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
Willow or chiffchaff young?
Common Spotted Orchid
Male Large Skipper

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
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

Sunday, 22 June 2014

Orchids and butterflies at North Cave Wetlands

 The image above was the view from East Hide today, a drift of orchids, and orchids were indeed flowering around the reserve. There were plenty of immature Black-Headed Gulls from East Hide, and many moulting ducks, mainly Gadwall. I was at the reserve quite early and the sun was hiding behind some high clouds, so there were not as many butterflies and dragonflies as I had anticipated. Still, Ringlet, Common Blue, Small Tortoiseshell and Meadow Brown were active.
As I walked to Turret hide I had to jump to avoid this Drinker caterpillar, which was crossing the path at some speed.
I saw my first Bee Orchid of the year, not quite at its best, on the approach path to Turret Hide too.
Male Common Blue Damselfly with prey
And male Common Blue butterfly
More hybrid orchids
A very bright Small Tortoiseshell sunbathing
Carrion Crow family
This male Sedge Warbler put on a great display. After every song flight it went low down into the bushes and then climbed up to an exposed position while singing before... 
...jumping onto another flight song display
Peacock caterpillars, there were so many they had brought down the Nettle branches with them. 
These ones had dispersed a and were much bigger in size.
There were a few diseased rabbits about today.
The lapwing chicks by the Snipe field have grown so much. Their top-notch is starting to show. One adult tried to flush a Little Ringed Plover and a Ringed Plover, which probably compete with the chicks for food.
Ringed Plover
Little Ringed Plover
Corn Bunting in between a little singing and flying away
Unidentified Darter resting high on the north hedge.
I noticed a large black and white wasp carrying this Downlooker Snipefly (thank you to Richard Comont for ID)...
...into her nest on a rabbit scrape, where there were many more similar holes.
I waited until she came out again to photograph her.
and identified it as Crabro cribarius, an uncommon sand wasp (thank you to Ian Beavis for confirming ID) which hunts several types of fly to stock her burrow. The larvae feeds on the flies.
At another scrape some fierce-looking eyes and a shiny moustache looked at me intently...
...before she dared venture out.