantly ID'd as that of the Mullein Moth. Not one I have come across before.

Dragonflies seen were Common Hawkers, Blue-tailed and Common Blue damselflies.

We left the site just before 15:00 which fortunately gave us enough time to make it home, via the awful traffic on the M62, in time to watch England's World Cup match. If we had left it till after 16:00 would we have still made it? 

Many thanks to Julia who did the driving; not easy when motorways are involved.

John Gavaghan

WFV Bingley South Bog 26 June 2018

Submitted by Wildlife Field… on Wed, 27th Jun 2018, 7:25am

Common Spotted OrchidCommon Spotted OrchidSUPER HOT just two words to describe the conditions for Bees first visit to Bingley South Bog. The temperature was 24 C with no wind, sunny and little shade. 12 people arrived by car/train/bus at our meeting point on John Escrick road. We were joined by Val Shepherd. Val and Susan Stead of BUWG have taken a keen interest in this site together with Les Barnett over many years. Joan gave us an introduction to this site which is a SSI and an area of fen to neutral grassland which developed behind a lateral moraine deposited by the glacier coming down the Aire Valley. The alkaline, alluvial soils here are extemely deep. The Bog supports a wide range of plants including sedges and grasses also the comparitively rare (for Yorkshire) Marsh cinquefoil and Marestail. Little management has been done of late. The tenant farmer brings his cattle to graze on the field from time to time. The Bog is fed by underground water from the River Aire and becomes  increasingly wet as the viaduct carrying the A650 Bingley relief road is approached. A pool of stagnant water was observed beneath the viaduct.

We descended into the Bog from the gate fighting our way through the dense vegetation of grasses and Meadow sweet. Insect life was very much in evidence with Chimney sweeper moths dancing over grasses. Large Skipper butterflies and Narrow bordered five spot Burnet moths were seen in good numbers. The flora was a mix of grassland plants and those which enjoyed a wet habitat. We recorded Marsh woundwort, Marsh bedstraw, Common spotted and Southern marsh orchids and hybrids, Square stemmed St John's wort, Ragged robin (one in a white form), Greater Birdsfoot trefoil, Floating sweet grass and Marsh cinquefoil (in a diminutive form). Honeysuckle was observed climbing the branches of a nearby tree.

Unfortunately while returning to the gate I was overcome by heat and needed to rest and seek a shady spot to recover. The others in the group proceeded to the pond where Alice and Joan recorded Broadleaved pond weed, Celery leaved buttercup, Lesser Spearwort (again in a diminutive form) Greater Bulrush, Field, Water, and Marsh Horsetail also Marestail.  70 plants were recorded in flower.

Following some discussion it was decided not to proceed to Bingley North Bog in view of the heat. We variously made our way home or proceeded to the shade of Bingley park to enjoy our packed lunches. It was suggested that a visit to Bingley North Bog combined with a canal walk could be arranged for a future date. Very many thanks to Sally for her supervision and support to myself. Apologies for the brevity of this account also the limited pictures in the Gallery due to unfortunate circumstances.





WFV, Waitby Greenriggs and Little Asby Outrakes, 19 June, 2018

Submitted by Wildlife Field… on Wed, 20th Jun 2018, 9:10pm

Lesser Butterfly OrchidLesser Butterfly OrchidOn a fine, albeit dull day, 13 of us left Bradford for our extended day out to Cumbria. Our first port of call was Little Asby where the search was on for the Small White Orchid and after a hasty lunch our quest began in earnest. The area in which this orchid grows was carefully walked by our team of eagle-eyed spotters but alas to no avail. In evidence however were fine examples of northern marsh, heath fragrant and heath spotted orchids with common blue butterfly being seen on the wing.

Waitby Greenriggs Nature Reserve was our next destination. This reserve was carved from the underlying carboniferous limestone during the construction of two railway lines between 1856 and 1861. One line was built to carry coke from the Durham coalfields to iron furnaces at Barrow. Both lines ceased operation in the early 1960's and the reserve now has a wealth of species-rich grassland habitat. On the lower branch line, conditions are wetter and hence increase the range of species the site supports.

As expected the site afforded an orchid bonanza: heath spotted, fly, lesser butterfly, northern marsh, common spotted, heath fragrant, marsh fragrant, common or chalk fragrant, common spotted and hybrids of northern marsh and common spotted orchids were seen in addition to marsh helleborine and common twayblade. The range was truly breathtaking and it was such a privilege to see the fly orchid at close quarters. From a personal perspective, the most impressive sight was of the marsh helleborines, not quite yet at their peak but nonetheless it was possible to appreciate the potential magnificence of their display in a few weeks' time. Truly wonderful.

Alice recorded 122 species in flower. Saw-wort was noted coming into flower, along with sundew buds opening in the wetter areas. Adderstongue fern was also seen. A ringlet butterfly was seen by Julia and there were plenty of chimney sweeper and Yellow Shell moths on the wing as well as an azure damselfly.

Our day finished in Settle where the majority of us enjoyed an excellent plate of fish and chips. Many thanks must go to Julia and John for their successful leadership and to Kevin, and Julia once again, for driving us so carefully to our respective destinations. See the photos here.

Sally Tetlow

WFV, Troller's Ghyll and Tibet Wood, 12th June 2018

Submitted by Wildlife Field… on Wed, 13th Jun 2018, 3:13pm

The Way to The GhyllThe Way to The GhyllOur forecast for the day was dry and sunny and we were not to be disappointed. The full bus went via the B6265 and this allowed a toilet stop at Grassington NPC and an easier route towards Parcevall Hall. We were also kindly allowed to use the car park inside the gardens so avoided having to park on the rather narrow roadside.

Our first and main destination was Tibet Woods which was a very short stroll back up the hill. This is a conifer plantation which is part of the PH estate and is said to contain a rare plant 'Chickweed Wintergreen' (neither a chickweed nor a wintergreen!). We had hoped to be met by the Head Gardener Phil Nelson, who had given us the permission to visit the site, but we did arrive later than planned so missed seeing him.

The only entrance is over a stone stile but all the group successfully overcame this first obstacle. We then headed upwards and went up and up and up; so much so that several members felt unable to carry on and retreated back down again. They had also been plagued by midges which didn't help. There were two zig zag paths to the top (where the plant was said to be located) and our group initially split into those going up the left hand route and those including myself who took the right hand path. Apart from the pine trees and splendid pink and yellow Rhododendrons there was little in the way of plantlife to be seen. However as we got higher the wood opened out and we then had great views of the surrounding area. I began to understand why it was called Tibet Wood!

It was Kevin, our new driver, who found what we were looking for. I had sent him out scouting with the single instruction to shout if he found any white flower! Well done to Kevin. We were soon joined by most of the others, some of who we only met as we were heading back down. All who reached the top did however get to see the rarity. The plant formed an extensive patch on the needle litter but only a handfull were in flower and looked rather small. I later learned that this patch is double what it was 2 years ago but this years flowering is poor, probably due to the dry conditions in May and June.

Our next destination was Troller's Ghyll, a site we have visited before and this is where we all ate lunch, albeit in four separate locations. This is a marvellous limestone valley full of interesting wildflowers such as Rockrose, Thyme, Common Spotted Orchids, Biting Stonecrop and Watercress. A total of 84 plants in flower were recorded by Alice plus 10 ferns in contrast to only 11 in flower at the previous location.

Lepidoptera seen = Chimney Sweeper Moths, Small Heaths, Common Blue, Red Admiral, Small Copper and Green-veined White. Birdlife highlights were Redstart and Curlew.

We rounded off a lovely day (the sun was still shining) in the cafe gardens where most of us partook of beverages and the excellent cakes. Our return route by way of a change was via Barden Bridge and Addingham. This route is definitely busier and therefore a trickier drive than our way there.

Many thanks to Kevin for driving.

See photos here.

John Gavaghan

WFV, Scar Close and Ashes Pasture, 5th June 2018

Submitted by Wildlife Field… on Wed, 6th Jun 2018, 10:30pm

Heath Spotted Orchid var.leucanthaHeath Spotted Orchid var.leucanthaWell, what a treat. And what a perfect weather day, especially with the memory of having had to cancel last year due to wind and rain. 

Scar Close is an enclosed area of limestone pavement on the lower slopes of Ingleborough, and we are grateful to Natural England for giving us a permit to visit. Keeping the sheep out enables a wealth of flowers, sedges, rushes, ferns and trees to grow in the grikes. These are the deep fissures between the clints, the pavement blocks. Some of the grikes were very deep, but we all trod carefully, and safely, on this challenging terrain. 

We had lunch a few metres from the entrance, though these few metres were full of interest and took a while to traverse. Butterwort, Bird’s-eye Primrose, the leaves of Bog Asphodel, rushes and sedges. After food, we slowly explored the grikes around the area, we didn’t have to walk far to see a whole range of plant species. Bloody Cranesbill, Lily of the Valley, Baneberry, Common Rockrose, Green Spleenwort, Limestone Fern, Carnation Sedge…the list goes on. There were several species about to come into flower including lesser meadow rue and saw-wort.

As well of a number of Small Heath butterflies, we were excited to see quite a few Small Pearl Bordered Fritillaries. They really are quite small - if you look at the pictures in the gallery you can judge their size against the wild thyme they are sitting on. 

I led a few people on a fruitless search for some Moonwort (yes, did I really think I could re-find this tiny fern just because I had seen it a year ago!), but it gave us the chance to have a wander and see that the whole site is covered by a great diversity of plants. It feels like a very special place. 

This was undoubtedly a day for the flowers, but there were birds about; willow warblers, maybe a sedge warbler, kestrels, meadow pipits and a cuckoo was heard. 

We descended the hill back to the minibus and made the short transfer to Ashes Pasture near Ribblehead. Lack of time and energy meant we could really only have a glance at this site, but we now know what it is like and can plan a return visit to pay it the attention it deserves. There were hundreds of Heath Spotted Orchids including the pure white variation 'leucantha', Northern Marsh and Common Spotted Orchid. There were swathes of Bugle amongst the rushes as well as Marsh Ragwort and Ragged Robin. I think it would be good to go back next year so we can explore the original reserve and the adjacent land which Yorkshire Wildlife Trust managed to buy after a big appeal last year. 

Thanks to Stuart for driving. 



WFV, Cross Hill and Salthill Quarries, Clitheroe, 29th May 2018

Submitted by Wildlife Field… on Wed, 30th May 2018, 5:21pm

Ox Eye DaisyOx Eye DaisyBoth sites visited today are owned by Ribble Valley Borough Council and were leased to the  Lancashire Wildlife Trust in 1989.  Each site is a former limestone quarry and covers twenty acres.

Salthill Quarry has SSSI status for its geology. Vast numbers of crinoid fossils are embedded in large boulders and fragments are to be found in the loose soil of the meadow floor. 180 plants, including mosses and liverworts, are listed for the site. Today, Joan and I recorded 104 in flower and 4 ferns. Bird'sfoot trefoil and Wild Strawberry were in profusion in the meadow area, Lady's Bedstraw was just opening and Common Milkwort and Thyme added variety in colour.  The woodland had white blossom of Hawthorn, Guelder Rose, Dogwood and Rowan. On the path side the one orchid we found remains unnamed; we missed John.

We walked along a very short stretch of the Ribble Way as it passed through the nearby Cross Hill Quarry.   Tiredness was setting in and a change of plan to reduce the distance we recced meant that we did justice to neither the plants there nor to the exhibits along the Bungerly Park Sculpture Trail. Some plants different from those at Salthill were noted: Black Bryony, Ground Elder in profusion, Red Campion and patches of Wood Speedwell. The two orchids we saw were most likely hybrids between Northern Marsh and Common Spotted. (Information from a Reserve employee) Once again, books were needed to check it was Buckthorn, and not Alder Buckthorn, we found in fruit.

Eighteen birds put in an appearance during the day. The most noteworthy were Swifts and Warblers.

In view of the flower bonanza perhaps it was the lack of sunshine that resulted in a disappointingly low butterfly count. Common Blue, Small Heath and both Small and Green Veined White did flutter past; one each of the first two and hardly more of the Whites.

As one of these reserves flanks an industrial site and the second is near a cement works, the variety of wildlife and the beauty within them is remarkable. I can only think that the 13 year delay in BEES returning to these sites is due to county rivalry!

Twelve members had a most enjoyable day, albeit over the border. Thanks to Sally for her efficient leadership and to Stuart and Sue for safe journeys there and back. See the photos here. 



Wildlife Field Visit, Malham Tarn Boardwalk, 22nd May 2018

Submitted by Wildlife Field… on Wed, 23rd May 2018, 4:01pm

BogbeanBogbeanOur three previous visits to this site, all in the month of August, were all abandoned before we ever got near to the boardwalk area! The plan this time was (A) go at at different time of year & (B) start at the boardwalk, rather than the mire at the southern end of the tarn. The plan worked perfectly as we had a dry day with warm sunshine throughout. There was however a keen north-easterly breeze which always kept the temperature below 20C.

The temperature was high enough however to tempt out lots of Orange Tip & Green-veined White butterflies. We also saw several Four-spotted Chaser dragonflies and Large Red Damselflies. Luckily we also managed good views of a solitary Green Hairstreak. The site doesn't hold much of its bilberry foodplant so only supports a small colony.

We heard lots of birdsong but they stayed mostly hidden from view. We did though manage to see a Sedge Warbler and a Tree Pipit. A few of us were very lucky to see a Short-eared Owl burst out of the undergrowth and just as quickly vanish out of sight. We didn't know what the large raptor was until we were told a few minutes later by two birders that they had just seen a shortie!

Whilst we were sat on the boardwalk having our lunches we were passed by a very large and well marshalled group led by two folk we know very well; Hugh and Lisa Firman. The group were all staying at Scargill House, a religious retreat near Kettlewell which our group has visited several times.

The boardwalk goes over Tarn Moss and Tarn Fen. Although set in a limestone area, a raised bog with an acid-loving flora has developed, so the site is botanically exceptional. Alice and Joan recorded 60 plants in flower plus 6 ferns and emerging Water Horsetail. These included Early Purple Orchids,Globe Flower, Bogbean, Cranberry, Sundew, Marsh Marigolds, Marsh Valerian and Lousewort plus English Scurvy Grass and Dioecious Sedge (both newplants for our two botanists). Additionally they also encountered an odd form of Water Avens just as they had done a week earlier at Threshfield Quarries.

We left the site at 14:30 and headed a short distance to the sink hole area near the large car park, hoping to see the Yellow Wagtails which nest there every year. Alas, no luck on that front! but we did get to see Mountain Pansies, Birdseye Primrose and Meadow Pipits. We left for home at 14:50.

Many thanks go to our joint drivers, Stuart and Sue. We also welcomed two newcomers, Sue and Jean who we first met when we visited Denso Marstons in April. Hopefully, if they enjoyed their day out, they will join us again. See the photos here. 

John Gavaghan


Comment.  The peculiar Water Avens flowers we have seen on our last two visits are not hybrids. They are caused by naturally occuring mutations. It seems that there are many more of them this year than is normal. Alice.

WFV Threshfield Quarry 15 May 2018

Submitted by Wildlife Field… on Wed, 16th May 2018, 4:59am

Dryad's SaddleDryad's SaddleBeautiful weather - warm and sunny, splendid trees in full flower, a lovely display of colourful flowers, these were the ingredients of todays walk. Our walk was in the environs of Threshfield near Grassington and involved walking down country lanes, up a grassy flower strewn hillside, through a disused limestone quarry and a visit to historical lime kilns. The group of 12 divided into a party of two, myself and Maddy being the appointed leaders. Unfortunately we were not able to come together to enjoy lunch overlooking a superb rock garden behind Long Ashes caravan park as planned and remained out of touch (other than by mobile phone) for most of the day but thankfully not lost!

My party was able to enjoy the spring flowers that surrounded us. We saw Goldilocks buttercup, Ramsons, Bluebells, Bird Cherry, Primrose, Cowslip, Bugle, Field Mouseear, Dog violets, Early Purple orchids (in good numbers and at their best), Water avens and hybrids, Salad Burnet, Wild and Barren Strawberry, Hairy Rockcress, the leaves of St John's Wort also Common and Green Figwort. The ferns present included Brittle Bladder and Harts Tongue fern. Alice recorded 76 flowers for her group.

  Butterflies were on the wing in good numbers specifically Orange tip, Green veined white and Speckled wood. 

The bird count was 19. Birds were heard rather than seen although a Curlew was spotted by Donald flying overhead, nesting Jackdaws were seen patrolling the quarry and a female Pheasant was seen with chicks. Lapwing and Oystercatcher were seen on the journey home. 

The industrial archaeology of the abandoned quarry including the trucks used for transporting limestone ballast and lime kilns was of considerable interest in particular to Jane whose husband is an enthusiast.

 The countryside was in pristine condition and we were afforded with some lovely views of Lower Wharfedale. If the weather remains the same as today for the rest of the summer we will be truly blessed. 

Thanks go to Stuart for driving and to Maddy for her support. 

See photos here. 


WFV, High Batts, 8th May 2018

Submitted by Wildlife Field… on Wed, 9th May 2018, 2:41pm

Bird CherryBird CherryTen members and Kevin, who we hope will become a driver for us, enjoyed the long awaited sights of Spring on our journey north. We were welcomed at High Batts by Colin Slater, the reserve Chairman. We learned of the site development and management policy and the continuing gravel extraction programme. Colin then guided us around the different areas of the reserve drawing attention to features and answering our questions. The site is managed for nature not for man and nothing leaves the site except by its own volition.

The mildly alkaline soil supports a wealth of plants. Bluebells and Ramsons carpeted the floor in the more enclosed woodland. In the open ride areas the ground was spotted with Primroses, Cowslips, Dog violets, Ground ivy, Crosswort, Barren strawberry and Bugle. Maddie's spotting skills noticed a single stem of Wood stitchwort. Speedwells were well represented on the reserve; common field, slender, ivy leaved, wood and wall being recorded. From the large Bird cherries in magnificent bloom to the "going over" Star of Bethlehem there was so much to see. The gall on Dog Violet leaves is still to be identified

In areas one almost bounced on the cushion of moss, a reminder of how wet the land can be. The ponds were remarkably clear and alive with insect life including Large Red Damselflies mating on the edging plants. Water Horsetail dominated here and Yellow Water lilies were opening . While I botanized a newt and a frog appeared.

A lunch break in the "hotel" hide by the river afforded some of us with an electric blue flash as a Kingfisher flew upstream. From another hide we had close views of a Greater Spotted Woodpecker and of Marsh Tits. 22 other birds were recorded.

In response to the weather six butterfly species were flying: Brimstone, Orange Tip, Peacock, Small White, Speckled Wood, and a single Comma spotted by Colin.

Great interest was shown and many photographs taken of the Common Morel fungus. This was new to most of us, even to John, and something which returns annually to its particular area of the reserve. The moral here is don't shun new places!(Sorry)

High Batts is a hidden gem. We saw so much and are aware of more to be seen, so watch for a further visit on a future programme. Many thanks to Colin for generously giving of his time and expertise, to Steve for the initial suggestion and to Julia for driving.

See photos here. 



WFV, Hardcastle Crags, 1st May 2018

Submitted by Wildlife Field… on Wed, 2nd May 2018, 3:32pm

Pink PurslanePink PurslaneWe were a party of 10 that met at the carpark and together we made our way in warm sunshine to Gibson mill, about a mile walk through rich woodland.  After lunch there we returned to the car park by a riverside walk which though boggy and difficult walking in places was very rewarding in plant, fungi, and bird sightings.


Many thanks to Alice for her record of plant species spotted -

Plants in flower = 34, including 2 grasses, 3 woodrushes 

There were masses of Great Woodrush, a lot of Hairy Woodrush and a few spikes of Field Woodrush near the car park picnic area.

Also patches of Early Common Dog violets and Dog violets, Golden saxifrage, and Pink Purslane.

Marsh Marigolds where  damp, Bluebells  and Ramsons (not yet all fully open).  Both Wild and  Bird Cherry.        

New growth seen on 10 Fern species.


Many thanks to John for his record of fungi (and a solitary butterfly!) -

purplepore bracket, lumpy bracket, smoky bracket, ganoderma, glistening inkcap

and the butterfly: the green-veined white


Some of the bird species spotted -

blackcap(h), blue tit, chaffinch, crow, great tit(h), grey wagtail, dipper, heron, mallard with ducklings, pheasant(h), song thrush, woodpecker(h), wren.

 See photos here.