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July 2009

1st - After a foggy start the sun soon broke through and it became very hot, the mercury rising to 27.7 C. Indeed this was the first day to see a high in excess of 80 degrees since 5th August 2007.

2nd - A gorgeous warm and sunny morning in the Parks today, with the crops in the fields coming along after the recent sunny and very warm conditions. The winter Barley is now golden in the morning sun, and the wheat is looking healthy and strong. Amongst the wheat poppies are still in good flower. Birds were also much in evidence this morning with finches, buntings, warblers, and also a lone Oystercatcher which was flying around the local area.

3rd - A very heavy thundery shower during mid morning, with 8 mm’s recorded.

4th - The Apple trees are shedding fruits at the moment, what with the largely dry and warm conditions at the moment. However there will still be plenty of apples come harvest time.

5th - Young birds are seen most days on the bird feeders at the moment, with Blue tits, Great tits, Robin’s, & Blackbirds the most common visitors.

Bempton Cliffs - Went to Bempton early this morning, arriving shortly after 7 am. The weather was warm and sunny and being early meant we only had to share the cliffs with about a dozen or so other visitors, with most of them being the photography types who click away continuously at everything they see. All the birds now have chicks with the Kittiwakes looking particularly healthy and prosperous with the chicks now reaching a decent size and their ‘W’ wing feathers becoming apparent. The Gannet chicks are now huge, sitting in their large nests like a ball of fluff. It’s amazing how such a creature eventually turns into the beautiful seabirds that are adult Gannets. However the auks didn’t appear to be prospering in the same way, and I didn’t see any Razorbill chicks, and saw just two Guillemot chicks. This is very worrying, perhaps pointing to another poor year for these vulnerable species. Puffins & Fulmars were seen well, though I didn’t see any young ones, and on the cliff tops we saw a few young Herring gulls. The grass on the cliff tops hasn’t been cut this year, and amongst this were Skylarks & Pipits. I also thought I heard a Grasshopper Warbler amongst the scrub, though I was not a 100% sure about this observation. A fine mornings outing.

6th - About fourteen Starling’s were on the lawn at one point this evening. This following frequent thundery showers during the afternoon.

7th - Heavy showers again this afternoon, with some rumbles of thunder.

8th - Rosebay Willowherb now coming into flower in the hedgerows.

10th - Most of the local elderflower is now gone over, and I now look forward to them coming into fruit in a few months time. Likewise the Brambles are now concluding their flowering.

12th, Deepdale - Calliswold - A walk in the high Wolds this morning, this area always producing plenty of interest. The weather was largely cloudy, but dry, though after heavy rain overnight it was quite muggy and the grass was very wet. The hedgerows are roadside verges are now by and large gone to seed, though Wild Geraniums are now widely in flower. Amongst the hedges Yellowhammers, & Whitethroats were seen and heard, and in general all the usual farmland birds were well represented, including Linnets, Pipits, & Skylarks. The leaf warblers have now sadly finished singing, though they were heard simply calling throughout the valley. Raptors were not in evidence like they usual are here, though we did see both a Sparrowhawk and a Kestrel.

However the main highlight of this morning was the first sightings of Marbled Whites this year, with a number of these beautiful butterflies seen amongst the grassy downland valley sides. Unfortunately they were very flighty so I wasn’t able to get any pictures, but nevertheless it was just nice to simply see them. Another highlight was the discovery of about ten or so Burnet moths on a thistle, which unlike the butterflies were very placid, and allowed me to get very close to them. This is the first time that I have seen them this year. Other butterflies seen this morning include Whites, Browns & Skippers. All in all a very pleasant mornings out in the field.

13th - The first field of Barley is now in in the Parklands area. This morning was a gorgeous one, with clear blue skies and warm sunshine, though with the harvest begun and most flowers now gone over it is beginning to increasingly feel and look autumnal. The harvest is a jolly fine time of year and hopefully conditions will be better this year compared to the last two years.

16th - The Barley field has now been bailed up. In the hedgerows some Blackberries are now starting to ripen, though these are isolated fruits and most blackberries are still green, and indeed some are still in flower.

17th - Heavy rain last night and this morning, with over 20 mm’s recorded.

19th - There was a very bright flash of lightning and a gun crack rumble of thunder almost right overhead, as heavy and frequent showers dominated the afternoon.

North Cliffe Wood - Dad and I paid a visit to this lovely area of woodland for the first time since early May. The weather was grey and damp with the rain becoming heavy towards the end of our visit. The wet conditions meant it was not very good for butterflies, with just the odd moth, white, and brown seen, though the rain did not deter the flies, and more importantly the Mosquitoes, with Dad and I suffering multiple bites. The growth in the wood is now very dense, with areas of Fern above head height. However autumn signs are now appearing, with some red, or at least orangey red berries on the Rowans, while on the Hazels the developing nuts can be seen. Bird life through the wood was dominated by the warblers, and tits, with two beautifully singing Blackcaps heard at the top end of the wood. The young of many passerine species were also seen, with Great Tits particularly well represented. Towards the end of our visit we stumbled upon a wonderfully fragrant Honeysuckle which was growing up a Birch in the heart of the wood, the wet and damp air perhaps making the perfume all the stronger.

21st - A juvenile Great Spotted Woodpecker was seen at the feeding station today, confirming that they successfully bred again this year. This is the second year in a row that they have done so locally. The adult male was also seen today. Elsewhere I notice that the Rowans on Lincoln Way are beginning to ripen, and are currently a bright vivid orange.

24th - Heard a Willow warbler in Grayburn car park this morning.

25th - Saw a Painted Lady butterfly in the garden today, and other species seen include Whites, Blues, Red Admiral, & Comma.

26th - The juvenile GS Woodpecker continues to visit most days at the moment, and indeed so are many juveniles of other species, including Blue tits, Great tits, Magpies, Jackdaws, Robins, Blackbirds, & Song Thrush.

Bishop Wilton - Our Sunday morning walk took us to the Bishop Wilton area this morning, one of my favourite areas, what with the peaceful village itself and the wonderful views afforded from the Wolds above. The weather was grey today, with some light rain at first, and up on the Wolds it was quite breezy. In the fields behind the village we saw a good amount of developing Sloes on the Blackthorn, and other wild bounty seen in the area included Hazel nuts, Hawthorn berries, Blackberries, and Elderberries. In a month or so it will be a veritable larder. In the higher woods the Ramson’s are still giving off their distinctive perfume, and on the trees one could a spy the developing nuts on both Beeches and Horse Chestnuts. The valley is now part of one of these chalkland restoration schemes, and in some areas they have sown traditional wildflowers, most of which had now concluded, though one could still identify Oxeye daisy, Yarrow, Vetch, Clover, and a few others. Indeed in the local hedgerows most flowers have now gone over, though Wild Geraniums, thistles, harebells, and Bindweed are still giving splashes of colour, as well as Willowherb, and Ragwort on areas of neglected ground. Summer is certainly now moving towards its conclusion, with further proof of this coming from the lowlands as the Barley harvest gets underway. Other interesting notes today included a couple of Buzzards, a Little Owl, and good numbers of both Martins, and Swifts in and around the village.

27th - Further barley fields have now been harvested locally. In the garden a couple of Bullfinches were seen in the evening, one of them possibly a juvenile.

28th, Ryedale Show - Visited Ryedale show at Kirbymoorside for the first time, arriving at around 9am. The show takes place in a large ring, where one can view the cattle and horses. In other areas were sheep, goats, and pigs, and other events included vintage agricultural machinery, show jumping, and sheep dog trials. The event was a very enjoyable way to spend a morning and we had a particularly good time watching the cattle and latterly Clydesdale horses being judged in the main ring. Later we visited the other parts of the show where there were dog, fowl, produce, and craft competitions, and indeed this part of the show seemed to be the most popular with very large crowds gathering in the tents. Eventually it became just too busy and so we decided to head for home, and though this show was very good I would still put it behind Nidderdale Show in terms of the quality of the animals and particularly for the setting and organisation.

29th - A large number of Swifts gathered in the sky this morning as wet weather moved in from the south west. In the afternoon I saw a Goldcrest feeding amongst the Yews, the first I’ve seen in a while. The aforementioned rain became heavier by evening and by the end of the day 19 mm’s of rain had been recorded.

30th - A thunderstorm in late morning with some decent rumbles of thunder and flashes of lightning, some within a kilometre. Heavy rain and a squally wind accompanied the storm.

31st - A lovely Painted Lady butterfly was seen again, and indeed by the afternoon a number were seen flittering about around the garden. Haven’t seen so many for a few years now. Other butterflies seen today included Whites, which are very plentiful this year, Peacock, Comma, & Small Tortoiseshell. I also notice that the Yew berries are beginning to ripen, with the odd beautiful berry here and there. In late afternoon I saw a young female Blackcap feeding on the aforementioned berries.