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July 2014

3rd, Bempton Cliffs
We enjoyed a morning at the beautiful RSPB nature reserve of Bempton Cliffs today on what was a cloudy but bright East Yorkshire morning. The birds showed excellently as always, the sights, noises and smells of this sea-bird city never failing to impress, whilst I also decided to work on my digi-scoping, the results of which can be seen below. Though it can never really compete with DSLR photography, at least as regards speed and convenience, I am nevertheless pleased with the results and the combination of my scope and the camera does mean I can enjoy both birding and photography without having to lug around heavy and expensive lenses as well.

6th, Swinemoor
An afternoon walk beside the river Hull revealed the presence of a number of Grass Snakes, with some being of considerable size. The recently cast of skin of a few snakes was also discovered, the skins still being soft and elastic suggesting that it had only just been shed. A few insects were also about including a good variety of butterflies whilst on the common a Little Egret was spotted feeding in the ever dwindling pools and ditches.

13th, An unsettled day at the NYMR
Despite what was an unsettled day up here on the North York Moors with outbreaks of thundery rain in the afternoon, we nevertheless had a good day up here watching the locomotives of the NYMR, the start of the summer holidays next week ensuring that the railway was operating a busy schedule. We were also here to see a bit more of the cottage we are interested in in Grosmont and if everything goes to plan we should be able to put in an offer some time this month.

16th, North Cave Wetlands
An evening stroll around the reserve on a warm summer's evening with the sights and sounds of a British wetland in mid-summer to enjoy. The young birds of a variety of species are now everywhere, including a number of juvenile Common Terns and Little Ringed Plovers, whilst the ducks are now going into eclipse as they undergo their annual moult.

19th, A day with Sir Nigel Gresley
On a very warm and muggy sort of day (indeed we had thunderstorms in the afternoon) we headed up for another day of train watching along my favourite heritage railway, with the star of the show being the beautiful A4 60007 ‘Sir Nigel Gresley’, a loco which we briefly saw running last week. Sir Nigel Gresley, or Sir Nige as we know him, is a loco which has always been close to my heart for as a child I remember seeing him regularly at Steam Town in Carnforth whenever I visited my grandparents, but yesterday would be first time I have ever photographed him properly and it was great to get a few pics which I am genuinely pleased with. Hopefully I’ll be up on the moors again in August, when the countryside should look fantastic with the heather in full flower, and I have my fingers crossed that ‘Sir Nigel Gresley’ will again prove a major feature of the day along with all the other beautiful heritage locos of the NYMR.

20th, Butterfly hunting on the Yorkshire Wolds
On what was a hot, muggy and sunny morning we went butterfly hunting with my eldest sister and eldest niece in the Yorkshire Wolds, our first visit to this neck of the woods for a few weeks. Our seasonal relocation to the North York Moors National Park has meant we have come down to this part of Yorkshire far less often than normal, but despite our temporary move north my love for the chalk hills of the Wolds remains undimmed for after all there are parts of this landscape which I know almost as well as the back of my hand and some of my happiest and most content moments have come amongst the secluded & hidden dales which are such a characteristic of this under-appreciated corner of the British Isles.

The hot sunshine meant conditions were excellent for the butterflies that we had come to see, and indeed upon arrival we noted Marbled Whites fluttering amongst the flowers of the roadside verge. Knapweed & Thistles are always particular favourite flowers of this butterfly species, and indeed wherever they were flowering large numbers were noted, including up to a dozen on one particularly favoured thistle. Ringlets too were recorded in large numbers while other species included Meadow Brown, Small & Large Skippers, Whites and a few Common Blues.

24th, Keighley & Worth Valley Railway
I joined my family at the KWVR today on what was a gloriously sunny and pleasant summer's day here in the West Riding of Yorkshire. This was my first trip to this famous heritage railway which runs between Keighley and Oxenhope and I was very impressed with the stations and the staff whom keep this line operating for the benefit of the visiting public. Loco wise only a couple of engines were running today, including the 4F No.43924, a handsome Midland designed loco which I have wanted to see for a while now, whilst the museum at Oxenhope house a variety of interesting locos and carriages, including some L&Y rolling stock.

26th, A hot summer's day at the NYMR
Today was the warmest day of the year so far, with the strong July sun beating down on the heather clad moors and green pastures of this beautiful corner of north-east Yorkshire. Fittingly the NYMR provided a busy schedule, the summer holidays meaning that the railway is now running hourly trains from both ends (on the hour from Pickering and half past the hour from Grosmont), with locomotives on show today including A4 60007 ‘Sir Nigel Gresley’, Black 5 45428 ‘Eric Treacy’, Standard 4 75029 ‘The Green Knight’, and Class 37 37264.

26th, Fen Bog & Moorgates
Since today was the warmest day of the summer thus far, we spent much of our day around the nature reserve at Fen Bog and down at Moorgates, with plenty of butterfly and dragonfly interest being provided, including species such as Keeled Skimmers, a few unidentified Hawkers, Dark Green Fritillaries, Six-spot Burnets and many others.

Birds too proved interesting with a Stonechat pair above Goathland, while the areas of bare rock above Moorgates hosted a few juvenile Wheatears plus the usual abundance of Pipits. On the moors above Curlews were still calling, though not in the same numbers as earlier in the year, whilst the ever present Grouse were seen here and there amongst the almost flowering heather.