Monday, September 18, 2017

A reminder of Summer, Duke of Burgundy butterflies, uncommon wild flowers, wild camping and a Greenish Warbler 'lifer'

Can't remember such a personally 'low key' summer as this for many a year and although I've never felt much 'get up and go' when it comes around to July & August (too much cricket on the radio for one thing!), this year my get up and go just got up and went! Not helped at all by the fact that my passport to midweek breaks away in the UK - the camper I bought last year, turned into a right money pit and certified vehicle from hell!👹...Completely lost faith in the old thing in the end and sold her for a song. Its a Hymer for me next methinks, a bit pricey but completely reliable I'm told and that's what we want.

Giant Bellflower, Rifle Butts Quarry, 05/07/17


Anyway, net result is that I haven't been out of Yorkshire since Mull in the spring so not a great deal to crow about (hence the lack of blog posts recently), so just local bits and bobs. A lot of wild flowers and butterfly pics that I've only just got around to sorting (how slack am I?!😞)....Ah but we keep on snapping away, so as the first autumn storms begin to blow in, here's a little reminder of sunnier, warmer days....










Clustered Bellflower, Rifle Butts Quarry, 05/07/17













 2 Bellflower species at one site, both new to me and had to get the id book out for both and then on the way out of the reserve and kind of growing by the roadside I see this strange plant which at the time I took for some kind of hybrid Sunflower / garden escape. Turns out to be Elecampane and it is indeed a member of the Sunflower family, and a well known remedial herb. Quite unusual for the Yorkshire Wolds I think.

Elecampane, Rifle Butts Quarry, 05/07/17

Selfheal, Wharram Percy Staion, 30/06/17


Another medicinal plant and another reserve I hadn't visited, the rather more common Selfheal at Bolton Percy Station, along with Musk Mallow and then a few other pretty blooms that caught my eye in the summer that's now well on the way out ...



Musk Mallow, Wharram Percy Staion, 30/06/17








Yellow Loosestrife, Askham Bog, 25/06/17

Bethany, Newton Dale, NY Moors, 18/07/17



Pyramidal Orchid, Rifle Butts Quarry, 05/07/17


Marjoram, Rifle Butts Quarry, 05/07/17
Common Cranesbill, Fangfoss Park, 07/07/17


Bloody Cranesbill, Rifle Butts Quarry, 05/07/17
Marbled White, Rifle Butts Quarry, 05/07/17
Gorgeous colour on that Bloody Cranesbill at Rifle Butts Quarry, a great little YWT reserve that I hadn't been to before. At the same reserve and at nearby Kiplingcoates Chalk Quarry I was treated to some delightful views of Marbled White butterflies, most I've ever seen in one day with 15- 20 all told. Some pics here along with a few other choice butterflies..
Kiplingcoates chalk quarry, 05/07/17


Marbled White, Rifle Butts Quarry, 05/07/17

Marbled White, Kiplingcoates, 05/07/17

Ringlet on Field Scabious, Askham Bog, 25/06/17

Large Skipper on Bloody Cranesbill, Rifle Butts Quarry, 05/07/17

Small Skipper, 03/07/17, Fangfoss Park
Red Admiral, Askham Bog, 20/08/17

Gatekeeper, Askham Bog, 16/07/17

Brimstone on Purple Loosestrife, Askham Bog, 13/08/17

Brimstone, Askham Bog, 13/08/17
Campsite, Sutton Bank, 01/06/17
 Back in June I went overnight camping with a couple of mates nr Sutton Bank. This has become an annual event for me - a spot of wild camping, wildlife watching and midnight music, this year we took in one of the few places in the north of England where you can still see Duke of Burgandy butterflies. All pics courtesy of Jez Ballantyne....


Wood collecting!

Duke of Burgandy, Hawnby, 01/06/17

Duke of Burgandy, Hawnby, 01/06/17
A 'lifer' butterfly for me and I want to see some more so lets hope this little North Yorks stronghold continues to thrive.... oh and the tea room at nearby Hawnby is a little slice of heaven to die for on a sunny afternoon in the NY Moors!

Corn Bunting, Fangfoss Pk, 26/06/17
Very local to me here at Fangfoss I was very pleased to add bird species number 92 to my patch list, a single Corn Bunting perched on telegraph wires just outside the campsite.

Granted they're not the world's most attractive bird but they get scarcer every year and along with Turtle Doves and Yellow Wagtails they seem to be the least able to cope with modern day intensive farming methods.

Not so my local Common Buzzard population, loads of them around here and its rare for me to lift the lens to them anymore but this one was carrying a big Brown Rat back to the nest!




Common Buzzard with Brown Rat, Fangfoss Pk, 21/06/17
Not a heap load of other decent bird records / pics over the summer but with our resident and summer visitors all preoccupied with breeding, feeding and raising young there's always something going on!

Redstart (male) feeding young, Newtondale, 13/06/17
I volunteer to do a Turtle Dove survey every year in the NY Moors and although we drew a complete 'nil point' in our section we did record a successful breeding pair of Redstarts. Rubbish pic, shady light and felt shady intruding in there, but here's the male who was continuously bringing grubs back to a couple of Redstart fledglings.
















Spotted Flycatcher, Strensall  Common, 23/08/7
5 Spotted Flycatchers all together in one little feeding group on Strensall Common was a non too shabby record, wasn't sure if these were early passage or local 'young 'uns' spreading their wings ...nice to see either way.

Spotted Flycatcher, Strensall  Common, 23/08/7
Juv Common Whitethroat, Newtondale, 18/07/17
And here's a few more young birds from earlier in the year that happened to find themselves unwittingly photographed!


Juv Grey Wag being fed by parent, Thornton le Dale, 12/06/17
Same juv G.Wag having a fight with a feather ..aw bless!
Juv Reed Bunting, Thornton Ings, 25/06/17























Juv male Common Kestrel, Fangfoss Park, 18/08/17


This young male Common Kestrel terrorized the living daylights out of the fledgling Barn Swallows that were hopping about in the trees next to my caravan, as well as every other living thing in the field opposite .. here he is on a hay bail after catching a mole.







Juv male Common Kestrel, Fangfoss Park, 18/08/17










Common Swift heading south, Fangfoss Park, 23/08/17

No idea to be honest if this is a youngster or not but a later than normal departure of Common Swifts seems to have been a theme within local birding circles this year. This one was late Aug but I had odd ones up until Sept 7th and other birders around here are still seeing them. Climate change .. blah blah blah!


















Greenish Warbler, Bempton, 01/09/17


All set now for Autumn migration on the east coast; it's already underway after a slow start with a good smattering of good birds turning up on the Yorkshire coast - Red Necked Phalarope, Pectoral Sandpiper, Long Billed Dowitcher, Icterine Warbler, White Winged Black Tern, Wryneck & Rose Coloured Starling at Spurn and Greenish Warbler, Great Shearwater, Barred Warbler and an early Lapland Bunting on the headlands around Flamborough and RSPB Bempton. I made an effort for the Greenish Warbler as I'd never seen one and got a 'so so' pic










Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Dashing Hobbies on Crowle Moor

Here's a few choice pics of at least half a dozen Hobbies seen on a trip out to Thorne / Crowle Moors on the South Yorks / Lincs border. I went there with my good friend Rob specifically to see these dashing falcons because he'd never seen one. He was well pleased!

Bit of an overcast day with the occasional shower of rain, it wasn't the best day to capture these birds - they're so fast flying, so these pics aren't the sharpest but I enjoyed the challenge nonetheless.
Hobby, Crowle Moor, 01/08/17


Here's the pics then interspersed with other pics from the day - a few of the more unusual wild flowers on show amongst them and a cracking Gatekeeper butterfly of which there were many - mostly taken by Rob. 


 They were catching dragonflies for fun and I'm slightly disappointed I didn't get a decent action shot of that but no worries, its was good to see them thriving here and this is yet another bird of prey doing rather well in the UK. An increase in dragonfly numbers due to the creation of more gravel pits and climate change are 2 of the possible theories put forward for their expanding range. 

Hobby, Crowle Moor, 01/08/17
Common Centaury, Crowle Moor, 01/08/17

Hobby, Crowle Moor, 01/08/17
Yellow Wort, Crowle Moor, 01/08/17

Hobby, Crowle Moor, 01/08/17
Gatekeeper, Crowle Moor, 01/08/17

Hobby, Crowle Moor, 01/08/17
Hemp Agrimony, Crowle Moor, 01/08/17

Hobby, Crowle Moor, 01/08/17
Tansy flower, Crowle Moor, 01/08/17



Hobby, Crowle Moor, 01/08/17
Hobby, Crowle Moor, 01/08/17
The moors of Thorne and Crowle along with Hatfield Moor and Goole Fields form the largest area of raised peat bog wilderness in the lowland Britain (nearly 3000 hectares of the stuff!) - collectively termed the Humberhead Peatlands (more info here), its an area of national and international significance and thankfully well protected by various agencies such as Natural England and both Yorks and Lincs Wildlife Trusts.  The whole area seems to get better every year and well worth a visit. Here's my last couple of Hobby pics and for the record also recorded on the day were Turtle Dove, Greenshank, Teal, Shoveler, Sedge Warblers++, and many migrating Swifts and Sand Martins
Hobby, Crowle Moor, 01/08/17