Welcome to the Wharfedale Naturalists’ Society
Take a look at our upcoming events…
|26 July||Summer visits – Timble Ings: Checking for the Essex Skipper amongst the local butterfly population
Meet at 10.30am at Sourby Old Farm, SE167530
Leader: Paul Millard – 01756 720490
|04 August||Botany – Dib Head, Conistone
Meet 10.00am Conistone Bridge SD978675
Leader: Bruce Brown
Parking particularly tight
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.
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.
Help bats in your garden
The aim of the Wildlife Garden Project is to inspire people into creating their own little patches for wildlife, through their gardens. With bats currently on the wing, the following short video explains how we can help these creatures, by talking to a regional expert.
Please visit the Wildlife Garden Project website for similar videos and tips on wildlife gardening.
National Meadows Day 2nd July, 2016
Started in 2015, National Meadows Day is planned to take place, every year, on the first Saturday in July and this year there were over 100 events taking place all over the UK. It is intended to celebrate and raise awareness of this forgotten habitat, its timing giving people a chance to visit local meadows at their peak. If you wish to find out about other upcoming meadow events please visit the Save our Magnificent Meadow’s calendar of events. Save our Magnificent Meadows is a partnership led by Plantlife and is targeting 6,000 hectares of grasslands and wildflower meadows at nine strategic locations in the UK.
The Wharfedale Naturalists’ Society currently support the ‘Hay Time Project’, run by the Yorkshire Dales Millenium Trust. Over the last six years they have helped restore up to 400 hectares of hay meadow which is the equivalent of 399 football pitches. If you wish to learn more about this project please visit their website here or, if you wish to make a contribution, take a look at the Hay Time Appeal.
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
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|
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.
April Newsletter, 2016
Yorkshire Mammal Group July Newsletter
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.
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.
Moth report for 2015
Unfortunately, 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.
Jeff Davitt has kindly scanned three commemorative publications marking 25, 40 and 50 years of the Society: