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July 2011

1st (Fri) 8.5 C to 18.8 C / nil / 8.8 hours / SE 1.5 knots
A pleasant start to the day with plenty of sunshine, and a chill on the morning air. Remaining sunny for most of the morning, but like a lot of days recently cloud would bubble up by 11 am and soon form stratocumulus. This would make it quite cloudy in the afternoon, though nevertheless there were still some sunny spells from time to time. Variable amounts of cloud in the evening and overnight, with some decent clear spells from time to time, especially towards the end of the night.

The Mayweed & Poppies are still lending attractive splashes of colour beside many of the cereal fields, with those beside the now golden Barley looking particularly good on a sunny morning like today’s.

2nd (Sat) 11.1 C to 20.7 C / nil / 13.9 hours / SE 1.9 knots
A clear, sunny and warm morning for the most part, though by the end of the morning cumulus and then stratocumulus would increase so that by lunchtime it had become largely cloudy. Remaining cloudy into the afternoon, but after 2 pm this cloud would being to break and clear and by 3 pm it had become largely clear and would remain so for the remainder of the afternoon and evening. Clear spells overnight.

A Small Copper butterfly was seen (and photographed) in the garden today. These small, brightly coloured butterflies are one of my favourites and I am always pleased to see them in the garden.

3rd (Sun) 8.3 C to 23.3 C / nil / 14.2 hours / SE 2.0 knots
A sunny and warm day pretty much throughout, with just some broken high and mid-level clouds during the middle of the afternoon, though somewhat more extensive altocumulus would move in towards dusk. A warm day again, with a high of 23.3 C. Variable amounts of cloud overnight and feeling mild.

Huggatewold & Millingtondale
A very enjoyable walk on what was a gorgeous summer’s day with clear blue skies, and temperatures around 70 degrees Fahrenheit. The first interest of the morning was provided by the smell and sight of freshly mown hay (something which is seen throughout the county at the moment), while in the hedgerows, from where the Yellow-hammer’s were singing well this morning, the dark pink blooms of Rosebay Willowherb are now becoming ever more apparent. Indeed wildflowers were one of the major highlights of the morning, with the bank near the top end of Millington-dale a riot of colour once again, and this should only become better in the next week or two. Just some of the blooms seen this morning included Herb Robert, Spotted Dead-nettle, Buttercup, Goat’s beard, yellow vetches, blue vetches, Bird’s foot trefoil, Hogsweed, Yarrow, Thistles, Knapweed, Scabious, Meadow Cranesbill, Bloody Cranesbill, Clustered Bellfower (those last two being seen only at the bank at the top of Millingtondale), Betony and a few others beyond my identification skills.

All these flowers also made it a great morning for butterflies, are since we are now in July some of the jewels of the summer season are now appearing, including my favourites the Marbled White’s. In Tundale and upper Millingtondale these beautiful species were seen in very good numbers already, and it looks like being another good year for this precious species which is very much at its northern limit up here on the Wolds. Other 2011 firsts for my butterfly list included Common Blue and Small Heath, while other butterflies seen this morning included Speckled Wood, Small Tortoiseshell, White’s, Small Copper, Meadow Brown, Ringlet, and Large Skipper.

Also seen in Tundale were a few Six-spot Burnet’s, one of the most spectacular and colourful day flying moths, as well as what I believed to be Common Forester’s, though I am not 100% certain about my identification here. Bird-wise the morning was largely quiet, though I did spot my first Spotted Flycatcher of the year near the top of Millingtondale, while the grass covered dales were home to wonderful singing Pipits & Skylarks. All in all it was a perfect morning, with plenty of interest, and on such days the Wolds are truly as near to heaven as one can find with the perfect combination of beautiful countryside, interesting flora and fauna, and perhaps most important of all, tranquillity.

A Comma butterfly was seen in the garden this afternoon, the first I’ve seen since April. Other butterflies in the garden today included Large & Small White, Small Tortoiseshell, and Holly Blue.

4th (Mon) 10.6 C to 24.6 C / nil / 7.8 hours / SE 1.8 knots
A bright and warm morning, with extensive patches of altocumulus at first but these would clear after 9 am leaving the rest of the morning with clear blue skies and temperatures up to nearly 25 C by midday. However after midday cloud would quickly increase and the remainder of the afternoon would see cloudy (though still bright) skies with temperatures hovering around 20 to 21 C. However by early evening this cloud would begin to break up with some good spells of pleasant golden summer sunshine to end the day, and it would remain largely clear overnight with just some patches of high and mid-level cloud from time to time.

I was able to watch two Grey Partridge’s busy feeding in the Parks near Old Hall Farm this morning, having time to study there interesting plumage of greys, subtle orange, and there black belly patch.

5th (Tue) 10.6 C to 25.0 C / 13.7 mm / 7.0 hours / SE 2.0 knots
A clear and warm start to the day, with it remaining sunny throughout the morning, though after 11 am invading cirrus and cirrostratus would make the sun increasingly hazy. However this cloud didn’t prevent temperatures from rising to 25 C, and even though the afternoon would see mostly cloudy skies it would remain fairly bright nevertheless. However by 6 pm the cloud had become sufficiently thick enough to produce some rain, but this didn’t come to much and was barely enough to dampen the ground. Remaining overcast through the evening and night, and after midnight heavy outbreaks of rain would move in, and these would continue on and off for the rest of the night. A very mild night what with the overcast skies with a low of just 13.9 C.

The first field of Barley has now been harvested in the Parks (or at least two-thirds of it has), while the wheat is now beginning to noticeably turn with much of it now a very light green to slight golden colour. The commencement of harvest this year is about a week earlier than last year, when the first Barley field cut was recorded on the 12th.

6th (Wed) 13.9 C to 18.9 C / 0.6 mm / 6.9 hours / SW 2.6 knots
A very wet start with outbreaks of heavy rain (peak rate of 32.2 mm/h) , but this would clear by 7 am with the cloud soon breaking up. Thereafter the remainder of the day would see variable amounts of cloud and the occasional shower, though in the first half of the afternoon some good long spells of sunshine did develop with just a bit of high cirrus and fractured cumulus to be seen. Much fresher feeling today with a moderate SW breeze, this pegging temperatures back to 18.9 C. Showers dying out by the evening with variable amounts of cloud overnight.

7th (Thu) 13.3 C to 21.4 C / 0.4 mm / 4.0 hours / SW 1.8 knots
A bright day for the most part with sunny spells at times, though there was quite a bit of cloud around too, especially in the afternoon. However it was pleasant enough nevertheless with temperatures around 21 C. Cloud increasing in the evening, with some light rain coming and going through the evening and first half of the night, but this would clear after midnight with variable amounts of cloud for the remainder of the night.

8th (Fri) 11.8 C to 19.0 C / 2.6 mm / 2.6 hours / SW 1.6 knots
A bright morning with plenty of sunny spells, though as the morning progressed cloud would generally increase and by the afternoon it had become largely cloudy. Some of these clouds would produce some showers, some of which were quite heavy (24.8 mm/h) and were accompanied by the odd rumble of thunder, though for the most part the majority of the showers seemed to miss us and instead passed us by. The thundery showers would continue into the evening, but would soon die out after dusk with variable amounts of cloud overnight.

I was able to watch a Grey Partridge again this morning outside Old Hall Farm, and as I watched it made its characteristic call, which to me at least sounds like an old rusty bike wheel.

9th (Sat) 11.8 C to 21.2 C / 0.7 mm / 7.1 hours / W 3.6 knots
A bright morning with variable amounts of cloud and sunny spells in between, though by lunchtime the cloud was very much in ascendance. Cloud amounts increasing further in the afternoon, with some heavy showers developing, some of which produced some rumbles of thunder, though for the most part the showers avoided us here and seemed to go either side of us. By 5 pm these showers would die out, with the cloud quickly clearing away and leaving a mostly sunny and clear end to the day. Mostly clear at first overnight (this allowing a small display of noctilucent clouds to be visible prior to midnight), but variable amounts of cloud would increase later.

There was a small display of what looked like noctilucent clouds tonight, with some of these night shining clouds visible on the northern horizon from about 11.30 pm until at least midnight. This is the first time I have viewed this phenomena and though it was perhaps not the most spectacular sight it was nevertheless a beautiful one, with some of the clouds having a sort of blueish hue against the darkness of the night sky.

10th (Sun) 10.8 C to 21.8 C / trace / 3.0 hours / W 2.0 knots
A bright morning with sunny spells and variable amounts of cloud, which by 11 am became thick enough for one brief shower which dampened the ground. After further sunny spells around noon, more general cloud would move in during the afternoon, this persisting well into the evening. Warm despite the cloud with a high of 21.8 C. Remaining cloudy for much of the night, though towards dawn the cloud would begin to clear away and break up.

Wayrhamdale & Pluckham Wood
A high summer walk in one of the highest areas of the Wolds, on what was at first a cloudy but bright morning, though by the end of the walk it had become sunny and warm. The primary reason for the visit to this area was the wonderful display of Orchid’s and wildflowers beside the Stamford to Fridaythorpe road, and though we were perhaps a couple of weeks late to see them at there best, the display nevertheless was wonderful and I was able to finally see and photograph some Pyramidal Orchids, a more scarce type of these wonderful summer flowers.

However the vast majority of the Orchids were of the Common Spotted variety, with spikes of purple, pink, and white covering the rough ground in the area. I also saw what may well have been Southern Marsh Orchid’s, a species very much at its northern extent here, but I couldn’t be certain as the flowers of these seemed to be much further on than the similar Common Spotted ones. There were also plenty of other good flowers in the area today beside Orchids, with Vetches, Trefoil‘s, Clovers, Scabious, Knapweed, Thistles, Buttercups, Hawkweed, Mayweed, Yarrow, my first Eyebright’s of the year, Hogsweed, Lady’s Bedstraw, Meadow Cranesbill, Herb Robert, Selfheal, Speedwell, Red & Spotted Dead Nettles, Betony, Cuckooflower, Rosebay Willowherb, Great Willowherb, and of course a few others beyond my identification skills.

Again like last week all these flowers attracted good numbers of butterflies, including Marbled White, Small Tortoiseshell, Small Heath, Meadow Brown, Ringlet, Common Blue, and Skippers. Day flying moths were also about, including Six-spotted Burnet’s again, as well as grass moths and what looked like Common Foresters again. During the walk further interest was provided by passing through the middle of a clay pigeon shot, which was noisy to say the least, while in Pluckham wood we watched the spectacle of a Stoat killing a bunny near the top of the wood. In the wood a beautiful singing Blackcap was seen, though actually the morning was quiet for bird-life with just leaf warblers in the scrub, and other common farmland and woodland species seen during the duration of the walk.

11th (Mon) 11.0 C to 21.7 C / nil / 8.4 hours / NW 2.5 knots
A sunny start to the day, but from mid morning cloud would bubble up which by the end of the morning had flattened out to form stratocumulus. However there were still some breaks in the cloud from time to time, and indeed going into the afternoon the cloud would dissipate somewhat with some good spells of warm summer sunshine. Variable amounts of cloud in the evening and overnight.

The hay bales have now been collected in the Parks, as have the barley bales near Old Hall Farm. I also noticed that the berries on the ornamental Rowan’s are now turning orange or red in the Lincoln Way estate area, while in the hedgerows the first haws are also starting to turn.

12th (Tue) 11.4 C to 20.5 C / nil / 4.5 hours / NE 3.9 knots
A largely cloudy start to the day, though quite bright nevertheless, and indeed as the morning progressed some good sunny spells would develop. Remaining sunny and clement into the afternoon, but from about 3 pm onwards cloud would again increase. The breeze would also freshen somewhat from the north-east, and this made it feel somewhat cooler than perhaps the thermometer indicated. Remaining largely cloudy through the evening, with little change overnight as dry stratocumulus was brought in off the sea.

13th (Wed) 11.2 C to 16.1 C / trace / 0.2 hours / N 5.7 knots
A cloudy and cool morning, the cloud actually becoming thick enough for some spots of rain around 11 am, but this wouldn’t come to anything. However it would remain cloudy throughout the afternoon, and all in all it was almost an early taste of autumn with grey skies, lower temperatures and a moderate northerly breeze. Becoming somewhat brighter for a short time in the evening, with even some breaks, but for the majority of the evening and indeed night it would remain mostly cloudy.

Today was a good morning for seeing mammals in the Parks, with roe deer, fox, & stoat all being seen within half an hour of each other. Rabbit’s are also abundant at the moment, and seem to have had a good breeding year.

14th (Thu) 11.9 C to 21.3 C / nil / 7.8 hours / NW 4.2 knots
A cloudy and cool morning with stratocumulus coming down on a gentle to moderate NNW breeze, but after 11 am this cloud would clear away to the south and it would quickly become largely clear and sunny and would remain so for the duration of the afternoon. Pleasantly warm under the summer sun, with a high of 21.3 C. Remaining mostly clear in the evening and overnight, with just some cirrus and altocumulus from time to time.

The remaining third of the Barley field near Old Hall Farm was collected in today, and all the hay is now in too.

15th (Fri) 11.8 C to 24.8 C / 0.4 mm / 10.0 hours / SW 2.4 knots
A mostly sunny morning, with just some patches of altocumulus coming and going from time to time, though by the end of the morning other clouds began to bubble up too. Remaining largely sunny in the afternoon with just the odd cloudier spell, and under the high summer sun it became very warm with temperatures reaching a high of 24.8 C. However by the end of the afternoon altostratus would invade quickly from the west, with the evening proving overcast, and it would remain overcast throughout the night. A very mild night as a result of the cloud with a minimum of just 14.5 C.

16th (Sat) 14.5 C to 17.0 C / 10.0 mm / 0.4 hours / SW 1.6 knots
After an initially overcast but dry start, outbreaks of moderate rain would move in after 8 am and these would continue for the remainder of the morning. Indeed if anything these outbreaks of rain would become heavier by the end of the morning, and though it would become somewhat drier by the afternoon, there would nevertheless be further outbreaks of moderate or at times heavy rain (peak rate of 39.0 mm/h) until at least the evening. However thereafter some late sunny spells would break through at the end of the day, and there would be variable amounts of cloud overnight with some decent clear spells developing by dawn.

17th (Sun) 10.5 C to 17.8 C / 5.7 mm / 2.8 hours / SW 3.6 knots
After an initially clear and sunny start, cloud would increase from 9 am with outbreaks of rain arriving by 10 am. The remainder of the day would see mostly cloudy skies and further outbreaks of rain, though this rain was never more than moderate, and indeed by the end of the afternoon it became increasingly drizzly in nature. Overcast in the evening and overnight, with further spells of light rain and drizzle at times.

18th (Mon) 13.5 C to 17.4 C / 1.1 mm / 3.7 hours / W 4.0 knots
After a dry but overcast start, the cloud would soon thicken with persistent spells of light to moderate rain and drizzle from about 7 am onwards. However it would become drier by midday, and indeed in the afternoon some good spells of sunshine would develop. Variable amounts of cloud in the evening and overnight.

With the current grey and drizzly weather one could be forgiven for believing that autumn has arrived early, and indeed this idea is further fostered by the sight of ripening fruits in the hedgerow and brambles, with the first Blackberries now ripe at Keldmarsh. I also noticed the first red fruits on some Lords-and-Ladies this morning, while other berries now ripening include ornamental Rowan and some early Haws.

19th (Tue) 12.6 C to 20.9 C / 18.4 mm / 2.1 hours / NW 0.8 knots
A bright morning with broken areas of altocumulus, though from 9 am onwards cumulus would also bubble up and these would rapidly develop through the morning bringing heavy, thundery showers by midday. These showers would continue on and off through the afternoon, some of which were very heavy (peak rate of 74.4 mm/h), and were accompanied by bright lightning and thunder. There were some drier interludes as well, though during these it would remain largely cloudy. Any remaining showers dying out in the evening, though it would remain mostly cloudy, and it would remain so overnight.

20th (Wed) 12.5 C to 18.7 C / 7.7 mm / 0.2 hours / NE 2.0 knots
A mostly cloudy morning, with the ground very wet after yesterdays rain, though some brighter periods did break through from time to time. However the cloud would thicken by the middle of the day with outbreaks of heavy rain (peak rate of 38.2 mm/h) moving in, and these would continue on and off throughout the afternoon. Drier by the evening, though it would remain cloudy and it would remain generally overcast throughout the night.

The Oilseed Rape has now been cut and will be left to dry out in the fields over the next few weeks (weather permitting). The now fully harvested Barley field was also rough ploughed today.

21st (Thu) 12.5 C to 18.0 C / nil / 5.7 hours / NW 4.5 knots
A cloudy morning with extensive stratocumulus, and feeling quite cool with a north-easterly breeze. Becoming somewhat brighter by midday, and indeed as the afternoon wore on the cloud would break up with a fine and mostly sunny end to the afternoon and remaining sunny into the evening. Mostly clear overnight and much cooler than recently with the temperature falling below 10 C for the first time in over two and a half weeks.

Despite the current unsettled and fairly chilly weather, Red Admiral’s are now widely on the wing and are often seen sunning themselves in either the garden Yews or on the south facing wall of the study.

22nd (Fri) 8.6 C to 17.8 C / nil / 4.0 hours / NW 5.4 knots
A sunny start with broken mid level cloud, but by mid morning stratocumulus had increased and it had become mostly cloudy. Becoming somewhat brighter again in the afternoon, with some sunny spells at times, but nevertheless the main theme of the afternoon (and evening) was mostly cloudy. Feeling cool today, especially in the moderate NNW breeze. Variable amounts of cloud overnight, though it did become increasingly clear after midnight.

23rd (Sat) 8.9 C to 17.8 C / nil / 6.4 hours / NW 6.2 knots
An initially sunny and clear start, but cloud would quickly increase after 7 am with extensive stratocumulus for the remainder of the morning. However in the afternoon this cloud would begin to break up, with good sunny spells developing, and despite a moderate NW breeze, and modest temperatures for the time of year (maximum 17.8 C), it nevertheless felt very pleasant within the confines of the walled garden. Remaining sunny into the evening with clear spells overnight, this allowing temperatures to again fall below 50 degrees Fahrenheit.

24th (Sun) 8.9 C to 19.5 C / nil / 12.6 hours / NW 3.0 knots
A sunny and clement morning, and despite a continuing moderate (occasionally fresh) NW breeze, it felt much warmer compared to recent mornings. Indeed it would remain largely clear and sunny for the remainder of the day, though around midday there was fair weather cumulus which for a time looked like spreading out to form stratocumulus, but by 3 pm it was once again clear with wall to wall sunshine. A warm day, the temperature reaching a high of 19.5 C, with the breeze also easing in the afternoon. Remaining clear at first overnight but cloud would move in later.

North Cliffe Wood
On what was a sunny and clement mid summer day we paid a visit to North Cliffe wood for the first time since the 22nd of May at which point spring was just beginning to make way for summer. Indeed the wood is now very much in its summer cloak with a more general uniform appearance, with abundant green growth in the canopies, and thick and tall ferns covering large swathes of the woodland floor. The wide diversity of flowers which could be found in the spring have now mostly finished, with just Willowherbs, white Campion, dandelions & allies, and herb robert now being the most conspicuous blooms, though some colour other than green is also now being leant to the wood by the ripening fruits of rowan and in places Hawthorn. Indeed Blackberries should soon be joining them, with some seen beginning to ripen here and there.

On the woodland floor, especially in the birch-wood, some fungi is also appearing, including earth-balls and others beyond my ID skills, while in the hazel coppice the first nuts are beginning to fall, though whether this is by natural process or it is because of squirrels or alike is uncertain. Being high summer birdlife is now much quieter than was the case a couple of months ago, though despite that Willow warbler, Blackcap, Green Woodpecker, and Jay were all heard at one point today (a Treecreeper was also spotted at one point). Butterflies were on the wing widely today, with the undoubted highlight being my first Gatekeepers of the year, with other species seen in the wood or on the heath including Meadow Brown, Ringlet, Speckled Wood, Small Tortoiseshell, Red Admiral, Small Heath, Small Copper, and abundant White’s. An interesting morning in this tranquil, little wood.

25th (Mon) 10.0 C to 17.7 C / nil / 0.1 hours / NW 2.9 knots
A mostly cloudy day with altostratus and stratocumulus covering the sky for most of the day, though there were one or two brighter spells in the morning. Remaining cloudy overnight.

A Spotted Flycatcher was spotted sitting upon a gate near Cherry Burton this morning, while on the high Westwood a lone Golden Plover was flushed from the grass.

26th (Tue) 12.4 C to 16.5 C / nil / 0.2 hours / N 4.2 knots
A cloudy and cool day for the most part, with the cloud even thick enough for the odd spot of rain in the cool northerly breeze from time to time. However towards the end of the afternoon some brief brighter periods did manage to develop with even the odd sunny spell, but this didn’t last long and it would become overcast for the duration of the evening. No change overnight.

Ryedale Show
Today we paid a visit to Ryedale Show near Kirby-Moorside, with Helen, Jenny, Sophie, and Michael joining us. The weather was grey and cool, but nevertheless it was a very enjoyable day out, with some fine livestock to be seen in this beautiful corner of North Yorkshire. The sheep were particularly well represented, as well as a good number of cattle, some pigs (something you see far less of at Nidderdale), goats, and some particularly fine horses. Indeed there was one particularly fine Cleveland Bay that caught my eye (surely there are few horses more beautiful than this fine breed), and generally the quality of the horses and ponies was very high, though this being Yorkshire nothing less would be expected to be honest. The upper part of the show (the stalls, caged livestock, and dogs) was much busier, so much so it made hard to enjoy, but nevertheless the rest of the family had a very enjoyable time, with Michael particularly enjoying riding on the miniature railway.

27th (Wed) 13.2 C to 20.9 C / nil / 5.7 hours / NE 1.7 knots
A dull and cloudy morning again, with a cool NNE breeze coming in off the North Sea. However in the afternoon the cloud would break up, and indeed from about 3 pm it became increasingly clear with plenty of pleasant and warm summer sunshine, this encouraging temperatures to rise to about 21 C. Remaining mostly clear in the evening and overnight, with some light mist forming later in the night.

A small skein of about a dozen and a half Greylag Geese were seen passing over the Parks this morning.

28th (Thu) 9.8 C to 24.8 C / nil / 10.3 hours / N 3.4 knots
A sunny and misty start, with a very heavy dew covering the grass, always a sign of a good day ahead in my view. Indeed that would prove to be the case, with plenty of hot summer sunshine throughout the day with temperatures climbing to 24.8 C, making this the second warmest day of the month. Cloud increasing in the evening, with a sheet of stratocumulus covering the sky through the night. A mild night as a result with a low of just 13.4 C.

29th (Fri) 13.4 C to 16.8 C / nil / 0.7 hours / NE 3.7 knots
A cloudy and mild start to the day with extensive stratocumulus covering the sky, and it would remain largely cloudy throughout the rest of the day, though in mid and late afternoon some breaks did allow some short spells of sunshine. Under the cloud (and with a NE breeze) temperatures would struggle though, with a modest high of just 16.8 C. Remaining mostly cloudy in the evening and overnight, though there was the odd clear spell from time to time.

30th (Sat) 12.0 C to 20.0 C / nil / 6.8 hours / SE 1.7 knots
A cloudy morning again, with extensive stratocumulus drifting down from the NNE. However after midday this cloud would begin to break up, and indeed by mid afternoon as the winds moved into the SE it would become mostly clear with wall to wall sunshine. Remaining clear for the remainder of the day, and under clear skies overnight temperatures would fall away quite quickly with a low of 6.4 C, the lowest minimum since the 12th of June.

31st (Sun) 6.4 C to 25.1 C / nil / 9.0 hours / SE 1.4 knots
A cool, but clear and sunny start to the day, with a heavy dew covering the lawn, but under the warm summer sun it would soon heat up with temperatures climbing above 70 degrees by midday. Becoming somewhat cloudier for a time, but this wouldn’t last and by mid afternoon it became mostly sunny again, this helping to push temperatures up above 25 C, only the second time this month that the temperatures has managed to reach this particular milestone. Cloud increasing again after 6 pm, with it remaining cloudy for the duration of the evening and indeed the night, and under the blanket of cloud it would be a very mild night with a low of just 16.2 C.

A large hawker dragonfly (probably a Migrant Hawker) was seen flying around the garden today, and indeed it has been seen on a number of afternoons recently. Butterflies are also around in good numbers at the moment, with Peacocks and Red Admirals particularly numerous, with other species seen today including White’s, Holly Blue, Comma and perhaps most notable of all, a Brimstone, a species one associates with spring rather than summer.

Deepdale (Calliswold)
On what was a sunny and warm morning we made our way up to this high Wold valley, which for me is one of the jewels of the Wolds landscape as there is always something interesting to see here, and the scenery is not only beautiful but also tranquil and relatively undisturbed, the prefect place for a peaceful morning stroll. The harvest is now getting well under way, with about a third of the barley now in up here, while most of the peas have now been collected in. Meanwhile the wheat is looking very healthy, with harvest now surely no more than a fortnight away, while a second cut of hay was observed here and there today.

The roadside verge flowers have now largely gone to seed, though meadow cranesbill, bindweed, & knapweed are still flowering strongly, as are the attractive pink flowering spikes of Rosebay Willowherb. Meanwhile in the downland meadows there is still a fine display of blooms, with abundant harebells, cats-ear, vetches, birds-foot trefoil, and eyebright, these attracting good numbers of bees and hoverflies. With the warm sunshine today butterflies were around in good numbers, though no Marbled White’s were seen here today which came as a bit of surprise as they are usually quite common around here. However Small Copper’s were quite abundant, with other species including whites, Common Blue, Ringlet, Peacock, and Red Admiral.

Bird wise both Red Kites and Buzzard’s were seen hovering above the dale at various points during our walk, while in the scrub finches & Yellowhammer’s were seen well. However the undoubted highlight of the morning was hearing a Quail calling in one of the fields, with its characteristic wet-my-lips call being heard a number of times. This is the first time I have definitely recorded one of these scarce birds, and becomes the 195th species of bird I have recorded since 2006.