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

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

  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
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