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June 2010

1st (Tuesday) 9.5 C to 14.3 C / 3.0 mm / nil
An overcast morning with the cloud slowly thickening towards mid-day, with outbreaks of rain moving in by noon. Largely light or light to moderate for most of the afternoon, though later around 4 pm it did become somewhat heavier for a short spell, peaking at 2.8 mm/h. The rain clearing by 6 pm but it would remain overcast for the rest of the evening and indeed night, and towards morning it would become quite foggy as low cloud formed. A mild and humid night as a result.

A young Collared Dove was spotted in the garden today, while in the local countryside quite a few young Woodpigeons are seen regularly, along with the young of quite a number of birds.

2nd (Wednesday) 10.0 C to 21.2 C / nil / 4.9 hours
A dull and murky start with early low cloud but this cloud would lift through the morning and the sun would break through by mid-day. Regular sunny spells developing through the afternoon, and indeed becoming largely clear towards evening. Warm under the strong sun (UV Index 8) with the temperature climbing to 21.2 C (70.2 F). Any cloud clearing away by the end of the evening leaving a clear night.

The May-blossom is now beginning to finish in the local hedgerows, the flowering season this year proving to be quite short. However the Elderflower should be out soon, some flower heads already being noticeable, and the Cow Parsley, Buttercups, and Red Campion are still filling the country lanes and hedgerows with plenty of colour.

3rd (Thursday) 8.0 C to 22.8 C / nil / 11.3 hours
A lovely clear and warm start to the day, and remaining sunny and clement for the remainder of the day with the temperature climbing to 22.8 C (73.0 F). Some broken fair weather Cumulus in the afternoon created the odd cloudier spell but otherwise it was sunny and bright. Remaining largely clear overnight.

4th (Friday) 6.0 C to 21.7 C / nil / 12.5 hours
Another beautiful start to the day with largely clear skies (some patches of Altocumulus here and there), and remaining largely clear and sunny for the remainder of the day with temperatures a pleasant seventy degrees Fahrenheit. Very warm in the strong June sun though, and it is certainly time to keep to the shade now. Becoming hazy by the end of the afternoon, this making the evening sun quite weak, and remaining hazy for most of the night. This held temperatures up, falling no lower than 12 C, which made for an unpleasant night.

5th (Saturday) 12.0 C to 26.7 C / 3.1 mm / 8.1 hours
A hot and muggy day, the temperature climbing to eighty degrees for the second time this year, and the Dew Point rising as high as 17 C around mid-day. As a result cloud bubbled up in the afternoon, with some decent convection visible through the fairly hazy sky, but during daylight hours at least in came to nothing. Indeed by the end of the afternoon it had become largely cloudy, with the sky continuing to darken through the evening and looking particularly stormy by dusk. Eventually something had to break with an intense, but short lived downpour around midnight, peaking at 102 mm/h, and accompanied by a couple of flashes of lightning. Despite the intensity of the rain just 3.1 mm’s of rain was recorded as it lasted barely five minutes, and for the rest of the night it would be cloudy, and muggy.

6th (Sunday) 15.3 C to 17.5 C / 15.0 mm / nil
A grey and muggy morning with outbreaks of rain at times. Drier for a time but there was a very intense downpour around 1 pm, with 7 mm’s recorded in 15 minutes and a peak rain rate of 123.8 mm/h, a new station record. Further outbreaks of rain would continue through the afternoon which were largely light with the occasional heavier spell, indeed around 3 pm another heavy period would see a rain rate of 32.4 mm/h. Eventually becoming drier by dusk, a total of 15 mm’s of rain having been recorded making this the wettest day of the year thus far. Remaining overcast overnight.

South Huggatewold Circuit
A walk in the High Wolds on what was a sub-tropical morning with outbreaks of warm thundery rain, generally grey and murky conditions, and temperatures a muggy sixty degrees. This rain is probably very welcome for most beasts, fowls, and plants after what has been a largely dry couple of months, though it will be interesting to see if the forecast unsettled weather for the week ahead is only a temporary change in the weather, or whether it is only the beginning of another unsettled and disturbed summer ahead.

The countryside up here is still at its best with abundant Mayflower still dominating the hedgerows, with thick Cow Parsley, Buttercups, and Red Campion along the roadsides and on the edge of the fields. The cereal crops in the fields are looking really good, the recent dry, sunny, and warm weather suiting them just fine, though the Oilseed Rape is now beyond its best even up here, with some of the earlier fields now largely concluded for yet another season. At the Strawberry farm to the south of Huggate the plants are now developing fruits, with just the very odd ripe fruit seen here and there, and within a fortnight I expect it will be a hub of activity as the fruit is harvested. Walking past a strawberry farm is always a pleasant experience at this time of the year, with the lovely characteristic scent hanging of the warm summer air.

Not much in the way of birdlife or wildlife was spotted this morning, though the woods contained the wonderful sound of a number of species of warbler singing their hearts out, including Chiffchaff, Willow warbler, Blackcap, and Whitethroat. Out over the fields the Skylarks filled the air with their song, a good dozen or so heard along our route, with Yellowhammers and Chaffinches singing loudly and clearly from the blossomed hedges lining our circular journey through the very heart of these wonderfully quiet and peaceful Wolds.

7th (Monday) 12.0 C to 17.5 C / 4.9 mm / nil
A grey and damp morning after all of yesterdays rain but it was dry at least and it felt quite mild. Remaining cloudy for the remainder of the day, with the cloud thickening in mid afternoon with some outbreaks of rain, some of which would be quite heavy (peak rate of 16 mm/h). The outbreaks of rain becoming lighter by the evening but they would continue throughout most of the night, which it turn led to a warm night with a low in excess of 12 C.

8th (Tuesday) 12.3 C to 14.4 C / 7.8 mm / nil
A grey and wet morning with outbreaks of light to moderate rain, these becoming heavier and more frequent in the afternoon, peaking at 6.6 mm/h around 4 pm. Becoming drier by evening but remaining overcast and dull, and indeed by dusk it would become increasingly murky with visibility as low as 2 km by the end of the night.

9th (Wednesday) 11.8 C to 13.5 C / 0.9 mm / nil
A very dull and murky morning, with outbreaks of rain moving in around mid morning. Becoming drier by mid-day, but remaining overcast for the rest of the afternoon, making this the fourth sunless day in a row, hardly summery weather. Thick cloud persisting through the night, with some light drizzle at times, and a moderate north east breeze also picking up.

Despite the very dull and generally murky conditions this morning the flowers and baskets which have been recently planted outside the north front of the Minster are looking lovely at the moment, with a profusion of yellow, blue, and pink flowers. It looks very welcoming and should hopefully leave a good impression with any summer visitors to Beverley’s principal attraction. Out in the local countryside any Oilseed Rape is well and truly concluded now, though in these same fields Poppy’s are now appearing widely, along with Mayweed and alike.

10th (Thursday) 12.5 C to 14.2 C / nil / 1.2 hours
Another unseasonably grey and dull morning with a moderate north east breeze, more like October than June, though it did remain dry today at least. Remaining cloudy for most of the afternoon, though it did slowly brighten after 4 pm, with the sun even managing to break through around tea-time. However this didn’t last long and by dusk the cloud had returned and it would remain cloudy through the night.

A Roe deer was spotted in one of the wheat fields this morning in the Parkland area, its body now hidden by the healthy looking cereals with just its head observed above the crops.

11th (Friday) 11.0 C to 19.4 C / nil / 2.7 hours
A largely cloudy morning, and again like yesterday there was a moderate northerly breeze which made it feel far from seasonal. However by the afternoon some breaks did begin to develop which allowed some decent sunny spells to develop, and the breeze also eased which meant it quickly warmed up with temperatures climbing to far more seasonal levels compared to recent days. Variable amounts of cloud in the evening and overnight.

The male Bullfinch was seen in the garden for a short time this morning, and a newly fledged Woodpigeon was also seen in the garden today, looking like a large Stock dove as young Woodpigeon’s lack the adults white collar.

12th (Saturday) 11.3 C to 17.7 C / nil / 7.9 hours
A bright and breezy day with plenty of sunny spells, and temperatures just shy of the seasonal norm. The breeze easing in the evening with clear spells at first, but cloud increased later with largely grey skies by the end of the night.

Had a pleasant walk around the garden today, enjoying the sunny and fresh weather today. The borders are full of colour now with yellow and red roses, chives, irises, and Clematis and these are attracting good numbers of bees, including Bumble’s, Carder’s, and Honey’s. Poppies too are widely in flower around the garden and I notice that the Red Hot Pokers are just starting to flower and should be at their best in the next week or two. The odd Foxglove is also to be seen in shadier areas of the garden while the Elderflower now has some flowers fully out, though the majority are still yet to come. The Cotoneaster should also be in flower soon while in contrast the Mayflower tree has now concluded with blossom scattered on the lawn beneath it, like confetti after a wedding. Another plant which is now coming into flower in the garden is Honeysuckle and in the eastern hedgerow the red flowers of the Wigella are providing a splash of colour. The moderate breeze today didn’t make for ideal butterfly conditions, though in a more sheltered area of the garden I came across a fine Speckled Wood and the odd White was also seen.

13th (Sunday) 10.1 C to 17.8 C / 0.4 mm / 0.5 hours
A grey and cloudy morning with some spots of rain at times, but it did become brighter by mid-day with the sun even managing to break through for a short period. However cloud soon increased again, with some intermittent outbreaks of light rain through the afternoon, though despite the cloud it was quite warm and indeed felt quite muggy with the damp air. Any rain or drizzle clearing by the evening and remaining dry overnight with variable amounts of cloud.

A pleasant early summer stroll in this western corner of the mid Wolds on what was a largely cloudy day, though the sun did weakly come out by the conclusion of the walk. The countryside was filled with the sights, sounds, and indeed smells of the time of year, with the sweet and evocative scent of freshly cut grass along many of the road verges reminding one of freshly mown hay. Where the verges had remained uncut there was a good variety of wild flowers, with Cow Parsley still flowering strongly up here, along with Buttercups, Mayweed, Dead Nettles, Hogsweed, Red Campion, Red and White Clover, Vetches, Selfheal, and others beyond my recognition, while in the hedgerows the Elderflower and Brambles were coming into flower, joining the already blooming Wild Roses and the last of the Mayflower. Grasses too are also widely in flower now, and it was lovely to sit amongst the tall grasses and enjoy the abundance of life which can be witnessed at this time of year.

Indeed in the trees above our picnic spot a Great Spotted Woodpecker was seen with a newly fledged young one, the first Red cap I‘ve seen this year, while earlier during our walk we had seen a Green Woodpecker in the meadow on the site of the old Nunnery. Warblers were heard aplenty during the walk, with Chiffchaffs, Blackcaps, and Whitethroats, though no Willow warblers were noted and in general I have heard fewer so far this year compared to recent years. In the wood, which is now well closed in with abundant undergrowth, we discovered some wild Gooseberries growing and we also stumbled upon an interesting Fungi growing on a decaying tree stump. I am pretty awful at identifying mushrooms and fungi but I think it was a Polyporus squamosus, a common bracket fungus which is often found on decaying deciduous trees. The Rosebay is also beginning to come up, though it is still a few weeks away from flowering and along the hedgerows I could see the small and green Sloes beginning to develop, an already very early indicator of the autumn and harvest to come. A lovely summer morning in beautiful and peaceful countryside.

14th (Monday) 10.4 C to 16.4 C / nil / 4.5 hours
A largely cloudy and breezy morning, with areas of Stratocumulus being brought in off the sea on a moderate and cool NE breeze. Some breaks in the cloud would allow some sunny spells in the remainder of the day, but the theme of the day was largely cloudy and the continuing breeze made it feel quite cool with a high of just over sixty degrees. Variable amounts of cloud overnight, but some longer clearer spells later allowed temperatures to fall lower than recently with a minimum of 7.5 C.

The wild grasses and flowers are making for a wonderful spectacle now in any un-mown or un-grazed pastures, with a sea of different grasses interrupted by splashes of yellow from Buttercups and Vetches, pink from Red Clover, white from White clover, Cow Parsley, and Yarrow, and vivid red from the odd Poppy here and there. The Mayflower may well be concluded in the hedgerows but colour and interest can also still be found here also with the now flowering Elderflower, along with Wild Roses, while along the hedgerows a sea of Cow Parsley, Hogsweed, Dead Nettles, and others make for a beautiful natural palette of colours and textures. While enjoying this spectacle this morning a beautiful singing Blackcap sung from a large willow tree, a superb acoustic accompaniment to the visual splendour. Later I also came upon a Great Spotted Woodpecker drumming on a telegraph post, and it was joined soon after by a young red capped juvenile, whom together awarded me with some fantastic views through my binoculars before they flew away in to the safety of nearby woods.

15th (Tuesday) 7.5 C to 16.9 C / nil / 8.4 hours
A bright and cool morning with broken areas of Stratocumulus being brought in again on a NNE breeze, but there was much less cloud than yesterday with plenty of good sunny spells throughout the day. Indeed by the end of the afternoon it had become largely clear and would remain so for the remainder of the evening and indeed night. Quite cool again with a northerly breeze, and overnight it would become quite chilly under clear skies with a low of 4.6 C.

A Sedge Warbler was singing loudly and constantly along Long Lane this morning, and seemed to show little concern about my presence. Through my binoculars I was able to study its interesting plumage, with its white supercilium the most obvious feature, as well as a scruffy cap on top of its head. The Blackcap was also heard again this morning, and along the hedgerows I heard or saw a few Whitethroats. Out in the wheat fields a Roe deer was spotted, its head just above the crops, while at Black House Stables large flocks of Starlings were seen feeding, their numbers now swelled by this years juveniles. Indeed the young of many birds are now widely seen, including Blackbirds, Robins, Tits, Linnets,  Chaffinches, Pied Wagtail, Collared dove, and Woodpigeon to name but a few.

16th (Wednesday) 4.6 C to 19.6 C / nil / 12.5 hours
A lovely clear and sunny morning, though it was quite chilly at first. It would remain largely clear and sunny all day, bar the odd bit of fair weather Cumulus in the afternoon, and would become pleasantly warm as temperatures rose in to the high sixties. The sun was very strong this afternoon too, the UV Index reaching 8, which is as high as it ever gets here at our latitude. Any bits of cloud soon clearing away by evening and remaining clear again overnight with temperatures falling away to about 5 C.

Saw a young Goldfinch in the garden today, the first I’ve seen this year, while down in the Parklands a juvenile Whitethroat was also spotted being fed by an adult. A pair of Yellow Wagtails was seen in the horse fields near Black House Stables, the second time I’ve seen them this year in the area, which makes me strongly suspect that they are breeding down here in the Parklands.

17th (Thursday) 5.2 C to 20.5 C / nil / 15.1 hours
Another beautifully clear and sunny day with not a cloud in the sky all day. Pleasantly warm too, with a high of 69 degrees Fahrenheit (20.5 C). Clear at first overnight but cloud increased later as a northerly breeze picked up.

Went down to Swinemoor this morning, paying my first visit to this area of seasonal floodmeadow since the 5th of May. The buttercups are still flowering out on the pastures, with many horses and a few cattle seen grazing on the rich grassland, while Meadow Pipits & Skylarks were seen and heard displaying in the skies above them. In many ways the sound of displaying Pipits is as evocative and pleasing as that of the more well known Skylarks, though when the two calls combine it is as beautiful as any natural symphony, with perhaps only April and May woodland bird song beating it. Snipe too were seen displaying over the meadows this morning, with at least four different birds seen, and though most were just out of ear shot I did catch the odd bit of their characteristic ‘drumming’ sound which they make when they display. Lapwings were seen in large numbers too, and the odd Redshank was seen wading around the edge of the shallow pools or flying overhead and making their diagnostic soft ‘choo’-ing calls. In the reeds and scrub along the riverside there were plenty of Sedge & Reed Warblers, with some newly fledged birds seen too, and in the same areas were good numbers of Reed Buntings and the odd Whitethroat. Of further interest this morning was the presence of a lone Cormorant, which was sunning itself with wings outstretched on one of the high telegraph poles, and at Hull Bridge I saw my first newly fledged House Martin. House Martins themselves are not particularly common in the Beverley area, at least compared to Swallows and Swifts anyway, but this area (Hull Bridge) is usually a fairly reliable spot to see them swooping around the houses and over the river.

18th (Friday) 10.8 C to 16.5 C / 0.7 mm / 2.0 hours
A very different morning to yesterday with thick stratus cloud being brought in off the sea on a cool northerly breeze. Becoming somewhat brighter and warmer in the afternoon, with some sunny spells breaking through by mid afternoon, though the cool northerly breeze continued to make it feel quite chilly for the time of year. Remaining mostly cloudy overnight.

Woke up to the sound of a calling Cuckoo in the area, the first time I’ve ever recorded this bird from here at home. It was quite close at one point, probably in the Scots Pine, but by 6 am it seemed to have already moved on and was not heard again during the day. Down in the Parks the Elderflower is now about 75% out, and it really is quite pleasant to cycle along the quiet country lanes at this time of year   with all the wildflowers and grasses. In the Oilseed Rape field a flock of about two dozen Goldfinches was seen, containing quite a few juveniles amongst them, though the main highlight of the morning was the spotting of two Grey Partridges, with one seen in the Black House Stable fields, and another in the most northern of the open fields along Long Lane.

19th (Saturday) 9.0 C to 14.1 C / trace / 0.6 hours
A largely cloudy morning with some moderate showers around 7am (peaking at 3.4 mm/h). Remaining largely cloudy throughout the day, with just the odd brighter spell from time to time, and it felt unseasonably chilly with a moderate northerly breeze with temperatures struggling to 14 C. The cloud was thick enough at times for some lights showers too, though by and large it was dry with only trace amounts of rainfall being recorded. Remaining cloudy through the evening and night.

20th (Sunday) 9.3 C to 17.3 C / nil / 5.5 hours
Another cloudy and breezy morning, but conditions began to improve by midday with some sunny spells managing to develop in the afternoon. Somewhat milder than yesterday as well, though the cool northerly breeze continued to add a slight chill to the summer air. Variable amounts of cloud in the evening and overnight, though it became largely clear by dawn.

Cowlam Wold
A very pleasant Sunday stroll in this area of the northern Wolds, with summer now very much in ascendance in the local countryside. However the weather today was not particularly summery, with a cool northern breeze and extensive Stratocumulus, though when the sun was out it was very clement with temperatures a comfortable sixty or so degrees Fahrenheit. On the journey to the area we passed through our rich agricultural land to the lee of the Wolds, where the cereals are looking good, and strong, while in other fields splashes of red were given by  Poppies which have come up through the Oilseed Rape. Along the roadside verges Oxeye Daisies are now flowering well, as is Elderflower which is now about 75% out across the county, though many hedgerow flowers are now very much reaching their end and starting to go to seed. It’s amazing every-year just how quickly the countryside moves on, and I expect that within the next month I’ll already be describing the beginning of the barley harvest.

Still those days have not yet come and when we started our walk we were instantly surrounded by the sounds and sights of early summer, with abundant Elderflower, and singing Willow warblers, and Yellowhammers in the hawthorn hedges and scrub. The dales up here are largely ungrazed this year which means there are some fantastic meadows, with plenty of wild flowers and grasses, with these in turn attracting butterflies, skippers, and moths. Amongst types of butterfly observed were Common Blue, and Small Heath, the latter of which seemed quite abundant today. Of course all the insect life was also attracting the birds and there were a very large number of Meadow Pipits heard and seen displaying from amongst the long grass and hawthorn scrub, and Curlews too were seen in good numbers today with at least eight separate birds seen along our walk up the dale. In the grassland I noticed that thistles are now coming into flower, and in places Yarrow was flowering profusely with only the buttercups flowering more widely amongst the sea of wild grasses.

Overhead a couple of Buzzards were seen in this area, though the biggest highlight and indeed shock of the morning was the flushing out a large Roe deer from amongst the dense grass. It didn’t take flight till we were no more than 50 yards away and I suspect that a young deer could well have remained hidden within the meadow. Eventually we climbed out of this always peaceful dale and made our way up to the cleared community of Cottam, where the brick church stands as the only reminder of this past settlement. In this area were good numbers of Hares and indeed throughout our walk we came across a good healthy and thriving population of this supposedly declining mammal, while in the field cows with calves were grazing, amongst them an impressive bull which seemed to show absolutely no concern about our presence. From here we could also see a neighbouring farmer cutting hay and in the nearby fields the peas are now starting to flower, with the promise of fresh peas to come in the next few weeks.

As we made our way along the runway of the wartime airstrip we heard a Corn Bunting singing from a post within a sea of wheat, and this area seems to be quite reliable for this relatively rare species nowadays, having been heard earlier in the summer and last year. The visibility was very good this morning, with most of the East Riding to the east of the Wolds visible, from the Humber bridge and Hull in the south, to the sea in the east. The Sykes memorial on the other side of the wide rolling dale seemed remarkably close, and when we stopped for a cup of tea I noticed that Beverley Minster too was clearly obvious. Towards the end of our walk we came upon a small area of Poppies on the edge of a now largely concluded Oilseed Rape field, which made for some lovely photo opportunities with the attractive and strongly red Poppies contrasting with the Yellow of the remaining Rapeseed, with additional depth provided by small patches of Mayweed and other wildflowers and grasses. It was in this area I noticed some patches of White Campion, and Agrimony, and indeed throughout the morning we saw a wealth of different types of wildflower, much of it beyond my identifying skills, and I for one think the countryside is looking very healthy with the balance between agricultural productivity and environmental sensitivity being well maintained in the Wolds, something East Riding farmers deserve praise for. A recent UN Report had highlighted the demise of biodiversity in the area, with just 1% of traditional grass chalkland surviving today, though I for one generally find conservationists generally very negative and blinkered in there views and simply can’t see the many positives that are there if they would only open their eyes. Indeed on a day like today I find it hard to accept that the Wolds are a lifeless and sterile landscape and I would challenge anyone to claim it as such when confronted with the diversity of life seen today.

21st (Monday) 8.3 C to 22.5 C / nil / 11.5 hours
A clear and sunny morning and with less of a northern breeze than recent days it soon warmed up with the thermometer rising to 22.5 C (72.5 F) by early afternoon. There was some broken cloud in the afternoon but it was otherwise sunny and clement with a pleasant gentle and variable breeze. More in the way of cloud moved in during the evening, but this came to nothing and cleared away through the night with most clear skies again by dawn.

22nd (Tuesday) 10.4 C to 25.7 C / nil / 12.3 hours
A lovely sunny and warm morning and remaining clement and sunny for most of the day, the thermometer rising to nearly 26 C (78.3 F). However like yesterday areas of broken mid level cloud built up for a time in late afternoon and the evening, making the sun somewhat weaker, but nevertheless it remained bright and warm. Variable amounts of cloud overnight and remaining very warm with a low of just 12 C.

The hay has been cut near Old Hall Farm, the lovely sweet smell of freshly cut grass hanging over the fields of that area on what was a lovely summers morn.

23rd (Wednesday) 12.0 C to 24.3 C / nil / 8.7 hours
A bright and very warm day again, though there was more in the way of cloud today, with Cirrus and Cirrostratus in the morning, which made the sunshine quite hazy, and patches of Altocumulus in the afternoon. A gentle to moderate breeze in the afternoon also meant it felt somewhat fresher today as well. Variable amounts of cloud overnight and very warm, the thermometer falling no lower than 13 C.

Spotted a female Yellow Wagtail in the Black House Stable fields again, and also seen in these fields this morning was a male Bullfinch, a bird you don’t usually see feeding out in the open. The Barley in the higher Parkland fields in now on the turn, with the recent hot and sunny weather really speeding it along. It will be interesting to see how good the yields are this year, for though the warm and sunny weather is obviously better than heavy, driving rains, rainfall has been well below average since mid spring and the ground is currently hard and dry.

24th (Thursday) 13.2 C to 22.5 C / nil / 5.8 hours
A bright and warm day, though there was a lot of mid and high level clouds in the morning, including a fair amount of Altocumulus castellanus at first, and some moderate convection in the afternoon, this however coming to nothing with most of it spreading out to form extensive patches of Stratocumulus. This meant strong sunshine was largely absent today compared to recent days, though there were some sunny spells from time to time, and indeed by late afternoon it did begin to clear with a lovely sunny end to the day. Largely clear overnight but very warm again with a low of 12 C.

Went down to Swinemoor this morning and was rewarded with a number of good observations. The first highlight of the morning was a calling Cuckoo in the Figham area. I did see later heading north eastwards towards Tickton, and it looked like it was being mobbed by a smaller bird, which must have mistaken the Cuckoo for a raptor. Out over Swinemoor itself about half a dozen Snipe were seen, with a few of them seen displaying and ‘drumming’, while in the same areas of wet grassland Redshank and Lapwings were seen. These two species of bird seem to have successfully breed this year, with a number of young Lapwings seen, and one young Redshank too. Along the river a Grey Heron was spotted, while the reedbeds beside the river were filled with the sound and activities of Reed Warblers, Sedge Warblers, and Reed Buntings, with quite a number of Whitethroats seen in the Elder scrub. However other than the Cuckoo the other two major highlights of the morning came from two Tufted ducks, which were seen flying northwards along the river, and a single Common Tern which passed me a couple of times as it fished and hunted in the river. Both of these species of bird must have come from nearby Pulfin Bog/High Eske, and is the first time that I have seen them in the Beverley area since 2006.

25th (Friday) 12.1 C to 22.8 C / nil / 8.3 hours
A largely clear and sunny morning, with just the odd patch of broken Altocumulus. However more in the way of mid level cloud built up by midday, with the rest of the afternoon being bright rather than sunny with patches of mid level stratiform cloud coming and going. Warm again with a high of 23 C. Variable amounts of cloud overnight.

Further hay has been cut in the Parklands area, with the current warm, sunny, and most importantly dry weather making for ideal conditions this year. Indeed the forecast is set fair for as far as the beginning of next week. The Elderflower is now at its peak in the local hedgerows and scrublands, while Wild Rose’s are likewise now at their best. At Keldmarsh the Brambles are a sea of white flowers, all looking healthy and strong and promising what could well be a fine crop of juicy and tasty Blackberries. Last years crop was very good and its amazing to think that the first of these wild fruits should be ready to pick within the next month or so.

Back home in the garden the Cottoneaster is now in flower, and together with the Elder they are providing a welcome splash of white blooms in the corner of the garden. The garden beds are still a riot of colour with varying blooms of red, pink, purple, orange, and white making for a fine spectacle. The flowers in turn are attracting butterflies, with a Meadow Brown spotted in the garden today, though I have to say that thus far this year has been quite disappointing for the number of butterflies seen on the wing, even though a good variety have been recorded. However it has to be also remembered it is not even July yet, and the peak of the butterfly season is still a few weeks ahead. However it seems certain that an eruption of migrant butterflies now seems unlikely this year, with no repeat of last years abundance of Painted Ladies.

26th (Saturday) 9.9 C to 23.0 C / nil / 10.0 hours
A bright morning, but like recent days there was a lot of fairly extensive Altocumulus floating around, which meant that you would get periods without a cloud in the sky, followed by cloudier periods. However after mid-day it became largely clear and under the strong mid summer sun it became very warm with a high of 23 C. Indeed if it wasn’t for a very pleasant gentle to moderate southerly breeze I expect the high would have been a few degrees higher. Remaining largely clear overnight.

Toured round our beautiful garden this morning, enjoying the profusion of blooms and scents coming from the flower beds and ornamental arches and baskets. The Red Hot Pokers are now in full flower, with their unmistakeable red and yellow flower spikes standing proudly above the other flowers, while in the main flower bed the large and purple flowered Hollyhock is now coming into full flower and should be at its best in the next week or so. The Sweet Williams are still looking wonderful, adding vivid red splashes to the herbaceous beds, while in the hanging baskets cascades of the trumpet shaped Petunia’s in a variety of colours hang from the rose/clematis arch. Along the arch itself some fine Roses are now in full flower, while in the shadier corners Foxgloves are in full bloom, their gaping pink flowers attracting the bees and alike. The perennial Sweet Pea’s are growing strongly too in this area, and I expect them to begin coming into flower in the next fortnight, while already the ever perennial and fantastic value Nasturtiums are just beginning to flower, something they should keep doing well into October. Considering that barely any rain has been recorded in the last seventeen days (1.1 mm to be exact), the current lushness of the garden is testament to the hard work put into it by my mother.

27th (Sunday) 11.8 C to 27.5 C / nil / 12.2 hours
A clear and sunny morning, the temperature quickly rising under the strong mid summer sun. Some convection allowed the development of Cumulus by mid-day, but this came to nothing, and instead they just provided some welcome cloudy spells from the fierce sun during the afternoon, with temperatures today climbing to a high of 27.5 C (81.5 F), the highest maxima so far this year. Any remaining cloud dissolving away during the evening and becoming largely clear overnight.

28th (Monday) 11.9 C to 25.8 C / 4.4 mm / 9.3 hours
A sunny and warm morning, with the temperature quickly climbing into the mid twenties. More cloud around in the afternoon, but there were still plenty of good sunny spells, these helping the thermometer rise to a high of 25.8 C (78.4 F). Cloud increasing further in the evening and overnight, this making for a warm and muggy night, with some heavy outbreaks of rain after 2 am, peaking at 19.6 mm/h and giving 4.4 mm’s. Clearing by dawn.

The hay in the Parkland fields has now been bailed, and what with the current weather it should be almost perfect with moisture certainly not being a problem. Along Long Lane a Barn Owl was spotted hunting over the wet grazing fields, the first I’ve actually seen in quite a while, while in the ditches a Sedge Warbler was singing its scratchy and varied repertoire.

29th (Tuesday) 14.6 C to 24.5 C / nil / 5.5 hours
A warm and muggy morning after some heavy outbreaks of rain overnight. Largely cloudy too, though some sunny spells were able to break through, these becoming more persistent and common as the morning progressed. Sunny spells for the remainder of the day, and though it wasn’t quite as warm as recently, with a high of 24.5 C (76.1 F), it felt quite humid with dew points generally around 16 to 17 C. Variable amounts of cloud overnight.

About 50 or so Herring Gulls were in the Parkland fields this morning, amongst them was also the odd Black headed Gull. I expect the rain last night had grounded them, and they were taking advantage of the somewhat softened ground. Also spotted this morning was a hunting Barn Owl again, this being the second morning in a row that I have seen it hunting over the last remaining uncut meadow, while a Grey Heron was also seen passing over the area, heading westwards. In the hedgerows I notice that the white trumpets of Bindweed are starting to come into flower, joining the now slowly concluding Elderflower and Wild Roses.

30th (Wednesday) 11.8 C to 23.5 C / nil / 7.3 hours
A bright start with a fair amount of mid level stratiform cloud, mainly Altocumulus (the photo on the right shows the scene at dawn as viewed from the Westwood). This was replaced by thicker Stratocumulus by late morning, but by mid-day this began to clear and break, with sunny spells for the remainder of the afternoon. Feeling very warm and humid again, with temperatures climbing to 23.5 C, and the dew point hovering around 16 C. Variable amounts of cloud in the evening and overnight, with increasingly amounts of invasive mid and upper level clouds.

North Cliffe Wood
Went for an afternoon walk to this pleasant and always peaceful little wood between North Cave and Market Weighton. The June sun was very warm this afternoon, the temperature around 23 C, and this meant that things were largely very quiet in the wood, though nevertheless there was still plenty of interest. With the current warm and sunny weather, and July nearly upon us, butterflies were seen quite widely, with species seen including Red Admirals, Whites, Meadow Browns, and Ringlets. Ringlets were bar far the most abundant, though out on the heath the Meadow Browns ran them a close second. Also out on the heath the area was full of the sound of Grasshoppers, with seemingly every bit of tussocky grass containing at least one calling away constantly, little concerned about our presence.

Towards the south of the reserve I noticed that the first bit of Rosebay Willowherb is beginning to flower, though this clump was very much an exception with 90% still a few weeks away from coming into flower, while in the south east corner we came upon a small, but nevertheless beautiful clump of Foxgloves, with red, pinks, yellows, and whites. The reserve is very dry, with barely any standing water, and the grass and moss is yellow and lifeless on the heath, but in the heart of the wood, under the shade of the trees, there is still an abundance of insects and flies, including some rather vicious Mosquitoes, though thankfully I caught most of them before they had a chance to bite.

All the insect life meant that warblers were well represented this afternoon, with leaf warblers, Blackcaps, and Whitethroats all seen or heard, though the main highlight of the afternoon was the spotting of a single Willow tit and a Treecreeper, both 2010 firsts. A young Great spotted Woodpecker was another fine observation towards the end of our trip, and indeed young of many species were seen around the wood, especially amongst the tits, as well Chaffinches and leaf warblers. A Stoat was also briefly seen along the far western edge of the heath, and in some nearby fields we saw a beautiful area of Cornflowers growing wild amongst the Oilseed Rape crop.