Wednesday 6 June 2018

Broomfleet Washlands and North Cave Wetlands

An overcast, drizzly day at times, a visit to Broomfleet Washlands, in search of the Variable Damselfly, a scarce species that has its only stronghold in East Yorkshore in this site. Broomfleet Washlands provides flood relief to the adjacent Market Weighton Canal. There is an embankment around the site, which contains pools and ponds, reedbeds and sedges and a wooded area. When water in the canal is high during high tide, it spills into the site, where there can be stored until low tide. There is a parallel site at the other side of the canal, Oxmardyke Washlands, to which there is no public access. Broomfleet Washlands are accessible through a perimeter path, bounded in the SW by the railway line and on the W by the Market Weighton Canal. The Wolds are in the horizon to the NE. The area where Broomfleet washlands sites was part of Wallingfen, a seasonally flooded fen and carr area which managed as a common for 48 surrounding hamlets and villages and finally enclosed and drained with the construction to the Market Weighton canal in 1782.
 Despite the dull weather, it doesn't take long to find the first damselfly, a Red eyed, and not long after, my first Variable Damselfly! All round, we find four species, Azure, Blue tailed, Red eyed and variable, mainly resting in the vegetation. Another highlight is the three Marsh Harriers hunting over the site and also at Oxmardyke. Despite the occasional drizzle, a very pleasant walk and a site to which I shall return, especially on a sunny day.
Variable Damselfly, Coenagrion pulchellum 
Golden-bloomed Grey Longhorn, Agapanthia villosoviridescens
Azure Damselfly.
Late instar larvae of Diving Beetle ready to pupate in an underground chamber under a rock.
My finger gives an idea of the size of this larvae, a powerful aquatic predator.
snail ID.
A view of the size from the western path.
Red-eyed damselfly.
spider ID.
Small Tortoiseshell caterpillar munching nettles.
A view of the northern area of the site.
Two carpet moths arranged on hogweed leaf
Azure Damselfly.
Variable Damselfly.
Male Marsh Harrier hovering over the reeds.
Singing Yellowhammer.
A view of the site.
We had done a circuit around the site by midday, so we moved to North Cave Wetlands, a 10 minute drive away. Dozens of Swifts, with a few Sand Martins and House Martins flew low hunting over Dryham lane, quite an spectacle to behold. A slightly different damselfly arrangement at North Cave, with Common Blues in attendance, and also Blue-tailed and Azure. A teneral damselfly was at the first pond, and also 12 exuviae of emperor dragonfly. On the bird front, my first Cetti's warbler in the site and a total of 50 bird species including gadwall and shoveler ducklings, 16 young avocets, 3 Mediterranean gull chicks and a Little Ringed Plover.
Common blue damselfly.
A moulting spider, possibly Larinioides sp.
The longhorn moth, Nemophora degeerella, with a Tetragnatha spider in the background.
The stunning Tenthredo mesomela, a predatory sawfly 
Felame Blue-tailed damselfly form rufescens.
Avocet chick.
Little Ringed Plover.
Shoveler family.
Great Pond Snail, Lymnaea stagnalis.
Emperor dragonfly exuvia.
Several emperor dragonfly exuvia.
Teneral damselfly.
Araniella sp.

Mediterranean Gull with three chicks.
We found two Black Sexton Beetles on a smelly dead rabbit, this one proved quite tricky to photograph.
Swifts over Dryham lane.

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