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July 2012

1st (Sun) 9.3 C to 16.6 C / trace / 4.3 hours / SW 2.7 23 Kt.
A clear and sunny start to the day though cloud would increase by mid-morning with the rest of the morning and into the afternoon seeing mostly grey and cloudy skies. Cool for the time of year too, especially in the moderate SW breeze, with a high of just 16.6 C. Breaks developing later in the afternoon though with some sunny spells during the remainder of the day, and it would remain bright into the evening. Variable amounts of cloud overnight.

Tun, Frendal & Pasture Dales
With reports of Marbled White butterflies on the wing at Fordon Banks in the far north of the county (information courtesy of local butterfly enthusiast Allan Rodda) we headed up to the peaceful corner of the central Wolds between Huggate and Millington in the hope of seeing some of these beautiful butterflies for ourselves, Marbled Whites being my favourite species. However the weather yet again was pretty poor for butterflies this Sunday, with overcast skies, occasional light rain and a very blustery SW breeze, but nevertheless I was confident that we would at least see some as this relatively undisturbed location always hosts a good number and variety of butterflies at this time of year.

However my confidence would prove unfounded and in the end we didn't manage to see any Marbled Whites throughout our walk through these dry valleys, and indeed the number of butterflies was very poor with only three species seen. Those recorded included Small Heaths, Common Blues and Ringlets, the Ringlets being the first I've seen this year, but despite this it was another remarkably disappointing morning with not even any Meadow Browns recorded, a species I still haven't caught up with this year. I keep hoping things will improve soon but the forecast for the coming week is not looking that great either, but nevertheless I am generally a positive person and continue to remain optimistic that summer will arrive sooner rather than later.

Day flying moths provided some further interest, with Chimney Sweepers particularly abundant throughout most of the walk, while a few species of Carpet moth were seen, most of them being Silver Ground Carpets. The long and ungrazed grass of the downland sides also hosted a good number of Grasshoppers, while a variety of Bumble bee species were attracted to the welted thistles which in a normal year would also be covered by Marbled Whites, Skippers and Six-spot Burnets at this particular location.

With butterflies remaining scarce I instead decided to concentrate on the wildflowers which thrive in the ungrazed dales, and though this area has no Orchids of note, it nevertheless provides a fine spectacle of other wildflowers, most of them common I admit but still beautiful despite this and providing much welcome colour on a grey summer's day. A good display of Goat's-beard was a highlight in Tundale, and in general yellow blooms would dominate the morning with the likes of Hawkweed, Hawkbit, Yellow Rattle, Birds-foot Trefoil, Meadow Vetchling, Buttercups and a nice clump of St. John's Wort, while in Tundale Oxeye daisies, Mayweed, Welted Thistle, Clovers, Campion, Woundwort, Chick-weed, Field Mouse-ear and Bitter-cress provided some variation with varying shades of white, purple and pink. Though I'm no grass expert I managed to identify at least six different species growing on this sheltered dale-side, including quite a bit of attractive Quaking grass.

Further along the walk we passed the magnificent wildflower bank which can be found near the top of Pasture dale, and here the dominant flower shade was purple or pink rather than yellow, with a number of interesting species being identified. Most noticeable was the the dark pink blooms of Bloody Cranesbill, a species which is otherwise uncommon in the East Riding, and another botanical highlight was about half a dozen deep purple coloured Clustered Bellflowers in near full flower. Meanwhile Knapweed is just starting to flower, and in the same small area I also noted Scabious, Tufted Vetch, the last of the Bush Vetch, and plenty of Herb Robert, including a few white specimens. No doubt when the weather improves this flower bank will attract a good variety of butterflies and other insects as in previous years, but today it was largely quiet with just a few bees and hoverflies being seen.

2nd (Mon) 11.1 C to 16.8 C / 2.6 mm / 0.1 hours / SW 1.3 14 Kt.
A grey and overcast morning, the cloud thick enough for some outbreaks of rain around 6am, though it would brighten up somewhat by the end of the morning. However this didn’t last long and cloud would thicken again by mid-afternoon with outbreaks of rain and/or drizzle for the remainder of the afternoon and well into the evening. Becoming drier overnight but remaining mostly cloudy.

An independent young Robin was seen in the garden this afternoon.

3rd (Tue) 12.8 C to 19.0 C / 7.7 mm / 4.8 hours / SE 1.0 12 Kt.
A bright and warm start to the day with good spells of sunshine, but as the morning wore on cloud amounts would increase and it would become cloudy by the end of the morning. Indeed the cloud would be thick enough for some light drizzle in the afternoon, and further rain and drizzle would arrive in late afternoon with outbreaks of rain for most of the evening. Some heavier spells of rain during the night (5.2 mm/h peak rate) and though it would ease by dawn it would remain damp and murky by first light.

The haylage has been cut from the meadow near Old Hall Farm recently, though the area near the dried up pond has been left so the wildflowers can continue to flourish. Meanwhile Poppies and Mayweed line some of the fields, with the OSR still looking in a real sorry state after all the recent rain and wind. Meanwhile the Barley is now golden, though areas are still quite green here and there, and I would say that the cereals are about a fortnight behind where they should be by now. Elderflower is now in full flower widely around the Parks, and further interest this morning was provided by a Curlew passing overhead, a sign that passage migration is getting going again.

4th (Wed) 15.0 C to 21.7 C / 1.7 mm / 4.4 hours / SE 1.0 14 Kt.
A wet and very murky start to the day with moderate drizzle and visibility between 2 and 3 km. Drier by mid-morning but remaining overcast and grey until about midday. Some sunny spells developing in the afternoon, this kick starting a few sharp showers, though most were brief. Some longer spells of sunshine in the evening, though there was also another very heavy shower around dusk with a peak rainfall rate of 21.4 mm/h and was accompanied by at least one rumble of thunder and a rainbow. Mostly cloudy overnight and becoming misty by the end of the night.

5th (Thu) 12.8 C to 22.5 C / 10.4 mm / 3.5 hours / N 3.1 16 Kt.
A misty but warm and muggy morning, and though it would brighten up somewhat as the morning wore on it would remain mostly cloudy and very hazy. However in the afternoon some hazy spells of sunshine would develop, and this would help push temperatures up to 22.5 C. Feeling muggy too with dew points in the high teens. Cloud increasing again in the evening and by dusk it had become misty, this becoming thick enough to be classed as fog for a time overnight. The breeze freshening somewhat after midnight, this clearing the fog and mist, but it would overcast throughout the night.

6th (Fri) 13.9 C to 16.9 C / 17.7 mm / 1.0 hours / NE 1.5 19 Kt.
An overcast but dry start but by 7am heavy rain quickly moved in and would persist for most of the morning, with a peak rainfall rate of 95.2 mm/h around 9am. Becoming lighter for a time in the early afternoon, but further heavy spells of rain would return later in the afternoon, and by the time the rain cleared after 5pm a total of 28.1 mm had been recorded since 7am in the morning. The cloud clearing quickly for a time in the evening, with some sunny spells to end the day, but overnight mist and latterly fog would develop, becoming thick by the end of the night.

7th (Sat) 11.1 C to 21.5 C / 1.1 mm / 8.1 hours / N 3.0 15 Kt.
A very foggy start with visibility below 100 metres, but by mid-morning this would quickly clear away with sunny spells developing. Everything was very wet after yesterday’s rain and the morning fog and despite the sunshine it would remain damp well into the afternoon. Becoming mostly clear and sunny for most of the afternoon, bar some fair weather cumulus, and overall it was a much better day than yesterday with temperatures reaching a high of 21.5 C. Cloud increasing again in the evening though, and becoming murky again with visibility down to below 2km.

In what has been an awful summer for butterflies (at least in the garden), a Red Admiral was seen sunning itself on the Yews in late afternoon.

8th (Sun) 12.8 C to 17.8 C / 1.2 mm / 1.9 hours / N 3.3 14 Kt.
A very murky start with visibility below 2km, but this would begin to lift once outbreaks of rain and drizzle moved in from the NNE. The rain and drizzle would continue for much of the morning, though by midday it would become drier and indeed as the afternoon wore on it would steadily brighten up with spells of sunshine developing by the end of the afternoon with a fine end to the day. Variable amounts of cloud overnight.

9th (Mon) 10.6 C to 18.3 C / 1.4 mm / 0.8 hours / N 2.3 17 Kt.
An overcast start but by mid-morning it would begin to brighten up somewhat, though nevertheless sunshine remained at a premium with mostly cloudy skies. Remaining mostly cloudy but bright through the afternoon, though in the evening some sunny breaks would develop with some welcome sunshine to end the day. However it would become mostly cloudy again overnight with overcast skies by dawn.

10th (Tue) 11.7 C to 14.4 C / 15.1 mm / nil / E 1.5 16 Kt.
Initially dry at dawn but rain would arrive by 6am with persistent moderate rain for the remainder of the morning. Indeed there were some quite heavy periods (peak rate of 8.4 mm/h) and after all the rain so far this month and in the previous June, the lawn quickly became water logged with standing water seen widely around the local area. Becoming somewhat drier in the afternoon, though nevertheless remaining dull with light spells of rain &/or drizzle at times, but in the evening the rain would become heavier again and persist until about nightfall. Becoming dry overnight though remaining mostly cloudy.

The Rosebay Willowherb is beginning to flower along Long Lane.

11th (Wed) 11.2 C to 18.0 C / 0.4 mm / 9.1 hours / W 4.3 26 Kt.
A bright morning with variable amounts of cloud and sunny spells, though by the end of the morning a band of thundery showers would pass through the area, these giving some short but heavy spells of rain, with the odd rumble of thunder also being heard. Clearing by 2pm with sunny spells for remainder of the day. Indeed by the evening it had become mostly clear, and it would remain so for most of the night, bar the odd area of Ac or Sc passing over from time to time.

12th (Thu) 9.4 C to 19.8 C / nil / 12.0 hours / W 1.6 14 Kt.
A mostly sunny morning with just some patches of cumulus or altocumulus coming and going at times. Quite cool at first too, especially in a brisk WNW breeze. Remaining mostly sunny in the afternoon, though cloud amounts would increase somewhat, so much so that by the evening there were some long cloudier periods. Variable amounts of cloud overnight.

There was a large gathering of Swifts this morning, with about 50 or so circling above the house and loudly screeching.

13th (Fri) 8.7 C to 18.0 C / nil / 4.6 hours / N 3.1 15 Kt.
A bright but fairly cloudy morning with lots of stratocumulus drifting in from the east. Remaining bright in the afternoon, with some spells of sunshine, but also lots of cloud around too with some long greyer periods. Variable amounts of cloud in the evening and overnight.

14th (Sat) 11.1 C to 18.2 C / 0.3 mm / 3.6 hours / W 2.9 19 Kt.
A bright but largely cloudy morning, though by midday some longer spells of sunshine would develop, these continuing into the afternoon. However after 2pm the cloud would increase and thicken with a short period of rain around 6pm. This would soon clear however with sunny spells to end the day. Variable amounts of cloud overnight.

Picked Elderflowers near Middleton-on-the-Wolds for the Elderflower wine this afternoon. While doing so we noted lots of Ringlet butterflies as well as an attractive Small Magpie moth.

15th (Sun) 8.8 C to 18.8 C / nil / 9.9 hours / W 3.7 24 Kt.
A sunny but blustery morning, feeling cool in the brisk WNW breeze. More in the way of cloud in the afternoon but nevertheless it would remain bright with plenty of lengthy sunny spells. Variable amounts of cloud in the evening and overnight with the moderate to fresh breeze becoming light overnight.

Deep Dale & Cot Nab
This morning we headed up to the high Wolds on what was a mostly sunny and pleasantly warm July morning, though there was a moderate to fresh westerly breeze, especially on the exposed Wold tops. However thanks to the deep and winding nature of Deep dale (which is near Bishop Wilton) we spent most of the morning sheltered from the breeze, and indeed without the breeze it soon became quite hot in the valley and it was actually quite a relief to get back up into the cooling breeze by the time the sun reached its zenith high in the southern sky. However the warmth and sunshine meant conditions were perfect for butterflies today, an all too rare occurrence during this summer so far, and for this reason alone I was more than willing to suffer a bit of discomfort in order to enjoy the spectacle of these colourful and seemingly delicate insects.

Upon arrival at Deep dale the first butterfly we encountered was a Ringlet, a species which seems to be doing well this year, and throughout our walk we would come across loads of these dark brown butterflies, especially amongst patches of Ragwort where up to a dozen could be seen feeding on just one plant. A healthy number of Small Heaths would be noted too throughout the walk, these seemingly attracted to Wild Thyme, and we would also encounter a few Meadow Browns here and there (these favouring areas with longer grass). Amazingly these are the first Meadow Browns I have seen this year!!! Other species recorded this morning included a lone Small Tortoiseshell, a healthy number of Common Blues, a trio of Large Skippers, a single Burnet Companion Moth, a Silver-Y Moth, and half a dozen Six-spot Burnets.

However the stars of the morning were the Marbled Whites, a species I hold with a great affection and are undoubtedly my favourite species of butterfly. These handsomely marked black and white butterflies were abundant on the south facing slope of Cot Nab, the many thistles which grow on this hillside attracting dozens of them with many plants having as many as half a dozen Marbled Whites feeding on them at any one time.  Marbled Whites are a wonderfully photogenic species and compared to most grassland species of butterfly they are not particularly flighty, a dream come true to an average amateur wildlife photographer such as myself.

This location, which is incidentally a SSSI, is also fantastic for wildflowers and wild-grasses, and today I managed to identify and record a good variety of flowers on this herb-rich down-side. Undoubtedly I over looked many species out of ignorance, and indeed I may have incorrectly recorded others (if you note any errors please get in touch as I would welcome any alterations), but at least two dozen varieties of flower were recorded here, including the likes of Wild Thyme, Rock-rose, Birds-foot Trefoil, Medick, Milkwort, Dropwort, Fairy Flax, Eyebright, Self-heal, Hawkweed, Salad Burnet, Lady's Bedstraw, Hedge Bedstraw, Quaking grass, and Harebells.

In other areas of our walk, especially where the grass was lusher, we would come across further wildflowers, with the likes of Knapweed, Woundwort, Meadow Vetchling, Nipplewort, Ragwort, Mallow, Meadow Crane's-bill, Tufted Vetch and Rosebay Willowherb to name but a few. On our way back home to Beverley we also paid a quick visit to the Orchid meadow at Wayrham, and here the Spotted and Marsh Orchids are still providing a beautiful spectacle, though undoubtedly it is now beyond its best and many have now finished flowering for yet another year (especially the Marsh Orchids). However the Pyramidal Orchids which also flower here are now at their best with their distinctive pink flowers growing amongst an abundance of vetches, clovers and other wildflowers which likewise thrive at this location. Indeed searching for these relatively small Orchids amongst the sea of varying shades and transient blooms was very pleasing to the eye, and all in all the whole morning was a very pleasing one, a much needed tonic after a difficult few weeks.

16th (Mon) 9.4 C to 18.3 C / 3.9 mm / 3.4 hours / W 2.8 22 Kt.
A bright and sunny start but by 8am it had become cloudy with outbreaks of light rain moving in around 9am. The rain would continue on and off for much of the day, with some moderate spells at times, but by the end of afternoon the rain would clear with sunny spells developing after 5pm. Remaining bright for the remainder of the evening, and also feeling quite muggy after the rain had cleared. Variable amounts of cloud overnight with temperatures falling no lower than 13 C.

Quite a few Ringlets were seen on the wing near Old Hall Farm, while in the same area the Great Willowherb is now beginning to flower widely, joining the Rosebay which began flowering last week.

17th (Tue) 13.3 C to 21.2 C / 6.9 mm / 5.8 hours / W 2.6 22 Kt.
A warm and bright start with some good spells of sunshine, though there was a moderate westerly breeze. Remaining bright with sunny spells throughout the morning and at first in the afternoon, this helping to push temperatures up above 70 degrees, but after 2pm cloud would thicken with spells of rain arriving by the end of the afternoon. Further spells of rain in the evening, with one short but torrential downpour around 10pm (a very impressive peak rate of 131.0mm/h was recorded). After this downpour it would become mostly dry overnight but nevertheless it would remain mostly cloudy and muggy, the temperature falling to just 15.4 C.

18th (Wed) 15.4 C to 20.7 C / 5.6 mm / 7.1 hours / W 4.5 32 Kt.
A mostly cloudy and blustery morning but there were some sunny spells from time to time, and despite the wind it also felt warm and quite muggy with temperatures reaching a high of 20.7 C today. Sunny spells in the afternoon, though the wind would remain very gusty, indeed a gust of 32 knots was recorded around 1pm. However in the evening the breeze would ease, but cloud would also increase. This cloud would continue to increase and thicken overnight with some spells of rain later in the night, some of these heavy with a peak rate of 48.6 mm/h.

19th (Thu) 11.1 C to 17.8 C / nil / 1.0 hours / N 2.5 16 Kt.
A damp start with light rain and/or drizzle, but after 8am it would begin to dry up with even some spells of sunshine developing within the hour. However it would remain largely cloudy throughout the day, with just a few brighter periods, and it would remain cloudy through the evening and most of the night.

20th (Fri) 11.0 C to 15.0 C / 2.3 mm / 0.2 hours / N 0.7 9 Kt.
A cloudy morning with extensive stratocumulus covering the sky. This cloud would thicken by the end of the morning with some outbreaks of rain in the afternoon, mostly fairly light but there were some more moderate spells at times. Becoming drier in the evening with the cloud beginning to break around dusk, with clear spells overnight, this allowing temperatures to fall and mist to form.

21st (Sat) 7.5 C to 21.0 C / nil / 10.8 hours / W 1.5 13 Kt.
A clear and sunny morning (after a misty start) with barely a cloud in the sky, an all too rare occurrence so far this summer. However in the afternoon cloud would bubble up, and though it remained non-threatening it nevertheless spread out to form stratocumulus which would obscure the otherwise warm sun (high of 21 C today). Mostly cloudy in the evening and overnight, though there were some breaks too.

22nd (Sun) 11.7 C to 23.4 C / nil / 9.6 hours / SW 2.9 24 Kt.
A cloudy but warm start, with the cloud beginning to rapidly break up and clear by mid-morning. Remaining clear with largely uninterrupted sunshine for the rest of the day, and despite a moderate and at times fresh SW breeze, temperatures would reach a high of 23.4 C. Remaining largely clear in the evening and overnight, with temperatures falling no lower than 13 C.

A large Hawker type Dragonfly was in the garden this morning, and posed long enough for me to get some good photos of this prehistoric and impressive looking insect.

23rd (Mon) 13.3 C to 26.4 C / nil / 13.9 hours / SW 2.1 20 Kt.
A sunny start and remaining sunny pretty much throughout the day, bar some high cloud at times, and though it was very warm (a high of 26.4 C made today the hottest day of the year thus far) the temperature would be moderated somewhat by a moderate to fresh SW breeze, which again was quite gusty at times. Remaining clear in the evening and overnight, with temperatures falling no lower than 14 C.

24th (Tue) 14.4 C to 28.1 C / nil / 14.4 hours / SW 1.2 15 Kt.
A sunny and hot day, the temperature already above 70 degrees at 9am and eventually reaching a high of 28.1 C (82.6 F) in early afternoon, easily the hottest day of 2012 so far. The skies would be mostly clear throughout the day with strong sunshine, though a bit of fair weather cumulus would bubble up during the middle of the day. Remaining clear in the evening but overnight some areas of cloud would drift down from the north. Another very warm night with a low of just 14 C.

After what has been a very poor summer for butterflies in the garden, a few species were seen on the wing today, including Large White, Green-veined White, and what looked like a Speckled Wood at one point. Overhead the Swifts screeched loudly throughout the day, but especially in the evening, while a large flock of mixed gulls (mostly Common and Black-heads) was seen circling above the town in late afternoon.

25th (Wed) 13.9 C to 21.9 C / nil / 1.5 hours / NE 2.5 12 Kt.
An initially clear, sunny and very warm start, but by 7am cloud would increase from the north with mostly cloudy skies for the remainder of the morning. It would remain mostly cloudy in the afternoon, though it would become somewhat brighter for a short period in mid-afternoon, and though it was much cooler than yesterday it would nevertheless feel warm with temperatures reaching a high of 21.9 C. Remaining largely cloudy in the evening and overnight, this helping to keep temperatures above 15 C.

Both Meadow Browns and Ringlets were on the wing at 6am this morning in the Parks.

26th (Thu) 15.0 C to 19.2 C / nil / 0.1 hours / SE 2.2 15 Kt.
A cloudy but warm morning, and remaining cloudy and grey for most of the day, though in mid-afternoon it did brighten up somewhat for a short time. Despite the cloud it was pleasantly warm though, with temperatures reaching a high of 19.2 C. Remaining cloudy in the evening and overnight, and becoming quite murky towards the end of the night as low cloud came in off the sea.

27th (Fri) 14.6 C to 22.8 C / nil / 9.9 hours / W 4.4 20 Kt.
A dull and murky start to the day with low cloud being brought in off the sea on a moderate breeze, but by mid-morning it would quickly begin to brighten up as winds switched round into the NW. The rest of the day would see some good spells of warm sunshine (high of 22.8 C), but there were also some cloudier periods too, especially in mid-afternoon. Variable amounts of cloud in the evening and overnight.

28th (Sat) 10.5 C to 20.3 C / nil / 10.2 hours / SW 3.2 23 Kt.
A sunny morning with broken fair weather cumulus, and feeling pleasantly warm after a coolish start. Remaining sunny and pleasant throughout the afternoon, with just a scattering of cumulus, and though some decent convection was noted in mid-afternoon nothing came of it in the end and any showers stayed well to our west. Variable amounts of cloud in the evening and overnight with some decent clear spells.

29th (Sun) 10.3 C to 19.3 C / 0.7 mm / 8.9 hours / W 2.7 21 Kt.
A bright morning again with good spells of sunshine, but by the end of the morning some decent convection would see towering cumulus develop, this bringing some sharp but largely brief showers in the afternoon. However between the showers there was still plenty of sunshine, and despite a moderate westerly breeze it felt pleasantly warm. Showers dying out in the evening and becoming clear overnight, this allowing temperatures to fall quite low for the time of year with a minimum of 7.8 C.

Nettle & Pasture Dale
Today we headed up to the high Wolds in the hope of finding some Brown Argus butterflies in the Upper Millington Dale area, an attractive and relatively uncommon species I have recorded up here in previous summer's. However this species can be tricky to find and can vary greatly in numbers from year to year (I didn't record any last year), and as it turned out I was unable to spot any in the usually favoured area of grassland which lies on the hill between Nettle Dale and Pasture Dale this morning. However this area of meadow did provide plenty of interest nevertheless on what was a sunny and breezy morning, with a good range of other butterflies, including Small Tortoiseshell, Meadow Brown, Small Heath, Ringlet, Large and Small Skippers and last, but certainly not least, Marbled Whites.

A good and attractive variety of wildflowers were also thriving on this area of sheep grazed downland meadow from which one has a fine view of the surrounding winding dry valleys of Frendal Dale, Millington Dale and the previously mentioned Pasture and Nettle Dales. The beauty of this corner of the Wolds is the large number of dales which cut into the otherwise rolling arable landscape, and each dale has its own unique characteristics with varying amounts of grass-land, scrub-land and wood-land, which in turn affects the type of flowers one can find in each location. This particular location is dominated by thick grassland, which is particularly lush this year after the wet June, while areas of sycamore and birch woodland can also be found at either end of the meadow.

Wildflowers recorded here included Common Rock-rose, an important food plant for Brown Argus, Birds-foot Trefoil, Harebells, Yarrow, Knapweed, Ragwort and where the grass was lusher, Meadow Vetchling, Tufted Vetch, and a few varieties of Thistle. The grass and flowers hosted and attracted a few species of day flying moths, including Common Carpet, Silver Ground Carpet, Chimney Sweepers, and Grass moths. I also found a species of moth the identity of which I am not certain of, though at the moment I think it's a type of Shell Moth, probably a Yellow Shell but if you think differently please get in touch.

Continuing our walk along the top of Pasture Dale we eventually reached the top of the dale and here in the nearby fields a Quail was heard frequently calling its distinctive wet-my-lips call. This is the first Quail I have heard this year, and hopefully won't be the last. In this same area a hunting Spotted Flycatcher was seen darting from its perch amongst the hawthorn and elder scrub, while a few leaf warblers were calling from the same area. Over the golden cereal fields a good number of Swallows hunted low over the fields, enjoying the warm sunshine no doubt, while a few Swifts were seen amongst them too.

By midday a few heavy and thundery showers were beginning to bubble up, with great towers of Cumulus and Cumulonimbus dominating the huge Wold skies, but thankfully these showers seemed to go around us and we remained largely dry, bar the odd spot from time to time. Making our way down the steep incline at the top of Pasture Dale we eventually came to the beautiful wildflower bank which thrives beside the narrow winding road which leads to the village of Millington, and here good numbers of Skippers, Ringlets, Marbled Whites and a couple of Red Admirals were attracted to the flowers. Bloody Cranesbill is the dominant flower along this long bank, but other flowers found abundantly here included the likes of Greater Knapweed (including a few white ones), Common Knapweed, Betony, Woundwort, Scabious, Restharrow, and Clustered Bellflowers. Eventually our route would return us back to our starting point, and from here we headed home after another interesting and varied ramble around this tranquil corner of Yorkshire.

30th (Mon) 7.8 C to 18.2 C / trace / 6.4 hours / W 2.7 22 Kt.
A cool, breezy but largely sunny morning, though there were also some mostly light showers from time to time, these so light that they barely registered in the gauge. Sunny spells in the afternoon with further showers threatening, but most seemed to miss us and we remained mostly dry. Cloud clearing away in the evening with clear spells for much of the night, but cloud would begin to increase again towards the end of the night.

North Cliffe Wood
With the forecast for the rest of the week looking unsettled, we decided to head down to North Cliffe Wood yesterday afternoon on what was a largely sunny if somewhat cool and breezy day. I tend to try and avoid this area of damp woodland in summer, as the mosquitoes are a nightmare with many areas of still and stagnant water making it a perfect breeding ground for these merciless blood sucking beasts. However this Yorkshire Wildlife Trust reserve is also a good spot for damselflies, dragonflies and butterflies in summer, so we were willing to suffer a few bites in order that we could enjoy observing and photographing the more appealing insects of this woodland and heath-land reserve.

Upon arrival at the wood we soon noted a number of Green-veined Whites fluttering around the brambles, and as we made our way along the western path we noted a few Small Skippers too, many allowing close approach so we could get some decent photos of this usually flighty species. Choosing to avoid the wood itself, which as we had feared was infested with blood thirsty bugs, we headed for the relative sanctuary of the heath where the brisk breeze was keeping the mosquitoes at bay. As it is the heath is usually the most productive part of the reserve for butterflies and dragonflies anyway, and around the pool which lies in the heart of the area we soon spotted large numbers of Damselflies resting on the surrounding vegetation.

Most numerous were Emerald Damselflies, a beautiful species with gorgeous colouration, and there must have been hundreds of these handsome insects hanging around the black water of the small pool. Other species included quite a few Azure Damselflies, at least a couple of Blue-tailed Damselflies, and what I think was a pair of Common Darters (again my dragonfly ID skills are not the greatest and if you think differently please get in touch). Like moths I have only recently become interested in dragon and damsel flies, partly thanks to acquiring a camera with a decent zoom, and I am finding it a very interesting and challenging subject indeed which at the moment I have only scratched the surface of.

A few butterfly species were also found around the heath, including about half a dozen Small Coppers amongst the heathers, and a healthy number of Meadow Browns and Ringlets in the more grassy areas. However the highlight of the morning was the recording of at least a couple of Gatekeepers, the first I've seen this year and a species which is not particularly widespread up here (at least not on the Wolds anyway). Indeed I have never been able to capture one of these butterflies with a camera before, but today one individual gave me some fantastic views and I am pleased to say I have finally broken my duck when it comes to this particular species. All in all, despite a few mozzie bites on my hands and neck, it was a very enjoyable afternoon and next time I visit I will just have to try and remember to take some stronger insect repellent.

31st (Tue) 8.4 C to 16.6 C / 0.4 mm / 0.3 hours / SE 1.0 15 Kt.
An initially bright start but after 6am cloud would quickly increase with some light outbreaks of rain at times (barely enough to dampen the ground however). Remaining cloudy throughout the morning and though it would become largely dry it would remain cloudy throughout the remainder of the day. Overcast in the evening and overnight, with some rain at times, but again nothing particularly significant.