Welcome to the Wharfedale Naturalists Society


Take a look at our new upcoming events…

October 3
Special events – Fungus Foray Middleton Woods
With Fungus expert Andrew Woodall
Meet 10.30am Lido Car Park SE 118485
Contact: Peter Riley – 862916
October 13 Tuesday evening talk – ‘The Haytime Project in the Yorkshire Dales’
Tanya St. Pierre (YD Millennium Trust)
Botany Presentation
Nicky Vernon, Botany Recorder
October 17 Birding – Old Moor RSPB
Meet 10.30am at Reserve car park
Leader: Richard Fuller – 879342
October 27 Tuesday evening talk – ‘Scotland – the Very Best of UK Wildlife’
Paul Hobson
A welcome return for a superb photographer
October 31
Special events – Coach Trip to Leighton Moss RSPB
(bring Membership card or pay)
Booking form/pickup times with August Newsletter
Names to Michael Brear – 07552 738324
November 10 Tuesday evening talk – ‘Biology and Geology of the Littondale Caves’
David Hodgson
A WNS debut for a renowned local Naturalist
November 14
  1. Birding – Morecambe Seafront & Heysham Nature Reserve
    Contact: Christine Hobson – Meet 10.30am at Hest Bank car park SD467666
    Bring RSPB card and Wildlife Trust Card
    Leader: David Smith – 600613
  2. Coffee / Social Morning
    10am to 12 noon, Clarke Foley Centre, Ilkley
    All proceeds go to support local conservation
    Contact: Christine Hobson – 464346
November 17 Tuesday evening talk – ‘A Thousand Years of Farming on an Upland Dales Farm – Past, Present and Future’
Tom Lord
Lower Winskill Farm, Ribblesdale
November 28
Birding – Anglers Country Park, Wakefield
Meet 10.30am at Visitor Centre car park SE375154
Leader: Helen Steward – 430398

The latest programme is available here.

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

Yorkshire Mammal Group October Newsletter

Yorkshire Mammal Group
The Yorkshire Mammal Group’s October Newsletter is available here. It lists their upcoming talks and other events for October. If you haven’t done already you can also visit their website which has a calendar of events for 2015 here.

Butterfly Conservation’s Autumn Newsletter from Dave Hatton

Butterfly Conservtation
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.

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.

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.

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