Welcome to the Wharfedale Naturalists Society
The New Winter Programme starts
Blacktoft Sands RSPB & North Cave
|October 5||Fungus Foray
|Mammal tracks and signs
Rodley Nature Reserve
Old Moor RSPB
|October 25||Coach Trip
|November 8||Coffee/Social Morning
Saltholme RSPB Meet
Full programme here
Gardens make a major contribution to biodiversity in our tight little island, and one of the major factors in this is the garden pond. A pond can support local populations of frogs and toads, newts and also dragonflies and other water insects.
Although it’s too late now to watch tadpoles, you could have a pond ready for later in the year when the new generation disperses. Avoid fishes in a wildlife pond – even tiny sticklebacks can prevent newts from breeding. Also avoid alien water plants – New Zealand pygmyweed, floating pennywort and water fern – which can take over local wetlands. Don’t import your fauna – you might bring in disease. Amphibian diseases such as red leg virus can wipe out entire frog populations locally.
Go for native plants, such as water crowfoot, water starwort, water forget-me-not and water mint. Local dragonflies and amphibians will quickly find your pond, and, if it is attractive, will stay.
There’s more advice on pond-building here. Natural England have published some excellent booklets (.pdf) – ‘Amphibians in your garden’ is here and ‘Dragonflies and Damselflies in your garden’ is here.
What’s that butterfly?
Butterflies will still be with us for a few months. Download this free UK Butterfly ID Guide from Butterfly Conservation here.
If you haven’t already you might want to brush up you ID skills. Also don’t forget Butterfly Conservation’s smart phone app for recording butterflies – iRecord Butterflies. Get the app for your iPhone from the iTunes store or the Google Store for your Android device.
This summer has given us a mixture of weather conditions with some hot, dry periods and also our fair share of rainfall. There has also been talk of a possible Indian Summer which will no doubt have an effect our wildlife. Trying to predict whether this will be a good year for fungi is difficult, but there have been encouraging reports so far. Our lawn has been sporting a few specimens, which puts you in a dilemma when you want to cut the grass!
Species to look out for are the Giant Puffball, the Stinkhorn (which you may smell before you see) and, as we move further into Autumn, you may spot the beautiful, but deadly poisonous, Fly Agaric. This is arguably our most famous toadstool and has long been associated with fairies and pixies.
If you wish to learn more about our native fungi why not try the Fungus Foray, meeting at Swinsty Moor car park, next month? See the programme for more details.
Butterfly Conservation’s Autumn Newsletter
Thank you very much to everyone who has contributed records so far for 2014 in VC64; It has been most helpful to be able to get the bulk of the records in stages throughout the season. To those still to send records in, please don’t leave it too long, please let’s try if you can to get them in by late October, or early November. I don’t have a lot of time in December and odd late sightings (stragglers) can be sent in later.
Dave Hatton – Butterfly Co-ordinator VC64.
To view the full newsletter click here. If you still have records to send in please continue to send them to David Howson, and he will make sure Butterfly Conservation receives them, after adding them to the Society’s database.