1st (Wed) 13.3 C to 22.3 C / trace / 4.7 hours / SW 1.5 19 Kt.
A grey start with some light outbreaks of rain, but after 9am it would begin to brighten up somewhat with some hazy sunshine from time to time. Remaining bright but cloudy into the afternoon, but after a brief shower in mid-afternoon the cloud would begin to rapidly break up and clear with a fine end to the day. Remaining clear at first in the evening and overnight, but cloud amounts would increase again after midnight.
The first field of Barley has now been cut, though actually only 50% of the crop has actually been collected so far. This follows the collection of the OSR last week near Old Hall Farm. A Green Woodpecker was also heard yaffling this morning in the area, while back at home highlights included the first of the second brood of Holly Blues, as well as Comma, the first I’ve seen since spring, and Red Admiral.
2nd (Thu) 13.2 C to 22.9 C / 0.2 mm / 7.3 hours / SW 1.2 15 Kt.
A largely cloudy start to the morning, but after 10am some breaks would develop with lengthy spells of warm sunshine for the remainder of the morning. Remaining largely sunny and warm in the afternoon, the temperature reaching a high of 22.9 C, but in late afternoon showers would develop with one just brushing past us around 6pm. Cloudier for a time in the evening, but overnight clear spells would develop, this leading to a very heavy dew by dawn.
The barley field which is 50% cut has now been baled, with the large round bales making for an attractive country scene. Meanwhile large number of Linnets and other finches were seen gleaning in the OSR stubble field near Old Hall Farm, while overhead a Golden Plover was heard. An additional sighting included a fine and very healthy looking Stoat. In the garden the warmer weather is also seeing a greater variety of butterflies appear, with the buddleia attracting Small Tortoiseshell, Red Admiral, and Green-veined White, while a Holly Blue was seen fluttering around the Yews and Ivy.
3rd (Fri) 12.3 C to 22.4 C / trace / 9.0 hours / SW 1.0 13 Kt.
A bright and warm start with long spells of sunshine, and remaining sunny throughout the morning. A bit more in the way of cloud in the afternoon, with some decent sized cumulus bubbling up, but nevertheless there would still be plenty of sunshine, in which it would feel very warm with a high of 22.4 C. A very light shower would pass over in early evening, but the rest of the evening and overnight would see variable amounts of cloud with some clear spells at times.
4th (Sat) 13.4 C to 22.7 C / trace / 7.8 hours / SE 1.1 18 Kt.
A largely sunny and warm morning, with just some broken altocumulus, and it would sunny and bright throughout the morning and afternoon, this pushing temperatures up to 22.7 C. The strong sun and dew points in the mid-teens would see some strong convection in the afternoon however, though pretty much all of the showers and storms missed us apart from a brief light shower around 3pm. Meanwhile a storm in late afternoon would produce a few rumbles as it drifted past a few miles to the east of us. Showers dying out in the evening with variable amounts of cloud overnight, this allowing some light mist to form as winds fell light.
Harvest time and early autumn signs
The recent settled weather has seen harvest finally get into full swing after a somewhat delayed start, and across the East Riding Combine Harvesters of varying makes and colours are trundling up and down the fields, cutting and threshing the winter barley and oilseed rape (OSR) as they go. Thanks to the under-lying chalk of this area, ground conditions have been mostly fine despite the four successive months of above average rainfall, an important factor to consider when several tons of agricultural machinery are working the land, and as mentioned last week in a previous post, yields seem to be about average to slightly below, not bad considering the lack of sunshine and warmth in June. As of writing most of the OSR has now been collected in, while winter barley is currently about 50-60% complete, and should be concluded within the week. Of course it will be best to wait till the wheat harvest begins to draw any real conclusions, but at the moment 2012 looks like being better than was expected a month ago, at least cereal wise.
Away from the harvest and back in the garden, the warmer and sunnier weather has seen an increase in butterfly numbers and diversity, a very pleasing sight after the dearth of butterflies we experienced in June and July. Most numerous have been the 'Whites', dominated mostly by Green-veined Whites, while other sightings have included Meadow Browns, Ringlets, Small Tortoiseshell, Red Admiral, Comma, and Holly Blue. The Holly Blue represents the first of this year’s second brood, while the Comma seen a few days was a most welcome recording as I have seen very few of these coppery coloured and tattered looking butterflies this year. However it is surprising to have seen no Peacocks at all lately, and this seems to be part of a worrying national trend this year with well below average numbers being recorded around the UK.
Meanwhile along the hedgerows and in the woods the first signs of the coming autumn are starting to manifest themselves, with ripening fruits beginning to appear here and there. I always consider August as similar to February, as during February spring signs can be found widely in the countryside despite the wintry weather, so likewise the August countryside sees signs of autumn appear in spite of the continuing warm and hopefully summery weather. In the nearby wood the poisonous bright red fruits of Wild Arum (or Lords-and-Ladies) are now conspicuous, while along the edges of the wood the first ripe blackberries are appearing, bringing with them the promise of apple and blackberry crumbles and pies in the coming weeks, as well as blackberry conserves, jellies and jams. Indeed we just finished bottling this year’s Elder-flower wine last week, this joining last autumns Elder-berry wine and Sloe gin in our growing larder of home produced wines and spirits. As for soft fruits it looks like being a poor year, plums and apples looking dreadful after the inclement weather in April damaged much of the blossom, though those trees and shrubs which blossomed earlier in the year are looking much better, the now ripening Cherry Plums being particularly bountiful this year.
5th (Sun) 11.3 C to 22.2 C / nil / 8.3 hours / SW 1.1 13 Kt.
A sunny and warm start, with a slight mist hanging over the fields, but by 8am stratus would drift over from the Vale with it becoming grey and cloudy for an hour or two. However thereafter the sun would quickly return, with the remainder of the day seeing plenty of warm sunshine with temperatures climbing to 22.2 C. Variable amounts of cloud in the evening and overnight.
Had a very pleasant stroll around the Parks this morning with the birds showing well for the camera. A Blue tit was very obliging near Model Farm, as were some juvenile Tree Sparrows in the same area. Meanwhile Great Willowherb and Rosebay Willowherb are flowering widely, while in the hedgerows the Cherry Plums are now ripening.
For about the third time this year we made our way up to the far north-western corner of the Yorkshire Wolds and had a pleasant stroll around the beautiful rolling countryside surrounding the deserted medieval village of Wharram Percy. However upon arrival the weather was not quite so pleasant, with low cloud threatening to envelop the hill tops as fog from the Vale of York lapped along the western edge of the Wolds, but within half an hour the grey skies and mist cleared and warm sunshine beat down upon the golden cereal fields and flower strewn dales which are so typical of this time of year. A severe thunderstorm which had struck this corner of the Wolds the day before had cut a number of gullies in the gravel footpaths and had left areas of thick and sticky mud where the water had pooled, but again thanks to the free draining nature of these chalk uplands the land was largely firm despite the deluge, though along the old abandoned railway line it was somewhat less firm with areas of standing water covering the footpath.
When we had last visited in mid-June we had witnessed a newly fledged family of Redstarts near the deserted village, but today there were no signs of these brightly coloured summer visitors and it would seem that they have already moved on. However there was still plenty of interest bird wise, with a family of Blackcaps being a pleasing site, as was a single Garden Warbler along the aforementioned abandoned railway line. A Jay was also heard in the wood near Wharram Percy, while Buzzards were heard in another nearby wood, and a Grey Heron was seen passing overhead at Wharram-le-Street, a bird which I always think looks impressive in flight with its broad wing span and leisurely method of flying.
The wildflowers in the down-land dales are still providing plenty of interest, with Harebells and Betony thriving in the dale south of the village, though large amounts of Ragwort have also become established here, covering parts of the hillside with their vividly yellow florets. Where you find Ragwort it is always worth checking for Cinnabar caterpillars, but despite a casual search I found none, and so far I haven't seen any signs of these attractive black and red moths this year. A few butterflies however were attracted to the wildflowers in the area near the village, including Ringlet, Small Tortoiseshell, Green-veined White, Common Blue and a handful of Marbled Whites, while around the pond at the village itself a few Common Blue Damselflies were spotted resting on the surrounding vegetation.
From the village we continued northwards, heading for Wharram Quarry, a Yorkshire Wildlife Trust nature reserve in what, as the name suggests, was a former chalk quarry. This small reserve is a wonderful place for butterflies and wildflowers, many of which are regionally scarce, and today was no exception with the quarry floor strewn with a multitude of typical, and not so typical, calcareous blooms and plants. Unfortunately we missed the Bee Orchid season here this year, though from what I could tell this hadn't been a vintage year for them at this location anyway, while only onePyramidal Orchid was found, this single specimen being very much on its last legs. However I did find what I think was a Broomrape beneath a hawthorn bush.
A casual survey of the wildflowers at this location saw a great abundance of Restharrow, Meadow Vetchling, Tufted Vetch, Birds-foot Trefoil, Eyebright, Woundwort, Common Knapweed, Greater Knapweed and Rosebay Willowherb, with other somewhat less numerous blooms including Scabious, Harebells, Wild Thyme, Clustered Bellflower, Felwort, and Carline Thistle, both of the former species being new to my personal wildflower list. Again like earlier this plenitude of wildflowers meant that butterflies were numerous round the reserve, with large counts ofMeadow Brown, Small Heath, Common Blue, Marbled White and Small Skippers, with a few Ringlets and a single Small Tortoiseshellcompleting the list. One extra curiosity at this location was a number of two spotted Meadow Browns, that is to say they had two white spots on the forewing like a Gatekeeper butterfly, but there is no doubt that these were indeed Meadow Browns with just somewhat aberrant markings. Perhaps we should call these specimens, as someone suggested to me, Meadow-keepers.
6th (Mon) 12.3 C to 20.9 C / trace / 5.9 hours / W 4.0 20 Kt.
A bright and sunny morning with just some broken altocumulus and minor cumulus development from 9am onwards, though as the morning wore on cloud amounts would generally increase. Indeed by the afternoon showers would bubble up, but again most seemed to miss us here and we just caught the edge of one shower around 3pm. Cloudier for a time in the afternoon, but by early evening sunny spells would return. Variable amounts of cloud in the evening and overnight.
The Mars Science Lab landed successfully this morning, an amazing feat of engineering and radical thinking.
7th (Tue) 11.0 C to 20.7 C / nil / 6.2 hours / W 2.4 16 Kt.
A largely cloudy start with altocumulus and altostratus covering the sky, but by 8am this would break up and clear to leave a mostly sunny and warm morning. More in the way of cloud again by midday, but still with plenty of warm sunshine at times, and by mid-afternoon a few heavy thundery showers would develop in the area, though again they all missed us here and we stayed completely dry. Sunny spells in the evening with long clear spells overnight.
Nearly ran over a Fox (a Vixen I think) on my bike this morning beside Keldmarsh. Meanwhile in the Parks there is lots of Willow warbler song in the mornings at the moment, while a Green Woodpecker was also heard yaffling.
North Cave Wetlands
Yesterday morning we popped down to the nearby Yorkshire Wildlife Trust reserve at North Cave, located no more than 10 miles for our home in Beverley. This wetland reserve, which has its origins as former gravel pits, is a fantastic little reserve for a short wander around at any time of the year and usually provides more than enough interest for the enthusiastic naturalist and lover of the rich and varied wildlife of our Isles. Our primary reason for visiting this morning was to record just some of the Dragon and Damselflies which can be found here in the summer, and though I am still very new 'odonatology' I am finding it a fascinating and rewarding subject.
The most numerous Odonata yesterday morning were Common Blue Damselflies, with easily a 100 plus seen along our walk, particularly around Carp and Reedbed Lakes, while Common Darters were also very numerous, many posing obligingly to allow a few decent photos to be taken of these handsome Dragons. A rather tatty looking Black-tailed Skimmer also posed well amongst the Brambles in the far south-western corner of the reserve (a new species for me), which apparently according to Paul Ashton, the VC61 Dragonfly recorder, was a very mature female. Other sightings included a dozen or so Blue-tailed Damselflies, again mostly around Carp Lake, and in this same area a couple of large Hawkers were noted flying about, one of which I am pretty certain was an Emperor Hawker Dragonfly judging by its size and behaviour, while the other was either a Southern Hawker or Migrant Hawker.
Butterflies too were seen and recorded in good numbers and variety yesterday morning, thanks to the largely sunny and warm weather, with a second brood Brimstone being the main highlight. Indeed I have never managed to photograph one of these vividly yellow butterflies before, but thankfully one came to rest amongst the thistles beside Black Dyke and I was able to break my duck as regards this species. Gatekeepers too showed well, with as many as a dozen seen along our walk, with other species including Meadow Brown, Ringlet, Small Tortoiseshell, Peacock, Green-veined White, Large/Small Whites and Small Skipper. It was particularly heartening to see a fresh Peacock, as this species has been surprisingly scarce this year, and hopefully this usually common butterfly will enjoy a final flourish to the year. However the continuing lack of Speckled Woods is a worry, and I have yet to see any since the early initial flush of sightings in April and May.
With the arrival of August a greater number of waders are starting to turn up at our local wetlands, and yesterday morning saw three Green Sandpipers fly over Reedbed Lake, calling as they went and revealing their distinctive white rumps as they zigged and zagged low over the reserve. A lone Ruff was also spotted distantly on Reebed Lake, feeding amongst the abundant flocks of Lapwings, while a Dunlin was also seen feeding along the water's edge. A single Little Ringed Plover also dropped in while we were at Reedbed Lake, this handsome little bird landing near enough for a few quick photos before it moved on again. Meanwhile at Village Lake a couple of Greenshanks were seen snoozing on the edge of one of the islands, with some good views being had of these graceful waders from East Hide. Other birds of note recorded during our three hour visit included a lone Yellow Wagtail on a post in the middle of the Snipe Field Scrapes, a calling Corn Bunting somewhere to the north of the reserve, and at least one calling Grey Partridge in the fields west of the reserve.
8th (Wed) 10.9 C to 22.4 C / nil / 9.0 hours / E 1.4 15 Kt.
A largely sunny morning with just some broken altocumulus giving a few cloudier spells, and feeling warm with temperatures already 19 C by 9am. It would remain warm (22.4 C) and mostly sunny for the remainder of the day, with just some cloudier periods in the afternoon from time to time. Clear spells in the evening and overnight.
9th (Thu) 9.0 C to 23.4 C / nil / 9.4 hours / SE 1.2 15 Kt.
A cool and misty start to the day, with an attractive low mist hanging over the Parkland fields at dawn. Becoming cloudy by mid-morning however as stratus covered the area, though the cloud was thin enough for some very weak hazy sunshine. This cloud would break up after 11am however with warm sunshine for the remainder of the day, the temperature reaching a high of 23.4 C. Clear spells in the evening and overnight.
A good variety of butterflies were seen in the garden today, with Large White, Small White, Green-veined White, Comma, Peacock, Holly Blue, and most pleasing of all a Speckled Wood, the first I’ve seen since at least May. A Hawker type Dragonfly was also spotted during the morning.
10th (Fri) 9.8 C to 22.5 C / nil / 10.1 hours / E 1.5 14 Kt.
A clear and slightly misty start, but by 7am sea cloud would drift in with it becoming cloudy during mid-morning. However after 10am this cloud would break with warm sunny spells for the remainder of the day, the temperature reaching a high of 22.5 C. Becoming mostly clear in the evening and overnight, and as the temperature fell away mist and latterly fog would form, becoming quite thick by dawn.
Five Grey Partridges were seen in the Parks this morning, while the same stubble field hosted about a dozen Lapwings.
Summer mists and golden dawns
The weather this past week has been very pleasant in our little corner of the East Riding of Yorkshire, with plenty of sunshine, temperatures in the low twenties (Celsius) and barely any rain whatsoever. Indeed after what has otherwise been a wet summer the last twenty days have seen just 1.3 mm of rain recorded, though we have undoubtedly been fortunate as a number of thunderstorms passed very nearby earlier in the week. Under clear skies the nights have started to become noticeably cooler as well though, with the days now starting to becoming noticeably shorter as we draw closer to St. Bart's Day, the bringer of the so called 'cold dew'. The lower temperatures at night, as well as light winds, have encouraged the development of mists on a number of recent mornings, especially over the lower fields, and this has made for some beautiful spectacles as the golden August sun rises over the flat plain of Holderness to our east. The grand towers of Beverley Minster's West Front have looked particularly impressive rising about the mists, and on such peaceful and still summer mornings such as these, one can imagine that such a scene would have been little different in times gone by.
The recent fine weather is also being enjoyed by the nature of the area, with butterflies in particular coming out to enjoy the warm sunshine. After a near absence up until this week Peacock butterflies are now being seen frequently, indeed within a week they have gone from being scarce to abundant, with the Buddleias in the garden proving to be a particular draw. The local colony of Holly Blues is likewise thriving, while other flutterbies seen in the Parks this week have included Large White, Small White, Green-veined White, Small Tortoiseshell, Red Admiral, Comma, Meadow Brown, Ringlet, and Speckled Wood, the latter sighting being a personal highlight as up until Thursday I hadn't seen a Speckled Wood since mid-spring.
The stubble fields from both the Oilseed Rape and Barley crops are now providing food for large flocks of finches and sparrows, and up to 200 finches were seen on Thursday morning, this flock being mainly a mixture of Linnets, Goldfinches, Greenfinches and Chaffinches with Linnets being the most numerous. Lapwings and Mistle Thrushes are also finding the stubble fields attractive, while this morning I flushed half a dozen Grey Partridges while walking in the fields, confirming that despite the wet June some young have survived (however last year a peak count of 11 was recorded).
Elsewhere the last week has seen a renewed amount of Willow Warblers in song, a bird whose simple descending scale of notes is one of my favourites, while the resident Green Woodpecker has additionally been heard 'yaffling' in the wood near Model Farm, the breeding success of this locally scarce bird being unknown to me this year. I also enjoyed a few close encounters with the mammalian life of the area this week, with both Stoat and Fox being flushed out of field margins no more than 10 yards from me, while a Hedgehog has been seen in the garden on a number of evenings, a creature that surely no one can dislike as it snuffles about in search of slugs and worms.
11th (Sat) 10.7 C to 20.4 C / nil / 5.0 hours / SE 3.6 19 Kt.
A foggy start to the day with visibility below 300 yards, but this would quickly burn off with hazy sunshine from mid-morning onwards. Remaining bright with some sunny spells throughout the remainder of the day, though it wasn’t as sunny or as warm as most days recently. Cloud returning in the evening and overnight, though it was thin enough to reveal the half-moon at times.
A pair of Hawker type Dragonflies were seen hunting around the garden this afternoon. However I haven’t been able to identify them yet, but they are quite small for Hawkers and are probably either Migrant Hawkers or Southern Hawkers.
12th (Sun) 12.3 C to 22.3 C / nil / 5.2 hours / SE 3.5 21 Kt.
A grey and dull start with low cloud coming in off the sea, but after 8am it would begin to brighten up with warm spells of sunshine developing. Remaining bright in the afternoon with spells of warm sunshine (22.3 C), but there were also some cloudier periods too from time to time. There was also a brisk breeze during the middle of the day, with gusts in excess of 20 knots. Cloud increasing overnight with grey skies by dawn, this leading to a warm and muggy night with temperatures no lower than 13.8 C.
Bishop Wilton Wold
Yesterday, on what was a warm, sunny but breezy morning, we set off north-westwards from our home near Beverley and headed for the small community of Givendale, located about five miles north of the town of Pocklington. This small village of no more than a dozen dwellings is more properly known as 'Great Givendale', and is undoubtedly one of my favourite locations in the entire Yorkshire Wolds region. The woods and ponds around the attractive little church of St. Ethelburga's are particularly pleasant, and in early spring the entire wood is carpeted with Snowdrops and Winter Aconites, but yesterday the area was mostly quiet with just a few butterflies and Hawker dragonflies flying around the Ponds below the church.
From the village we headed first westwards and then northwards, following the footpath which snakes its way across the side of Bishop Wilton Wold. The vantage point from here is one of the best in the Wolds, as Bishop Wilton Wold is actually the highest hill in the county, reaching a height of 246 metres at nearby Garrowby. From the top the land falls away quite sharply to the west, and beyond lies the vast plain known as the Vale of York, an area renowned for its fogs (as well as other things I hasten to add). Indeed yesterday the visibility was not particularly good with the distant Pennines hidden amongst the haze of a summer's day, and even the great towers of York Minster were barely visible, this great historic city lying little more than 12 miles to the west of Givendale.
However as scenic as the first part of our walk was, we had actually seen very little in the way of interest, with the main highlights being just a Buzzard overhead and a Green Woodpecker yaffling somewhere nearby, though as we drew nearer to the village of Bishop Wilton itself we came into an attractive area of meadow where Harebells and Cats-ear added attractive splashes of pastel blue and yellow to the landscape. On one patch of Common Knapweed I came across a Udea lutealis moth, a new species for me personally, though I have subsequently learned that this is actually a very common moth at this time of year. Later in the walk I would also stumble upon a Silver-Y moth, my second of the year, though apart from these sightings and a few typical grass moths, there were very few moths about this morning, the blustery south-easterly breeze perhaps discouraging many of them from flying.
The wind also affected the numbers of butterflies on the wing today, with not quite the numbers or diversity that one has enjoyed recently, but nevertheless a number of more sheltered meadows and glades above the village of Bishop Wilton did provide some interest. The Whites were the most noticeable species today, with Green-veined White being the most numerous, though Large Whites were not far behind at some locations. About half a dozen Peacocks were also recorded along our walk, while a lone Comma and a single Speckled Wood were other pleasing additions to the day list. While trying to photograph some of these butterflies a large dragonfly also caught my attention, and after grabbing a few photos I was able to confirm it as a very fine looking Southern Hawker, perhaps not long on the wing judging by its immaculate condition.
As our ramble continued we passed through the now tired looking wildflower meadow which a couple of months ago was a riot of colour, dominated then by a fantastic display of Oxeye daisies, but today only a handful of Oxeyes were noted, and the scene is now dominated by Harebells, Knapweeds, Trefoils, Vetchlings, Ragwort, and most of all Yarrow. A good amount of the diminutive red flowers of Scarlet Pimpernel were also discovered along the edge of the footpath, as were some now gone to seed Bladder Campions, but overall the wildflower richness of the countryside is now on the wane as summer draws towards its inevitable conclusion over the coming weeks.
13th (Mon) 13.8 C to 23.7 C / 1.0 mm / 3.3 hours / SE 1.0 16 Kt.
A cloudy and grey morning, with a bit of mist at first, but despite the grey skies it felt warm and muggy with little in the way of wind. Some spells of sunshine breaking through after 11am with a bright and warm start to the afternoon, the sunshine helping to push temperatures up to 23.7 C, but as the afternoon wore on cloud would increase with mostly cloudy skies by the evening. Remaining largely cloudy overnight and feeling very muggy with a low of just 16.2 C.
One and a half fields of Wheat have now been cut in the Parks, with one field already half-baled ahead of the forecast rain later in the week.
14th (Tue) 16.2 C to 24.5 C / nil / 4.0 hours / SE 1.0 13 Kt.
An overcast and muggy morning with some outbreaks of rain at first, but as the day wore on it would become steadily brighter with spells of sunshine developing by mid-afternoon. Becoming very warm and muggy in the afternoon too, with temperatures reaching a high of 24.5 C. Sunny spells in the evening with variable amounts of cloud overnight.
40% of the wheat has now been harvested in the Parks. The nights are also beginning to noticeably draw in now, with it becoming dark shortly after 9pm on a clear night.
15th (Wed) 13.6 C to 23.8 C / 5.9 mm / 4.3 hours / SE 3.7 25 Kt.
A misty but sunny start to the day, feeling muggy in the still morning air. However from mid-morning the breeze would begin to freshen from the south-east with the sunshine becoming increasingly hazy as the morning wore on. The cloud continuing to thicken in the afternoon, with outbreaks of rain after 3pm. Some of these spells of rain would be heavy (peak rate of 34.6 mm/h) but the rain would clear by 6pm with the cloud breaking up by dusk. Clear spells overnight.
North Cliffe Wood
With heavy rain forecast in the afternoon we decided to head down to North Cliffe Wood this morning, hoping that the fresh south-easterly breeze would keep the worst of the mosquitoes and horseflies (or 'Clegs' as they call them locally) at bay. The weather when we arrived was warm and sunny, though already cirrus invading from the south was beginning to veil the August sun, and as the morning wore on the sun would become increasingly weak as the cloud continued to thicken ahead of the afternoon rain (which as I write is now beating against my office window).
Our primary reason this morning was to catch up with the Odonata which inhabits this tranquil corner of the county, and despite the breeze good numbers would be encountered along the woodland edges and out on the small area of heathland. Most numerous were the Emerald Damselfliesagain, especially around the heathland pool where at least a 100 must have been observed. These small and seemingly delicate beauties are a real favourite of mine, and up close they are gorgeous insects with richly varying markings, especially the males. Other damselflies around the pool included good numbers of Common Blue Damselflies, which in contrast to last time were more numerous than the Azure Dragonflies, while a single Blue-tailed Damselfly was also spotted (unfortunately not staying long enough for a photo).
The must numerous of the larger Odonata were the appropriately named Common Darters, with about 20-30 seen around the sunnier parts of the wood and out on the heath, while a small number of Ruddy Darters (we noted at least 5) have now appeared since we last visited, these strikingly red dragonflies being mainly found around the heath pond. Three species of Hawker Dragonfly were also noted, with a Southern Hawker around the pond, two Migrant Hawkers along the western footpath, and three very large and brown coloured dragonflies in various parts of the reserve which I think were Brown Hawkers (none of them stopped for a photograph sadly but one almost landed by a Migrant Hawker I was watching and I was struck by the size difference between the two species).
A decent number of butterflies were also recorded as we made our way around the reserve, with the highlight being a single Wall Brown, a species which I have seen very seldom in recent years, while half a dozen Speckled Woods along the southern path was another pleasing sight. On the heath Small Coppers were noted in very good numbers, these striking but small butterflies being attracted to the now flowering heathers, while a fewMeadow Browns, some very tired looking Ringlets, a handful of Gatekeepers, a few Peacocks, a Red Admiral, and a single Brimstone were also spotted this morning.
16th (Thu) 12.6 C to 23.1 C / trace / 5.5 hours / SW 2.0 21 Kt.
A bright and sunny morning, and feeling very warm despite a moderate to fresh SW breeze with temperatures reaching a high of 23.1 C in the afternoon. Hay spells of sunshine in the afternoon, though a brief and light shower did pass over around 4pm, but this didn’t even dampen the ground. Variable amounts of cloud in the evening, though overnight it would become cloudy, this helping to hold temperatures up above 15.8 C.
The Swifts seemed to have moved on now, with no sightings for a few days, though plenty of Swallows are still about.
17th (Fri) 15.8 C to 22.4 C / 2.1 mm / 1.3 hours / SW 1.3 18 Kt.
A cloudy and grey start, with outbreaks of light rain arriving in mid-morning, though this wouldn’t come too much. Remaining largely cloudy throughout much of the day, and feeling warm and muggy, and after 3pm another spell of rain would pass over, this bringing some more significant rain for a time compared to this morning. However after this cleared it would begin to brighten up with some sunny spells in the early evening, but by dusk cloud amounts would increase again with mostly cloudy skies overnight. This would lead to another mild night with a low of just 15.7 C.
Harvest continues apace
The wheat harvest is now well under-way in the Beverley Parks area, with already about 40% now combined and baled. Again like with the Barley and Oilseed Rape conditions have proved better than expected, with the ground nice and firm and moisture levels at more than acceptable levels thanks to a prolonged spell of dry weather (at least prior to Wednesday anyway). Early signs though seem to indicate that yields are somewhat more depressed than was the case for the Barley, which is to be expected to be honest, though again they are far from disastrous and with good cereal prices looking likely this year I think we have reason to be positive despite a less than vintage year which has brought its fair share of trials and tribulations for the UK's arable farmers.
Nature wise this week has been quieter in both the fields and in the garden, with fewer butterflies in evidence, though decent sized flocks of Finches have again been seen gleaning in the stubble fields. A few Lapwings have also been seen in the same fields, while overhead migrants have been heard passing by on a few occasions, including a flock of Golden Plovers on one morning, and at least one Green Sandpiper on another day. Gulls are also becoming more evident again, always a sign of the advancing season here, with Black-headed Gulls, Common Gulls and Herring Gulls drifting over the fields, especially in the mornings and evenings. I expect when plowing gets under-way even more shall become evident as they seek out the morsels uncovered by the action of turning over the top-soil.
In the hedgerows the Blackberries which were beginning to ripen a fortnight ago have now become plentiful enough to collect, though as yet I haven't had the opportunity to pick any. Hopefully in the coming week I'll be able to gather a few when I get the chance, as Blackberry picking is an activity I always enjoy every year, appealing very much to my hunter/gatherer instincts. No doubt these beautiful and glossy black fruits will be turned into a number of delicious crumbles or pies in the coming weeks, and perhaps we will even have a go at making some Blackberry wine this year to join the Elderberry and Elderflower wines in our growing larder of home produced country tipples, especially since the crop looks like being very good this year, no doubt thanks to all the rain earlier in the summer. Indeed though the awful weather in June and early July was not pleasant or particularly welcome at the time, it has brought some unexpected results and benefits since, many of which remind me of why I love and admire the natural world in the first place.
18th (Sat) 15.7 C to 25.1 C / nil / 5.0 hours / SW 1.3 17 Kt.
A warm and muggy start with a spell of rain prior to 8am, but this would soon clear with it becoming slowly brighter as the morning progressed. However it would remain fairly cloudy at times even in the afternoon, with only some occasional sunny spells, though despite this the temperature would still rise to 25.1 C and it would feel particularly uncomfortable thanks to dew points of 18 C. More in the way of sunshine by late afternoon with a bright and humid end to the day, and remaining warm and muggy overnight with temperatures no lower than 15 C.
A few species of butterfly were in the garden today, including Large White, Small White, Holly Blue, Peacock and a very old looking Meadow Brown. A Hawker species Dragonfly was also spotted, probably a Migrant Hawker.
19th (Sun) 14.8 C to 23.9 C / 0.3 mm / 2.4 hours / NW 1.3 13 Kt.
A sunny morning after a somewhat cloudier start, and again feeling very warm with temperatures above 20 C by 10 am and dew points in the high teens. However the sun would soon become hazy and after midday it would become cloudy with a short period of rain around 3pm. This didn’t come to much though and soon cleared, but it would remain overcast through the rest of the afternoon and in the evening. Cloud breaking up somewhat overnight, and feeling a little fresher and cooler than recent nights.
Cold Wold and Millington Pastures
On a humid and warm morning which was bright if not necessarily sunny, we headed up to the Millington Pastures area yet again, though this morning we would begin our walk not from Millington Dale itself but instead parked up at the top of Cold Wold. In winter this high and exposed hill which faces north-west can be very cold indeed, often becoming blocked by deep snow drifts which can form surprisingly rapidly as lying snow is stripped off the nearby fields, but today it was far from cold with temperatures hanging around 20 C when we arrived at 10am. Again like our Wolds walk last week at Givendale (which is about three miles NW of Cold Wold) one is afforded a wonderful view from this high hill over the Vale of York, and indeed visibility was much better today compared to last week with the Pennines to the west and the NY Moors to the north clearly visible.
From Cold Wold itself we made our way northwards and then eastwards, following the footpath which leads down into Sylvandale, one the deepest dales in this part of the Wolds. This year this dale is providing less interest than usual, primarily due to the fact it is being grazed by sheep which results in fewer wildflowers and therefore fewer butterflies, but such year-on-year variations are typical in the Wold dales. Indeed the grazing of sheep here means that neighbouring Nettledale is currently ungrazed, and with this in mind we would make our way northwards to this dale and would not stop long in Sylvandale itself, though a quick scan of the wildflowers here would reveal Fairy Flax, Rock-rose, Hawkweed, Yarrow, and Harebells at least.
On the way to Nettledale we took a small detour via the spring-fed pond which lies near Millington Wood as this rare patch of permanent open water can attract some interesting bird-life in what is otherwise a dry landscape. Apparently a Water Rail was spotted here recently, and in the past I have seen up to three of these secretive birds skulking along the water’s edge here (though usually only in winter), though a quick scan this morning revealed just a family of Moorhens. A dozen or so Common Blue Damselflies along the water’s edge also provided some further interest, a couple of which were paired, while butterflies species seen enjoying the pink blooms of Great Willowherb, a plant which thrives in the damp ground here, included Brimstone, Peacock, Large White, Small White and Green-veined White.
After a walk along the winding road which leads up Millington Dale we arrived at Nettledale, a favourite dale of mine despite its diminutive size as it always seems to provide plenty of interest. Indeed it only seems a short time ago that we came up here in search of the Redstarts which breed in this area (the exact location of which I think is best kept from the public domain for the time being), but today our main focus was the butterflies in this dale. The Marbled Whites have now gone for yet another year, and we didn't manage to spot any Common Blues or Brown Argus' today, butPeacocks were seen in great abundance, especially on areas of Thistle, while a good number of Small Coppers, Whites and Skippers were noted. Meanwhile the hawthorn scrub hosted quite a few Willow warblers (including quite a few youngsters) and a Spotted Flycatcher was also seen hunting along the edge of the aforementioned scrub, it stopping long enough at one point to allow a few semi-decent photos. After watching the acrobatic hunting antics of this small bird we made our way back towards Cold Wold, passing much agricultural activity in the surrounding fields and also passing literally thousands of Pheasants which are released every year for shooting purposes by the Warter Estate, an activity which rightly or wrongly brings welcome money into the local economy and provides much needed employment opportunities to this rural area.
20th (Mon) 11.8 C to 22.0 C / nil / 4.3 hours / W 0.8 15 Kt.
A bright start but it would soon become grey and dull and would remain so throughout the morning and into the afternoon. However by mid-afternoon it would begin to brighten up with some sunny spells developing, and it would remain bright into the evening. Variable amounts of cloud overnight, though as the night wore on it would become more generally cloudy again.
The number of warblers in the Parks and in the garden is becoming more noticeable again as numbers begin to swell as migrants and youngsters pass through the area (mostly Willow warblers and Whitethroats at the moment). Meanwhile the number of Peacock butterflies in the garden is becoming quite impressive, with maybe two dozen or so at any one time, while other species recently have included Whites and at least three Holly Blues.
21st (Tue) 12.7 C to 20.8 C / 1.0 mm / 1.0 hours / SW 1.9 16 Kt.
A bright but mostly cloudy morning with altostratus covering the sky, and it would remain mostly cloudy throughout the day with only a few weak spells of sunshine. Showers developing by the end of the afternoon however, and these would continue into the evening with some being quite heavy (8.6 mm/h) and one rumble of thunder was also heard. Clearing by 10pm with the cloud breaking overnight.
22nd (Wed) 12.2 C to 21.0 C / nil / 6.7 hours / SW 3.1 23 Kt.
A sunny but breezy morning, and feeling a bit fresher than recently. Remaining bright with sunny spells in the afternoon, though it would become somewhat cloudier for a short period in mid-afternoon, but despite the breeze and mid-afternoon cloud the temperature would still reach 21 C continuing the run of 22 days in a row which have seen highs in excess of 20 C. Clear spells in the evening and overnight.
Spotted the ISS at 21:15 this evening. I always think it looks like a very high Chinese Lantern as it passes silently over the area and one is always struck by how bright it is these days.
Today my Dad and I decided to visit a new location in the Yorkshire Wolds, travelling some 25 miles north to the tiny little community of Fordon which lies just a few miles south-west of Filey. I have been to this village only once before and that was to photograph and visit the lovely little church of St. James (reputedly the smallest active church in Yorkshire), but today we were here instead to visit the open access land which lies on the south facing hillside immediately east of the village. This area, known as Fordon Bank, is a well-known spot for butterflies which thrive on the herb rich grassland and so we headed up to this distant community with fairly high hopes of seeing plenty of interest.
Upon arrival in the village we were greeted with warm sunshine, though a fresh blustery wind from the west wasn't ideal, and as we made our way up the woodland track the initial signs weren't promising with no butterflies at all in evidence. However as we headed out onto the grass covered downland we soon spotted a few Meadow Browns, while Whites were also noted fluttering around in good numbers near too and amongst the tangle of fruiting brambles. Heading further along the bank we soon came across plenty of Wall Browns, many in excellent condition, and of all the butterfly species seen this morning these were the most numerous with at least 30 recorded. They were particularly attracted to the Knapweeds which grow in profusion here, while Scabious also seemed to be another favoured food-plant.
Continuing eastwards along the bank we headed for the lower and more sheltered parts of the area, and it was here we counted perhaps as many as 20 Brown Argus, a butterfly species which I have struggled to catch up with this year. However there were no such problems here this morning, and despite the buffeting westerly breeze I was able to capture a few shots both of the upper-wing and the vitally important under-wing upon which one can see the characteristic spots which help to definitively ID this species. In the same area a handful of Common Blues and Small Coppers were additional recordings, most in excellent condition, though the same couldn't be said for a rather tatty and aged looking Ringlet which we flushed from the grassland. Further recordings included Small Skipper and at least three Silver-Y moths, while along the edge of the wood a couple of species of dragonfly (Common Darter and Migrant Hawker) were unexpected but welcome sights.
Despite the fact we are now in late August the herb-rich calcareous grassland hosted a decent variety of wildflowers, though most are now well beyond their best with many already gone to seed. However Harebells (also known as Scottish Bluebells) were plentiful along the length of the bank, as were the yellow sun like flowers of Hawksbit, the purple flowers of Knapweed, the deep blue and pink blooms of Milkwort, and the white florets of Yarrow. Less abundant but perhaps of more interest were a number of Clustered Bellflowers, many of which were remarkably stunted in growth, while further pleasing sights included a good amount of Common Rock-rose, Carline Thistles, Scarlet Pimpernel, and some of the largest Eyebrights I have ever seen (a usually diminutive flower which for some reason I have an inexplicable fondness for).
After enjoying the wildflower and butterflies along the bank we headed down to the village for a short walk, though as we passed along the edge of the wood we disturbed a beautiful Barn Owl which headed across the valley and took refuge in a tall Ash tree nearby. After this short excitement we arrived at the aforementioned church of St. James, but found that it was locked with no key available for passing visitors. Indeed rather ridiculously one has to arrange a visit some 48 hours in advance now, though I can only imagine that some awful damage or theft must have occurred since I last visited to warrant such a policy. However a quick look around outside the church did uncover a single Common Darter dragonfly, the second of the morning, while a few species of butterfly were also seen in the dappled sunshine of the church-yard.
23rd (Thu) 10.7 C to 19.2 C / 9.7 mm / 1.4 hours / SW 0.7 14 Kt.
An initially clear and sunny start to the morning, but by 9am it had become dull and rather grey and would remain so till about 11am. Thereafter it would become somewhat brighter, though in mid-afternoon a heavy shower would bubble up and produce about 1mm of rain in a relatively short period of time. Mostly cloudy for the remainder of the day with grey skies through the evening, and with little sunshine today the temperature failed to reach 20 C for the first time this month. Largely cloudy overnight.
A Robin and a Blackcap were seen squabbling in the garden this morning, something I’ve never seen before.
24th (Fri) 11.7 C to 18.4 C / 6.2 mm / 0.2 hours / SE 0.6 12 Kt.
A cloudy though dry start, but by 7.30 am a period of heavy rain would move in and persist for a couple of hours, depositing nearly 10mm of rain (peak rainfall rate of 59.6 mm/h) and being accompanied by at least one rumble of thunder. Drier by 10am but nevertheless it would remain generally grey and cloudy for the rest of the day with some further outbreaks of rain in mid-afternoon. After a dry but cloudy evening some heavy outbreaks of rain would arrive around midnight, and after these cleared the rest of the night would be overcast, increasingly murky and mild.
25th (Sat) 13.3 C to 21.4 C / 4.9 mm / 0.8 hours / NW 2.8 18 Kt.
A dull and murky morning with barely a breath of wind, though as the morning progressed it would steadily brighten with some sunny spells developing by noon. However this would quickly encourage thunderstorms to develop, with the rest of the afternoon seeing thundery outbreaks of rain with a peak rainfall rate of 31.0 mm/h. Further outbreaks of rain with distant rumbles of thunder at first in the evening but this would die out by dusk with mostly cloudy skies for the first half of the night. However as the night wore on some breaks would begin to develop.
Beverley Parks Update
To be honest the past week here at home near Beverley has been largely quiet, with the increasingly unsettled weather and higher humidity leading to a significant slow-down in the progress of the harvest in my local patch. Some wheat was collected earlier in the week but since then the only significant activity has been preparing the already harvested fields for next year’s crop, especially OSR which needs to be drilled by mid-September if it is to be sufficiently established before the first damaging frosts (that's if you can keep the slugs and pigeons off anyway). Hopefully the weather will soon settle down with a return to the dry, warm and sunny weather which dominated the first three weeks of August.
Just as agricultural activity has slowed down this past week so it would seem has nature with little to report since my update last week. However a hunting Spotted Flycatcher in the garden was nice to see, we usually hosting one of these increasingly scarce birds every August as they make their way south on migration, while a flock of two dozen Golden Plovers was seen passing over on another morning. Speaking of migration the usual build-up of warblers is now becoming noticeable along Old Hall Hedge, with plenty of Willow warblers, Chiffchaffs, Blackcaps, Whitethroats, and even one or two Lesser Whitethroats and Sedge Warblers being spotted or heard along its length. This thick and largely undisturbed hedge of hawthorn, blackthorn, wild rose and elder seems to attract warblers in decent numbers every year, though this rush of activity doesn't usually last more than a couple of weeks. Meanwhile the Swifts have now left for sunnier and warmer climes, indeed they had already done so last week but I forgot to mention it, while Swallows are starting to mass in areas where insects abound, gorging themselves as they fatten up for their long migration in about a month’s time. You may be forgiven for feeling somewhat melancholy about these events as summer inevitably gives way to autumn and the days grow ever shorter, but I for one love the changing of the seasons and look forward to what the autumn will bring in the weeks ahead, be they for better or worse.
26th (Sun) 12.3 C to 18.7 C / trace / 5.8 hours / NW 0.9 17 Kt.
A bright and breezy day for most part with variable amounts of cloud and sunny spells in between. Clear spells overnight with the breeze easing.
On a mostly cloudy but dry morning we headed up to the peaceful community of Nunburnholme, a village which sits picturesquely on the edge of the Yorkshire Wolds near the town of Pocklington. After parking up at the top of Nunburnholme Wold we set forth on our usual Sunday perambulation, though first we would scan the area for any signs of the raptors which are often seen above this high and exposed hilltop. At this point we didn't see anything more interesting than a nearby Kestrel, but as we made our way eastwards across Nunburnholme Wold we started to hear some Buzzards somewhere nearby. Eventually we were able to locate them near the top of Deep Dale (one of many so called Deep Dales in the Yorkshire Wolds), though unfortunately they remained too distant to photograph.
After enjoying the fine view from Deepdale Head and having a quick look at the dew pond which lies at the top of the valley, we headed down into Merebalk Wood, hoping that the grass and footpath were not too wet after all the heavy showers and thunderstorms yesterday afternoon. In the end conditions were not too bad, and the damp conditions of this north-facing woodland did seem to suit a huge number of slugs and snails which were seen all over the place, indeed so much so that it was hard not to step on them at times. However apart from the slugs the wood was mostly quiet, with barely any flowers other than Rosebay Willowherb in the sunnier glades, and some Woundwort, Shepherds Purse and some Wood Avens here and there. Even the birds were quiet, though as we came out of the wood a Green Woodpecker was heard calling, a common sight and sound around this area.
After reaching the low point of our walk just outside the village, we were now faced with the long climb up the steep hill upon which our car was parked near the top. However this long climb often provides the most interest on this walk, with the roadside verge hosting a good diversity of wildflowers, including plenty of Knapweed (both Common & Greater), Meadow Vetchling, Tufted Vetch and Toadflax, while the hedgerows are full of ripening fruits, including Sloes, Wild Arum, Black Bryony and Blackberries. On a sunnier day this can make it an excellent place for butterflies, though today nothing more than a few Green-veined Whites and Small Whites were seen. However towards the top we did manage to spot three Red Kites hovering low over the nearby fields, and while I failed to get any decent photos I did at least manage to capture a short video of one of these three Kites in flight (see below).
Rifle Butt Quarry
After our short walk around the Nunburnholme area yesterday afternoon we found ourselves with a bit of free time and with no immediate reason to return home we decided to visit Rifle Butt Quarry near the village of Goodmanham. This small Yorkshire Wildlife Trust nature reserve, which is barely larger than two thirds of an acre, is not only a good place for wildflowers and butterflies but is also of geological interest and is classed as a SSSI thanks to the unique exposure of rock layers which can be found on the quarry side. However as interesting as the geology of this site is, I was actually here to see the nature and wildlife of the area instead, and upon arrival a hunting Hawker dragonfly of some type (probably Migrant) was seen darting around the fields and along the hedgerows. A couple more would be noted at this small site, though none seemed inclined to rest and I wasn't able to ID either of them with any confidence or get any decent photos.
However the butterflies of the area were much more co-operative, though as seems to be the case everywhere at the moment it was Peacock butterflies which were the most numerous and seemed to be absolutely everywhere as they feed upon the Knapweeds and Majoram which covered the quarry floor. Speaking of flowers a few Bellflowers were also noted here, as was Scabious and other typical flowers of this time of year. Additional butterflies attracted to all these wildflowers included a few Green-veined Whites (most looking quite tatty now), a single Gatekeeper (again looking somewhat aged), and a few Speckled Woods. A number of day flying moths were noted too, with a Mint Moth (or pyrausta aurata) posing quite nicely for a short time as it fed on the fragrant flowers of the majoram, the scent of which hung in the still air of the quarry and filled this sequestered location with a pleasing and evocative perfume.
27th (Mon) 8.5 C to 18.0 C / 3.7 mm / 1.3 hours / SW 1.6 22 Kt.
A bright start but by mid-morning cloud would thicken with a period of rain around midday, this not particularly heavy and producing no more than 0.5mm. Drier in the afternoon but nevertheless remaining grey and cloudy, and in the evening further rain would return, this somewhat heavier and more persistent than earlier in the day. Rain clearing after midnight with the cloud breaking up by the end of the night.
28th (Tue) 11.6 C to 21.8 C / nil / 8.9 hours / SW 1.7 18 Kt.
A bright and sunny morning, with everything very wet after the rain yesterday evening. Remaining mostly sunny for the remainder of the day, and all in all it was a pleasant late summer’s day with temperatures reaching a high of 21.8 C. Clear spells in the evening and overnight.
29th (Wed) 11.3 C to 16.2 C / 14.5 mm / 1.0 hours / SW 0.9 21 Kt.
An initially bright start but by mid-morning cloud would quickly increase from the SW with outbreaks of rain moving in around 10am and continuing for much of the day. Becoming somewhat drier by 4pm but nevertheless remaining cloudy and grey, with another short spell of rain around 6pm. However after this cleared it would quickly become clear with a fine end to the day, and it would remain largely clear for the remainder of the evening and overnight.
30th (Thu) 9.9 C to 14.0 C / 15.0 mm / 3.1 hours / NW 6.0 29 Kt.
An initially sunny start like yesterday, but by 9am outbreaks of often heavy rain would move in and these would continue for the rest of the morning and into the first part of the afternoon. Clearing by mid-afternoon with a fine and sunny end to the day, though the breeze would pick up from the north. This would also make it unseasonably chilly feeling with a high of just 14.0 C, a new record for the coldest August day on my records. Remaining clear overnight with temperatures falling away to 6.2 C.
Spotted a late Swift this evening over the garden.
31st (Fri) 6.2 C to 17.4 C / 0.3 mm / 6.7 hours / W 2.0 18 Kt.
A clear and chilly start after an overnight low of 6.2 C, and it would remain mostly clear and sunny through the morning with plenty of clemently warm sunshine. However in the afternoon cloud would slowly build up, with it becoming mostly cloudy after 3pm and remaining so through the rest of the afternoon and the evening. Cloudy overnight with a little bit of drizzle by dawn.
North Cave Wetlands
After several days of indifferent weather which have brought plenty of rain and some unseasonably low temperatures, today dawned sunny and clear and we decided to make the most of it and headed down to North Cave Wetlands to see if anything interesting was about while the sun was shining. Being a Friday afternoon the reserve was somewhat busier than we are used too with lots of people enjoying a stroll around the reserve, and it was good to meet up with a few people and have a friendly chat. However the primary reason for visiting was of course to enjoy the wildlife of this still expanding reserve, and our first port of call was the South Hide. Here we enjoyed the sights and sounds of well over a hundred Greylag Geese (plus a few Canada Geese), while other wildfowl included Tufted Ducks, Pochard, Shoveler and Gadwall. An attractive Great Crested Grebe also performed nicely in front of the hide for a bit, while elsewhere a humbug headed youngster was seen with an adult, though they disappeared into cover before I could get a decent photo.
Moving on from the hide we made our way along the perimeter path, and it was here we encountered most of the dragonflies and damselflies this afternoon. Migrant Hawkers were particularly prevalent today, with maybe as many as a dozen seen in various parts of the reserve, while I am also pretty certain I spotted at least one Southern Hawker in flight around the appropriately named Dragonfly Ponds. No Emperor Dragonflies were seen at Carp Lake today, though in compensation a half dozen Brown Hawkers were hunting in the area, a species of dragonfly which I have still not managed to photograph well (maybe one day). Common Darters however were the most numerous dragonfly species this afternoon, with plenty in just the SW corner of the reserve as well as elsewhere, while Common Blue Damselflies were also plentiful, though somewhat disappointingly these were the only species of damselfly I managed to spot this afternoon.
Despite the sunny weather very few butterflies were about, except of course the currently ever present Peacocks which are seemingly everywhere in the county at the moment. However, and perhaps more interestingly, at least a couple of Common Blues were also seen around the reserve, all of them being very fine specimens indeed and the best I've seen so far this year. An additional bonus was the fact they allowed relatively close approach, and this allowed me to get some decent shots of these beautiful pastel blue flutterbies. Additional species included Small White, Green-veined White, and at least one Small Tortoiseshell, the latter species being a welcome sight as they have been quite scarce this year (at least locally).