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July 2010

1st (Thursday) 12.7 C to 25.0 C / 0.5 mm / 3.7 hours
A bright and warm start to the day, with some rural mist, though invasive upper and mid level clouds made the morning sunshine weak and hazy. Clearing for a time in the afternoon, with some good sunny spells, and becoming very warm again, the temperature reaching a high of 25.0 C (77 F). These high temperatures combined with a dew point typically between 16 and 18 C made it feel unpleasantly humid however. Cloud again increasing by mid afternoon, becoming thick enough for the odd spot of rain, but this came to nothing and the rest of the day was largely cloudy. Remaining cloudy overnight, and as a result temperatures remained high under this blanket, falling no lower than 16.3 C, very unpleasant for those of us who enjoy our sleep. There was some rain towards the end of the night as well, but nothing significant with it clearing by dawn.

The Barley is now a golden colour in the parkland fields and in now probably a fortnight away from harvest, weather permitting. A Barn Owl was also spotted over the Parklands area this morning, seen hunting near Old Hall Farm. Back at home in the garden a Red Admiral was seen sunning itself in the Laurels, the first seen in the garden since spring.

2nd (Friday) 16.3 C to 24.6 C / nil / 5.8 hours
A grey and warm morning, with some bits and pieces of insignificant rain. However this cleared by the end of the morning with sunny spells developing by mid-day, and it would remain sunny through the afternoon with just the odd bit of scattered cloud. Becoming very warm again as well, reaching a high of 24.6 C (76.3 F), though a pleasant breeze prevented it from becoming too hot. The day ended with a beautiful sunset as can be seen in the picture to the right, as broken patches of stratocumulus/ altocumulus caught the setting sun. Variable amounts of cloud overnight and cooler than last night.

3rd (Saturday) 11.9 C to 23.2 C / nil / 7.3 hours
A clear and sunny start but cumulus began to bubble up by mid morning, this quickly increasing so that by mid day it was largely cloudy, and it would remain so through the afternoon. There were still some sunny spells though, and indeed by the end of the afternoon more breaks began to develop with a fine end to the day. Warm again, though not as unpleasant as recent days, with a moderate breeze also making it feel fresher. Variable amounts of cloud overnight.

4th (Sunday) 10.6 C to 24.4 C / nil / 9.0 hours
A bright and fresh morning with plenty of sunny spells. A bit more in the way of cloud in the afternoon, with areas of Stratocumulus coming and going, but there were still plenty of warm sunny spells. However a moderate to fresh westerly wind kept temperatures pegged back somewhat. Clear spells overnight with the breeze easing.

A pleasant summers walk in this small Wold valley which was looking particularly beautiful today with summer now very much near its peak. However a fresh breeze today wasn’t ideal, especially when looking to observe butterflies, but nevertheless we still managed plenty of good observations, though unfortunately no quality photos. The main highlight were the first Marbled Whites of the year, with at least a dozen or so of these wonderful and fairly localised butterflies seen. The Wolds are the main northern outpost of this species and the population seems stable and healthy and seems to have survived the past winter with no major losses. Other highlights included an abundance of Ringlets, a few Meadow Browns, good numbers of Small Skippers, and what seemed to be either female Common Blues, or perhaps Brown Argus‘. Another trip on a calmer day will hopefully allow somewhat better observations.

Birdlife was fairly quiet, as would be expected in mid summer, though the area was full of the sounds of singing Skylarks, Yellowhammers, and a single Willow warbler. Wildflowers are going strongly though, with Millingtondale Head looking particularly attractive as we drove down towards Nettledale, with the bank providing a fine show of Herb Robert, Wild Geraniums, a few Cornflowers, and yellow flowering Vetches. In the lower regions of the Wolds Rosebay Willowherb is also beginning to flower beside the roads or in areas of scrub, while in the fields the winter Barley is now largely all golden, giving the countryside an attractive patchwork of green and golden fields. Further interest this morning was provided by some small patches of Cirrocumulus high in the sky above us, which at one point produced some iridescence.

Back at home a Grasshopper was in the garden, and it was heard calling frequently in the garden beds. This quickly caught Billy’s attention as well, though it managed to evade him.

5th (Monday) 12.5 C to 20.7 C / nil / 7.5 hours
A sunny and pleasant morning but cloud increased as the morning progressed to that by afternoon it had become largely cloudy. However there were still plenty of sunny spells, and indeed after mid afternoon the cloud began to break up more allowing more frequent and longer spells of sunshine to end the day. Less warm than recently, with a fresh westerly breeze also making it feel cooler, though nevertheless the temperature still exceeded 20 C, the fifteenth day in a row that it has done so. Clear spells overnight and becoming cooler than it has been of late.

A Grey Heron was seen heading westwards over the Parks this morning. In the hedgerows, ditches, and scrub the Rosebay Willowherb is now beginning to flower in the local area, as is the similar Great Willowherb, while the white flowering trumpets of Bindweed are seen in ever increasing plenitude amongst the hawthorn and blackthorn hedges.

6th (Tuesday) 10.2 C to 21.9 C / nil / 3.0 hours
A cool but sunny start with just some broken areas of attractive Altocumulus. However cloud increased by mid morning and it would remain largely cloudy for much of the day with just the odd sunnier spell from time to time. However by evening the cloud began to break up, this allowing some late sunny spells to end the day. Warm again, though it was quite breezy, and with these two factors together it means evapotranspiration is very high at the moment. Indeed rainfall for the past four weeks has come to just 6.9 mm’s, and the countryside is certainly the driest it has been for a number of years. Variable amounts of cloud overnight with the moderate breeze keeping temperatures in excess of 15 C.

The seasonal pond near Old Hall Farm is now down to no more than a mere puddle and will be probably be dry within the next week or so, depending on the weather of course. At the Millennium Orchard a Little Owl was spotted on an apple tree stake, the first I’ve seen in the Parks for some time. In the fields the winter wheat is now beginning to lighten in tint, with just a hint of the golden colour it will be within the next three weeks, while in the fields margins the thistles are now in flower, largely Welted and Creeping varieties. Poppies are also still in flower, along with Mayweed, and the aromatic Pineapple weed, whose smell to me is so much part of mid-summer.

7th (Wednesday) 15.3 C to 22.5 C / trace / 4.2 hours
A fine, warm, and sunny start to the day but increasing amounts of cloud moved in from mid morning. It would remain largely cloudy for much of the remainder of the day, with the cloud being thick enough for some brief and largely light rain around 3 pm, which was barely enough to dampen the ground. Humid as well in the afternoon with the dew point hovering around 18 C. More in the way of sunny spells managing to develop by the evening, with a fine sunset at dusk, one of several in the past few days (see picture). Largely cloudy overnight and very mild with a low of just 14.7 C.

Went down to Swinemoor this morning, on what was a warm but breezy start to the day. The last of the seasonal floods have now dried out, and as a result it was very quiet out on the pastures today, with just a few Mallards seen here and there, as well as good numbers of Lapwings. However later I did manage to spot a half dozen or so Golden Plovers, which must be early returnee’s from their northern breeding grounds. A Grey Heron was also spotted along the river.

8th (Thursday) 14.7 C to 23.0 C / 0.2 mm / 3.0 hours
A cloudy and warm morning, the cloud thick enough at times for just the odd drop of rain. However by the end of the morning some breaks managed to develop, allowing some warm and humid sunshine during the afternoon. Invasive altostratus began to move in by the evening though, and this would continue to thicken overnight with some outbreaks of light rain around 2 am. Not coming to much (just 0.2 mm) though the thick cloud did mean it was a warm and muggy night, made worse by a lack of any breeze.

9th (Friday) 14.1 C to 27.7 C / nil / 10.0 hours
A grey and muggy start to the day, but the sun began to break through after 9 am with sunny spells soon developing. The remainder of the day would continue largely sunny, with just the odd cloudier period from time to time, and it would also become hot and muggy with the temperature climbing to 27.7 C (81.9 F), the highest temperature of the year thus far. Becoming largely clear in the evening and overnight, though remaining warm with a low of just 14.1 C (57.4 F).

Dad reported he heard a Cuckoo this morning, and indeed has said he has heard it a few times in the morning in recent days. I do have a few doubts about this but nevertheless I have decided to accept this observation as he seems fairly convinced. Out in the garden a large Cockchafer beetle was seen today, while with the hot and humid conditions the harvest bugs are now out in force, somewhat earlier than one would expect. Indeed in recent summers there numbers have been low but this year they are very plentiful and are very annoying.

10th (Saturday) 14.1 C to 28.0 C / nil / 8.9 hours
A sunny and very warm morning, the temperature already 22 C by 9 am, and in excess of eighty degrees by mid-day. However cloud increased in the afternoon, with both cumulus bubbling up and high level cirrus invading from the south west, though neither provided any relief from the very warm conditions, the temperature rising to a 2010 high of 28.0 C (82.4 F), beating yesterdays high. By the end of the afternoon it had become largely cloudy, with extensive Cirrus and Cirrostratus veiling the sun, though this began to clear by dusk with clear spells developing overnight. Very warm though with a low of just 16.5 C.

A Red Admiral was seen fluttering around the garden today, sunning itself along the eastern hedge. In the evening I had a quick bug search, uncovering Two spotted Ladybirds, Harvestmen (PO), Shieldbugs, Black Ants, and Froghoppers to name but a few.

11th (Sunday) 16.5 C to 22.0 C / nil / 8.1 hours
A largely warm and sunny day with plenty of sunny spells, with a blustery south westerly breeze forcing the small Cumulus’ and patches of Stratocumulus over the sky. Much fresher today than recently, partly thanks to the breeze, with the thermometer rising to a more pleasant and average high of 22.0 C (71.6 F). However upper level clouds would increase through the afternoon, and by evening it had become largely cloudy as Cirrus and Cirrostratus was replaced by thicker Altostratus. Remaining cloudy overnight with the breeze becoming light and backing into the east.

Huggatewold Wood & Huggatedykes
A high summer walk on the high Wolds today, on what was a largely sunny, warm, but very breezy morning. Indeed in some areas it was positively strong, with gusts of certainly up to 30 knots I would hazard to guess. On the journey to the Huggate area we passed a dead Badger near Lund, a surprising observation for that area, while in the roadside verges the abundant blooms of late spring and early summer are now largely gone to seed, though some blooms do continue to provide some colour, including hedge bindweed, creeping bindweed, wild Geranium, and of course both types of Willowherb (ie. Rosebay & Great).

However above 150 metres or so the hedges and roadside verges are still flowering with a greater diversity of plants, with even the Elderflower still going strong up here, as down in the Beverley area this useful shrub has now largely concluded flowering. Indeed through this morning it would be the beauty of wildflowers which would provide the lion share of the interest, with the beautiful downland meadows an absolute joy to wonder through on what was such a beautiful and fresh day. Walking up towards Huggatedykes from the dales below was as close to heaven as I can imagine, the soft summer breeze making the foot long grass sway gently, while amongst the grass wildflowers such as Harebells, Catsear (I think), Knapweed, vetches, Ragwort, Rest Harrow (again I think), and Thistles were in flower.

These flowers in turn attracted good numbers of butterflies, including Marbled Whites, which were seen in very healthy numbers, Ringlets, which were abundant, Meadow Browns, Common Whites, Large and Small Skippers, and a few Six spot Burnets, the first I’ve seen this year. However it wasn’t just in the ungrazed and undisturbed downland meadows that wildflowers were seen in good numbers and variety, with the rough track leading to Huggatedykes lined with Cornflowers, Tufted Vetch, and what looked like a type of Mantle. In this area a Red Admiral was seen sunning itself, while in the sky above Skylarks were in healthy song. Bird wise the morning was very quiet, with just the abundant calling of Meadow Pipits in the grassy dales the highlight of the morning, along with a lone Buzzard, and some young finches.

12th (Monday) 12.7 C to 16.2 C / 4.2 mm / nil
A dull and grey morning, with outbreaks of rain moving in around 9am and continuing on and off for much of the day. Never particularly heavy (peaking at just 2.4 mm/h) and the day total of 4.2 mm was less than had been hoped for. However any at all was nevertheless welcomed, as were the lower temperatures today with a high of just 16.2 C (61.2 F), over twenty degrees Fahrenheit cooler than just two days ago. Any remaining bits and pieces of rain clearing by evening, though it remained largely cloudy till after dusk. However overnight clear spells did develop and it became quite cool, at least compared to recently, with a low of 10.3 C (50.5 F).

The first field of winter barley has now been harvested in the Parklands, where other agricultural activities this weekend have included cutting the oilseed rape. The winter wheat has also continued to turn over the weekend what with all the recent heat and sun, and is now a light golden colour (see entry on 6th). The countryside is indeed quite golden at the moment as the dry weather (just 6.2 mm’s in the last 32 days prior to today), combined with strong hot sunshine, and drying breezes have made the grasslands of the area become quite yellow, with the countryside as dry as I can remember it being for a number of years, and the ground as solid as rock. Today’s rain was therefore welcomed by nearly all, be they beasts, fowl, or man. Another welcome observation today was the spotting of a juvenile Goldcrest in the garden Yews, confirming that they have successfully bred again this year. It has been reported that this small and vulnerable bird had suffered major losses in the winter past but it looks like our local population survived and is continuing to prosper.

13th (Tuesday) 10.3 C to 18.5 C / 0.9 mm / 2.0 hours
A bright and fresh morning with plenty of sunny spells, but cloud increased after 10 am and it soon became largely cloudy and would remain so throughout the day. Fairly bright though despite the cloud and it wasn’t until evening that the cloud became thick enough to produce some light outbreaks of rain. These outbreaks of largely light rain would continue through much of the night, though amounts would be very small with just 0.9 mm’s recorded.

The cooler and fresher conditions this morning gave the countryside an autumnal feel, this further hinted at by the now developing wild foods in the areas hedgerows, including haws, crab apples, blackberries, and now even Elderberries which have only just concluded flowering. Indeed at the Millennium Orchard I noticed that the Rowan berries are already now turning orange and what with harvest now under way and the summer solstice already three weeks gone the year is certainly now on the turn. Other observations this morning included my first Lesser Whitethroat of the year, with one seen skulking in the large mature hedge near Old Hall Farm, while in fields near Black House Stables a flock of mixed gulls was observed, included BH Gulls, Common Gulls, Herring Gulls, & Lesser BB Gulls. Back at home in the garden a lot of young tits were seen today in the Yew and Hawthorn trees, including Great, Blue, and Coal.

14th (Wednesday) 14.1 C to 22.0 C / 3.5 mm / 2.5 hours
A grey and dull morning, and feeling very warm and humid as we sat in the warm zone between frontal systems. Becoming brighter for a short time around 10 am with some good sunny spells, but cloud increased again by the end of the morning with showers developing in the afternoon. There were some brighter spells between the showers but in general it was an unsettled afternoon, with some of the showers becoming heavy after mid afternoon, peaking at 23.2 mm/h. Indeed in the evening one shower produced a few rumbles of thunder, a phenomena which has thus far been lacking this summer. The showers largely dying out after dusk with clear spells overnight, though a freshening south by west breeze held temperatures up.

Very quiet down on Swinemoor this morning with barely anything of note, as the rain in the last few days (all 5.1 mm’s of it) has unsurprisingly done nothing for the now dry flood meadows. However a Coot on the river was a welcome observation as they are not that common on this stretch of the water, and a Grey Heron was also seen passing over the pastures. Overhead an Oystercatcher passed over without being seen, its loud piping call heard instead, while out on the pastures itself interest was supplied by Mallards, Moorhens, Lapwings, and one lone Snipe. In the river reedbeds Sedge & Reed Warblers were    seen in good numbers too, along with a few Whitethroats and Reed Buntings. Meanwhile back at home a young Great Spotted Woodpecker was seen today with the adult female, and a flock of young Chaffinches was another welcome sight. Most birds seem to have had a successful breeding season this year.

15th (Thursday) 13.8 C to 22.0 C / 1.7 mm / 4.5 hours
A breezy start, with the odd light shower, though otherwise it was a bright and fresh morning with plenty of good sunny spells. More cloud and showers developing after mid-day, though most were quite brief and the peak rainfall rate was a modest 2.0 mm/h. Warm despite the showers, and feeling quite muggy as well despite the moderate breeze which veered from the SSW in the morning to the west by mid afternoon. Showers continuing on and off through the night and remaining breezy, indeed it became quite strong and gusty for a time around midnight.

The globular flowers of burdocks are now appearing along the local hedgerows, joining the thistles and alike.

16th (Friday) 13.9 C to 19.4 C / 0.6 mm / 5.8 hours
A breezy morning with plenty of good sunny spells, the moderate to fresh south-west breeze blowing the broken Cumulus across the azure sky. However like yesterday cloud increased after mid-day, some of which became thick enough to produce the odd brief shower, but nevertheless there were still some brighter and sunnier periods during the afternoon. Quite cool, with a high of 19.4 C, this largely due to the aforementioned breeze which was quite gusty at times. Variable amounts of cloud overnight with the breeze becoming light.

17th (Saturday) 10.5 C to 18.7 C / 0.6 mm / 7.7 hours
A bright morning with sunny spells and broken, scattered cloud, which at times was thick enough to produce the odd spot of rain. These clouds became larger in the afternoon with more significant showers developing, some of which would be quite heavy, but since most lasted no more than a couple of minutes amounts proved largely insignificant with just 0.6 mm‘s recorded. Despite the showers there were some good sunny spells too, but with the showers, along with a moderate westerly breeze, it was another cool summers day with a modest high of 18.7 C (65.7 F). However the showers quickly died away by 6 pm leaving a pleasant and largely sunny evening, and it would remain largely clear overnight. Indeed under the clear skies the temperature fell below 10 C (50 F) for the first time in nearly four weeks.

The Buddleias in the garden are now beginning to flower, and despite the frequent showers today and tossing breeze a few butterflies were seen feeding on their florets, including the typical Whites, the odd Red Admiral and Comma, a Holly Blue, and most significant of all a Small Copper, a new species for my garden lepidoptera list.

18th (Sunday) 9.4 C to 22.4 C / trace / 1.3 hours
A largely clear dawn but cloud soon increased with it becoming largely cloudy by mid morning with some outbreaks of light drizzle. This didn’t last long though and it cleared by 10 am, with the cloud breaking up a bit by midday and allowing some sunny spells. Becoming warm and muggy as well after the morning front cleared with temperatures rising into the mid twenties and dew points around 16 C, though a moderate to fresh south westerly breeze did make it feel somewhat more pleasant. Cloud increasing again in the afternoon, and though it threatened rain at times it didn’t come to anything and it remained largely dry, bar the odd spot from time to time. It would remain cloudy through the evening and night, though the earlier breeze did ease by dusk. A very mild night as well with a low of just 16 C (the reported low from the logbook being a statistical error, something which occurs from time to time due to observational procedures).

Great Dugdale (Warter)
Our Sunday morning walk took us to the Warter area in the heart of the central Wolds today, on what was a grey and damp day at first, though it did become brighter later. It was also warm and muggy despite the cloud, though there was a fairly fresh south westerly breeze too. Despite the weather butterflies were seen in good numbers, but not for the first time recently they were hard to photograph due to the blustery conditions. However I did get a good picture of a Ringlet (top picture on the right), a species I have often found very difficult to photograph due to their flighty natures. They are certainly having a boom year this year as I don’t think I’ve seen so many as I have seen thus far this summer.

Another species which seems to be having a good year are the wonderful Marbled Whites, the jewel in the crown of the Wolds lepidoptera, and they were seen in very good numbers this morning. Other butterflies this morning included Meadow Browns, Large Whites, Small Whites, along with Small Skippers, and a single Six spot Burnet moth. Though undoubtedly most wildflowers are now beyond their best, nevertheless a good variety were seen this morning, with thistles, burdocks, knapweed, vetches, clovers, wild geraniums (Meadow Cranesbill), willowherbs, and harebells all seen in flower, be they amongst the daleside grasslands or along the local hedgerows. On many of the flowers, particularly the knapweeds, lots of Cardinal Beetles were seen, the bright red beetles very conspicuous on the flower heads.

Bird wise the morning was largely uneventful, bar plenty of Skylarks, Linnets, and Yellowhammers, and a single Buzzard, while in the grasslands a good number of hares were spotted, an animal which seems to be increasing its numbers recently. Meanwhile the countryside is looking good at the moment with a patchwork of brown and green as the cereals ripen, indeed the barley harvest must be imminent (having already begun around Beverley), and the winter wheat is also now well on the turn, with greener areas now restricted to the edges of the fields and the wheel-tracks. Also noticed this morning were a few fields of purple flowering Potato’s, particularly in the Middleton area, while on the return journey home I saw the first pea lorries of the year.

19th (Monday) 14.2 C to 26.7 C / 4.7 mm / 7.0 hours
A grey morning with a thick layer of Altostratus, which at first was thick enough for just the odd drop of rain. However by mid morning the cloud began to break and clear, and indeed by late morning it had become largely clear and sunny. It would remain sunny for most of the afternoon, becoming very hot and humid with it as the temperature climbed up to eighty degrees, and dew points hovered around 16 C. Cloud increasing again by evening though and thickening through the night, with outbreaks of rain moving in after midnight, some of which were quite heavy (peaking at 8.2 mm/h).

A lot of harvest-bugs were on the wing today, making a real nuisance of themselves and not for the first time this summer. However the Swifts were enjoying it very much with a great abundance seen in the skies above the town during the afternoon.

20th (Tuesday) 14.6 C to 24.4 C / 0.2 mm / 1.3 hours
A wet start with outbreaks of moderate to heavy rain, but this soon cleared with sunny spells breaking though by mid morning. However this morning brightness was fairly short lived and by the afternoon it had become largely cloudy again and would remain so for the rest of the day. The cloud was quite threatening at times, and combined with the very warm temperatures (24 C) and humid air (dew point 16-17 C) one felt a storm cloud break at any point, but it held off and it remained dry, and indeed by evening the cloud even began to lift with some brief breaks appearing. Remaining largely cloudy overnight, and very warm with a low of just below 16 C.

21st (Wednesday) 15.8 C to 23.3 C / nil / 6.0 hours
After a dull and grey start it became brighter by mid morning with some good sunny spells developing. Remaining largely clement with plenty of sunshine in the afternoon, with just a scattering of fair weather Cumulus providing some interest in an otherwise featureless azure sky. Pleasantly warm at 23 C. Cloud increasing in the evening as the breeze slowly veered northwards, and becoming largely cloudy overnight with extensive stratocumulus moving in.

Finally some positive news about my anemometer, as hopefully it will be installed on Saturday (24th) in its permanent location atop the house. Finally (after seven years of waiting) I will have some reasonably reliable wind data.

22nd (Thursday) 12.1 C to 16.7 C / 0.3 mm / nil
A cool and cloudy morning, with thick Stratocumulus coming in off the sea on a light north by east breeze. Remaining dull and grey for the remainder of the day, the cloud thick enough for some coastal drizzle in the afternoon, and unsurprisingly it was quite a cool day with temperatures struggling to 16 C. Remaining overcast during the first part of the night, but this cleared after midnight with largely clear skies by dawn.

23rd (Friday) 10.7 C to 20.0 C / nil / 12.5 hours
A bright and pleasant morning, and remaining largely sunny and bright throughout the day, with just some scattered cumulus in the afternoon. Pleasant temperatures with a high of 20 C. Remaining clear overnight, and with light winds it became quite chilly for high summer with a low of 6.5 C, the lowest July minimum since at least 2004.

The sunshine and relatively gentle winds today made for excellent butterfly conditions, with the buddleia attracting good numbers. Species seen in the garden today included Large White, Small White, at least three Holly Blues, a couple of Peacocks, one of which was a perfect and vividly coloured example of the species, one beautiful Small Tortoiseshell, quite a few Comma’s, and at least a couple of Red Admirals.

24th (Saturday) 6.5 C to 23.0 C / nil / 9.3 hours
A chilly but sunny start, though the high summer sun soon began to warm things up with temperatures already in excess of 20 C by 10 am, and eventually reaching a high of 23 C. Remaining clement for most of the day, with plenty of good sunny spells, though cloud did slowly increase as the afternoon progressed, and indeed by evening it had become largely cloudy. Remaining overcast for most of the night, this helping keep temperatures above 16 C, but the cloud did begin to clear by dawn.

The anemometer was finally installed today, and now sits proudly atop the house. Over the next few days I will have a few minor adjustments to make, with data from the instrument being actively recorded from the 1st of August.

25th (Sunday) 16.0 C to 23.8 C / nil / 3.6 hours
A warm and bright morning, with some decent sunny spells, though a fair amount of broken cumulus and stratocumulus provided some cloudier periods. Cloud amounts increasing further in the afternoon, and by late afternoon it had become overcast. It would remain largely cloudy through the evening and night, with just some clearer spells developing by the end of the night.

A fine mid summers walk in perhaps the most interesting corner of the Wolds, especially at this time of year, as the grassy dales are a mecca for wildflowers and butterflies, especially towards the head of the dale. Our walk started with the sight of three Buzzards in the sky above us, soaring on the thermals, while the hawthorn scrub was filled with Yellowhammer’s, and leaf warblers. Nettledale itself proved disappointing today, the abundant sheep in this area meaning less than ideal conditions for wildflowers or butterflies, but once beyond this area and into the much less intensely grazed pastures of upper Millingtondale we came across much of interest, with the think long grass harbouring Meadow Browns, Ringlets, Marbled Whites, Skippers, and Grass Moths aplenty.

Eventually we reached the head of Millingtondale, where the Rosebay Willowherb was flowering profusely, as were the white trumpets of hedge bindweed. It was also in this area we came across a roadkill Badger, which looked like it had been in fine condition before it had the misfortune to get in the way of a motorised vehicle. This is the second dead Badger we’ve come across lately, with one seen on the road near Lund on the 11th, and though it is sad to see these elusive nocturnal mammals meet such unfortunate fates, it nevertheless gives one an idea of where they reside in the local area.

Moving on from this area we headed back down into Millingtondale, walking along the valley bottom, and it was in this area that a wonderful profusion of wildflowers would be seen along the roadside verges and in the rough grasslands. Just some of the wildflowers we saw included Wild Geranium (Cranesbill), Field Scabious, Cornflower, Harebell, Clustered Bellflower, Selfheal, Knapweed, Yarrow, Mayweed, Pineappleweed, Ragwort, Burdock, Thistle, Betony, and what last time I had wrongly identified as Herb Robert, and which I now think is actually Bloody Cranesbill (see 4th of this month).

As you would expect these flowers attracted good numbers of insects, including many different types of hoverfly (included the one in the picture above), as well as butterflies, including many of those mentioned earlier, with additional species including Small Tortoiseshell, Red Admiral, Comma, and the odd Small Copper. On one clump of ragwort we also discovered a cinnabar moth caterpillar, and again a good number of cardinal beetles were seen on many of the plants (see last week at Great Dugdale).

The largely dry and very warm summer so far seems to be benefiting the insects of the region, and many species are undoubtedly having a boom year, especially butterflies such as the Marbled Whites, Ringlets, and the Skippers. Even the wildflowers are looking great this year despite the lack of any real rain, with the dry loving chalkland specialists revelling in the conditions. After three poor or at the very least distinctly average summers, this years dry and settled weather has been welcome and it is a joy to be out in the peace and tranquillity of these Wold dales and meadows at the moment.

26th (Monday) 13.5 C to 21.5 C / trace / 3.0 hours
A fine morning with broken areas of stratocumulus and sunny spells in between, with the sky particularly attractive and interesting early in the morning with some particularly fine looking cirrus. However by late morning it had become largely cloudy and would remain so through the rest of the afternoon, with just the odd brighter spell from time to time. By evening the cloud was thick enough for some light rain, but this didn’t last long and barely dampened the ground, and indeed totalled just 0.1 mm in the gauge. Remaining largely overcast overnight and very mild with a minimum temperature of 16.9 C, the highest July night-time low in four years.

The Oilseed Rape has now been collected in, with the stubble field now attracting hundreds of Woodpigeons, as well as one Roe deer this morning. Back at home in the garden a dreadful amount of Greenfly were on the wing this afternoon, with the air filled with these delicate little insects. I expect the spiders are enjoying the high insect numbers this year though, with many webs seen absolutely full of bugs at the moment.

27th (Tuesday) 16.9 C to 22.3 C / nil / 3.7 hours
A warm and muggy start to the day, with some early brightness, but by mid morning it had become cloudy and grey and would remain so for most of the day. Quite warm despite the cloud though, with a high of 22.3 C. The cloud began to break however after 6 pm and by mid evening it had become clear with a lovely sunny end to the day. Remaining mostly clear overnight, though cloud again began to increase by dawn. Fresher than last night.

Noticed the first few ripe Blackberries this year along the river Hull this morning.

28th (Wednesday) 12.1 C to 19.5 C / 2.2 mm / 0.5 hours
A largely cloudy morning with a moderate westerly breeze, and remaining largely cloudy for most of the day, bar the odd very brief brighter period. In the afternoon some heavy showers passed through (peaking at 13.4 mm/h), which provided some welcome rain in what has been a largely dry month thus far. Showers clearing by evening but it remained largely cloudy, and indeed would remain so through most of the night, this keeping temperatures on the mild side with a low of just 14 C.

The remainder of the Parkland Barley fields have now been harvested, and looking at the winter wheat that should be no more than ten or so days from harvest now. In the sprout field I notice that a small weather station has been installed in the last few days, something I have never seen utilised before.

29th (Thursday) 14.0 C to 20.4 C / 0.2 mm / 1.3 hours
A largely cloudy morning, though there were some brighter periods at times, particularly in the second half of the morning. However by afternoon cloud began to increase again, with it becoming largely grey and dull by 4 pm. The cloud thick enough for some rain in the evening, but not really coming to much, and clearing by dusk. Cloud slowly breaking overnight and becoming largely clear by the end of the night.

30th (Friday) 10.8 C to 20.9 C / 3.4 mm / 3.7 hours
A clear and sunny start, but high level clouds would increase from 7am onwards, and would slowly thicken and lower as the morning progressed with it becoming largely cloudy by mid-day. The cloud continuing to thicken as the afternoon progressed, with a spell of rain moving in by the end of the afternoon, this quite heavy at times with a peak rainfall rate of 21.6 mm/h. However this heavier rain cleared relatively quickly leaving a grey and muggy evening, with a little bit of drizzle at times. Becoming dry overnight with the cloud slowly breaking up, this allowing some clearer spells later.

31st (Saturday) 12.5 C to 19.4 C / nil / 1.8 hours
A bright morning though fairly cloudy with lots of stratocumulus and altocumulus, and if anything becoming more cloudy in the afternoon with only limited brighter spells. Remaining largely cloudy through the evening and night.