Welcome to the Wharfedale Naturalists’ Society
Take a look at our upcoming events…
|March 23||Special events – Annual Dinner
At Otley Golf Club
|March 28||Tuesdays Evening Meetings – AGM|
The full programme is available here.
All Tuesday evening talks are held at ChristChurch, The Grove, Ilkley starting at 7:30pm. Click here to show a map.
Yorkshire Dales book update
Previously available at ‘Just Books’ in Ilkley, this fantastic book is now available from Coch-y-bonddu Books for £9.95. It usually sells for £35.
Part of the New Naturalist series of books, the natural history of the Dales is covered in great detail by Professor John Lee, an ecologist long familiar with the landscape. The book pulls together information on an area which has been comprehensively catalogued by universities such as Lancaster, Manchester, Sheffield, Leeds, York and Durham for a century.
New recording form
For those of you that wish to send your sightings directly to the recorders, a new recording form is available to download from here. It lists all the recorders from the Wharfedale Nats and all we request is a separate form is used for each recorder.
John Busby’s annotated birdwatching map
Artist, writer, teacher and former member of the Wharfedale Naturalists, John Busby produced this fantastic annotated map from his birdwatching walks around the Menston area. If you are interested copies can be made by his daughter Rachel. Click here for more details.
John joined the Wharfedale Naturalists’ Society at its inception in 1945 and it is possible that this map was drawn up to illustrate a talk or other contribution John gave to the Society.
Big Butterfly Count 2016
The Big Butterfly Count results are in and have been causing confusion amongst conservationists. Despite conditions which would usually see butterflies thrive, 2016 was a poor year for many species and most people saw less butterflies than ever before. Gatekeeper, Comma and Small Copper butterflies experienced their worst year since the project began with counts down by 40%, 46% and 30% respectively compared to 2015. The Small Tortoiseshell and Peacock also experienced drops of 47% and 42%, their second worst year recorded. The full results are listed in the table below:
|Abundance||% change from 2015|
For more information and an interactive map of the 2016 results please click here.
Current Newsletter, 2016
Funds for Conservation Projects available
Every year the Wharfedale Nats like to support a number of worthwhile conservation projects in and around the Wharfedale area. For example, the Society has helped towards the costs of servicing equipment used by the Hay Time Project. If you have a conservation project, that would benefit from a small contribution by the Society, please contact our Secretary.
Can you help protect Addingham’s wildlife??
In April 2016 the Addingham Civic Society, in an initiative endorsed by the village Parish Council, formed an environment sub-group to develop a village environment plan.
The reality of climate change is making us all think very carefully about our natural environment and how it could be protected and managed positively.
Our objective is to create a better place for people and wildlife, supporting biodiversity and sustainable development. To do this we want to be evidence-based in our policy/decision making and to involve as many people as possible.
We have already identified some key wildlife issues such as:
- Protect and enhance populations of plants and animals in the village (Actions: conduct an inventory of all populations, assess their status and develop plans to protect and extend species, especially those at risk)
- Limit range of invasive non-native plant and animal species (Actions: conduct studies of population size and distribution, research appropriate actions to take)
- Protect and enhance semi-natural ecosystems in the village (Actions: identify land of high ecological value eg. moorland, woodland and grassland, assess its condition and how it may be improved/extended)
- Encourage wildlife friendly management of village spaces, roadside verges etc. (Action: research local management protocols)
As a member of Wharfedale Nats I know that many members who live in the Addingham area have knowledge and experience of the area and we would like your ideas based on the following questions;
What do you think are Addingham’s wildlife priorities?
What actions should we be taking now?
What other groups should we involve?
To provide information, comment on the above or on any other issue please contact:
Peter Miller (email: firstname.lastname@example.org)
(mobile: 074155 70589)
In an effort to keep improving, the Wharfedale Naturalists would be grateful if you could take a minute of your time to fill in our online questionnaire. It consists of 10 questions on what you would like to get out of the society and would give us some valuable feedback. Many thanks!
Gallows Hill Latest
The evening walk at Gallows Hill, on the 24th May, reportedly went well with plenty of bat activity. The current programme of events, from the Friends of Gallows Hill, is available here. Most of these dates have now passed, but a new programme is currently being put together and will be published when it is made available.
A message from a recent visitor:
I took a trip down there myself and the following were seen/heard in just over half an hour. Bullfinch, chaffinch, blue/great/ long tailed tits, blackbird, song thrush, mistle thrush, jackdaw, rook, crow, chiff chaff, greater spotted woody, wood pidgeon.
A nice spot. My first visit and I didn’t know where the car park was.
For other “first timers” take the pool road out of Otley. Go past the cemetery on the left. There’s an entrance to the new housing development after about another 200 yards. Turn left into this new development and there is a track on the right that leads down to the Gallows Hill car park. Enjoy!
More information about the site can be found here and, if you wish to become involved, a group of volunteers meet at 2pm, on the first Saturday of every month, at the Gallows Hill car park.
Gallows Hill now have their own website: http://www.gallowshill.org.uk/.
Big Garden Birdwatch 2016 Results
The results from the RSPB’s Big Garden Birdwatch 2016 have been released with a total bird count of over eight million. The House sparrow was found to be the most recorded bird in the UK again although the Starling was the most commonly seen in Northern Ireland. Around four House sparrows were seen in each person’s garden. The results are as follows:
Top 10 UK overall
Top 5 by country
The Chaffinch ranked higher in Scotland than anywhere else and the Blue tit appeared in 82% of people’s gardens in Wales. It is thought January’s mild weather led to higher counts of smaller birds, such as long-tailed tits and coal tits, since more were able to survive the winter. The long-tailed tit was a new entry for 2016 – in at 10th position. The blackbird was the most widespread garden bird appearing in 88% of people’s gardens but numbers have still been declining since the first Birdwatch in 1979.
Yorkshire Mammal Group November Newsletter
The Yorkshire Mammal Group’s November Newsletter is available here. It lists their upcoming talks and other events for the month. If you haven’t done already you can also visit their website which has a calendar of events for 2016 here.
Appeal from our butterfly recorders
Many thanks to Diane Morris and Paul Millard for all their hard work with the butterfly records for 2015. Those of you that attended the recorder’s evening will have heard their findings first-hand. In addition to the records you have kindly been sending them, they have appealed for people to report records from sites in Wharfedale which have previously gone unrecorded.
The Wharfedale Naturalists has a butterfly database dating back to 1948 containing over 60,000 records, but despite this there are 21 tetrads in our recording area, comprising over 60 square kilometres, that have no butterfly record at all. In an effort to fill in all the gaps, a list of these tetrads can be downloaded here and if any of these are near where you live or if you fancy a trip out this summer, try and see if you can spot a butterfly in one of our blank squares. If you are successful let them know, they will be pleased to hear from you.
Diane and Paul would like to stress butterfly recording should be a pleasure, and not a chore, so if you’re in doubt about anything on the spreadsheet please let Diane know, using the contact form below, or leave the entry blank.
Please ensure you have filled in the required fields before clicking on send.