Thursday, 29 July 2010

Fairburn Ings

From a recent visit to Fairburn Ings RSPB, here are a few butterflies and dragonfly sightings that we enjoyed during our wander.

Thanks to Dean for confirming this pair as Common Darter Dragonflies (yellow stripes on legs and yellowish patches on the thorax).  

A Six Spot Burnet (Zygaena filipendulae) on a thistle

A Burnet with worn wing scales, thanks again to Dean for his help with this.

Small Copper on thistles.

Green Veined White

Tuesday, 27 July 2010

Goldenacre Park butterflies

This weekend's visit to Goldenacre Park brought out a variety of butterflies in good numbers. Starting at the top end of the park we decided to head off track down a grassy path where we found large numbers of Gatekeepers & Ringlets.

We spotted 10 or so of these small butterflies which I think may be Small Heath, along with the profile shot I managed a quick blurred pic of it in about to take flight and revealing the upperwing.

In the garden area this Small Skipper on Lavender.

A Ringlet sitting pretty

The Buddleias proved an irresistable draw for Small Tortoiseshell, Red Admiral and Commas (pictured here)

A Small Tortoiseshell in fine profile

Another obliging Ringlet

One of four Gatekeepers on a patch of Marjoram which also played host to a couple of Small Skippers.

Friday, 23 July 2010

Saltmarsh Delph

We enjoyed a recent visit to Saltmarsh Delph, a Yorkshire Wildlife Trust reserve where the greenspaces were brimming with interest. The most abundant species were these Ringlets that appeared wherever we paused to look.

There were a number of Dragonflies zipping around, this was the only one I managed to photograph. Thanks to Warren who suggested a Southern Hawker.

Passing through the gate, on the approach to the hide were a noisy gang of Long Tailed Tits, Marsh Tits and Warblers (I'm guessing a Reed Warbler). Nearing the hide we caught a glimpse of a Marsh Harrier through the overhead branches, just a few metres above the reeds.

Comma butterflies stood out against fading vegetation.

I enjoyed my first Gatekeeper sighting of the year, identified by the double white eye spot.

We carried on a few miles down the road to Blacktoft and stopped for a half at the pub situated on the opposite bank to Blacktoft Sands Nature Reserve. Strong winds kept the numbers of airborne birds to a minimum although we did see a couple of Grey Heron and 2 or 3 Marsh Harriers.

Friday, 9 July 2010

St Chads Churchyard

This lunchtime I ventured down to St Chad's Churchyard. Patches of flowering grasses played host to approximately 30 butterflies, predominantly darker shades of Ringlets and Meadow Browns interspersed with lesser numbers of Speckled Wood, Green Veined White, Small White and a couple of Comma. I only managed this Ringlet before the battery failed me.

Splashes of colour Orange Hawkweed, (Hieracium aurantiacum) amongst Ribwort Plantain and Cat's Ear (Hypochoeris radicata).

Wednesday, 7 July 2010

Otley Gallows Hill

On a visit to Otley Gallows Hill Nature Park patchy sunshine brought out plenty of Comma butterflies with over 10 spotted during our walk, feeding on thistles, resting on brambles, foliage and basking on paths.

From the bridge we glimpsed a flash of electric blue as a Kingfisher shot upstream and waited patiently to watch it zip back downstream a few minutes later. Far too quick for a pic so instead here's the view from the bridge.

Andrea spotted these caterpillars, close inspection revealed over 20 of them feeding on nettles. They're Peacock caterpillars, thanks to Dean for his help with identification.

As you can see Ive been messing around with a new template and have tried again to get the hang of the new editor, and to be honest both are pretty infuriating, because there are so many inconsistencies, borders on photos no borders on photos blah blah blah, I'm even boring myself. Anyway I'm sticking with this until I can summon up the patience to have another crack at it, which may be never. grrrrrrr.
And relax.......phew!

Tuesday, 6 July 2010

Allotment wildlife

Come the weekend I frequently find myself torn between spending time on the allotment or venturing further afield. More often than not the allotment takes second place in favour of pastures new or maybe not so new but certainly requiring less physically demanding activity. So opting for some much needed allotment time I enjoyed a few hours gardening and was rewarded with some lovely butterfly sightings, resulting in a new high of 6 species on the plot in one day.

The first visitor to appear was this Ringlet, coming to rest on a comfrey leaf. Later we counted three Ringlets chasing each other, the next one looks fresher than the first and settled in view after flitting around the Raspberry canes. Green Veined Whites were on the wing throughout the day.

In my corner plot, where it meets the perimeter fence we've let the brambles grow in a bid to deter some of our more destructive and unwelcome local visitors. Its a mix of grasses, brambles, hawthorn, climbing rose, thistles and comfrey, which combine to create a pretty sturdy green barrier and prime real estate for wildlife which seems to be working.

Next to appear was this Red Admiral that spiralled in over the hedgerow, significantly bigger, bolder and brighter than the Ringlets.

This Comma initially investigated the brambles before settling on bare earth.

One of three Large Skippers, checking out the comfrey and bramble flowers.

A Robin, fresh from a refreshing bath perched on a post to inspect a patch of newly turned soil before swooping down to pick up a mouthful of insects.

A Small Tortoiseshell basks in the sunshine.

Its the first time Ive noticed Damselflies in our stream near the entrance to the allotments. Its great to see the stream turn into a real wildlife magnet and I'm looking forward to see how it progresses.

Saturday, 3 July 2010


The Yorkshire Wildlife Reserve at Staveley was a nice surprise as I didn't realise the scale of the reserve, it comprises a lagoon, woodland, grassland and shallow ponds, and covers approximately 40 hectares. The 2 hides overlooking the water were locked at the time of visiting but it didn't hamper our enjoyment of the area.

We spotted 8 Meadow Brown, I was confused about the identity of this first one until it revealed the front underwing.

A Small Tortoiseshell landed to feed on Red Clover and gave great views of both its upper and underwing. Other butterflies included 10 Ringlets, 6 Small Skippers, 6 Speckled Wood.

Its a good time for wildflowers in bloom, including one of my favourites, this Field Scabious Knautia arvensis.

At one of the ponds I watched three Damselflies ovipositing in a relatively small area within close proximity to each other. Unfortunately the pics didn't come out too well but I did manage to salvage this shot which shows two close together.

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