1st (Fri) 9.4 C to 13.4 C / nil / 0.7 hours / E 1.5 12 Kt.
A cloudy morning with occasional light outbreaks of rain at first, but these would soon die out. Remaining cloudy for most of the day, but some brighter periods would develop as the afternoon wore on. A cool day as well for the time of year with a high of just 13.4 C. Variable amounts of cloud in the evening and overnight.
2nd (Sat) 6.0 C to 16.4 C / 5.7 mm / 1.3 hours / E 3.7 18 Kt.
A bright but largely cloudy morning with just some weak spells of sunshine from time to time, and remaining much the same going into the afternoon. However by mid afternoon cloud would increase further, indeed it would look quite threatening for a time, and though this didn’t come to anything it would remain cloudy for the remainder of the afternoon and evening. Cloudy overnight with some outbreaks of rain arriving after 2am.
3rd (Sun) 7.4 C to 12.2 C / 9.0 mm / nil / E 1.5 19 Kt.
A wet morning with persistent moderate rain, and though the rain would ease somewhat in the afternoon it would nevertheless continue throughout the remainder of the day with it still raining by dusk. All in all a pretty disappointing day considering we are now in June. Indeed with a maximum temperature of just 12.2 C this was also one of the coldest summer days on my records. The rain dying out overnight with the cloud breaking up by dawn.
What with the awful weather we awoke to this morning, with persistent moderate rain and temperatures of just 7 C (very low considering this is now June), we did hesitate about heading up to the Wolds for our usual Sunday perambulation. However after some thought about possible suitable venues and digging out the old water-proofs, we ventured out into the grey and damp morning, our destination being the relatively short ramble up and down Nunburnholme Wold. This walk was chosen primarily for the shelter provided by Merebalk wood (or plantation as it is more accurately known according to the OS maps), and since the weather was forecast to improve as the morning wore on we decided to go through the wood first in order to maximise its sheltering benefits while the rain was at its worse.
This wood is very pleasant to walk through, with the fresh green canopy now almost fully extened, but despite this I also find it to be a species poor wood, at least near the footpath, with only a relatively small diversity of flowers and plants growing on the woodland floor. The dominant plant, as is so often the case in local woodlands, is Dog's Mercury, though rising above this carpet of uniform green were quite a few Wood Avens (aka Herb-Bennet) as well as Cow Parsley and Hogsweed in the sunnier patches. Other flowers noted included Ground Ivy, Dead-nettles, Herb-robert, Garlic mustard and Buttercups, while in the clearing at the top of the wood the Willowherb is now coming up fast, with the stalks from last years plants providing welcome sanctuary from the rain for Snails and Slugs. Most snails were of the Brown-lipped variety, and showed an interesting variation in shell patterns, with many having the typical stripes, others being plain, and others having a coppery hue.
Above the wood a small dew pond can also be found and from here one has a fine view of the local countryside around Nunburnholme (at least on a good day). This is one of my favourite corners of the Yorkshire Wolds, with the village of Nunburnholme sitting attractively at the bottom of the hill, and its handsome Norman church, which itself is full of historical interest, including part of an ancient Anglo-Scandinavian cross, a preserved Norman tower arch and fragments of medieval stained glass, lying on its western edge. This church was also home to the naturalist Revd. Francis Orpen Morris, with the peal of six bells being dedicated to his memory.
Our walk would take us past the very edge of this peaceful community, which unsurprisingly given the weather this morning seemed deserted with not a soul to be seen, though smoke rising from many of the chimneys confirmed the presence of at least a few inhabitants. From the village one is faced with the long climb up Nunburnholme Hill, a moderately steep but seemingly never ending stretch of road which joins Nunburnholme to Londesborough. However despite the strenuous climb this is actually one of my favourite parts of the walk, with the largely undisturbed roadside verge hosting a good variety of wildflowers and plants.
At the bottom of the hill, where it is quite damp, Horsetail's were growing abundantly in the ditch, with a few Water Avens also being noted here. With Wood Avens being present nearby I also thought it worth looking for any signs of Hybrid Avens, but I can't say I noticed any at this particular location. Further up as the soil becomes drier one comes across a growing diversity of more typical grassland and hedge edge flowers, with a good variety of vetches and trefoils. Birds-foot & Hop Trefoils were noted widely on the climb, while vetches included Common Vetch and Bush Vetch, with signs of Tufted Vetch also about to appear here and there. Buttercups, Mouse-ear, Speedwell, Herb-robert, Red/White Campion, Pineapple Mayweed, Red/White Clover, Ribwort and Ladys Bedstraw were additional recordings, though of course many other flowers undoubtedly went unrecorded, partially due to the less than ideal weather but also a lack of knowledge on the part of the observer.
4th (Mon) 6.2 C to 14.9 C / trace / 9.9 hours / N 2.9 21 Kt.
A bright but cool and breezy start to the day, and remaining bright and blustery for the remainder of the morning. However in the second half of the morning some blustery showers would pass though, though these didn’t really come to much and soon died out. Sunny spells in the afternoon, with the breeze easing somewhat, and despite a modest maximum of 14.9 C, it felt pleasant enough in the sunshine. Variable amounts of cloud in the evening and overnight.
Rescued a young Collared dove in the evening from a mob of three Magpies. I gave it a little food and put it in the astro shed for the night, and I’m glad to say it survived the night and left by its own will some time around 8 am the next day.
5th (Tue) 7.2 C to 16.3 C / 6.0 mm / 1.0 hours / SE 1.8 17 Kt.
A bright but largely cloudy morning, with just the odd sunny spell at times, especially at first. Becoming more generally cloudy in the afternoon, with the cloud slowly thickening as the day wore on. Indeed by mid evening the cloud would become thick enough for some rain, and this would continue into the night, being quite heavy at times Clearing later but remaining overcast nevertheless, with some further light rain by dawn.
6th (Wed) 10.0 C to 20.3 C / 3.5 mm / 2.9 hours / SW 1.0 16 Kt.
A grey and overcast morning with occasional outbreaks of light rain, but by 10am this cleared away with it becoming somewhat brighter with some sunny spells. However this sunshine would trigger some showers by the afternoon, some of which were heavy (peak rate of 53.4 mm/h) and accompanied by some decent rumbles of thunder and the odd visible flash of lightning. Showers dying out in the evening with variable amounts of cloud overnight.
7th (Thu) 8.9 C to 16.6 C / 16.9 mm / 0.4 hours / SE 4.0 20 Kt.
A bright and hazy start, with a light mist covering the area, but by mid morning it became steadily cloudy with a short period of rain around 11am. Becoming drier in the afternoon, though remaining overcast, but later the cloud would thicken again with outbreaks of rain by 5pm. The rain would be heavy at times in the evening (18.2 mm/h) and would be accompanied by a freshening south-east breeze. The rain continuing into the night, and though it would become somewhat drier for a time, more rain would return by dawn. All in all a pretty grim day for the time of year.
8th (Fri) 11.6 C to 15.6 C / 7.4 mm / 0.6 hours / SW 4.9 22 Kt.
A grey and dull morning with outbreaks or longer spells of light to moderate rain, but by the afternoon it would begin to dry up somewhat, with even a short spell of sunshine in mid afternoon. However this wouldn’t last and further outbreaks of rain would follow in the evening. Any remaining rain dying out overnight and becoming mostly dry, but it would nevertheless remain mostly cloudy.
9th (Sat) 10.6 C to 16.9 C / 20.3 mm / 0.6 hours / W 4.1 26 Kt.
A cloudy and breezy morning with heavy outbreaks of rain developing by late morning. These would become showery and thundery by the afternoon, with many showers being very heavy and prolonged (peak rate of 47.2 mm/h), this causing some minor localised flooding (the garage and toolshed for example). Showers dying out by the evening but nevertheless remaining mostly cloudy with little change overnight.
10th (Sun) 8.9 C to 17.7 C / 0.4 mm / 1.0 hours / E 2.1 15 Kt.
A mostly cloudy but fairly bright and warm morning with some sunny spells at times. In the sun it would feel warm and quite muggy, especially after yesterdays downpours. As the morning wore on it would become more generally cloudy and would remain so for the remainder of the day, the cloud thick enough for mostly light to moderate showers at times. Becoming drier by the evening but remaining cloudy nevertheless for the remainder of the night.
Wayrham & Bishop Wilton Wold
A less than smooth running car and other factors beyond my control have meant that we have been unable to get out much in the past week (hence the lack of updates on my blog), but yesterday with the car now fixed we headed up to the high Wolds above Bishop Wilton and enjoyed a very fine walk around some of my favourite countryside in the county and indeed the nation as a whole. The weather was initially bright and fine, though it was quite humid after Saturday's heavy downpours, but as the morning wore on the early cumulus would begin to spread out to form stratocumulus for a time, this later giving way to more significant cumulus and cumulonimbus development as the capping inversion was broken. Indeed by the time we departed for home a few heavy showers were just starting to develop.
We began our morning with a brief visit to the Wayrham picnic site, where beside the busy A166 one can enjoy a fine display of Orchids in early summer. As far as I know at least three species of Orchid can be found on this site, with Common Spotted and Pyramidal Orchids being the most common. A few Southern Marsh Orchids can also be found, many of these showing a degree of hybridisation with the more numerous Common Spots, this making identification that little bit more tricky. However no Pyramidal Orchids were recorded today, it still being a little early perhaps for this particular species. Hopefully I'll be able to get up to Wharram some time this week to check on the Orchids there, where hopefully a few Bee Orchids should now be out.
The area beside the A166 also hosts a good variety of other wildflowers, with vetches and trefoils being particularly abundant, especially Birds-foot Trefoil which seemed to be absolutely everywhere. Hop Trefoil (or at least I think it was Hop Trefoil rather than Black Medick) was another widespread flower, with the red and white flowers of Clover, the blue flowers of Speedwell and the yellow flowers of Hawkweed providing extra richness to the botanical display. Some Bush Vetch was also noted here and there, while towards the edge of the area some Meadow Vetchling was a pleasing record, this yellow flower not necessarily being easy to pick out amongst the otherwise more abundant Trefoils.
After enjoying the wildflowers we made our way to nearby Bishop Wilton, and here we would enjoy a pleasant early summer ramble in some of the most beautiful countryside in the East Riding of Yorkshire. Our walk began with a climb up through the wood at the top of Worsen Dale, this hosting lots of flowering Wood Avens, Herb-robert and Speedwell (to name but a few) and also some beautiful bird song, dominated for the most part by Chaffinches, a Chiffchaff, and a few Willow warblers. From here we headed southwards along the narrow footpath which runs above Worsen Dale itself, admiring the beautiful vista across the village of Bishop Wilton with its steepled church below, and the fertile fields of the Vale of York stretching away far to the west.
The area around the footpath hosted a nice array of common wildflowers itself, with Buttercups, Poppies, Cow Parsley and Yarrow, and these attracted an interesting array of insects, including a good number of day flying moths, including lots of Common Carpets, a few Cardinal beetles, and some butterflies, mostly Small Heaths and Common Blues. The recent rains and warm weather have made the Cow Parsley and Hogsweed very profuse this year, and in some parts of the walk it was almost jungle like with these white flowering plants up to head height, particularly in the moist area beside the plantation of Crow Wood (this wood hosting plenty of Jackdaws rather than Crows, with quite a few juveniles being seen).
Eventually we reached the very scenic point where a deep bowl shaped valley and steep escarpment provides one with a fantastic vista over the surrounding countryside. The area of pasture up here is currently covered in a beautiful and extensive swathe of Oxeye daisies, with the northern side of the valley and the aforementioned steep sided valley side being particularly blessed with these giant daisy like blooms. When we had visited this site only a week or two prior, the daisies were only just starting to appear, but with the recent warmth and plentiful moisture these flowers have come along rapidly and provide a spectacle which was a joy to behold. Other flowers were also seen thriving on the thin, dry and chalky soil here (indeed on the steepest parts of the hill the soil has been stripped away exposing the bare chalk beneath) with flowers noted including a variety of Speedwells, Vetches, Trefoils, Chick-weed, and Field Mouse-ear.
At the bottom of the valley a small pond can be found, this being fed by a number of springs which rise out of the surrounding hillside, and this area provides a sharp contrast to the dry hillside above with the the grass being much lusher, as well as providing habitat for the more damp loving wildflower species, including plenty of Cuckoo-flowers and Bugle. From here we headed down towards the village, the large number of springs which are found in this area making the ground very boggy indeed in places, and after skirting the edge of this attractive community we began our long climb back up Ochrepit Hill towards Worsen Dale. A Green Woodpecker was heard yaffling here, Linnets called attractively from the hedgerows and more beautiful and varied wildflowers were noted thriving on the roadside verge. Eventually we returned to our starting point and here enjoyed a brief rest after our mornings perambulation, again enjoying the fine view over the verdant countryside before wending our way back home across the rolling hills of the Yorkshire Wolds.
11th (Mon) 9.4 C to 13.0 C / trace / nil / N 3.5 14 Kt.
A cloudy and grey day with cloud coming in off the North Sea, this becoming thick enough to produce some light drizzle by the afternoon. All in all a very disappointing June day. Little change in the evening and overnight.
A few young Greenfinches were seen in the garden today.
12th (Tue) 8.9 C to 13.7 C / nil / 3.1 hours / N 2.5 13 Kt.
Another grey, cloudy and unseasonably cool day for the most part, though after 2pm the cloud would break up and allow some welcome sunshine. The sunshine would do little for the temperature though, with another unseasonably low high of just 13.7 C. Variable amounts of cloud in the evening and overnight, though there were some long clear spells during the night, this allowing temperatures to fall lower than recently.
13th (Wed) 5.0 C to 14.0 C / 0.5 mm / 1.2 hours / SE 1.4 13 Kt.
A bright morning with some welcome sunshine, but by mid morning it would become somewhat cloudier and would remain so for the rest of the day. The cloud would become quite thick by the afternoon too, and looked very threatening, but it came to nothing. Remaining largely cloudy overnight, with some outbreaks of rain arriving by the end of the night.
Spotted a juvenile Great Spotted Woodpecker on the Westwood, with a family of Mistle Thrushes also being seen.
After a very kind and thoughtful tip-off by Michael Flowers (see Birding with Flowers) yesterday evening regarding a family of Redstarts near the deserted medieval village of Wharram Percy, I headed up to the area this afternoon hoping to catch up with these lovely birds which are surely one of the jewels of the Yorkshire Wolds fauna. The weather when we arrived was less than ideal however, with a short spell of very heavy rain, but this thankfully soon cleared and we made our way down the much traversed footpath which leads to what remains of Wharram Percy. On the way I enjoyed looking at the wildflowers which thrive beside the footpath, including lots of Speedwell, as well as listening to a few Willow warblers and a lone Blackcap.
Eventually we reached the site where Michael Flowers had suggested we look, but within moments it became clear that the Redstarts had fledged since yesterday and we could hear the youngsters calling from amongst the thick Hawthorn and Elder scrub. A female Redstart was espied first and then a magnificent male was seen nearby perching on a post with what looked like a caterpillar (staying just long enough for me to grab a very quick photo). It soon became clear after a few minutes watching that at least a couple of the fledglings were in a nearby bush, and after the parents left we made our way a little closer (though not too close as we didn't want to overly disturb the birds). Eventually a youngster was spotted through a small gap in the hawthorn bush, looking like a young Robin with a rusty tail, and after grabbing a few pictures we retreated up the hill to leave the young family in peace.
Settling down under a nearby Ash tree we spent an enjoyable hour or so watching the coming and goings of these lovely birds, though from our sequestered nook we also noted plenty of other interest in the surrounding scrub, including lots of Willow warblers, a single Garden Warbler, a pair of Blackcaps and a Marsh Tit. A displaying Lapwing was additionally heard nearby, while somewhat more distant was the sound of a Curlew somewhere to the north-west.
With time ticking on we eventually decided to make a move and left our peaceful vantage point and headed in the direction of nearby Wharram Quarry, walking along the old abandon railway line which like last time we visited this area (Wharram Percy) was lined by a fine array of wildflowers, including the likes of Campion, Bugle, Water Avens, Wood Avens, Herb-robert, Bush Vetch, Speedwell, Buttercups, Cow Parsley and Hogsweed. Quite a few Maretails were also growing in the damp areas beside the small stream which runs alongside the path.
After a fight through the jungle like conditions which have taken over the southern path into Wharram Quarry and skirting the remains of the old chalk works, we arrived at this Yorkshire Wildlife Trust reserve in the hope of seeing a few Orchids, and despite the overhead conditions, a few butterflies. Of the latter we noted only a single Common Blue and Small Heath, while the former was represented by about two dozen Common Spotted Orchids, most of which were still fairly small and not in full flower. No Bee Orchids were found in flower yet, so another visit to this lovely spot will be required in about a fortnight. Birds-foot Trefoil meanwhile was abundant, with other flowers recorded growing on the thin and dry chalky soil of the quarry included lots of Yellow-rattle, what I think was Milkwort, Wild Thyme, Speedwell and Hawkbit.
14th (Thu) 8.3 C to 14.4 C / 14.6 mm / 3.0 hours / E 6.0 23 Kt.
A wet start with outbreaks of moderate rain, but by mid morning it had become drier and a little brighter and it would continue to slowly brighten as the day wore on. Indeed after 1pm some lengthy sunny periods would develop and it would remain largely clement and sunny for the remainder of the afternoon. However by early evening high cloud would quickly increase and thicken from the south, accompanied by a freshening SE breeze, and overnight this cloud would continue to thicken with some heavy outbreaks of rain moving in after midnight.
15th (Fri) 9.4 C to 18.3 C / 10.5 mm / 3.3 hours / SW 1.6 26 Kt.
A very wet start to the day with persistent moderate and at times heavy rain (8.4 mm/h), but by 8am this would clear away leaving a grey sky and murk behind. Slowly brightening as the morning wore on however, with sunny spells developing, but this would also kick start some decent convection with heavy and thundery downpours developing in the afternoon. Some decent lightning was seen from one storm while the peak rain rate was 37.8 mm/h. Showers dying out in the evening with variable amounts of cloud for the rest of the evening and overnight.
16th (Sat) 10.0 C to 16.2 C / 1.5 mm / 1.4 hours / SW 4.5 25 Kt.
A grey but warm morning, with occasional outbreaks of light rain. Becoming somewhat brighter by midday with some sunny spells at times, but showers would also develop in the afternoon, though these were nowhere near as heavy as yesterday. Variable amounts of cloud in the evening and overnight, with the breeze freshening overnight.
17th (Sun) 11.7 C to 16.9 C / 1.5 mm / 6.3 hours / SW 2.2 21 Kt.
A bright and blustery day for the most part with a fresh south-westerly breeze. There were some decent spells of sunshine in both the morning and afternoon, but there were also some cloudier periods, which at times looked quite threatening but came to nothing. Variable amounts of cloud in the evening and overnight, though later cloud would thicken with some light rain by dawn.
Millington & Sylvan Dales
After days of unsettled weather, with heavy thundery downpours recently, it was pleasing to awake to a largely clement and bright morning with good spells of sunshine. We decided to head up to the beautiful and always interesting Millington Dale area of the central Wolds for our usual Sunday walk this morning, hoping to see the local Redstarts and maybe some decent butterflies, but when we arrived a fresh to strong breeze was blowing up the dales and across the open Wold tops and therefore conditions were less than ideal for butterflies.
Indeed throughout the duration of our walk we saw only a few species of butterfly, the most numerous again being Small Heaths, a species which seems to be doing well this year, as well as Green-veined Whites and Common Blues. A few moths were additionally noted sheltering in the lush grass growing beside the footpaths, including Common Carpets and at least a couple of Silver Ground Carpets, but no Six-spot Burnets were encountered, a species which has thus far eluded me this year. As regards the local Redstarts we did see one briefly fly in front of us (a female I think) as we drove down Pasture Dale, but unfortunately we had no further luck during the remainder of the morning. I remain ever hopeful that one day I'll get a decent shot of one of the magnificent males but sadly it wasn't to be today. Maybe next time.
The aforementioned blustery south-westerly wind meant that conditions were difficult for bird watching too, with birds tending to be harder to spot in such weather and calls and songs being drowned out by the roaring of the wind in ones own ears, but nevertheless some good birds were noted. Of course the highlight was the previously mentioned Redstart, but a Spotted Flycatcher at the pond near Millington Pastures was another pleasing sight, though it remained stubbornly beyond my cameras range. Beautiful singing warblers were enjoying the relative shelter of Upper Sylvan Dale, including a Chiffchaff, Willow Warblers and a particularly proficient Blackcap which sang sweetly right at the head of the dale. A Red Kite was seen soaring over Millington Pastures as well at one point, while quite a few Swifts & Swallows were hunting low over the cereal fields and sheep grazed downland sides.
With birds and butterflies proving difficult to photograph due to the wind, I decided instead to concentrate on landscape photography this morning, as after all Sylvan Dale is one of the most beautiful of all the many Wold dales (at least to my eyes). This deep dale cuts and snakes its way through the otherwise rolling countryside, and from certain vantage points one can see many of the other dales which form off-shoots from the main dale of Millington Dale, including Lily Dale, Scoar Dale, Frendal Dale and Tun Dale, most of which are attractively wooded and provide an extra richness and depth to the landscape. I really do adore this area of the Wolds, and since I can't convey my love of this area through words (not my strongest attribute as I'm sure regular readers will attest), I hope that some of my photos do at least give some taste of just how beautiful this part of the Wolds is.
From Sylvan Dale we headed back up Millington Dale, crossing the bridge over the spring fed stream and past the small area of open water which always seems to host some interesting wildlife (in winter it regularly hosts a couple of Water Rail and in years past has hosted Hawfinch). Today however it was just the previously mentioned Spotted Flycatcher which provided the only notable interest. Beyond the pond and in the marshy areas which exist beside the road here, there was however an excellent display of Marsh Orchids, with attractive purple spikes rising above the grass and buttercups. Cuckoo-flowers also abounded in the boggy ground, most of which were of the near white variety, while the drier areas hosted Birds-foot Trefoil, Speedwells, Vetches, and many other attractive flowers typical of this time of year. Further up the valley we came across the annual display of Bloody Cranesbill which covers a small area of grassy bank near the top of Pasture Dale / Millington Dale, these fairly uncommon wildflowers seemingly thriving at this one spot. Soon these rich reddish to purple flowers will be joined by the Knapweeds and a few Clustered Bellflowers, this wildflower bank being one of the highlights of mid-summer in this area of the Wolds and something I try to see at least once every year.
18th (Mon) 9.4 C to 18.8 C / nil / 8.4 hours / SW 1.2 12 Kt.
A damp start with light rain, but by mid morning it would clear away with the morning slowly brightening up as time went on. Indeed by the afternoon some long spells of sunshine would develop, and all in all it was a pleasant summers day with temperatures around average. Variable amounts of cloud in the evening and overnight.
19th (Tue) 8.3 C to 20.5 C / nil / 9.0 hours / SW 1.8 15 Kt.
A bright day for the most part, with spells of sunshine throughout, though there were some cloudier periods too from time to time. Feeling much warmer than lately with temperatures climbing above 20 C. Variable amounts of cloud in the evening and overnight.
Today we were looking after my niece, and since the weather was mostly sunny and comfortably warm, we headed up to Bempton for a morning by the sea-side. This was our third visit of year to these fantastic sea-cliffs which we are lucky enough to have within an hours drive of home, though unlike previous visits we arrived relatively late and the cliffs were already busy with an array of casual bird watchers, day trippers and photographers armed with lenses almost as big as my three year old niece. Indeed it was so busy it was hard to find some free vantage points to enjoy the sea bird spectacle but nevertheless some gaps opened up at times and we were able to squeeze between the encamped photographers whom often monopolise the best spots.
When we were able to view the cliffs we soon spotted the usual avian suspects, ie. Guillemots, Razorbills, a few Puffins, Kittiwakes, the odd Fulmar and Gannets, and many of these birds now have youngsters which the parents are busily feeding as they raise this new generation of sea-birds. Apparently we just missed out on seeing a Peregrine Falcon according to one friendly birder, which was a shame, but we did have some cracking views last time we visited of these speedy and acrobatic falcons so I was not overly disappointed about this (see my last visit to Bempton). Meanwhile the cliff tops hosted lots of Meadow Pipits, Skylarks and Tree Sparrows, with Sedge Warbler, Willow warblers, Whitethroats and Linnets in the scrub surrounding the visitor centre and car park.
However though I thoroughly enjoyed looking at the birds and grabbing a few photos to add to my personal library, it was actually the wildflowers which cover the cliff tops which I found most pleasing. Sadly we have missed the climax of the Red Campion flowering season this year, though nevertheless plenty can still be found flowering, amongst them the odd bit of White Campion. Large clumps of Mayweed are additionally flowering well, a particular favourite of mine, especially since it often grows picturesquely right on the edge of the cliffs and provides welcome foreground interest. The deep purple spikes of Northern Marsh Orchids were also plentiful south of the visitor centre, though I wasn't able to find any other varieties of Orchid. So far I have recorded four species of Orchid this year in the Yorkshire Wolds area, and I hope to add Pyramidal, Bee, Fragrant, Twayblade, Frog and maybe Green-winged Orchid in the coming weeks (if I'm lucky).
Plenty of other common and typical wildflowers of early summer were noted too, with lots of Hogsweed, Yarrow and Shepherd's Purse, while a brief quadrat style study of the grass verge behind our car while I enjoyed a cup of tea revealed at least thirteen species of wildflower (including Speedwell and Common Vetch). It was while conducting this very unscientific study that I noted lots of Burnet moth caterpillars, and within a very small area I counted at least two dozen of them. Speaking of butterflies and moths a blustery south-westerly breeze meant that today was not the best for either, but nevertheless a half dozen Red Admirals were spotted, though the undoubted highlight was a single Painted Lady, my first of the year (sadly no pictures of either I'm afraid). All in all it was another very enjoyable morning at this stunning location which we will undoubtedly return to again in the near future.
20th (Wed) 10.6 C to 20.0 C / 0.3 mm / 3.9 hours / E 2.8 14 Kt.
A cloudy but bright morning with extensive altocumulus covering the sky. Remaining bright but mostly cloudy into the afternoon, but after 2pm some sunny spells would begin to develop with a fine end to the day with some long spells of summer sun (temperatures rising to 20 C). Clear spells in the evening and at first overnight, but cloud would increase later.
21st (Thu) 9.4 C to 17.3 C / 18.1 mm / nil / SE 2.7 21 Kt.
A cloudy start with some outbreaks of light to moderate rain around 7am. Drier for a short time before more rain returned after 9am, this being more persistent and much heavier as the morning wore on. Indeed there were some downpours mixed in at times, with a peak rainfall rate of 23.6 mm/h. Becoming somewhat drier in the afternoon, though it would nevertheless continue to drizzle at times and it would also become quite murky for a time. In the evening some further spells of rain would return, with a few booming rumbles of thunder being heard around 7pm, but by dusk the rain would ease and it would become largely dry for most of the night. However by dawn further rain would return.
This June is proving to be very wet, with 116.1 mm of rain being recorded so far this month by the end of today, making this the 2nd wettest June on my records (still way short of the 250.0 mm recorded in the incredible June of 2007 however). Some electric storms also affected the area today, with Helen’s school in Hull being struck by lightning.
22nd (Fri) 10.0 C to 13.8 C / 15.4 mm / 0.1 hours / SW 5.5 30 Kt.
A very wet morning with persistent moderate to heavy rain, indeed it was very heavy for a time with a peak rainfall rate of 60.4 mm/h. This caused some minor flooding, with much of the lawn holding standing water and most of the area beneath the Hawthorn tree too (the garage was also partially flooded). The rain becoming less persistent in the afternoon, with some brighter spells developing, though nevertheless there were still some moderate spells of rain from time to time and these would continue into the evening. Dying out overnight with a mostly dry but cloudy night.
Further heavy rain today added another 15.4 mm today, taking the monthly total up to 131.5 mm, making this now the 3rd wettest calendar month on my records.
23rd (Sat) 10.6 C to 18.0 C / 5.2 mm / 3.3 hours / SW 3.5 29 Kt.
A grey and breezy morning with a moderate WSW breeze, though by mid-day some brighter spells would develop with even some good spells of sunshine developing in the afternoon. However a few showers would also develop but these didn’t really come to much. Becoming more generally cloudy again in the evening with this cloud continuing to thicken overnight with some outbreaks of rain later.
24th (Sun) 10.0 C to 18.5 C / 0.6 mm / 4.5 hours / W 6.0 25 Kt.
A wet start with persistent moderate rain, but by 10am it would begin to clear with even some sunny spells developing. However it would become quite blustery, and a few light showers would pass through, but these would die out by midday with a fine but blustery afternoon following. Variable amounts of cloud in the evening and overnight, with the breeze easing somewhat during the night.
Keasey Dale & Wayrham
Today began wet with persistent moderate rain, and though things improved by mid-morning we decided not to go for a long walk and instead headed up to two seperate locations in the mid-Wolds, including a brand new one which I have only just recently read about, and it was here we began our morning. It is always exciting to visit a new location, especially one which promised much for the wildflower lover, and after a short walk we came to this small area of unimproved chalk grassland which is designated as a SSSI.
The site is relatively small (only about 10 acres) and is found near the popular high Wold village of Huggate, but nevertheless it is considered one of the best remaining examples of species rich northern chalk grassland, and is particularly herb-rich. The weather for our visit today was not ideal, with the early morning rain clearing to blustery showers, but nevertheless a good variety of flowers were noted, particularly towards the southern end of the dale. Undoubtedly I missed many flowers, partly from a lack of knowledge on my part and other factors beyond my control, but at least 20 species were identified, including Common Rockrose, Fairy Flax, Salad Burnet, Milkwort, Wild Thyme and Common Spotted Orchids. I had hoped to find some Fragrant Orchids too this morning, but sadly despite my best efforts it proved a fruitless search and I think another visit will be required, ideally on a pleasant summers evening when the scent should be strongest.
The dale also hosted plenty of typical warblers and chalk-land scrub birds, including still singing Willow Warblers, Linnets and Yellowhammers, while overhead a Buzzard soared above the plantation which lies to the immediate south of this area of open grassland. Despite the blustery wind quite a few day flying moths were spotted, including Common Carpets, Silver Ground Carpets, and most numerous of all, Chimney Sweepers, these black moths always being very apparent at this time of year in the grassy dales of the Yorkshire Wolds. A few Small Heath butterflies were additionally noted, though considering that we should be entering the peak of the butterfly season now, it was yet another disappointing morning in terms of butterfly numbers and species. Hopefully this current unsettled weather will settle down soon as otherwise the whole season could be ruined.
After finishing at this particular site we made our way north-westwards towards the far more familiar location of Wayrham, primarily to check on how the Southern Marsh and Common Spotted Orchids are getting along, as well as to see whether they have been joined by any Pyramidal Orchids yet. The display of Orchids is absolutely fantastic at the moment, with hundreds of Marsh & Spotted Orchids dotted widely across this broad verge beside the busy A166, and the scene is enhanced by a carpet of other wildflowers, the yellow and red flowers of Birds-foot Trefoil being most apparent. Other flowers to be found thriving on the thin and dry soil here included Oxeye daisies, Bush Vetch, Meadow Vetchling, Tufted Vetch, Medick, Yellow Rattle, Hawkbit and members of the Cranesbill family, and while the Pyramidal Orchids are still not really out in flower yet, quite a few were nevertheless found right on the verge of doing so and should be out by next week.
The herb rich roadside verge also attracted quite a few butterflies and moths (this location being less blustery than our previous one), and Common Blues were particularly plentiful here, many being in very fine condition despite the recent weather. However again the diversity of species was very poor for late June, with the only other species being Small Heath, though moths did rescue the situation somewhat, with two attractive species being recorded in the form of Burnet Companion and Wood Tiger. I haven't seen any Six-spot Burnets yet, but surely they should be on the wing by next week end, fingers crossed.
25th (Mon) 10.0 C to 17.5 C / nil / 3.5 hours / E 1.6 15 Kt.
A bright morning with plenty of sunny spells at first, but by 10am it would become more cloudy and would remain largely cloudy for much of the day (though it would be fairly bright despite the cloud). However in late afternoon the cloud would begin to break up, with some good spells of sunshine to end the day. Clear spells overnight, with temperatures falling quite low for the time of year with a minimum of 6.4 C. Mist forming later too.
26th (Tue) 6.4 C to 21.3 C / nil / 5.2 hours / SE 2.2 15 Kt.
A cool and misty start, but it would soon warm up as the sun burned away the early mist. Remaining bright, if not particularly sunny for the rest of the morning, with little change in the afternoon. Warmer than recently with the hazy sunshine, the temperature reaching a high of 21.3 C, the first day this June to see a high in excess of 70 degrees. Largely cloudy overnight and remaining warm with a low of just 14.4 C.
27th (Wed) 14.4 C to 24.1 C / 0.2 mm / 4.3 hours / W 1.5 15 Kt.
A bright and muggy start to the day (over 15C at 6am), but by mid morning it had become somewhat more cloudy. Remaining bright but fairly cloudy for the rest of the day, with some hazy sunny spells, and feeling very warm and muggy with a high of 24C and dew points in the high teens. Largely cloudy in the evening and overnight, with temperatures remaining above 15 C throughout the night.
28th (Thu) 15.0 C to 22.9 C / 3.7 mm / 6.0 hours / SE 2.4 20 Kt.
A grey and muggy morning with some light outbreaks of rain at first, though later in the morning these outbreaks of rain would become heavier with some rumbles of thunder also being heard. However as the afternoon wore on it would brighten up with some good spells of sunshine for the remainder of the day. Warm again and feeling muggy, though somewhat less so by the evening as the breeze freshened from the SW. Clear spells or variable amounts of cloud overnight.
We missed out on some torrential showers today, with most going either south or north of us. The Newcastle area and the East Midlands were worst affected with lots of flash flooding and frequent lightning reported.
29th (Fri) 11.7 C to 21.5 C / 0.2 mm / 8.4 hours / SW 3.4 23 Kt.
A bright and blustery morning with some good spells of sunshine. Feeling much fresher than the last couple of days in the wind, but nevertheless in the sunshine the temperature would reach a high of 21.5 C in the afternoon. Sunny spells for the majority of the day, though in the evening cloud would increase with largely cloudy skies for the majority of the night. However by dawn some clear spells would develop.
Quite a bit of Cut-leaved Cranesbill is currently in flower in the fallow ground just south of Old Hall Farm, with other flowers including Buttercups, Speedwell, Campion and Chickweed. The grass is also very lush this year what with all the rain this month, while the OSR has taken a real bashing with much of it lying flat in the fields.
30th (Sat) 12.8 C to 21.2 C / 1.0 mm / 7.0 hours / SW 2.3 27 Kt.
An initially bright start with sunny spells but by 8am it had become mostly cloudy with outbreaks of rain at times, some quite heavy. However this didn’t last long and it would become mostly dry after 10 am, and would slowly brighten up again with sunny spells by the end of the morning. A bright afternoon following with plenty of sunny spells, though a shower did pass through around 5pm, this wetting the ground but little more. Variable amounts of cloud in the evening and overnight.