Welcome to the Wharfedale Naturalists’ Society


The winter programme is now available…
September 24 Birding – Saltholme RSPB (bring card)
Meet 10.30am at reserve car park
Leader: Richard Fuller – 879342
September 27 Tuesday Evening Meetings – ‘The Four Seasons’
Peter Smith
A welcome return from the Lancashire Naturalist and outstanding photographer
October 1 (Sat) Special Events – Fungus Foray Middleton Woods
With Fungus expert Andrew Woodall
Meet 10.00am Lido Car Park SE 118485
Contact: Peter Riley – 862916
October 11 Tuesday Evening Meetings – ‘The Golden Eagle’
Alan Fielding
The natural history of an iconic bird based on a lifetime’s study
October 15 (Sat) Birding – Eccup Circular Walk
Meet at 9.30am. Park just past Bank House Farm (not in front of farm itself) on reservoir approach road SE292423
Leader: Ernie Scarfe – 851214
October 25 Tuesday Evening Meetings – ‘Butterflies of the North-West’
Chris Winnick
(Chair of Cumbria Branch, Butterfly Conservation)
A report on the status of butterflies in this lovely region
October 29 (Sat) Birding – Staveley Nature Reserve
Meet 10.30am at reserve car park SE369630
Leaders: Brenda and Derek Parkin – 864036

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.

State of Nature Report 2016

The State of Nature Report is the result of a collaboration between over 50 different organisations to assess how nature is faring across the UK and its territories. Out of 8,000 species of highest conservation concern, 15% were found to be threatened with extinction in Great Britain. The UK has the 189th lowest ‘Biodiversity intactness index’ out of 218 countries assessed – a measure of how damaged our nature is. The two most important factors this is attributed to is climate change and agriculture, highlighting the importance of carbon footprints and wildlife friendly farming schemes. Not all species have been suffering however: our cleaner rivers have been good for otter populations, red kites soar over much of our countryside and butterflies such as silver-spotted skippers and large blues are faring well. Click here to read the report.

The Zach Haynes Petition

Zach Haynes
Many thanks to Dr Stephen Ward for his interesting talk, entitled ‘Between a Rock and a Hard Place – the Limestone Pavements of Britain and Ireland’. One of the worrying things that came out of the talk, was how we intend to protect these unique habitats in the future. It was sad to see them being broken up and fragments appearing in garden centres.

With the impending exit from the EU, we all hope they are not forgotten about and Dr Ward drew attention to the Zach Haynes Petition – a petition started by a 12 year old boy to preserve important EU legislation which currently protects such habitats. If you wish to find out more about the petition, or sign it, please visit the following page on the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust’s website.

The petition requires 10,000 signatures in order for the government to respond and 100,000 for it to be considered for debate in Parliament.

Photo by the YWT.

August Newsletter, 2016

August news 2016_Page_1
You can download the August Newsletter and the winter coach outing booking form below:
August Newsletter
Winter Coach Outing Booking Form

Funds for Conservation Projects available

bee bsl
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:

  1. 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)
  2. Limit range of invasive non-native plant and animal species (Actions: conduct studies of population size and distribution, research appropriate actions to take)
  3. 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)
  4. 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: pjmiller511@gmail.com)
(mobile: 074155 70589)

Members Survey

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!

Save nature on road verges campaign

Roadside verges are often a haven for plants that have been driven out of our farmland. As a result they are often fantastic habitat for insects such as bees, butterflies and other wildlife. Read how a number of roadside verges in Oxfordshire have been identified as having ecological interest and other inspiring stories here. If this is of interest you could sign Plantlife’s petition to convince other County Councils of their importance and maybe they will be managed in a similar way.

Nature Back From The Brink

Led by Natural England, ‘Back from the Brink’ is an innovative new project with the purpose of saving some of our rarest and most threatened wildlife. It is the coming together of many different conservation organisations, including the Amphibian and Reptile Trust, Bat Conservation, Buglife, Bumblebee Conservation Trust, Butterfly Conservation, Plantlife and the RSPB, with the goal to save 20 species from extinction and help another 118 on the road to recovery.

Still in the planning and development phase, the project would like to know people’s views on saving English wildlife and you can express these by taking part in the following online survey.

Big Butterfly Count 15 July – 7 August, 2016

Big Butterfly Count
The Big Butterfly Count starts again on the 15th July. Over 52,000 people took part last year counting over 580,000 individual butterflies – the results are listed below. It is fast becoming the biggest butterfly survey of its kind and all that is required is a simple butterfly count for 15 minutes during bright, preferably sunny, weather between July 15th and the 7th August. You can submit separate records for different dates at the same place, and for different places visited at www.bigbutterflycount.org. A handy identification chart can be found here or you may wish to  install the Big Butterfly Count smartphone app for iOS and Android.

Abundance % change from 2014
1 Gatekeeper 106995 17
2 Large White 83042 46
3 Meadow Brown 76713 16
4 Small White 72483 -3
5 Peacock 42754 -61
6 Small Tortoiseshell 31322 -57
7 Ringlet 27604 75
8 Red Admiral 21027 -28
9 Comma 18765 42
10 Common Blue 17932 -12
11 Green-veined White 14437 -42
12 Speckled Wood 12342 -25
13 Large Skipper 11198 24
14 Holly Blue 10334 151
15 Six-spot Burnet 9448 2
16 Marbled White 8071 52
17 Painted Lady 7416 28
18 Brimstone 6075 18
19 Small Copper 4395 -28
20 Silver Y 1912 92

For more information and an interactive map of the 2015 results please click here. More information about taking part in the 2016 survey is available here.

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

  • House sparrow
  • Starling
  • Blue tit
  • Blackbird
  • Woodpigeon
  • Goldfinch
  • Chaffinch
  • Great tit
  • Robin
  • Long-tailed tit

Top 5 by country

  • House sparrow
  • Blue tit
  • Starling
  • Blackbird
  • Woodpigeon
Northern Ireland
  • Starling
  • House sparrow
  • Chaffinch
  • Blue tit
  • Blackbird
  • House sparrow
  • Chaffinch
  • Starling
  • Blackbird
  • Blue tit
  • House sparrow
  • Blue tit
  • Starling
  • Chaffinch
  • Blackbird

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 July Newsletter

Yorkshire Mammal Group
The Yorkshire Mammal Group’s July 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.

Missing Tetrads

Missing Tetrads 1 – 21

The current butterfly recording form can be downloaded here along with some useful notes here. If you wish to print out a form and fill it in by hand, a suitable template is available here.

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 leave this field empty.

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Your Message

Please ensure you have filled in the required fields before clicking on send.

Moth report for 2015

mothUnfortunately, the moth report for 2015, from Joyce and Mike Clerk, did not make it into the printed copy of the review so, if you wish to find what 2015 was like for moths, please download your copy here. Many thanks to Joyce and Mike for compiling this detailed report.

Commemorative Publications

Jeff Davitt has kindly scanned three commemorative publications marking 25, 40 and 50 years of the Society: