Tuesday, 21st June 2016

WOLDGARTH - A few interesting other invertebrates were found around the moth trap this morning including a very large species of Caddisfly, this probably being a Phryganea grandis, the largest species of Trichoptera in the British Isles. A single Cockchafer (Melolontha melolontha) was also in the trap, whilst on the outside was a lone Orange Ladybird (Halyzia sedecimguttata), only the second ever record of the species here at Woldgarth. In the pitfall traps was a single Common Heart-shield (Nebria brevicollis) and in the grassland trap two Rove-beetles, though identifying exactly which species of Rove is well beyond my ID skills. However they were a large species (8-9 mm) and were largely black so I suspect they were both a species of Philonthus.

In the afternoon a quick wander around the old homestead brought a number of bee species, including abundant numbers of Tree Bees (B. hypnorum), almost as numerous Carder Bees (B. pascuorum), and a few Early Bumblebees (B. pratorum) and Buff-tails (B. terrestris). As I looked for bugs amongst the herbaceous flowers I noted another species of Plasterer Bee, though unlike the yellow faced Hylaeus communis that I was seeing earlier in the month, these bees were white-faced. Unfortunately I didn't have a camera with me but a bit of study online suggests it was maybe H. hyalinatus, though as there are a number of white-faced species in this genus it is impossible to be certain.

Varied Coronet (Hadena compta)

Meanwhile, after enjoying an al fresco dinner on what was a warm and somewhat muggy evening, I came across a Varied Coronet moth (Hadena compta) hiding beneath one of the garden chairs. The specimen was lovely and fresh, the subtle colours and markings of this attractive moth species looking wonderful through the magnifying glass, and I had just enough time to grab a few photos before it flew away. This is only the third record of this species at Woldgarth, and the first since 2013, whilst the species status in Yorkshire is still considered scarce with just 102 previous records in VC61.

MOTHS (125W MV/Skinner, Woldgarth) - Warm and dry conditions meant it was a good night for the moths (at least by this years standards) with 67 of the little fellows being found in and around the home-made trap this morning, whilst the number of species represented was 25, by far and away the best night so far this year. Many of these species were new additions to the year list, though one of them was actually a new addition to my lifetime list, this coming in the shape and form of a Beautiful Golden Y (Autographa pulchrina), a species which had until now proved elusive here at Woldgarth. Interestingly Plain Golden Y is fairly common in comparison.

Beautiful Golden Y (Autographa pulchrina)

Other new additions included two of my favourite moths, with one each of Scorched Wing (Plagodis dolabraria) and a Green Silver-lines (Pseudoips prasinana), the latter being a bit of a Woldgarth specialist and usually recorded at least three or four times a year. A worn species of Apamea proved difficult to identify though in all likelihood was a Rustic-shoulder Knot (Apamea sordens), whilst other new additions to the macro year list included two Straw Dots (Rivula sericealis), and one each of Bright-line Brown-eye (Lacanobia oleracea), Clouded Silver (Lomographa temerata), Marbled Minor agg. (Oligia strigilis agg.), Ingrailed Clay (Diarsia mendica), Uncertain (Hoplodrina octogenaria) and Spectacle (Abrostola tripartita).

Green Silver-lines (Pseudoips prasinana)

In terms of numbers Heart & Dart (Agrotis exclamationis) dominated the trap with 19 of these always common moths being recorded, though Diamond-back Moths (Plutella xylostella) are also still proving to be fairly numerous with at least 11 of them in the trap. Pugs included three Mottled Pugs (Eupithecia exiguata) and two Common Pugs (Eupithecia vulgata), and other macro species recorded included five Scalloped Hazels (Odontopera bidentata), six Brimstones (Opisthograptis luteolata) and two Common Marbled Carpets (Dysstroma truncata). Finally micros otherwise not previously mentioned included a single Bee Moth (Aphomia sociella), two Light Brown Apple Moths (Epiphyas postvittana), and one each of Common Marble (Celypha lacunana), Brown House-moth (Hofmannophila pseudospretella), Brindled Flat-body (Agonopterix arenella) and Thistle Ermine (Myelois circumvoluta).

Scorched Wing (Plagodis dolabraria)

WEATHER (Woldgarth)
10.2 C to 22.6 C / 0.0 mm / 8.9 hours / SW 1-2
A warm and sunny day for the most part with temperatures climbing up into the low seventies (Fahrenheit), though in the afternoon the sunshine was somewhat more intermittent as cloud bubbled up. Feeling quite muggy as well with light winds and dew points in the mid-teens. Variable amounts of cloud in the evening and overnight.

Monday, 20th June 2016

WEATHER (Rivergarth) - A wet morning with outbreaks of rain, though as time wore on the rain would become lighter and more drizzly with conditions quickly improving in the afternoon. Indeed it was a fine end to the day with plenty of sunshine to enjoy, though it would also remain rather muggy feeling as well. Clear spells overnight.

Sunday, 19th June 2016

WEATHER (Rivergarth) - The day began bright with some good spells of sunshine during the morning but by the afternoon it would become cloudier and would remain so for the rest of the day, the cloud slowly thickening as time went on. Feeling muggy as well, especially in the afternoon and evening. In the second half of the evening outbreaks of rain would arrive, some of which were quite heavy, with further spells of rain continuing for the remainder of the night.

Saturday, 18th June 2016

GROSMONT - I was busy with other things this weekend and therefore had little time for nature hunting or moth trapping, though an hour in the garden around midday did bring some interesting observations, including my first ever Cream-spot Ladybird (Calvia quattuordecimguttata), as well as a nice 10 Spot Ladybird (Adalia decempunctata), both species being found on the now flowering foxgloves beside the riverbank. A Soldier Beetle species was also found in the Cow Parsley, this being a Cantharis pellucida (probably). In the last of the Forget-me-nots large numbers of a Flea Beetle species (maybe Large Flax Flea Beetle) were disturbed whilst I was mowing the steep grassy bank which leads down to the river, and on the Alkanet I found a Flower Bug species (probably Anthocoris nemorum). A Tetragnatha species of spider was also found amongst the riverside foxgloves, possibly T. extensa given the proximity of water.

In the shadier part of the garden a Bacha elongata was noted, this species of hoverfly having been first encountered by myself only last week (link) back at Woldgarth, and a Marmalade Hoverfly (Episyrphus balteatus) was another new addition to the Grosmont list. Hymenoptera was represented by a few species of Bumblebee, including large numbers of Tree Bees (Bombus hypnorum), Early Bumblebee (B. pratorum), and Carder Bees (B. pascuorum), as well as less numerous numbers of other species, including Garden Bumblebee (B. hortorum) and Buff-tailed Bumblebee (B. terrestris).

26038 (Class 26) at Grosmont

No.55022 (running as 55007) near Beck Hole

Other notes included a family of Great Spotted Woodepckers, a Kingfisher whizzing past very, very quickly, a couple of Siskins having a drink down by the river (a surprising sight for a lowland birder such as myself whom still thinks of these finches as a winter visitor), and a family of Grey Wagtails, one of the juveniles being fed by the adult on the bank of river. I also noted that the young Alder trees at the bottom of the garden were also covered in galls, this apparently caused by a mite called Eriophyes laevis.

NYMR - This weekend also saw the annual Diesel Gala at the North Yorkshire Moors Railway, though due to mechanical problems one of the guests was unable to attend. This was particularly annoying as the non-attendee was a Class 47 wearing the old attractive Scotrail colours, a livery which was very familiar to me when I was growing up near Edinburgh. However the Class 40 D213 'Andania' was looking resplendent after its recently completed overhaul, whilst the Deltic (55022) and the Class 26 (26038), which are both enjoying a prolonged stay at the railway, also worked well, though the Class 26 did have a brake issue on the Saturday. The gala was also well attended this year, and hopefully this will not be the last diesel gala to be held up here at the NYMR.

WEATHER (Rivergarth) - A largely cloudy day, though in late morning and the first half of the afternoon some sunny spells would manage to break through. Mostly cloudy overnight but with clearer spells developing by the end of the night.

D213 'Andania', also part of the Diesel Gala at the NYMR this weekend

Friday, 17th June 2016

WEATHER (Woldgarth)
12.0 C to 15.7 C / 1.3 mm / 0.0 hours / NW 4
Yet another grey and cloudy morning, a brisk northerly breeze making it feel fresher and cooler than it has on recent mornings. and it would remain cloudy and cool throughout the afternoon as well, the cloud becoming thick enough to produce some drizzle latterly. In the evening the drizzle would turn into rain and would persist into the first half of the night, but after midnight the rain would begin to clear away. Remaining cloudy however.

Thursday, 16th June 2016

MOTHS (125W MV/Skinner, Woldgarth) - My new home-made Skinner trap made its debut last night, and in the three weeks since mothing last took place at Woldgarth things have certainly moved on with nearly all the species recorded this morning being new additions to the year list. The two most numerous species were Bee Moth (Aphomia sociella) and Scalloped Hazel (Odontopera bidentata) with 7 of the former and five of the latter, though the best moths in the trap were a pair of Common Swift (Korscheltellus lupulina) and a single Pale Tussock (Calliteara pudibunda), both species being relatively uncommon here at Woldgarth. A well marked and fresh looking Mottled Rustic (Caradrina morpheus) was another new species for the year list, as were two Heart & Darts (Agrotis exclamationis), a single Common Marbled Carpet (Dysstroma truncata) and a Buff Ermine (Spilosoma lutea), whilst a pair of Mottled Pugs (Eupithecia exiguata) completed the macro lepidoptera list.

Common Swift (Korscheltellus lupulina)

Pale Tussock (Calliteara pudibunda)

On the micro front five species were recorded, this including three Diamond-back Moths (Plutella xylostella), one each of Light Brown Apple Moth (Epiphyas postvittana), Common Grey (Scoparia ambigualis) and Common Marble (Celypha lacunana), as well as the aforementioned Bee Moths. In total 28 moths of 13 species were noted, a decent enough debut for the new trap given the misty and damp weather.

WEATHER (Woldgarth)
10.8 C to 17.5 C / 0.0 mm / 0.3 hours / N 2-3
A grey and misty start to the day with skies remaining largely grey for the rest of the morning and into the afternoon. However breaks would develop from mid-afternoon onwards with some sunny spells developing but these wouldn't last long with skies becoming largely cloudy again by the evening. Remaining largely cloudy overnight. Feeling cooler and fresher than of late.

Scalloped Hazel (Odontopera bidentata), one of the most common species here at Woldgarth

Wednesday, 15th June 2016

NORTH CAVE WETLANDS - An evening visit to our local wetland nature reserve proved most productive, especially as regards invertebrates, though for most of the birders on site it was a possible Lesser Scaup (Aythya affinis) which was proving to be the major draw. In the end the consensus amongst the more experienced birders (including East Yorkshire bird recorder Geoff Dobbs) was that it was actually some sort of hybrid Scaup, but nevertheless it was certainly an interesting record which will no doubt provide plenty of discussion amongst the 'twitchers' for a while to come. Other good birds included a pair of Mediterranean Gulls (Larus melanocephalus), at least four Little Egrets (Egretta garzetta), a confiding Little Ringed Plover (Charadrius dubius), and the young of Avocets, Shelducks, Great Crested Grebes and Lapwings.

On the lepidoptera front the major highlight was a Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui) along Dryham Lane, this proving to be a somewhat tatty specimen, whilst the flower rich grasslands beside Carp Lake hosted a few Common Blues (Polyommatus icarus) and my first Large Skippers (Ochlodes sylvanus) of the year. These same grasslands hosted a single Cinnabar (Tyria jacobaeae), and a Common Marble (Celypha lacunana), while other moths seen at the reserve included four Small Magpies (Anania hortulata), numerous Nettle Taps (Anthophila fabriciana), and best of all, a single Yellow-barred Long-horn (Nemophora degeerella), this being a new species to me.

Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui)

Common Blue (Polyommatus icarus)

Large Skipper (Ochlodes sylvanus)

Amongst the wildflowers, this including a few Common Spotted Orchids and the first of this years Tufted Vetch, a good variety of beetles were noted crawling around the undergrowth, including up to four species of Soldier Beetle (Cantharidae). Cantharis nigricans was probably the most numerous, these proving particularly abundant amongst the umbelifers along Dryham Lane, whilst Cantharis cryptica and C. livida were also noted. The fourth potential species was either Cantharis rufa or C. figurata but I am not entirely certain about this identification.

Small Magpie (Anania hortulata)

Yellow-barred Long-horn (Nemophora degeerella)

Common Marble (Celypha lacunana)

Along the northern path some more interesting wee beasties were noted, including a species of Leaf Beetle (possibly an Altica species), a Click Beetle (Athous haemorrhoidalis), Neetle Weevils (Phyllobius pomaceus), other unidentified species of Weevil, 7 Spot and Harlequin Ladybirds (Coccinella septempunctata & Harmonia axyridis), and a wonderful looking Golden-bloomed Grey Longhorn (Agapanthia villosoviridescens). I have never come across this species before and it was definitely most impressive. A species of Ichneumon Wasp species was also encountered (Dusona circumspectans?), as were two species of Sawfly with numerous representatives of a single Tenthredo species (T. arcuata?), as well as a very vivid species of Rhogogaster.

Golden-bloomed Grey Longhorn (Agapanthia villosoviridescens)

I think this is either Cantharis rufa or C. figurata

Cantharis nigricans

The warm weather this evening also meant it was good conditions for spiders with numerous species being spotted whilst I looked for beetles and bugs. A species of Wolf Spider (maybe Pardosa amentata) was seen with its egg sac in the brambles beside Carp Lake, and in this same area three other species were noted including a probable Comb-footed Spider (Enoplognatha ovata), a new species for me in the shape and form of Pachygnatha clercki, and a species of Tetragnatha (probably T. extensa or maybe T. montana). All in all a productive visit on what was a pleasant early summer evening.

Nettle Weevil (Phyllobius pomaceus)

Comb-footed Spider (Enoplognatha ovata)

Wolf Spider species (Pardosa amentata?)

WOLDGARTH - A single Common Blackclock (Pterostichus madidus) was the only beetle in the traps this morning, this proving to be a bit of a smelly specimen when I took it indoors to examine under the microscope. The single 'puncture' on the elytra which helps to ID this species is something I find very hard to see with my magnifying glass so therefore I like to double check with my microscope just in case it might be something else. It is also useful trying to become fully acquainted with common species such as this as hopefully this will help me to spot the subtle differences which exist between the different species of Ground Beetle.

Ichneumon species (Dusona circumspectans?)

Click Beetle species (Athous haemorrhoidalis?)

Another shot of the wonderful Golden-bloomed Grey Longhorn

WEATHER (Woldgarth)
11.9 C to 17.2 C / 0.4 mm / 1.1 hours / NE 2-3
A grey and damp morning with occasional outbreaks of rain but by midday it would begin to dry up with some brighter periods managing to develop going into the afternoon. Indeed some decent sunny spells would develop in the afternoon, though by evening cloud amounts would again increase with a mostly cloudy night following. Becoming murky by the end of the night as well with poor visibility by dawn.

Tuesday, 14th June 2016

WOLDGARTH - Worryingly there has been no further sign of the young Bullfinch since Sunday, though hopefully it is just keeping a low profile in the mature and thick Holly and Yews which surround the garden. The Great Spotted Woodpecker is continuing to visit daily, indeed the youngster visited the feeding station all by its self yesterday, though today it looked like the male had gone back to collecting the food and taking it the waiting hungry juvenile in a nearby tree. The pitfall traps meanwhile yielded just one beetle, a Common Heart-shield (Nebria brevicollis), and so far this species has been far and away the most frequently recorded carabid in the traps. However the lack of results from my grassland trap, indeed I have only caught slugs with this trap since it was installed, means I may change things around later in the week.

WEATHER (Woldgarth)
11.3 C to 18.9 C / 4.0 mm / 4.8 hours / NE 2-3
After an initially cloudy start, the cloud thick enough to produce some spots of rain at first, it would become brighter as the morning progressed with sunny spells developing by midday. Remaining clement throughout the afternoon with plenty of long sunny spells, temperatures reaching a very pleasant 19 C. Cloud increasing in the evening and overnight with some outbreaks of rain in the second half of the night, some of these being heavy with a peak rainfall rate of 17.2 mm/h being recorded by the automatic rain gauge.

Monday, 13th June 2016

WOLDGARTH - No carabids were found in the three traps this morning, though an unexpected delight was provided by a single Smooth Newt (Lissotriton vulgaris) in the largest of the traps. This is only the second record of a Newt at Woldgarth and the first for over a decade, the dry chalky soil and lack of any open water in or near the garden meaning that the area is not really suitable for amphibians. One day I would like to add a wildlife pond to the garden but unfortunately I am very much the exception in the family in regards my love for all of nature, especially the creeping and buzzing things, and have always been out-voted when it comes to adding a water feature.

WEATHER (Woldgarth)
11.5 C to 19.2 C / 1.1 mm / 0.1 hours / N 2
Yet another largely cloudy but warm early summer's day with temperatures rising to just shy of 20 C and dew points in the high teens. However in mid-afternoon it did brighten up briefly with even a short burst of sunshine, but this was short-lived with cloud soon returning. The cloud became thick enough for some light rain & drizzle in early evening with further outbreaks of rain overnight, especially towards the end of the night.

Smooth Newt (Lissotriton vulgaris)

Sunday, 12th June 2016

WOLDGARTH - On a cloudy but muggy afternoon I conducted a garden bird count, this being my first such survey for quite some time. In total 26 birds of 13 species were recorded in the garden itself with numbers as follows; Blackbird x2 (1♂ & 1 juv.), Blue Tit x3, Bullfinch x3 (♂2), Chaffinch x2 (♂1), Coal Tit x1, Dunnock x1, Great Tit x1 (1 juv.), Great Spotted Woodpecker x1 (♂1), Greenfinch x3, Goldfinch x4 (1 juv.), Robin x2, Magpie x2, and Wood Pigeon x3. The single juvenile seen with the three adult Goldfinches was the first 'greyplate' I have seen this year.

Birds heard or seen overhead included Jackdaw (one of which was at the feeding station this morning), Crow, Starling, Swift, Swallow, Collared dove, and House Sparrow, and all in all it was interesting to note how similar the bird species recorded are to those recorded in the winter months, albeit in somewhat reduced numbers at this time of year.

The male Great Spotted Woodpecker feeding the youngster

Unlike most young birds the GS Woodpecker is a rather smart looking bird

About an hour after conducting the count a family of Great Spotted Woodpeckers (Dendrocopos major) turned up at the feeding station, a lovely red-capped juvenile amongst them. The family would repeatedly visit during the rest of the afternoon, the adults feeding the youngster at the feeding station, this giving me the chance to grab a few nice photos despite the grey skies. Further excitement was also brought this afternoon by the first Bullfinch fledgling (Pyrrhula pyrrhula) of the year, though the obviously just fledged bird also caught the attention of the local Magpies. Thankfully in this instance I was able to scare off the Magpies before they could do any harm, but in the longer term I am not quite so confident. Still I hope for the best, whilst the number of confirmed breeders at Woldgarth has now increased to 15 this year.

The recent damp weather would also seem less conducive to ground beetle surveying with just two being found in the pitfall traps in the past three days, though I have been wondering whether I should add some bait to help increase counts. The two beetles encountered have been the two most common species to be found in most gardens, with one each of Common Blackclock (Pterostichus madidus) and Common Heart-shield (Nebria brevicollis), both being placid enough for me to place under my much neglected Soviet made microscope which I bought for myself with all my pocket money when I was about 12. Maybe it will finally come in use twenty-one years later!

Waiting for its next meal

WEATHER (Woldgarth)
10.3 C to 18.7 C / 0.2 mm / 0.0 hours / N 1
A grey and cloudy day again with little in the way of brightness, though despite the overcast skies it would feel warm and muggy with dew points up in the mid to high teens yet again. Indeed in late afternoon and evening it did seem that all the muggy weather might result in a sharp shower, the sky growing very dark for a time, but other than some light rain it didn't really come to much. Overcast overnight with temperatures again remaining in double figures throughout.

Saturday, 11th June 2016

WEATHER (Woldgarth)
9.3 C to 16.0 C / 4.5 mm / 0.0 hours / NE 1
A dull and damp morning with outbreaks of rain, especially prior to 9 am, and whilst it would become drier by the end of the morning, it would remain grey and cloudy for the remainder of the morning and indeed the afternoon. Further rain returning in mid-evening with outbreaks of moderate rain for much of the night. A mild and muggy night with temperatures remaining in double figures.

Friday, 10th June 2016

WOLDGARTH - No beetles at all were found in my three pitfall traps this morning and all in all it was a pretty quiet day with largely grey skies and outbreaks of mostly light rain. However I did come across a curious species of hoverfly, which after collecting, photographing and examining, I have been able to identify as Baccha elongata, a new species for the garden list. Interestingly though this species is considered common across most of the country, no records appear to come from the eastern side of the Yorkshire Wolds (link), so either I have got my ID wrong, or the species is extending its range. (However a little more research has found that the species has been recorded at nearby Tophill Low on a number of occasions so perhaps the NBN data needs updating!).

Baccha elongata

Further distractions today included a confiding Zebra Spider (Salticus scenicus) in the main upstairs hallway, the specimen in question allowing me to almost literally shove my macro lens right in its face. Even if you are a confirmed arachnophobe you surely can't dislike this rather charming and diminutive species, those large dark eyes gazing back with almost equal curiosity to that of the photographer behind the camera lens.

A female Zebra Spider (Salticus scenicus). Isn't she lovely!

More of the Salticidae beauty

WEATHER (Woldgarth)
10.1 C to 19.9 C / 5.7 mm / 0.2 hours / N 1
A largely grey day with some outbreaks of mostly light rain at times, especially in the morning, though it would brighten up for a time in mid-afternoon with even some short-lived weak sunshine. Feeling warm and muggy despite the cloud with dew points in the high teens. In late afternoon and the evening further outbreaks of rain would return, some of which were quite heavy, and it would remain overcast and muggy overnight with further outbreaks of rain at times, especially towards dawn.

Thursday, 9th June 2016

WOLDGARTH - Five ground beetles were found in my two pitfall traps this morning, all of which were Nebria brevicollis (I think!), though the odd woodlouse and a few other tiny wee critters were also found at the bottom of the collecting jars, including what looked like the larvae of a Ladybird species. A dead Wood Mouse (Apodemus sylvaticus) was also found in the garden this morning, presumably the victim of a local cat judging by the lack of obvious injury, and the garden Tree Bees (Bombus hypnorum) were once again seen 'dancing' around the icy covered wall, something they have been doing daily since the beginning of the week. Meanwhile the bird feeding station has been recently attracting the local Rooks (Corvus frugilegus), these rather beautiful and social members of the crow family coming for the fat balls, and today a couple of youngsters also accompanied them, the birds soon finishing off the what was left of the food.

A trio of Nebria brevicollis

A young Rook at the feeding station

Meanwhile during the afternoon I tried to photograph more of the interesting Plasterer Bees (Hylaeus communis) that I recorded for the first time yesterday, though in the process I actually recorded yet another species of hymenoptera, though it was only when I checked the photos afterwards that I realised that they were different (at the time I had assumed they were female H. communis). I then spent what seemed like hours trying to ID the bee species in question and in the end have come to conclusion that is a species of Lassioglossum, perhaps L. smeathmanellum given the green hue, though if you think differently please get in touch.

Lassioglossum species

Male and female Hylaeus communis?

WEATHER (Woldgarth)
8.7 C to 20.1 C / 3.5 mm / 7.0 hours / SE 1-2
Another cloudy start to the day and remaining cloudy for the duration of the morning, though in the afternoon things would quickly begin to brighten up with clear blue skies and an abundance of sunshine by mid-afternoon. Skies remaining clear until around dusk but thereafter cloud would increase and thicken with some outbreaks of heavy rain shortly after midnight (peak rate of 28.0 mm/h). The heaviest of the rain would soon clear but the rest of the night would remain humid and overcast with further light rain at times.

Wednesday, 8th June 2016

WOLDGARTH - The first night using my new pitfall trap (in reality just an old coffee can buried in the ground) brought me two species of Ground Beetle (Carabidae) when I went to check it this morning, with one being a large species (17-18 mm) and the other a medium sized specimen (11-12 mm). Bearing in mind that my beetle ID skills leave a lot to be desired, I have nevertheless tentatively identified the larger species as Black Clock Beetle (Pterostichus madidus), the rounded shape and the size of the pronutum looking about right, whilst the smaller species I think could be Nebria brevicollis, the fluted shape of the pronutum and the fine hairs on the hind tarsi leading me towards this conclusion. However please correct me if you think differently!

Black Clock Beetle (Pterostichus madidus)

Nebria brevicollis

In the hazy afternoon sunshine a stroll around the garden brought another observation of a single Volucella bombylans (again of the bombylans variety), though far more numerous were the similar but usually redder coloured Narcissus Bulb Flies (Merodon equestris). As I attempted to photograph these always busy hoverflies, I was joined by a confiding Common Frog (Rana temporaria), this giving me the chance to photograph one of our commonest amphibians up close. An interesting species of what I originally took to be a Sawfly was also found, though we actually later identified this as a species of Plasterer Bee, the specimen most likely being Hylaeus communis.

Common Frog (Rana temporaria)

WEATHER (Woldgarth)
11.1 C to 18.9 C / 0.0 mm / 6.4 hours / NE 2
A cloudy but warm start to the day and it would remain largely cloudy for most of the morning with little in the way of brightness. However in the afternoon some hazy spells of sunshine would manage to break through, this helping to push temperatures up towards a very comfortable 19 C. Cloud increasing again in the evening with skies becoming largely cloudy after midnight, though it wasn't quite as mild as last night with temperatures dipping into single figures.

Plasterer Bee species (Hylaeus communis?)

Narcissus Bulb Fly (Merodon equestris)

Tuesday, 7th June 2016

WOLDGARTH - Whilst installing a basic pit trap in the garden (for ground beetles), I noticed about a dozen Tree Bees (Bombus hypnorum) flying around the ivy covered north-facing wall of the garden. I have never noted such behaviour before, nor have I seen so many Tree Bees in a single location, and a quick look online suggests that this so called 'dancing' behaviour by B. hypnorum is part of the species breeding behaviour (see the section titled 'Nest Surveillance Flights' on page 2 of this leaflet).

With temperatures today soaring above 25 C the garden was full of bees enjoying the early summer flowers, including the aforementioned Tree Bees (Bombus hypnorum), Buff-tailed Bumblebee (B. terrestris), Early Bumblebee (B. pratorum), Carder Bees (B. pascuorum) and another species which I have yet to identify. Meanwhile the smaller species of bee yet again caused me headaches (I find them very difficult to ID), though I think one of them was Andrena carantonica. The bee-mimic Volucella bombylans was also noted, in this case the mimic being of the more typical bombylans variety (with a red tail). In the undergrowth a hunting Zebra Spider (Salticus scenicus) was encountered, a species I tend to associate with indoors rather than out, though the main highlight of the day would could come courtesy of my first dragonfly of the year, a Broad-bodied Chaser (Libellula depressa). This medium to large species of dragonfly remained in the garden for most of the afternoon, hunting from a dead branch on top of the north wall, and this is only the second record of this species at Woldgarth.

Buff-tailed Bumblebee (Bombus terrestris)

Carder Bee (Bombus pascuorum)

BEVERLEY WESTWOOD - A single Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui) was seen amongst the abundant Buttercups early this morning, a nice start to the day. The Red Hawthorns are also flowering on the Westwood now, these attractive thorny shrubs having joined the more abundant white flowering varieties about a week ago.

WEATHER (Woldgarth)
6.5 C to 25.5 C / 0.0 mm / 11.7 hours / NE 1-2
Another sunny and warm early summer's day with temperatures in excess of 20 C by 10 am and eventually climbing up to 25.5 C (77.9 F), easily the warmest day so far this year. In late afternoon and the evening the sunshine would become increasingly hazy with skies becoming mostly cloudy overnight as cloud came in off the North Sea. However it was a mild night thanks to the cloud with temperatures falling no lower than 11 C.

Broad-bodied Chaser (Libellula depressa)

A male Zebra Spider (Salticus scenicus)

Monday, 6th June 2016

WOLDGARTH - The Diamond-back Moth (Plutella xylostella) invasion seems to be subsiding already with far fewer being noted in the garden today (on Friday they seemed to be everywhere). Meanwhile a few species of butterfly were enjoying the warm sunshine today, including a few Holly Blues (Celastrina argiolus), a variety of Whites (Pieridae), and a single Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui). A Garden Bumblebee (Bombus hortorum) also joined me in my office in late afternoon, the scruffy and long-faced species of bumble-bee soon being captured and returned to the great outdoors.

WEATHER (Woldgarth)
5.3 C to 21.4 C / 0.0 mm / 12.5 hours / SE 2
A mostly sunny morning with plenty of warm June sunshine to enjoy, whilst in the afternoon skies would clear completely with wall to wall sunshine for the remainder of the day. Feeling very warm with temperatures climbing above 70 degrees, though from mid-afternoon onwards a cooling sea-breeze would peg temperatures back a little. Remaining clear overnight with temperatures dipping down to around 6 C.

Diamond-back Moth (Plutella xylostella)

Holly Blue (Celastrina argiolus)

Sunday, 5th June 2016

GROSMONT - An early morning walk after inspecting the moth trap provided plenty of interest, including a family of Garden Warblers (Sylvia borin) near the NYMR sheds, a large number of Long-tailed tits (Aegithalos caudatus), beautiful singing Blackcaps (Sylvia atricapilla) and a young Nuthatch (Sitta europaea) in the church-yard of St. Mathew's. Down by the cricket field I stumbled upon an interesting moth on the grass verge, this turning out to be a White-pinion Spotted Moth (Lomographa bimaculata), a new species for me and an uncommon species locally with less than 80 records in VC62. A couple of Soldier Beetles were also found in this same location, these possibly being Cantharis cryptica, along with an Early Mining Bee (Andrena haemorrhoa).

White-pinion Spotted (Lomographa bimaculata)

Cantharis cryptica ?

RAIL TRAIL WALK - With the much improved weather today we decided to head out on the lovely walk up to the neighbouring community of Goathland, my eldest niece joining us on what is a relatively gentle stroll. On the track towards Esk Valley (a small hamlet within the parish of Grosmont), a few interesting bugs were noted, including a new species for me in the shape and form of Liocoris tripustulatus. A few species of beetle were also encountered, though as of yet I have been unable to ID any of them with any great certainty (see below). In the undergrowth a few Nursery Web Spiders (Pisaura mirabilis) and a species of Crab Spider (probably Xysticus cristatus) were additionally noted, and around Beck Hole at least five False Blister Beetles were noted in the buttercups (Oedemera virescens?).

A colourful species of Ground Beetle (Poecilus species?)

Maybe a Green Dock Beetle (Gastrophysa viridula?)

As we passed the small cottage just south of Esk Valley, a Barn Owl (Tyto alba) was hunting over the meadows, a wonderful sight, and a little further on another fantastic observation came courtesy of a female Redstart (Phoenicurus phoenicurus), the red-tail giving it away as it flew into the blossom covered Hawthorns. Another Redstart was also encountered on our walk, this coming at the ford near to Darnholm. Other good birds this morning included Jay (Garrulus glandarius) and Marsh Tit (Poecile palustris), and it was also good to find the nests of Blackcap (this deep in a bramble thicket) and of a Great Spotted Woodpecker (this high in a birch near Beck Hole).

Common Whitethroat (Sylvia communis)

Female Blackcap (Sylvia atricapilla)

As we neared Darnholm (deviating from the usual route through Goathland) we passed a swarm of Honey Bees, an impressive sight and sound, though thinking it was perhaps best not to linger we quickly moved on. In the flowering lilacs a single Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui) was spotted, the first of five observations of this migratory species today, and as we climbed up onto the moors themselves we noted Green Tiger Beetles (Cicindela campestris) scurrying along the ground. A large black beetle was also encountered, this appearing to be a type of Dor Beetle (Geotrupes), as was a species of Sawfly, this possibly being Macrophya alboannulata, though of course caution is strongly advised when trying to identify invertebrates merely by photographic means.

Crab Spider (Xysticus cristatus?)

Sawfly species (Macrophya alboannulata?)

Other observations from the walk included a few species of butterfly with Orange Tip (Anthocharis cardamines), Green-veined White (Pieris napi), Brimstone (Gonepteryx rhamni), Peacock (Aglais io), Speckled Wood (Pararge aegeria) and the aforementioned Painted Ladies all being noted into my field logbook, whilst bees included Carder (Bombus pascuorum), Early Bumblebee (B. pratorum) and probable White-tailed Bumblebee (B. lucorum). The current abundance of early summer wildflowers were also enjoyed, the woods around Beck Hole being filled with Water x Wood Aven (Geum rivale x urbanum) hybirds, whilst near Esk Valley more Dusky Cranesbill (Geranium phaeum) have come into flower since our last visit. The lane to Esk Valley is also now host to large amounts of flowering Comfrey, and the gravel path near Beck Hole is brightened by large amounts of flowering Birds-foot Trefoil (Lotus corniculatus).

Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui)

Dor Beetle species?

MOTHS (15W Act./Skinner, Rivergarth) - Another slow night with just a single macro moth in the trap, this turning out to be a Spruce Carpet (Thera britannica), though at least 15 Diamond-back Moths (Plutella xylostella) provided some extra interest. However more surprising was the presence of a Nursery Web Spider (Pisaura mirabilis) in the trap, whilst other invertebrate interest was provided by a single Cockchafer (Melolontha melolontha), a Black Sexton (Nicrophorus humator), a Mayfly species and two species of Caddisfly (one of which was possibly Brachycentrus subnubilus).

Nursery Web Spider (Pisaura mirabilis)

WEATHER (Rivergarth) - A cloudy and grey start to the day but by mid-morning it would quickly begin to brighten up with an abundance of sunshine bathing the countryside of the Esk Valley by midday. Feeling warm in the sun, especially with much lighter winds, and all in all it was a perfect early summer day. Remaining largely clear overnight.