Welcome to the Wharfedale Naturalists Society


Take a look at our upcoming events…

Jul 18 RSPB Saltholme – Birding Coach Outing
Booking form / pickup times with April Newsletter
Leader: Michael Brear (07552 738324)
Jul 23 Staveley YWT Reserve (near Ripon) – Botany
Meet 10-30am reserve CP SE369630. Small donation welcome.
Leader: Nicky Vernon
Aug 6 Thruscross Reservoir, northern end – Botany
Meet 10-00am by bridge, Whitmoor Rd SE137582
Leader: Bruce Brown
Parking could be a problem – please car share if possible
Aug 11 Bastow Wood – in search of the Dark Green Fritillary and
the Scotch Argus – Summer Visits

Meet 10am SD 980656
Leader: Paul Millard
Click here for more details

The latest programme is available here.

All Tuesday evening talks are held at Christchurch, The Grove, Ilkley starting at 7-30pm.

Nethergill Farm Events 2015

June 13 Wildlife Photography – Simon Phillpotts
August 1 Loosen up your watercolour technique – Rachel McNaughton

Click here for more information.

Bastow Wood Visit Rescheduled

Due to the weather forecast, on the 4th of August, Paul Millard reluctantly decided to move the butterfly walk, to Grass Wood and Bastow Wood, by one week to Tuesday 11th August. Apologies for any inconvenience this may have caused.

Butterfly Alert

Diane Morris asked me to add an alert for people to make a special effort to look out for Wall butterflies this summer. Only a handful were recorded in Spring and they should now be on their second brood. It looks like they are dying out unfortunately.

We’ve also had information that there is a confirmed widespread colonisation by Essex Skipper, of suitable habitats just on the Durham side of the Yorkshire border. The evidence is conclusive with good photographs. They are thought to have travelled up on roadside verges, which means that we can no longer assume that we are seeing Small Skippers in Wharfedale. Click here for a good guide on how to tell them apart.

Summer Gardens

Summer Gardens
The garden is at it’s best in the summer months with plenty of nectar rich flowers for insects. Lawns can become covered in flowering clover, to the delight of the bees. Plants such as Buddleia, Lavender and Bowles Mauve are at their best, attracting different species of butterfly. The warm evenings are ideal for bats who take advantage of the abundance of insects, still flying at dusk. Some creatures still appreciate a little help at this time, however. Birds can become dehydrated in the warm conditions and putting out water and continuing to feed them will help them flourish, especially fledglings who are still learning to fend for themselves. Other creatures can also take advantage of your feeding stations and supplementary food such as mealworms can provide valuable nutrition for both birds and mammals.

Yorkshire Mammal Group – July Newsletter

Yorkshire Mammal GroupThe Yorkshire Mammal Group’s July 2015 Newsletter is available here, with information on events. Unfortunately some of these have been and gone, but there are some future events that may be of interest. It also has details on how to join. Other information can be found on their website here.

Latest WNS Information

News-letterIt may only be July, but as ever Peter, Anne and the Committee have been super-efficient and we bring you early news of all the Society happenings for when the nights draw in!

Please find the August Newsletter, Booking Form for the Winter Coach outing and Winter Programme in the links below:

August Newsletter
Winter Programme 2015 – 2016
Booking form for the Winter Coach Outing


There are approximately 7000 species of amphibian in the world. That’s a lot of species to remember! Luckily the British Isles is home only 7, which makes things a lot easier. So roll up your sleeves and let’s get frog hunting as David explores how to identify British Amphibians in this video.

Yorkshire Red Kite Newsletter – Issue 16

Red Kite
Please find the Yorkshire Red Kite Newsletter (Issue 16) here. Red Kites have continued to thrive in Yorkshire and breeding pairs have now reached treble figures for the first time since their reintroduction in 1999. They can be quite a distraction when travelling through some regions. One breeding pair have reportedly raised nine young, which has given numbers an extra boost.

Photo by Tony Hisgett from Birmingham, UK (Red Kite 9 Uploaded by Magnus Manske) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Butterfly Recording

Since David Howson’s retirement, Diane Morris and Paul Millard have kindly offered to take over as butterfly recorders. We would like to thank them for taking on the role and wish them the very best with the butterfly season approaching. As part of their new recording system, they have a new form, which they would like to encourage Wharfedale Naturalist members to use. This 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 would like to add that the butterfly recording should be a pleasure, and not a chore, so if you’re in doubt about anything on the spreadsheet please let her know, using the contact form below, or leave the entry blank.

Your Name (required)

Your Email (required)


Your Message

Clicking send will forward your message to Diane.

Butterfly Conservation’s Spring Newsletter from Dave Hatton

Butterfly Conservtation
The Newsletter contains some very interesting information including the results from the last five years of recording in VC64. It’s good to hear that Clouded Yellow are becoming more numerous and Dark Green Fritillary appear to be getting more common too.

To view the Newsletter click here. Remember to send your 2015 records into Diane Morris and she will make sure BC receives them, after adding them to the Society’s database.

Big Garden Birdwatch 2015

Goldfinch pair
The results of the Big Garden Birdwatch are in with over half a million participants and 8.5 million birds counted. In addition, people were asked to record other garden visitors such as slow worms, grass snakes, squirrels, deer, badgers and hedgehogs. The top ten birds seen this year were:

  • House sparrow
  • Starling
  • Blackbird
  • Blue tit
  • Wood pigeon
  • Chaffinch
  • Robin
  • Great tit
  • Goldfinch
  • Collared dove

Out of the birds on the increase, Blackbirds were the most widely spotted garden bird, visiting more than 90 percent of people’s gardens. Robins have increased in popularity, jumping from 10th most popular in 2014, to 7th in 2015. Twice as many people saw Wrens this year than last and were spotted by 35 percent of participants.

Birds on the decline include the Song thrush, Greenfinch and Starling. Song thrushes are at an all-time low and have dropped to 22nd in the rankings and continue to remain on the red list of species. Greenfinches have plummeted to 25th place, which is the result of Trichomonosis, a parasitic disease, that has spread throughout the bird population, since it was first recognised, in 2005. It is thought the parasite may have jumped from Wood pigeon’s, who are carriers, to finches, at shared feeding stations. To help reduce further spread of the disease, the RSPB recommends giving bird feeders and bird baths a regular clean.

More information on this fantastic survey can be found by visiting the RSPB website here.

Photo by Sylvia Duckworth [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons