Monday, 14 July 2014

Hudson Way, Riffle Butts and Goodmanham

After my lovely visit to Kiplingcotes a couple of weeks ago and the sunny, butterfly friendly weather forecast I headed to the Hudson Way again, this time intending to do a circular walk from the car park near Kiplingcotes to Riffle Butts and back through the Hudson way. It took me almost an hour to walk a couple of hundred meters down the path, given the profusion of wildflowers and butterflies about and the friendly locals. Scabious, Greater Knapweed and Red Clover were in full bloom, attracting large numbers of butterflies, including the first bright orange Gatekeeper of the year for me.
Meadow Pipits and Yellowhammers sung from the field, where a flock of Linnet fed and flew by. By a gate on the field I surprised a Mistle Thrush and three Red Legged Partridges, who left nervously. However, the partridges had left a chick behind, and one of them came back to the rescue.
I reached the crossing to the road to Woodmanham and had a peek at the creek. I spied a the stoat-sized rear of a dark brown mammal, which I believe to be a mink, disappearing in the vegetation. I sat waiting for it to emerge, but I only saw a diminutive vole feeding amongst the yellow flag leaves.
I headed then to Rifle Butts. There were a few visitors. The small area had Giant Bellflower, now in full bloom, and Comfrey and Marjoram. I could hear some singing grasshoppers. The only other thing to mention is a Marsh Tit, which fed amongst the comfreys and on the ground.
I carried towards Goodmanham. Over the village, flying with the swifts were a pair of Buzzards. After asking some locals for directions I found the shortcut to the Hudson Way on the edge of the village and returned to the path after crossing the weak bridge. The Hudson Way is much darker in this area, like a tunnel of trees and little in the way of wildflowers other than Hedge Woundwort. A Speckled Wood and a Comma were noted.
Meadown Brown on Scabious
Three Grey Partridges, the one in the middle is sitting on some chicks
Ringlet
Gatekeeper on Bramble
Marbled White on Greater Knapweed
Large Skipper on Scabious
The creek by the crossing to the road to Woodmanham
Rook carrying something?
Comma
Pyramidal Orchid, not many left
Bombus pascuorum on Red Clover
The first Small Skippers on Red Clover, many on the wing today... 
...with these two in the same frame 
Bordered Sallow, feeding on Vetch
Two tattered Marbled Whites on Scabious
Riffle Butts geological exposure (this part is closed to the public). I took the photo leaning on the fence
Giant Bellflowers
This group of cows were very interested in some colourful cyclists who were very interested in the cows.
Feather cloud over Goodmanham
I watched the patches of Hedge Woundwort in search of Anthophora furcata, but I only saw this Hoverfly Rhingia campestris and a carder bee.
St. Helens Well and the wishing tree
Eristalis sp on Scabious
Another small skipper (I can't resist)
Harebell by the path
A Enophlognatha spider with Bluebottle prey. watch out Soldier Beetles.
This is the first Cockchafer I see in East Yorkshire, unfortunately killed on the path.
Small Tortoiseshell
Six spot burnet
Yellowhammer having a bath on a puddle on the car park.

Butterfly List
  1. Gatekeeper
  2. Meadow Brown
  3. Speckled Wood
  4. Ringlet
  5. Small Skipper
  6. Large Skipper
  7. Comma
  8. Small Tortoiseshell 
Bird list

  1. Blackbird
  2. Blackcap
  3. Blue Tit
  4. Bullfinch
  5. Buzzard
  6. Chaffinch
  7. Chiffchaff
  8. Collared Dove
  9. Common Gull
  10. Dunnock
  11. Goldfinch
  12. Great Tit
  13. Greenfinch
  14. Grey Partridge
  15. House Sparrow
  16. Jackdaw
  17. Kestrel
  18. Linnet
  19. Long-tailed Tit
  20. Magpie
  21. Marsh Tit
  22. Meadow Pipit
  23. Mistle Thrush
  24. Moorhen
  25. Pheasant
  26. Red-legged Partridge
  27. Rook
  28. Stock Dove
  29. Swallow
  30. Swift
  31. Whitethroat
  32. Willow Warbler
  33. Woodpigeon
  34. Wren
  35. Yellowhammer

Monday, 7 July 2014

North Cliffe Wood in summer

I realised I had never paid a visit to this Yorkshire Wildlife Trust reserve in summer, so today was the day. A Red Kite glided low over the car just past Little Weighton, and on the same straight of the road, a male Yellowhammer sat by the hedge, in the same position as the four last times I've driven past this spot. By the time I got to the reserve I had added Kestrel, Sparrowhawk and Buzzard to the trip raptor list.
 I started the walk at the western side of the reserve. The paths were quite muddy after the recent rains. There were many Ringlets on the wing, and in a clearing by an old and gnarled oak on the path I saw a Red Admiral, and as I followed it a large buzzing insect gave it chase and I realised it was a hornet. It stopped to feed on sap seeping from some wounds on the tree trunk, and was surrounded by greenbottles and various other flies (and probably was the site where the Red Admiral had intended to feed). It was quite high on the tree, so no close shots, but this is the first time I have a confirmed sighting of this species.

 As I entered the open, heath area I heard the buzzing of insects feeding on the flowering lime trees. Bumblebees, honeybees and this meadow brown enjoyed the flowers.
It is easy to walk quietly on this part of the reserve, as the paths are covered on moss. Maybe that's why I could get so close to this hare.
I was trying to photograph a Green-Veined White, when a fox emerged from the bracken. It walked about, turned round and trotted to my left. When this fox had just disappeared, another, larger, handsomer individual appeared from the same spot. This time I had the camera ready, and I am pleased with the automatic image stabilisation that could correct, at least partially, the effects of my shaking hands. The fox was at ease, and followed much the same path as the previous one. At some point it was walking straight towards me, not quite 10 m away, but the noise of the camera shutter alerted him and as he saw me, he turned round and bounded to the safety of the bracken. The following, and the one on top of the post are my favourites.



 After this magic encounter, I wandered towards the woods and flushed a Buzzard, which was immediately mobbed by a family of Carrion Crows. As I entered the woods, squadrons of bloodthirsty mosquitoes descended on me. I practiced the mosquito-splatting technique on my arms until they were almost numb, and found it quite hard to concentrate on photographing anything inside the wood. A couple of dragonflies and damselflies had to be left aside to carry on with the mosquito splatting. I just managed a treecreeper and a few butterflies.
Treecreeper. See it? 
 But was unable to located a calling Sparrowhawk on a tree.
Speckled Wood
Episyrphus balteatus and pollen beetles in Hawkbit
Butterflies

  1. Red Admiral
  2. Small Heath
  3. Ringlet
  4. Green-veined white
  5. Meadow Brown
Birds

  1. Black-headed Gull
  2. Blackbird
  3. Blackcap
  4. Blue Tit
  5. Bullfinch
  6. Buzzard
  7. Carrion Crow
  8. Chaffinch
  9. Chiffchaff
  10. Great Spotted Woodpecker
  11. Great Tit
  12. Jay
  13. Long-tailed Tit
  14. Pheasant
  15. Robin
  16. Skylark
  17. Sparrowhawk
  18. Swallow
  19. Swift
  20. Treecreeper
  21. Whitethroat
  22. Woodpigeon
  23. Wren

Monday, 30 June 2014

Kiplingcotes Chalk Pit and the Hudson Way

It was my first visit to Kiplingcotes Quarry YWT Nature reserve today. The site is a site of scientific interest and is a disused quarry. Chalk was extracted to be used in the embankments of the Hudson Way between Beverley and Market Weighton. It took me a while to triangulate it, as the entrance is not visible from the road, just from the path of the railway line, but after parking on Kiplincotes station and returning I managed to find it. Thanks to my slow driving while trying to find the site I managed to get some photos of a Little Owl right on the edge of the reserve, and not far from it a pair of Grey Partridges, which made for a very good start of the morning. It was still quite overcast, but in my little walk on the Hudson Way, a disused railway line, Ringlets, Meadow Browns, Marbled Whites and Large Skippers were active.
 There were some young warblers (not sure if Chiffchaff or Willow) on the hedges. I heard a male Chiffchaff sing nearby.
 By the time I got to the reserve the sky was starting to clear up and it was quite warm. Hundreds of butterflies were present, with some bramble bushes and a couple of patches of creeping thistle teeming with Marble Whites, Ringlets and Meadow Browns. Elsewhere in the reserve there were active Large Skippers, Small Heath and Common Blue and I saw a single Small Tortoiseshell and Red Admiral too, taking it to eight species of butterfly present. There were also several day-flying moths, Cinnabar, Six spot burnet, silver Y and a Bordered Sallow (thanks to Chris @VerwoodGarden for ID).
 At some point a Red Partridge started to call, that, the butterflies, the calling grasshoppers and the vivid memory of the the Little Owl sighting made me feel like I was in Spain.
Little Owl
Grey Partridges
Marbled White on Pyramidal orchid
Ringlet
Willow or chiffchaff young?
Common Spotted Orchid
Male Large Skipper

Swallow
Mullein
Rabbits and wild pansies
Yellowhammer, one of two males singing in the reserve

Wild pansy
Marbled White and 6 spot burnet
Yellow Rattle
6 spot burnet
Bordered Sallow moth, Pyrrhia umbra, also feeding on bramble
Robin's Pin Cushion
Cinnabar moth
Mating large skippers
Stonecrop
Pisaura mirabilis, Nursery web spider with nursery
Male Common Green Grasshopper
Meadow Brown feeding on Selfheal
Marbled White
A bit battered Male Common Blue
Small Heath feeding on Eyebright. This was the first time I saw this species of butterfly. It rests with wings closed and leans to one side to face the sun, some times almost resting on one side.

Marbled White and Meadow Brown on Creeping thistle
Common Blue
Silver Y feeding on Meadow Cranesbill
More information
YWT site. Here.
NBG site with information on the flora and fauna of the reserve. Here.
Hull Valley Wildlife group site. Here.

Bird list
  1. Blackbird
  2. Blackcap
  3. Blue Tit
  4. Bullfinch
  5. Buzzard
  6. Carrion Crow
  7. Chaffinch
  8. Goldfinch
  9. Great Tit
  10. Grey Partridge
  11. Linnet
  12. Little Owl
  13. Long-tailed Tit
  14. Magpie
  15. Red-legged Partridge
  16. Robin
  17. Skylark
  18. Swallow
  19. Whitethroat
  20. Woodpigeon
  21. Wren
  22. Yellowhammer