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August 2010

1st (Sun) 14.0 C to 21.4 C / nil / 2.1 hours / W 3.6 knots
A bright but largely cloudy day, with lots of stratocumulus and altocumulus drifting over on a west to north west breeze, though there were some sunny spells from time to time, particularly in the morning and around midday. Remaining cloudy in the evening and overnight.

Deepdale (Calliswold)
An interesting high to late summer walk in this highest region of the Wolds, with the signs of harvest now seen widely throughout the region. The barley is well on the way now, with probably over half now in, and the pea harvest is also fully under way with some viners seen operating and quite a few pea lorries on local roads this morning. No fields of wheat have been collected yet, though some between Millington and Kilnwick Percy were certainly no more than  days away from being ready, with the heads now drooping down and turning grey. This is certainly a busy time of year in the local countryside, and looking at the forecast for the next fortnight conditions are looking good.

For the natural world however this is quite a quiet time of year, though plenty of wildflowers and butterflies do provide some interest. Indeed in the grassy dale of Deepdale parts of the hillside were covered in harebells today, along with vetches, knapweed, thistles, and lots of Ragwort. More subtle flowers included Eyebright, a new flower to me and very attractive with very small white flowers, which look almost like white violets, and a few areas of lovely blue forget-me-nots. In the areas of scrubby ground the flowering spikes of Great and Rosebay Willowherb provided some pleasant colour, the flowers of which are to me the quintessential flower of late summer.

All these wildflowers obviously attracted many insects, including many hoverflies and bees again, and of course butterflies. Species seen today included Large White and Small White, which were by far and away the most numerous butterflies today, a few Marbled Whites, a few Ringlets, one of which was seen with two red spots on it, quite a few Meadow Browns, with one of these also seen with a red spot, the odd Small Heath, a number of Common Blues, one Speckled Wood, and a single Small Copper. Skippers were also seen well again, and on one area of ragwort we saw another cinnabar moth caterpillar. Birdwise the day was quiet, though there were a lot of singing Yellowhammers in the hedgerows, and a late singing Willow warbler was heard in the wood. All in all a pleasant summers walk in this always interesting dale.

2nd (Mon) 13.6 C to 20.6 C / nil / 2.7 hours / N 2.6 knots
Another largely cloudy day with lot of stratocumulus and altocumulus filling the sky again, drifting over on a northerly breeze. There were some clearer periods from time to time though, allowing some sunny spells, and indeed around 6pm it became largely clear for a time, though the cloud would return again by mid evening. Remaining largely cloudy overnight.

A young female Sparrowhawk was in the front yard this afternoon, still with some downy fluff and not very good at flying. Infact it was repeatedly mobbed by a Woodpigeon and could do nothing more than fly about 20 or 30 yards away each time.

3rd (Tue) 11.9 C to 21.5 C / 3.7 mm / 4.0 hours / W 3.1 knots
Another bright but largely cloudy morning, though in the afternoon some breaks did begin to develop allowing some good sunny spells at times, particularly in the second half of the afternoon and into the evening. Pleasantly warm with a high of about seventy degrees. Variable amounts of cloud at first overnight, but cloud increased later with overcast skies by the end of the night.

4th (Wed) 13.1 C to 16.3 C / 6.7 mm / 2.9 hours / W 3.8 knots
An overcast start with the cloud quickly thickening so that by 7 am rain moved in from the west, becoming quite heavy at times (5.0 mm/h). Becoming lighter by 10 am but continuing on and off till early afternoon, thereafter becoming drier for a time with some sunny spells developing. However very heavy showers moved in during the second half of the afternoon, one of which peaked at 129.4 mm/h, a new station record. These showers cleared away during the evening with some pleasant sunny spells to end the day. Broken cloud at first overnight but becoming largely clear after midnight.

Much of the wheat has been harvested in the Parks in the last two days, though over half is remaining still out in the fields. The rain today brought an unfortunate delay to completing the job but no damage should have been done.

5th (Thu) 10.5 C to 18.7 C / nil / 7.1 hours / NW 3.3 knots
A clear, sunny, and fresh start to the day, with a moderate north west breeze. However cloud increased by the end of the morning and it would remain largely cloudy for the remainder of the day, with the odd drop of rain from time to time. However during the evening the cloud began to break again, allowing some late brightness, and it would continue to break overnight with some decent clear spells.

Bempton & Flamborough Head
Went to the coast today as a birthday treat, first stopping off at Bempton. The cliffs are now largely deserted apart from the Gannets, the odd Kittiwake and Herring Gull, and the ever present Rock doves. Juvenile Kittiwakes were seen widely on the wing, their distinctive ‘W’ marking obvious as they soared on the gentle breeze, and a few Fulmars were also seen enjoying the breeze. The auks were out at sea, with rafts of Guillemots spotted fairly well out, though I didn’t actually spot any Razorbills or Puffins. On the cliff tops Pipits, Reed Buntings, and some juvenile Whitethroats were spotted, and in the meadows good numbers of butterflies were observed, with particularly good numbers of Small Tortoiseshells. After finishing here we headed to Flamborough for fish and chips and then headed home, ending a very enjoyable day out.

6th (Fri) 9.0 C to 20.0 C / 0.2 mm / 1.3 hours / SW 1.9 knots
A bright morning with lots of mid and high level cloud invading from the south west, these soon becoming thicker and more extensive so that by the end of the morning it had become grey and overcast. Quite breezy for a time as well, though due to the sheltering affect of the beech tree the anemometer recorded relatively modest wind speeds. Some drizzle was recorded for a time around 1 pm, but otherwise it remained dull but dry till the evening, when there was a very short spell of heavy rain around 7.30 pm, it barely lasting five minutes and depositing just a mere 0.2 mm. Remaining largely cloudy overnight and very mild as a result with a low of just 15 C.

7th (Sat) 15.0 C to 22.0 C / 0.2 mm / 4.2 hours / SW 3.0 knots
A warm and bright start to the day with some good sunny spells, but cloud began to increase by mid morning so that by mid day it was more cloudy than sunny. The remainder of the afternoon would remain largely cloudy, though there were still some occasional sunny spells, and this helped trigger some decent convection, with some very heavy showers reported locally. However we remained largely dry, bar the odd light shower from time to time, and it was quite warm with a high of 22 C. The cloud beginning to break and clear in the evening, with some late sunshine, and it would remain largely clear overnight, with a decent dew developing.

8th (Sun) 11.5 C to 20.3 C / nil / 6.0 hours / NW 1.2 knots
A largely clear and sunny morning, with a heavy dew at dawn. However stratocumulus would move in from the north west around mid-day, and it would become largely cloudy for the remainder of the day, though it would remain fairly bright, with even the odd sunny spell. Variable amounts of cloud overnight.

Today’s walk took us to this beautiful western corner of the Wolds, where for most of the walk one can enjoy a beautiful view over the Vale of York stretching away westwards towards the distant Pennines. It was quite hazy today though, with the city of York about as far as one could see, though nevertheless the view over the patchwork of golden cereal fields, and green woods was a pleasing one. The view from atop Nunburnholmewold is actually one of my favourite views in the whole of England, and in the Wolds at least only the view from above Kirby Underdale (and maybe Bishop Wilton) is more fine than the one found here. The walk started well with the stumbling upon of a particularly fine Wall Brown, my first of the year, and the 21st species of butterfly that I have seen so far this year. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to photograph it but it was truly one of the best examples of this particular species that I have ever seen. Butterflies would continue to be the major source of interest through the walk, with abundant Whites, plenty of Peacocks, a Small Copper, a Common Blue, a few Ringlets, and Small Tortoiseshells.

Bird wise the countryside continues to be largely quiet, though good numbers of Linnets were seen in the barley stubble fields, and both Red Kites and Buzzards were seen or heard soaring above the rolling fields. Out in the fields the harvest continues, with certainly most winter barley now in, though up here on the Wolds the wheat harvest hasn’t really begun yet (it having begun around Beverley last week). The Pea viners were again seen today, though this is now largely concluded with just a few un-harvested fields now remaining, while Oilseed Rape is now being gradually collected in, and the pig-beans have turned unattractively black. In this area of the Wolds many of the fields have a covert crop along their margins, which are now in flower with a mixture of yellow, white, and blue blooms which are both attractive to the eye and for wildlife. Today in particular this tall covert crop was covered in bees of many types, and their was a constant buzz from these busy and useful insects as we walked along the edge of the field.

In the hedgerows and margins wildflowers can still be seen well, with interesting observations today including Herb Robert, and toadflax, the second of which is a new species to me (see yellow flower in pictures above). The Cranesbill’s are still flowering well too, though they are undoubtedly now going over, and both field & hedge Bindweed are still blooming widely (particularly field bindweed), though certainly in the case of hedge bindweed many have now finished and are going to seed. Indeed autumn signs are now appearing more widely with the red fruits of lord-and-ladies in the hedgerows, along with ripening haws, sloes, rosehips, and blackberries. In one part of the hedgerow we discovered some fruiting gooseberries too, something I have never noticed before. A Stoat was also briefly spotted today at the bottom of Nunburnholmewold Wood. All an all a very interesting late summer walk in this peaceful corner of our Isle.

9th (Mon) 12.3 C to 24.0 C / 0.2 mm / 6.3 hours / SW 2.0 knots
A bright and pleasant start to the day with broken patches of altocumulus and some attractive cirrus, a typical morning sky of mid and late summer. Remaining largely sunny for most of the morning, but cloud would increase in the afternoon, with some moderate showers between 3pm and 5pm, though it didn’t really amount to anything significant. Clearing away in the evening with clear spells developing overnight.

A lovely morning in the Parklands today, with the golden hues of late summer filling the area as the cereal harvest continues onwards, with at least 50% now in. The sky above this scene was very attractive as well this morning, with a typical late summer sky of broken altocumulus, altostratus, and patches of beautiful cirrus. Moving into late summer also means that many birds which have been elusive in high summer are becoming more obvious again, with warblers this morning being seen or heard particularly well, including Blackcaps, Whitethroats, Sedge Warbler, and Willow warbler, the latter of these also heard in the garden today. At Keldmarsh the Blackberries are now ripening (I might be able to pick some tomorrow), and in the local hedgerows so are the Rosehips, and Rowanberries.

Back at home in the garden the Honeysuckles are now fruiting, and the Yew likewise is just starting to fruit, with a few attractive red berries hanging from these wonderful trees here and there. In the afternoon a Gatekeeper butterfly was spotted around the rose-arch, a new species for my garden list and the first I‘ve spotted this year (my 22nd butterfly species of the year). I was able to admire this handsome medium sized butterfly through my binoculars for some time, noting the diagnostic two eyed spot, as well as a few white spots on the under wing. Meanwhile the buddleia is still attracting good numbers of other butterflies, with loads of Peacocks this year, along with many whites, and the odd Comma, Red Admiral, and Small Tortoiseshell.

10th (Tue) 12.4 C to 21.3 C / nil / 7.0 hours / SW 4.2 knots
Another warm and pleasant start to the day and remaining largely clement all day with plenty of sunny spells throughout, though there were some cloudier periods too with areas of stratocumulus coming and going. Pleasantly warm too, with a high of 21.3 C. Any cloud clearing away in the evening and overnight and becoming largely clear, though a moderate westerly breeze prevented temperatures from falling particularly low.

Picked my first Blackberries of the year at Keldmarsh, and despite the dry weather this summer the berries are nice and juicy.

11th (Wed) 11.1 C to 21.2 C / trace / 8.3 hours / W 6.3 knots
A largely clear, sunny and breezy start to the morning but cloud increased by 10 am with it becoming largely cloudy for a time. Indeed the cloud was thick enough for some very light rain by lunchtime, but this came to nothing and indeed the cloud began to quickly break up thereafter with a largely sunny, though breezy afternoon following. Indeed the breeze became quite gusty by the end of the afternoon, with a peak gust of 28 knots being recorded. Clear spells in the evening and overnight, though the moderate to fresh breeze again prevented temperatures from falling particularly low.

12th (Thu) 11.9 C to 20.0 C / 6.4 mm / 6.0 hours / NW 5.9 knots
A breezy and bright morning, but cloud would increase through the morning with showers moving in by mid-day. The rest of the afternoon would be a mixture of showers and sunny spells, with one shower being particularly heavy (peak rate of 41.4 mm/h) which was also accompanied by a few rumbles of thunder, a phenomena which has been quite scarce this summer. However the showers would largely clear away and die out by the end of the afternoon, leaving a pleasant, bright and fresh end to the day. Clear spells at first overnight, but showers would develop after midnight with them being brought in off the sea on a moderate NNW to North breeze, though most of the showers were fairly brief affairs.

Managed to see a few of the Perseid Meteors during the night, with some clear spells between the showers allowing some decent views. The meteors were not particularly bright or frequent, with light pollution from Beverley not helping (the Persieds coming out of the ENE sky) but nevertheless a few brief white streaks were observed.

13th (Fri) 12.3 C to 16.5 C / 18.4 mm / nil / NW 5.9 knots
A thoroughly damp and dare I say autumnal day, with frequent outbreaks of rain coming in off the sea on a moderate to fresh northerly breeze. The rain heavy at times, peaking at 36.2 mm/h during the morning. Cool as well, with the temperature struggling to an unseasonable high of just 16 C. The frequent outbreaks of rain would continue throughout the evening and for much of the night and all in all 18.4 mm’s (0.72 inches) were recorded, making this the wettest day of 2010 and indeed the wettest climatological day since the 6th October.

14th (Sat) 13.0 C to 20.2 C / 0.2 mm / 6.8 hours / NE 3.4 knots
An overcast and humid start to the day, with the area very wet after the rain yesterday and overnight. However as the morning progressed it would become brighter with the cloud clearing by the end of the morning, leaving a pleasant and sunny afternoon with the temperature a pleasant 20 C. However cloud would roll in off the sea again during the evening, with it becoming overcast for the remainder of the night, the cloud thick enough for some light rain at times. A very mild night as well.

A Spotted Flycatcher was in the neighbouring garden this morning, hunting from atop their Sweet Pea support. They always seem  to be observed in this area during late summer, and invariably during or shortly after a damp and wet day like yesterday. This is the first recorded by me in the garden since the 10th of September 2008.

15th (Sun) 14.8 C to 21.1 C / nil / 4.8 hours / NE 5.7 knots
A grey and mild start to the day, but like yesterday it would becoming slowly brighter with some sunny spells developing by 10 am. The rest of the day would remain fairly bright with some sunny spells, but there was always more cloud around than yesterday. Pleasantly warm again at 21 C. Like yesterday cloud increased in the evening and it would remain largely cloudy throughout the night.

The squirrels have started to eat the now increasingly ripe yew-berries, and I also noticed them having a go at the unripe haws, though they abandoned this endeavour as they are still a few weeks away from being ready. However a few are now undoubtedly now beginning to turn, and I also notice that the Cottoneaster-berries are likewise beginning to turn, as the signs of the coming of autumn becoming ever more apparent in the local area.

16th (Mon) 12.7 C to 20.0 C / 0.2 mm / 8.3 hours / N 4.0 knots
A bright but largely cloudy morning, with a moderate northerly breeze. However the cloud would begin to break by the end of the morning, with it becoming largely clear and sunny for much of the afternoon, though the aforementioned moderate northerly breeze kept temperatures pegged back to a pleasant 20 C. Cloud increasing again in the evening, and it would remain largely cloudy overnight, with a period of rain around 4 am, though this soon cleared away with it becoming dry by dawn.

17th (Tue) 12.5 C to 22.3 C / nil / 4.3 hours / W 5.9 knots
A grey and cloudy morning, the ground wet after overnight rain, but it would become slowly brighter through the morning with sunny spells developing by mid-day. The rest of the day would be clement with some decent sunny spells and temperatures a pleasant 22 C, though there were some cloudier spells too, especially later in the afternoon. Variable amounts of cloud overnight, though it became largely clear by dawn.

A one legged Common Gull was on the lawn this morning, attracted to bread put out for the birds. The poor thing seemed to just have a stump for a left leg, though despite this disadvantage it seemed to be coping well and was able to hop about quite well.

18th (Wed) 10.2 C to 18.9 C / nil / 7.9 hours / NW 3.0 knots
A clear and breezy morning, with a pleasant freshness to the air, though cloud would increase through the morning with areas of stratocumulus moving in from the north west. The rest of the day would be a mixture of sunny and cloudy spells, though by evening the cloud began to clear again with some decent sunshine to end the day. Clear spells overnight, this allowing the temperature to fall into single figures for the first time in nearly a fortnight.

The Japanese Anemone’s are looking very nice outside the kitchen window now, and though the garden is now undoubtedly now beyond its best it is still filled with plenty of interest and colour.

19th (Thu) 9.3 C to 22.0 C / 1.7 mm / 8.1 hours / SW 2.7 knots
A bright and cool start, with lots of attractive high cirrus in the morning sky, and remaining sunny and bright for most of the day, though high cloud did slowly increase through the afternoon. Warm in the sunshine, the temperature reaching a high of 22 C. However by the end of the afternoon thicker cloud began to invade from the south, with outbreaks of rain moving in by mid evening. These spells of rain would continue for most of the night, though it was very intermittent and not particularly heavy with amounts in the gauge proving fairly insignificant with just 1.7 mm’s recorded. A warm and muggy night with a low of just 14 C.

Picked more Blackberries this morning, with the Keldmarsh area continuing to produce a fine and juicy crop yet again this year. Someone has recently cleared paths through the thick brambles as well, which allows one to get well into the heart of the area, and get the pick of the crop. While picking the berries a late singing Chiffchaff was singing in the area, and when I got home a Willow warbler was singing in the garden.

20th (Fri) 14.0 C to 24.3 C / 1.1 mm / 2.7 hours / SW 2.8 knots
A grey and muggy morning, with spots of rain in the air, though it would become slowly brighter as the morning progressed with sunny spells developing by the afternoon. Becoming very muggy as well in the afternoon, the temperature rising to 24 C and the dew point hanging between 18 C and 19 C. Cloud increasing again by the end of the afternoon with outbreaks of rain moving in during the evening, largely intermittent and fairly light. Continuing on and off during the first half of the night but becoming drier later, though remaining overcast and muggy.

A hawker dragonfly is seen hunting in the garden most afternoons at the moment, and in the evenings it is replaced with the local bats who silently flutter around the house and yew trees. In the Parklands ploughing in now under way as all of the winter cereals are now in, though the spring wheat is still yet to be cut.

21st (Sat) 14.3 C to 24.0 C / nil / 7.0 hours / SW 2.7 knots
A largely cloudy start but brighter spells began to develop by mid morning and it would eventually become largely sunny by midday and would remain so for most of the day, though there was a cloudier spell around 3 pm. Warm again, though not quite as muggy as yesterday, with the temperature reaching a high of 24 C and dew points below 15 C. Cloud increasing again in the evening, but not coming to anything, with the cloud slowly clearing and breaking up through the night with clear skies by dawn.

22nd (Sun) 12.8 C to 22.5 C / 11.7 mm / 9.3 hours / W 2.7 knots
A clear and sunny morning by and large, though cloud began to bubble up by the end of the morning with the afternoon being a mixture of sunny and cloudy spells, the cloud becoming ever more extensive as the afternoon progressed. Clearing for a time in the evening, but cloud would increase again overnight, with moderate to heavy outbreaks of rain moving in by 4 am. The pressure also falling through the night, standing at 1007.9 mbar at 9pm, while twelve hours later it had fallen to 995.0 mbar, a fall of 12.9 mbar.

Wayrhamdale & Pluckham Wood
A pleasant late summers walk on a sunny but not to warm morning, with the signs of autumn becoming ever more apparent in the local countryside with the continuing harvest, the beginning’s of autumn ploughing, and ripening haws and blackberries in the hedgerows even up here on the high Wolds above 200 metres. Indeed on our journey into the Wolds a small flock of Golden Plovers was observed flying over some local fields, a real sign of the changing seasons. On our walk we would see further signs of autumn passage migration, with at least one juvenile Redstart seen on the edge of Pluckham wood, while in the same area at least half a dozen Spotted Flycatchers were observed. Many of these flycatchers were obviously juveniles, and we were able to sit and watch these busy little birds while we enjoyed a cup of tea. As we did we saw yet more passerines, with a few leaf warblers, finches, and tits, amongst which were a few Marsh Tits, with a family of at least three observed on the edge of the wood. Indeed this is the first time I’ve ever seen a group of Marsh Tits as in the past I’ve always considered them a solitary species. Other bird highlights this morning included a few raptors, with Kestrels, Sparrowhawks, and Buzzards all being recorded hunting over these high Wold dales.

Despite the approach of autumn a good variety of wildflowers are still going strong in the grassy dales, with colour provided by the yellows of Ragwort, buttercups, vetches, and hawkbits, blue by Harebells, purple by the knapweeds and thistles, and white by Yarrow, daisies, scentless Mayweeds, and eyebrights, the latter growing particularly abundant beside the Pocklington-Fridaythorpe road. Indeed the broad grassy verge here is now managed for the benefit of wildflowers, including Common spotted and Pyramidical Orchid’s, both of which concluded flowering some weeks ago. Meanwhile in the hedgerows the pink flowers of Rosebay & Great Willowherb are still providing plenty of colour, though many have now gone to seed, and the white trumpets of Bindweed are also still very apparent throughout the whole region. In the shadier spots Herb Robert was seen commonly this morning in the small woods of the area, this being one of the very few woodland flowers still in bloom. Butterflies are now undoubtedly in decline with only a few species seen today, amongst which were Whites, Small Heath’s, Red Admiral’s, and Small Tortoiseshell. Typically Red Admiral’s are now becoming more apparent as we move towards autumn, and we probably saw more of these handsome and striking butterflies today than at any point so far this year.

23rd (Mon) 13.5 C to 17.1 C / 9.7 mm / 0.3 hours / N 3.3 knots
A very wet morning with persistent heavy rain (peaking at 30.8 mm/h), though by 8 am it began to become more intermittent, and indeed by late morning it became largely dry, though it would remain cloudy and damp. Further outbreaks of moderate to heavy rain would return after 2 pm but these too would clear by the end of the afternoon, with even some bright spells managing to develop in the evening. Variable amounts of cloud overnight. (21.4 mm’s of rain was recorded in the calendar day today, falling in approximately eleven hours).

Lots of water around the district this morning, with heavy rain between 5 and 8 am. In fact the cloud was so low this morning that the top of the west front of the Minster was shrouded in mist. However despite the weather I noticed the first ripe Elderberries in the parklands this morning, though 90% of the crop are still at least a week away from ripening, while in the hedgerows the hawberries are likewise beginning to ripen now. In the garden a family of Bullfinches was observed around 11 am, with at least one adult male, and up to four juveniles.

24th (Tue) 10.5 C to 17.5 C / 6.9 mm / 5.3 hours / SW 4.9 knots
A pleasant and cool start to the day, a delicious freshness and indeed autumnal feel to the morning air. However cloud would quickly increase by mid morning with outbreaks of heavy rain (max. 28.8 mm/h) moving in, these periods of rain often accompanied by some blustery westerly winds. Becoming drier again after midday with sunny spells in the afternoon, though it remained breezy with the wind regularly gusting over 22 knots, though this too began to ease by the evening. Clear spells overnight and becoming pleasantly cool again with a low of 9.4 C.

A flock of 50 to 100 Lapwings were in the ploughed fields this morning, and they were joined by doves, Woodpigeons, Black headed Gulls, Common Gulls, 100 to 200 Starlings, and flocks of Linnets. Meanwhile, on what was a lovely cool and sunny autumnal morning, the golden sunshine made the developing and increasingly ripe fruits in the hedgerows look particularly attractive, like natural christmas decorations. In the afternoon I noticed some House Martin’s overhead, probably migrants since they don’t breed in this area, and with the current unsettled conditions I think many Swift’s have now moved on, with far fewer seen in the sky above the garden in recent days.

During the night I had a look at the full moon, which was strikingly bright in the now increasingly dark nights what with the equinox now less than a month away. I also noticed the bright disc of Jupiter in the southern sky, and turning my scope towards it revealed its four largest moons, and just a hint of one of the equatorial belts. Beautiful sights and just a foretaste of the coming season.

25th (Wed) 9.4 C to 19.1 C / 0.2 mm / 4.9 hours / NW 2.0 knots
A bright and fresh start to the day with lots of cirrus in the morning sky, and it would remain bright with sunny spells for much of the day, though by mid afternoon it slowly became overcast as altostratus began to invade from the south. Remaining overcast through the evening and night, with some outbreaks of largely light rain by dawn. A mild night.

Went down to Swinemoor this morning, which was disappointingly quiet with little more than a few black headed Gulls, Moorhens, Mallards, Feral geese, Wood pigeons, and Crows. However in the riverside scrubs a few leaf warblers were seen, in the reedbeds the odd Sedge & Reed Warbler was either heard or briefly spotted, and a Grey Heron was seen out on the moor itself. The flood-meadows are still largely dry, though the recent rains have created some very small pools and hopefully these will attract some interesting visitors in the coming weeks.

26th (Thu) 13.0 C to 15.9 C / trace / nil / E 3.5 knots
An overcast start to the day with outbreaks of light rain and though it became drier by mid morning, it would remain overcast throughout the day with no sunshine recorded. Cool as well with an easterly breeze backing into the north and the temperature reaching an unseasonably low high of 15.9 C. Very autumnal. The cloud became thick enough in the evening again for some light rain, though it was barely enough to dampen the ground, and it became dry again by nightfall, which now comes increasingly early as the nights draw in. The cloud slowly breaking overnight and becoming quite cool with a low of 8.9 C.

Picked more blackberries this morning, with the dense bramble patch at Keldmarsh proving a rich source this year. Overhead a small flock of Golden Plovers were seen heading south-eastwards, and later a lone Oystercatcher was also seen and heard passing over, it heading south westwards. In the garden an adult Spotted Flycatcher was seen in the morning, the second observation in the garden so far this year, and in general the garden birds were very active today, with tits, finches, and others seen hunting for food in the trees and shrubs. It is perhaps to early to say this just yet, but autumn seems to be coming early this year.

27th (Fri) 8.9 C to 17.7 C / 0.2 mm / 7.0 hours / N 3.5 knots
A bright and fresh morning with a moderate northerly breeze and it would remain bright for most of the day, with plenty of sunny spells in the morning and afternoon. Still feeling very autumnal though, with temperatures around 18 C and a gentle northerly breeze. Cloud increasing in the evening for a time, thick enough even for a short spell of light rain, but this soon cleared and clear spells would develop by dusk. Remaining largely clear overnight with temperatures falling into single figures.

Picked yet more blackberries this morning, with another two cartons worth collected. I also picked some decent sized crab apples this morning, with about two dozen picked, and I noticed in the same area that there were also plentiful supplies of other smaller crab apples and sloes, a real natural larder. The elderberries are continuing to ripen, and indeed there are probably enough now to harvest, but I think I will leave it another week or two as they should then be reaching their best. Back at home in the garden Dad and I harvested the disappointing crab apple crop this year, though despite the relatively poor crop there was still enough for a basket full which is actually more than I was expecting.

Had a look at the sun today for the first time since March, using my 900x60 refracting telescope on my new equatorial mount which made tracking the sun much easier than it used to be on a simple tripod. On the suns disk itself just the one spot could be seen with the powerhouse and life provider of the solar system otherwise seemingly smooth and featureless.

28th (Sat) 9.1 C to 18.5 C / 0.6 mm / 4.3 hours / W 7.3 knots
A sunny start but cloud would increase through the morning, accompanied by a freshening WNW breeze. Some showers around mid-day, largely light and fleeting, and becoming quite blustery in the afternoon with the wind gusting to 30 knots. Largely cloudy but dry through the afternoon, though there were some brighter spells at times, and it would remain cloudy during the evening and for most of the night. The breeze also easing overnight, though it began to freshen again by the end of the night.

29th (Sun) 12.7 C to 17.4 C / trace / 4.0 hours / W 10.2 knots
An initially dry start but blustery showers would move in from the north west by 9am though these didn’t last long and it became largely dry by the end of the morning, with good sunny spells developing. Becoming increasingly windy though, with some strong gusts in the afternoon with gusts up to 38 knots and the wind speed in excess of 17 knots for a time. Remaining blustery through the evening and night with variable amounts of cloud, though the breeze did ease somewhat for a time overnight before beginning to freshen again by dawn. A very autumnal feeling day.

Huggatewold Wood & Millingtondale
A late summer walk on the high Wolds with the signs of autumn becoming ever more apparent, with abundant fruits in the hedgerows, appearance of mushrooms, and even a hint of tint in the beech wood. However with the recent unsettled conditions the harvest is not yet completed in the local area, that being particularly the case up here on the Wolds, with about 50% I would guess still to be collected. The weather today was also quite autumnal, with some brief showers at first, some lovely golden sunny spells later, a fresh, occasionally strong north westerly breeze, and temperatures rising no higher than 15 C. Countryside wise the area was quite quiet today, often the case at this time of year and even more so on a blustery day, though many of the wildflowers are still blooming fairly well here and there, with types noted today including knapweed, hawkbit, eyebright, yarrow, field scabious, herb robert, bloody cranesbill, mouse-ear, and willowherb, as well as a few others which are unknown to me. I have greatly enjoyed learning about wildflowers this summer and hopefully next year I can build upon the knowledge I have collected during the past six months of field studies.

Bird wise the walk was very quiet again, with even leaf warblers remaining unheard today, probably due to the wind, though finches were seen quite well in the hedgerows with goldfinches and linnets, as well as a few yellowhammers. The wind also made it a terrible day for lepidoptera observing, with species seen today including whites, comma’s, and small tortoiseshell, all in the relatively sheltered area at the top end of Millingtondale. Other highlights today including the brief spotting of a juvenile Stoat on the edge of Huggatewold Wood, and the very clear visibility today on top of Huggatewold, with the Pennines clearly obvious to the west, and most of the East Riding visible to the east.

30th (Mon) 10.7 C to 16.6 C / nil / 6.1 hours / NW 3.7 knots
A cloudy and breezy morning, the cloud occasionally thick enough for the odd drop of rain. However sunny spells would develop from late morning onwards and the rest of the day would be pleasant and clement, though it was quite cool with an easing but still moderate northerly breeze, and the temperature reaching a modest high of 16.7 C. Becoming largely clear by the evening and remaining so overnight, and with the breeze becoming fairly light it became quite chilly with a low of 5.9 C, the coldest August night on my records.

Saw about three Grey Partridge’s along Shepherd’s Lane this morning, always a pleasing sight as this iconic gamebird had become quite scarce in recent times. In the evening a juvenile Hedgehog was seen in the garden, and I gave it a little bit of cat food. Sightings of these lovely little mammals are becoming scarcer in my view so the presence of one in the garden was most welcome.

31st (Tue) 5.9 C to 20.1 C / nil / 10.8 hours / NW 1.6 knots
A beautiful, chilly, and autumnal start to the day, with largely clear skies and a low mist in rural districts. Remaining sunny and clement throughout the day, with just some fair weather cumulus bubbling up in the afternoon, and it was warmer than recently with the temperature climbing to 20 C. Staying clear in the evening and overnight and becoming quite chilly again with light winds.

Woke up before dawn today (which is now increasingly late) and noticed Jupiter shining brightly in the south west. I therefore decided to take the opportunity to view it through my 900x60 refracting telescope and was rewarded with a nice view of the planets disc with an obvious dark band crossing the planets surface, undoubtedly the northern equatorial belt which in my other telescope was on the very threshold of being resolved. Three of the Galilean moons were to be observed as well, with Io hidden behind the planet. While observing Jupiter I noticed a large Tawny Owl in the larch tree, and latterly, as dawn began to break, I saw it hunting through the neighbours garden.

After getting up I headed down to the Parks on what was a beautiful morning with the sun rising across the county and a real chill on the dawn air, very autumnal indeed. Over the parkland fields a low mist hung in the air and the ground and trees were covered in a heavy dew, which meant that the red berries of the Hawthorn glistened in the low sun. In the ploughed fields three Roe deer were spotted looking for food, as were Lapwings, Starlings, Rooks, Jackdaws, Common Gulls, and Black headed Gulls, while at the same time a flock of at least a hundred Lapwings flew over, heading for another nearby field in search of their breakfast. In the Old Hall area a Willow warbler was heard in song, and another was heard near Keldmarsh, where a late singing Chiffchaff was also heard. Back at home in the garden the warm afternoon sunshine provided some fine conditions for late butterfly observing, with species seen including Whites, Red Admirals, Peacocks, Holly Blue, and Speckled Wood. In the skies above the Swifts seem to have now completely moved on now, though of course the Swallows are still here, with Martins also seen occasionally amongst them.

North Cliffe Wood
Went blackberry picking this morning in this always peaceful and quiet wood between North Cave and Market Weighton, passing by on the way many combines working hard to complete the wheat harvest in the current fine spell. The blackberries proved to be quite plentiful and indeed we spent a good three hours foraging through the wood, collecting at least a dozen container full’s in total, which combined with my pickings from Keldmarsh should provide many blackberry pies and alike in the months ahead. It always amazes me just how few people take advantage of these abundant natural bounties, for not only is it free but it is a perfect excuse to spend a few hours out in countryside and enjoy the tranquillity which comes from such simple and ancient activities.

While picking the berries we saw quite a few Speckled Wood butterflies fluttering around the dappled glades, and out on the heath a number of hawker dragonflies were spotted buzzing about. It was out on the heath that we met an interesting gentleman from Hull whom had a particular interest in these insects and he was there to enjoy a peaceful day photographing these primeval insects on what was a gorgeous late summer/early autumn day. Indeed the weather today was warmer than it has been lately with a much lighter westerly breeze and barely a cloud in the sky prior to noon. This made for fine conditions for a soaring Buzzard which was observed over the edge of the heath, and it would remain in the area for much of our visit with its distinctive call being heard in the sky above as we foraged.

Other birds heard in the wood included late singing leaf warblers, green woodpecker, and great spotted woodpecker, while birds seen included foraging tits, long tailed tits, and a single Treecreeper amongst the oaks on the eastern edge of the reserve. A few acorns have now begun to fall in this area, though many of these may have been knocked off during the weekend winds, and I also saw a few Hazelnuts on the ground, all of which were probably knocked off by the squirrels whom are a real nuisance as they pick the nuts before they are ready. All in all though it was a very enjoyable morning in one of my favourite parts of this wonderful county, and a fine way to end the summer edition of my country journal. I can’t wait to see what autumn brings in the weeks ahead.

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