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May 2015

1st May 2015, Friday
Min 0.1 C, Max 12.0 C, Rain 0.6 mm, Wind E 3-4
Another cool but bright day with spells of sunshine, though it was somewhat cloudier in the afternoon. Variable amounts of cloud in the evening and overnight.

2nd May 2015, Saturday
Min 1.6 C, Max 11.0 C, Rain 1.2 mm, Wind E 5
A bright morning with sunny spells but cloud would increase throughout the afternoon with some light outbreaks of rain arriving by the end of the afternoon. Though this rain would continue on and off through the evening it didn't really amount to much and by dark it had cleared away. However it would remain cloudy throughout the night and shortly prior to dawn another spell of rain would arrive.

3rd May 2015, Sunday
Min 5.9 C, Max 18.1 C, Rain 20.7 mm, Wind SW 4
A very wet morning with persistent heavy rain throughout, this leading to a lot of localised flooding on the roads. Becoming drier after 1 pm and even becoming sunny and very humid for a time, but heavy and thundery showers would develop in the second half of the afternoon and would continue into the evening (a peak rainfall rate of 44.0 mm/h being recorded in one of the showers). Any showers dying out by dusk with variable amounts of cloud overnight.

Pickering & Darnholm
Whilst walking around the town in late afternoon I heard and spotted my first SWIFT of 2015, a bird which truly heralds the coming of summer for me, whilst a stroll at Darnholm was accompanied by a wealth of bird song, especially Willow warblers which are absolutely everywhere now. The heavy rain in the morning had also made the river swell, so much so that the ford had risen considerably since our last visit, and somewhat ironically was higher than it has been at any time during the past winter!

4th May 2015, Monday
Min 7.0 C, Max 18.2 C, Rain 16.5 mm, Wind W 3-4
A largely bright day with warm sunny spells but not without some cloudier periods too, especially in late morning. However as the afternoon wore on the sun would become increasingly hazy and by early evening had become largely obscured by thickening cloud from the south. This cloud would bring persistent and at times heavy rain from midnight onwards with the rain continuing through and beyond dawn. Indeed by the end of the meteorological recording day (which at this station is 0900 GMT) 16.5 mm (0.65 inches) of rain had been recorded, taking the monthly total for May up to 39.0 mm (1.54 inches) already. It now seems highly unlikely that May will continue the dry theme which has thus far dominated most of 2015.

5th May 2015, Tuesday
Min 8.4 C, Max 17.2 C, Rain trace, Wind S 5
A wet start to the day but by 9 am this would quickly clear away with sunny spells developing by the end of the morning. However in the afternoon some blustery showers would sweep through from time to time, though due to the fresh southerly breeze they didn't hang around long and barely dampened the ground. Showers dying out by evening with variable amounts of cloud overnight.

North Cave Wetlands
We enjoyed a stroll around the local nature reserve on what was a blustery but warmish evening, soaking in the sights and sounds of a British wetland in May. As usual we had most of the reserve to ourselves and as we made our way down Dryham Lane hundreds of Sand Martins and the odd Swallow flew just metres above our heads, the hirundines enjoying the abundance of insects which swarmed in the shelter of the hedgerows. Stopping to view Dryham Ings we noted up to 5 Little Ringed Plovers, a single Ringed Plover, a few Avocets, and a very handsome lone DUNLIN in full breeding plumage, whilst amongst the Pied Wagtails a single Yellow Wagtail was picked out as well.

Meanwhile on Main Lake the pair of MEDITERRANEAN GULLS remain present amongst the thousands of Black-headed Gulls, these two gull species being seemingly similar but actually pretty easy to tell apart when seen side by side. Indeed the Med. Gull is a very handsome gull and though I would never describe myself as a 'larophile' (apologies to any gull lovers out there), these increasingly common gulls are always good to see. Further observations included five Stock Doves feeding in the nearby fields, a species which I usually only see singly or in pairs, whilst in the hedgerows the mayblossom is just starting to adorn the now fully green hawthorns.

6th May 2015, Wednesday
Min 6.8 C, Max 13.1 C, Rain 2.1 mm, Wind W 5
Another blustery and unsettled day with a mixture of sunshine and showers, the showers becoming frequent for a time in mid-afternoon. However by the end of the afternoon both the showers & the breeze would die out & ease, leaving a night with variable amounts of cloud.

7th May 2015, Thursday
Min 4.7 C, Max 14.2 C, Rain nil, Wind W 2
A fine and settled day with variable amounts of cloud and spells of sunshine at times, though despite light winds temperatures remained modest for the time of year with a high of just 14.2 C. Clear spells overnight.

More SWIFTS have appeared locally with a half dozen heard screeching through Beverley's medieval & Georgian streets when I popped into town to vote. Meanwhile the Red-rumped Swallow, which has been hanging around East Park in Hull for the last few days, has been reportedly eaten by a Hobby this morning, and though I am somewhat annoyed I didn't get to see it, I am far more saddened by the untimely demise of this beautiful hirundine.

8th May 2015, Friday
Min 2.9 C, Max 15.6 C, Rain 15.2 mm, Wind E 4
After an initially cloudy start it would soon brighten up with plenty of sunshine in the remainder of the morning and going into the first part of the afternoon. However cloud would quickly increase and thicken after 1 pm with rain arriving by 6 pm, this becoming heavy and prolonged throughout the evening. Indeed by the time the rain had cleared away shortly after dusk another 15.2 mm (0.60 inches) had been added to the monthly total which already has exceeded the 30 year average for May. Mostly cloudy throughout the night.

9th May 2015, Saturday
Min 7.4 C, Max 12.3 C, Rain trace, Wind W 4-5
A largely cloudy and grey morning in Beverley but becoming brighter in the afternoon with some pleasant enough sunny spells latterly. Variable amounts of cloud overnight with some decent clear spells at times.

Grosmont
Another weekend meant another day of painting up at the cottage and with some knuckling down we have now managed to complete the first coat of paint throughout most of the house, leaving just the kitchen and one of the bedrooms which has yet to be plastered. The weather was wet and drizzly up here on the Moors this morning, and after heavy rain the night before the Murk Esk, the river which flows beside our cottage, was swollen and full. Indeed the river was higher today than it was at any point during the past winter, with the depth of the river at the ford being indicated as a foot and a half by the marker board (usually it is just a few inches).


Beside the river the Ramsons (Wild Garlic) are now in full flower with the scent of garlic hanging in the air, whilst a few Bluebells & the odd 'Whitebell' also dot corners of the garden. The pair of apple trees that we inherited are now coming into blossom, and we are told by our neighbours that they produce particularly nice eating apples, whilst the 'lawn' is now recovering and greening well after being cut for the first time in more than a couple of years. Whilst feeding the almost tame garden birds a newly fledged Robin appeared with its parents, a pleasing observation, whilst I also noticed that the Swifts have also arrived in this north-eastern corner of Yorkshire with one bird being seen on the edge of Sleights Moor as we began our hour long drive back to Beverley.


10th May 2015, Sunday
Min 4.3 C, Max 18.5 C, Rain nil, Wind SW 3-4
A bright and warm day with plenty of sunny spells throughout, though there were some cloudier periods too from time to time, especially around midday and again in the evening. Remaining warm overnight with variable amounts of cloud.

North Cliffe Wood
A stroll around the Bluebell wood this morning on what a largely sunny and warm May day. We had hoped to meet up with my youngest sister and her family whom were also visiting the wood this morning but sadly we somehow managed to miss them, but despite this disappointment we nevertheless greatly enjoyed our walk amongst the fragrant and beautiful blooms which carpet parts of this mixed birch, hazel and oak woodland. Other flowers amongst the 'bells included a large amount of stitchwort, wood sorrel, primroses, bugle and water avens, whilst along the hedgerows, which themselves are beginning to flower with Mayblossom, a large quantity of garlic mustard swayed in the warm breeze. Speaking of hedgerow & roadside flowers, the dandelions are beautiful at the moment, many of the roads lined by these sunny and cheery flowers, whilst the first of this years Cow Parsley is just starting to flower here and there. A small patch of Alexanders was also noted beside the road at one point, a plant which I am sure will be familiar to anyone whom has had the fortune of visiting north-west Norfolk at this wonderful time of year.


With the pleasant and almost summery weather the birds were in fine song, dominated as ever at this time of year by members of the warbler family such as Blackcap, Garden warbler, Willow warbler and Chiffchaff. Along the hedgerows a Whitethroat was singing its scratchy song but despite my best efforts I couldn't hear or locate any Lesser Whitethroats, a bird still missing from my year list. Butterfly numbers, as they have been for most of this spring, were disappointing again with just a few Green-veined Whites and Orange Tips being worthy of mention, and though I had a good look around the heathland lagoon I failed to find any damselflies despite a number of recent reports from other parts of Yorkshire. Maybe next week...


11th May 2015, Monday
Min 9.8 C, Max 20.9 C, Rain nil, Wind SW 4-5
A warm and summer-like day with temperatures climbing to just shy of 70 degrees and plenty of strong sunshine, especially in the afternoon. However a moderate and at times fresh SW wind did make it feel a little cooler in more exposed locations. Remaining breezy overnight with variable amounts of cloud.

Moths
The skinner trap was put out for the first time in more than a fortnight last night on what was a warm and seemingly promising night. However upon emptying the trap this morning it soon became apparent that it had been barely worth the wasted electricity with just a handful of moths to be found. Of these three were new additions to the year list, with a fresh looking Angle Shades, a Lime-speck Pug, and a single Common Pug, whilst other species included two Early Greys, a single Hebrew Character and a lone Double-striped Pug. The light also attracted half a dozen Cockchafers (Maybugs) and a pair of Black Sexton Beetles.

12th May 2015, Tuesday
Min 10.1 C, Max 16.1 C, Rain nil, Wind W 5
A much cooler day with a fresh westerly breeze which gusted up to near gale force at times, but despite the breeze it was a pleasant enough day with plenty of brightness & sunnier periods, especially in the afternoon. Skies clearing overnight with the breeze also easing by the end of the night.

13th May 2015, Wednesday
Min 5.7 C, Max 14.0 C, Rain nil, Wind E 2
A cool but sunny morning with clear skies for most of its duration, but after 11 am cloud would quickly increase with the skies becoming largely cloudy by midday and remaining so for most of the afternoon. However by tea-time breaks would again develop and as the evening wore on the skies would become clear, this allowing temperatures to dip low enough for a touch of grass frost for a time, though cloud would increase again later.

Bempton Cliffs
Enjoyed a morning's birding and photographing with my father up at the outstanding RSPB reserve at Bempton Cliffs, arriving shortly after 7 am on a sunny but chilly spring morning. Apart from about a dozen or so other visitors we had the cliffs to ourselves for the first couple of hours, and as we made our way down to the cliffs we enjoyed the sight of a hunting Barn Owl over the rough fields, whilst in the gorse and hawthorn scrub Linnets, Whitethroats and my first LESSER WHITETHROAT of the year were noted.



As ever the visual, audio and olfactory experience that is Bempton cliffs was awe-inspiring, made all the more enjoyable this morning thanks to the relative warmth and light winds, something which is not always guaranteed anywhere along the North Sea coast in spring or summer but especially here on the exposed chalk headland that is the so called 'Great White Cape'. The Kittiwakes dominated the soundscape, whilst Gannets and Guillemots dominated the visual side of things, with thousands upon thousands of seabirds either on the cliffs, flying past or down on the sea some 300 feet below.


Razorbills, which are never as numerous as the Guillemots, were also widely apparent, these striking black and white auks (in comparison to the chocolate & white Guillemots) being one of my favourite seabirds. Their tendency to favour higher parts of the cliffs also makes them one of the easiest auks to see up close and it is always fascinating to watch their interactions with their mates and other birds as they watch the world go by from their narrow but outstandingly scenic ledges high above the blue-grey waters below.


Puffins meanwhile are never particularly numerous at Bempton but despite that you would be extremely unlikely to not see at least one if you visited at this time of year. Indeed with Puffins it is a case of having to get your eye in, so to speak, and once this is achieved it soon becomes clear that they are actually more common than at first seems apparent, their tell-tale orange-feet helping to pick them out from the razorbills whom otherwise look quite similar in flight. A few may also be seen on the cliffs as well, sometimes affording excellent views if you are lucky.


One of my other favourite birds, the Fulmar, is also found at Bempton in small numbers, this most graceful of North Atlantic sea-birds, with its dark eyes and seemingly gentle expression, being personally symbolic on a number of levels and instantly recalling fond memories of happy holidays spent birdwatching in the Orkneys, Hebrides and north-west Highlands. Unfortunately I didn't manage to photograph this species this morning but hopefully I will get another chance sometime this year.



Elsewhere around the reserve it was nice to note a 'jangling' Corn Bunting singing from one of the wire fences, the area around Bempton being one of the last reliable sites locally for this once common farmland bird, whilst the area around the refurbished visitor centre hosted large numbers of Tree Sparrows, Goldfinches and a single singing Chiffchaff. It was also lovely to see the increasing amount of Red Campion appearing locally and given a week or two of fine weather the cliff tops should soon be a riot of colour with wildflowers blooming all along the length of the clifftop path.


14th May 2015, Thursday
Min 2.0 C, Max 11.8 C, Rain nil, Wind E 3-4
A largely cloudy and chilly day with a cold easterly breeze coming in off the North Sea, though there were some brighter periods from time to time as well, especially in the afternoon. Remaining largely cloudy throughout the night.

15th May 2015, Friday
Min 5.6 C, Max 15.4 C, Rain nil, Wind SW 4
Another cloudy and cool start to the day but shortly prior to midday the cloud would begin to break up with conditions improving markedly in the afternoon with spells of welcome sunshine for the rest of the day, this helping temperatures to reach at least more seasonal levels. Variable amounts of cloud in the evening and overnight.

16th May 2015, Saturday
Min 7.1 C, Max 15.2 C, Rain nil, Wind W 5-6
A pleasant if somewhat breezy spring day with plenty of sunny spells throughout, though the brisk westerly breeze, which gusted up to 31 knots at times, did make it feel quite cold in exposed locations. Clear spells overnight with the breeze easing.

Grosmont
More work up at the cottage today with painting and decorating continuing apace, though due to my failure to show enough enthusiasm for picking out varying shades of yellow for the downstairs living rooms I was banished to the garden to get on with some necessary mowing, trimming and planting. However this was hardly a punishment as I prefer to be outside, especially as the weather was pleasantly sunny and warm today at our little piece of sheltered tranquility on the banks of the Murk Esk.


The river, which if you remember was over a foot and a half higher than average last week, was back to normal levels today and as a result I was able to wander down the river bank to under the railway bridge, this impressive stone built construction spanning the steep banks of the river. Apparently the cottage comes with fishing rights, something which I doubt I will ever exercise, but this does allow us free access to the river where in autumn both salmon and trout are often seen leaping energetically from the peat coloured waters of the river. However today the river was a more tranquil and peaceful place, lined by Ramsons, Garlic Mustard, Bluebells, Cow Parsley and a bit of Campion, whilst Orange-tip butterflies flew back and forth in search of flowers and sunshine.


The continuing transformation of the garden from unkempt squalor to a riverine paradise continues apace, though I am being careful to preserve plenty of wild and neglected corners where wildflowers and wildlife can continue to flourish. Apparently both otters and badgers have been known to use the garden at night whilst slow-worms are a common sight, though I have yet to see any. I have also subsequently learnt that the former owner of our cottage was actually a foremost naturalist and an expert on the Merlins and birdlife of the moors, infact he was known as the 'Birdman' of Grosmont, and he even used to do moth trapping in the garden. If he was also a trainspotter & weather watcher then I would truly believe that our acquisition of the cottage was kismet!


17th May 2015, Sunday
Min 5.6 C, Max 15.4 C, Rain 4.0 mm, Wind SW 4-5
A bright & breezy day for the most part with plenty of sunny spells, though it was somewhat cloudier around mid-morning and again in the evening. Cloud increasing overnight with persistent rain arriving around dawn.

18th May 2015, Monday
Min 6.7 C, Max 12.7 C, Rain 3.6 mm, Wind SW 4-5
A thoroughly wet morning with persistent rain from the SW, though after midday it would quickly clear away with sunny spells soon developing. However showers would follow in the second half of the afternoon and into the evening, though the moderate to fresh SW breeze meant they didn’t hang around long. Any remaining showers dying out overnight with clear spells developing after midnight.

19th May 2015, Tuesday
Min 4.3 C, Max 13.4 C, Rain 1.7 mm, Wind W 4-5
A bright day for the most part with plenty of sunny spells, though in the afternoon there were some sharp showers with hail mixed in at times. Remaining breezy and cool for the time of year. Variable amounts of cloud in the evening and overnight.

20th May 2015, Wednesday
Min 4.0 C, Max 15.9 C, Rain 0.5 mm, Wind W 3-4
A largely cloudy morning with just the occasional brighter periods, though in the afternoon it would become somewhat clearer with some longer spells of sunshine developing, this helping to push temperatures slightly higher than recently. However there were also some largely light showers in the afternoon & early evening but these didn’t really come to much in the end. Clear spells overnight.

21st May 2015, Thursday
Min 5.5 C, Max 17.8 C, Rain nil, Wind W 4
A lovely late spring day with plenty of sunshine throughout and temperatures rising to a very pleasant 17.8 C (64 F). Remaining clear at first overnight but cloud would increase later with grey skies by dawn.

22nd May 2015, Friday
10.2 C, Max 20.3 C, Rain nil, Wind W 3-4
A cloudy but warm morning, temperatures the night before failing to dip below 10 C, and as sunny spells began to break through the cloud during the first part of the afternoon, the thermometer would rise above 20 C, only the second time it has done so during what has been a coolish May thus far. Sunny spells continuing into the evening with variable amounts of cloud overnight.

A single Little Grebe was in the small pond beside Beverley’s new southern bypass this morning whilst the family of Greylags are continuing to thrive, the young goslings having grown at an impressive speed over the last few weeks.

23rd May 2015, Saturday
Min 9.4 C, Max 17.4 C, Rain nil, Wind SE 2-3
A cloudy start to the day but by the end of the morning it would begin to brighten up with some good spells of sunshine developing in the afternoon, indeed by late afternoon and during the evening it would become totally clear with wall to wall sunshine to end the day. Mostly clear overnight but cloud increasing again later.

Grosmont
Work has really slowed down up at the cottage whilst we await both plumbers and electricians to become available and finish off some vital jobs which need completing before work can progress. This is very frustrating as already the job is about a month overdue but it can’t be helped and at least progress will be rapid once this hurdle is crossed. Doing up this cottage has certainly taught me patience.


Meanwhile I spent most of the day in the garden continuing progress in transforming our small patch into a tranquil & peaceful riverside retreat, today creating a hidden and decidedly cosy nook from where we can watch the river and the wildlife which lives along it. The young family of Robins continue to join us as we work in the garden and as we sat on our bench one of the adult birds decided to perch just inches from my knee and I think will be easily trained to feed from my hand. Orange-tips continue to be the most common butterfly species though a few Peacocks and a single Silver-ground carpet moth added a bit of extra diversity.

Along the river a pair of Grey Wagtails fed along the river, the pair seemingly not nesting yet as they were seen to copulate a few times before flying off down the river. The Dippers meanwhile were largely absent, with just a few sightings of them heading up and down along the river, while in the garden the young Robins have been joined by a few juvenile Blackbirds too. Whilst gardening I also thought I spotted a Flycatcher but I wasn’t able to confirm it unfortunately. Flower wise the garden is dominated by Cow Parsley, Red Campion and Ramsons at the moment though I have yet to conduct a full flower survey (maybe next week if I have time).


24th May 2015, Sunday
Min 7.0 C, Max 18.0 C, Rain 0.7 mm, Wind W 4
A cloudy morning with some rain around late morning and midday but this would soon clear away with sunny spells developing in the afternoon. Feeling warm in the sunshine with temperatures a little above average. Variable amounts of cloud at first overnight but becoming cloudy after midnight.

25th May 2015, Monday
Min 8.3 C, Max 14.6 C, Rain nil, Wind W 4
A largely cloudy day, especially in the morning, though there were some somewhat brighter periods in the afternoon. Indeed by the evening some longer spells of sunshine developed to end the day with skies becoming largely clear during the night.

North Cliffe Wood
Another peaceful walk around our favourite woodland nature reserve on what was a cloudy and coolish morning here in East Yorkshire. The lack of sunshine and the brisk westerly breeze meant that both butterflies and damselflies were conspicuous by their complete absence (my 2015 odonata list still stubbornly sitting at zero) but we did enjoy a particularly confiding Garden Warbler near the reserve entrance, the plain plumaged but beautiful songster giving us outstanding views with no need for optics of any kind. Indeed I don't think I have ever been so close to a Garden Warbler before and I doubt I ever will be again.

Meanwhile the bluebells are now well past their best for yet another year with most having now gone to seed, so to speak, and indeed other spring flowers such as Primroses and Wood Sorrel are now slowly disappearing as the woodland canopy thickens and the bracken unfurls. However bugle is going strong and seems to be particularly abundant this year whilst stitchwort, cuckooflowers and cow parsley continue to brighten up the woodland rides. Other notes from our stroll included a barking but unseen Roe deer, and a handsome Green Woodpecker feeding on the edge of the heath.


26th May 2015, Tuesday
Min 6.4 C, Max 17.6 C, Rain nil, Wind W 3-4
A lovely start to the day with clear skies and an abundance of sunshine but by the end of the morning cloud would increase with skies becoming largely cloudy for much of the afternoon. However by 6 pm the cloud would break up again with some lovely spells of sunshine to end the day. Clear skies overnight.

27th May 2015, Wednesday
Min 4.8 C, Max 15.8 C, Rain 3.0 mm, Wind SW 4-5
A clear start to the day with not a cloud in the sky but like yesterday cloud would increase from mid-morning onwards with the rest of the day seeing largely cloudy skies and just the odd sunnier period from time to time. Becoming more generally cloudy after 4 pm with rain arriving in early evening and continuing until shortly before dusk. Variable amounts of cloud overnight & becoming breezy by dawn.

As I worked away in my office I was cheered by the sound of a beautiful singing Blackcap floating in through the window. When these diminutive songsters are in full flow you can understand why they are called 'Northern Nightingales'.

28th May 2015, Thursday
Min 7.1 C, Max 14.8 C, Rain 3.2 mm, Wind W 5
A bright but blustery morning with a fresh WNW breeze which made it feel quite cool, especially in exposed locations. A couple of sharp showers around midday but otherwise remaining bright and breezy in the afternoon with occasional sunny spells. Cloud increasing in the evening and overnight with some light outbreaks of rain arriving shortly prior to dawn.

The Little Grebe was again spotted in the new drainage pond beside the new Beverley bypass, though there was no sign of the Greylag family. Meanwhile along the aforementioned bypass a young fox had been killed by a passing motor vehicle, a sad & depressing sight.

29th May 2015, Friday
Min 5.9 C, Max 12.7 C, Rain 9.7 mm, Wind W 4
A thoroughly wet morning with persistent rain from 7 am onwards and feeling decidedly chilly with temperatures barely above 10 C. However the rain would begin to ease going into the afternoon with sunny spells breaking through by mid-afternoon, though showers would also develop, some of which were very heavy with a peak rainfall rate of 18.6 mm/h being recorded. However between the showers it was pleasant enough, if a little cool, and indeed by the evening the showers would die out with a largely fine and sunny end to the day. Clear spells overnight.

30th May 2015, Saturday
Min 4.2 C, Max 16.0 C, Rain 5.0 mm, Wind W 3-4
A largely fine and pleasant day with plenty of sunshine throughout the morning and into the afternoon, though from about 3 pm onwards this sunshine would become increasingly veiled by invading altostratus from the west. Becoming cloudy by early evening with the cloud continuing to thicken overnight with outbreaks of rain arriving shortly before dawn.

Grosmont
An enjoyable family day up at the cottage with my sisters, brother-in-law, nephew and nieces joining us on what was a warm and sunny day up here in north-eastern Yorkshire. Things have advanced a little since last week and my bedroom has finally been plastered, leaving just the kitchen and part of the bathroom to do, whilst the office/visitors room is now pretty much finished with just the carpet & electric sockets still missing. My new target date for completion is late June, especially with the NYMR diesel gala scheduled for 26th-28th June, though I am not particularly confident about this date if I am honest.


Meanwhile in the afternoon we enjoyed a family stroll up to Lease Rigg from where one is afforded lovely views over the village in one direction and over the green cow grazed pastures and woodlands around the hamlet of Esk Valley in the other. The gorse is now pretty much finished flowering, though of course some could still be found here and there, though it was the yellow flowers of broom which brightened up the hillside today, the flowers positively glowing in the late spring sunshine. Down in the valley the hedgerows were bedecked with Mayblossom, whilst in the meadows buttercups, dandelions, daisies, speedwells, and mouse-ear (to name but a few) hosted bees, butterflies and creeping beetles, including a brightly coloured Soldier Beetle.


Later in the day I conducted an informal wildflower survey of the garden with at least 25 species being identified, including Bush Vetch, Forget-me-nots, Alkanet, Bluebells, Buttercups, Cow Parsley, Sweet Violet, Primroses, Daisy, Dandelion, Goose Grass (aka 'stickybuds'), Welsh Poppy, Wild Arum, Ground Elder, Ramsons (Wild Garlic), Garlic Mustard (Jack-by-hedge), Herb Robert, Creeping Speedwell, Red Campion, Docks, Wild Strawberry, Barren Strawberry, Nettles and a curious plant beside the river which I have never encountered before. Meanwhile in the church-yard of nearby St. Mathew's I noticed 'Geums' (a cross between Wood & Water Avens) flowering beside the porch, whilst in many gardens Lupins are now in flower, a sign that summer is pretty much here.


31st May 2015, Sunday
Min 6.9 C, Max 14.3 C, Rain 0.4 mm, Wind W 5
A wet start to the day with outbreaks of rain but this would begin to clear away by 10 am with skies slowly brightening by midday. However as skies continued to brighten in the afternoon it would also becoming increasingly blustery with winds gusting up to near gale force, and despite largely clear and sunny skies by the evening it would feel decidedly chilly in the brisk westerly wind. Clear skies overnight with the breeze easing somewhat.

North Cave Wetlands
We went for a leisurely stroll around North Cave on what was a bright but blustery evening, this being our first visit to the reserve since the start of the month. I had been hopeful of recording my first odonata of the year but it soon became clear that the low temperatures and strong winds meant they were keeping a very low profile and I went away empty-handed yet again, though in compensation it was nice to find half a dozen Common Blue butterflies sheltering amongst the wildflowers and grasses in the SW corner of the reserve.


However this was a rare highlight in what was otherwise a largely uninspiring visit to our local wetlands, especially as we are now moving into June and the excitement and unpredictability of spring & the associated passage of spring migrants comes to an end with the long and slow days of summer ahead. However a single YELLOW WAGTAIL was nice to see on Dryham Ings, whilst the MEDITERRANEAN GULLS now have young of their own, these handsome gulls thriving despite the abundance of more vulgar Black-headed Gulls all about them. Walking down Dryham Lane we had Swifts buzzing around our heads as they hunted for flies along the hedgerows, a wonderful experience, and it was nice to see the abundance of new life around the reserve with plenty of young birds of various species. I suppose summer does have some positives....