Welcome to the Wharfedale Naturalists’ Society
Take a look at our upcoming events…
|03 May||Evening Nature Walks – Barden and Strid Wood
Meet at Barden Bridge SE053574
Leader: Lynn Loader – 865671
|05 May||Botany – Sun Lane NR, Burley-in-Wharfedale
Meet 10.00am in Sun Lane SE157466. Park on houses side of road.
Leader: Anne Riley
|07 May||Birding – Barden Moor
Meet 10am at Halton Heights parking area SE037555
Leaders: Brenda and Derek Parkin – 864036
|10 May||Evening Nature Walks – Eccup
Meet/park just past Bank House Farm (not in front of farm itself) on reservoir approach road SE293423
Leader: David Smith – 600613
|17 May||Evening Nature Walks – A Botanical Walk in Middleton Woods
Meet/park at Ilkley swimming pool car park SE118484
Leader: Bruce Brown – 467519
|19 May||Botany – Lower Winskill Farm, Ribblesdale
Meet 10.30am at Farm, SD828664, (leave road from Langcliffe to Winskill Stones at SD834659). Toilets and hot drinks.
Leader/owner: Tom Lord. Website: lower-winskill.co.uk
|21 May||Birding – Fairburn Ings RSPB Reserve
Meet 10am at reserve car park SE 886328
Leader: Ernie Scarfe – 851214
|24 May||Evening Nature Walks – Gallows Hill: Toads, Newts and Bats
N.B. 8.30 start
Meet Gallows Hill SE210459
Leader: Gordon Haycock – 968112
|31 May||Evening Nature Walks – Lindley Wood Bridge to Dob Park
Meet Lindley Wood Bridge SE209500
Leaders: Peter and Anne Riley – 862916
The latest 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.
Apologies for any disruption to the website. We have been getting a bit more traffic lately and our bandwidth limit has been hit a few times. We are in the process of finding the best way forward to prevent this from happening in the future.
Friends of Gallows Hill
The friends of Gallows Hill (FoGH) Nature Reserve, in Otley, have published a programme of events available here. Useful information about the site can be found here. If you are interested in becoming involved, they have a group of volunteers that meet at 2pm on the first Saturday of every month, at the Gallows Hill car park.
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
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.
New Habitat for threatened butterfly
In the spring of 2015, Nigel Heptinstall discovered a colony of Dingy Skipper at an old car park on the shores of Thruscross Reservoir. Unfortunately a large amount of aggregate, destined for footpath repairs, was deposited on part of the site which the butterflies favoured. Following discussions with Yorkshire Water and the footpath contractor, steps have been taken to avoid further disturbance of the existing areas and a plan has been devised to use some of the aggregate to create two new areas of habitat, to help conserve this threatened butterfly. The Wharfedale Naturalists would like to thank Paul Millard, Yorkshire Water and Fountains Forestry in helping make this happen.
Jeff Davitt has kindly scanned three commemorative publications marking 25, 40 and 50 years of the Society:
BTO Goldfinch Survey
The Goldfinch Feeding Survey is now over and the BTO would like to remind those who took part to submit their data before March 31st. As a reminder, participants were asked to spend two minutes watching the Goldfinches, in their garden, record how many there were and what they were feeding on. The study aims to find out why Goldfinches have become much more common garden visitors in the last 20 years and what their food of choice is. A greater understanding of how they use the resources in our garden can help us provide for them when things are tough. Please click here to submit your results or print off a log sheet and send it to: Goldfinch Survey, BTO, The Nunnery, Thetford, IP24 2PU. Don’t forget to visit the BTO’s Garden BirdWatch Flickr page for some fantastic photos.
Photo by Sylvia Duckworth [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Red Squirrel Appeal
The Wildlife Ark Trust have launched a fundraising appeal on the JustGiving platform for £189,000 to pay for the modification of the Squirrel Pox Vaccine candidate. They are optimistic that if enough people become aware of the appeal their target will be hit. The hope is that if the message about the Wildlife Ark Trust appeal on JustGiving can get enough publicity it will go viral; the only difference being that on this occasion a ‘virus’ will be saving the red squirrels not killing them.
If you would like to help the appeal please let all your friends know about it then tell their friends about it and so on. The link to the justgiving page is http://goo.gl//ttGuBj.
“Formby squirrel” photo by Peter from Liverpool, UK – A squirrel says hello. Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 via Commons.
The Wharfedale Naturalists are pleased to be able to continue their support for the Yorkshire Dales Millenium Trust’s ‘Hay Time’ programme, by contributing towards equipment. This will help in assisting them with their vital work to save the remaining species-rich hay meadows in the Yorkshire Dales. Previously, funding was provided for two leaf vacuums which have been well used and are in need of a service. In addition to this, a further petrol blower and vacuum kit will be provided and several replacement parts for the existing equipment.
If you would like to find out more about this project please click here. The Yorkshire Dales Millenium Trust would like to thank all members for this kind contribution.
Gallows Hill Nature Area
For those that aren’t familiar with Gallows Hill, it is situated to the east of Otley, off Pool Road, on the south bank of the river Wharfe (See the site boundary above). The site’s name has rather grizzly origins since it was once used as a site of execution dating back to the Anglo-Saxon period. Today, however, it is a popular spot for the local community to connect with its wildlife.
The site has a variety of different habitats including two ponds which support good amphibian communities. Its keystone species is a healthy population of Common Toad and there has also been a record of a Smooth Newt in recent times. The surrounding trees, scrub and nettle beds also provide good habitat for birds, butterflies and dragonflies.
Currently the Friends of Gallows Hill and Otley Town Council are putting a plan together on how best to manage the site and, as part of this, the Wharfedale Naturalists would like to encourage members to visit so more information can be found out about the wildlife there. If this description is of interest to you and you haven’t already, please consider popping along.
Big Butterfly Count 2015
This year may not have been the best year for butterflies, but more people than ever participated in the ‘big butterfly count’, 2015. Over 52,000 people took part with over 50,000 counts, 5,300 on a single day in August. The average number of individual butterflies seen in each count had a 9% reduction on last years counts, which is thought to be a result of the weather, but the number of target species in this year’s count showed an overall increase. The largest declines in abundance were shown in Northern Ireland (-41%) and Scotland (-37%), who experienced worse conditions than other regions, particularly in July. Out of the species that showed an increase on 2014 numbers; the Holy Blue showed the largest (+151%), followed by the Silver Y moth (+92%) and the Ringlet (+75%). The results for all 20 of the target butterflies and moths are shown below:
|Abundance||% change from 2014|
For more information and an interactive map of the results please click here.
Yorkshire Mammal Group April Newsletter
The Yorkshire Mammal Group’s April 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.
Butterfly Conservation’s Autumn Newsletter from Dave Hatton
Dave Hatton has published the Autumn Newsletter for the Yorkshire branch of Butterfly Conservation. The first half of the year was a quite dismal, which he puts down three very dry springs and two consecutive damp autumn / winter periods. The second half of the year saw an improvement with an increase in Peacock, Comma and Red Admiral counts. Some of the browns like the Gatekeeper, Marbled White, Meadow Brown and Ringlet also appeared to fare quite well.
To view the full report 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.
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
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