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July 2015

1st July 2015, Wednesday
Min 11.4 C, Max 27.5 C, Rain nil, Wind SE 3-4
A hot and sunny morning and early afternoon with temperatures climbing up above 80 degrees again, though a gentle onshore breeze from the SE prevented temperatures from climbing above yesterdays high (however I noticed that temperatures further inland around York were widely reported around 31 C this afternoon whilst Sheffield reached 33 C). Becoming cloudier for a time in mid to late afternoon but this cleared away by early evening with clear spells & broken cloud for the remainder of the day and indeed throughout the night. A mild night too with temperatures barely falling below 15 C.

Moths
The hot conditions yesterday promised a good night for moths, and though temperatures dipped lower than expected (11 C), a good haul of moths was revealed when I emptied the trap shortly after sunrise. In total 81 moths of 37 species were recorded with 14 of these being new additions to the year list, two of which, DOUBLE DART & CURRANT PUG, were actually new additions to my lifetime list. The Currant Pug probably has been recorded before but I wasn't actually 100% sure on previous occasions, whilst the Double Dart was an interesting if somewhat grey moth, looking like a stocky Heart & Dart that someone had rubbed out slightly.


The other new additions to the year list came in the shape and form of a single Dot Moth (a common moth but one of my favourites), four Uncertains, a rather lovely Plain Golden Y, one each of Large Yellow and Lesser Yellow Underwing, a single cute looking Snout, a smart Fan-foot, a Willow Beauty, a lone Barred Yellow (another old favourite of mine), a Common Emerald, and one each of Barred Fruit-tree Tortrix and Large Ivy Tortrix. Another Green Silver-lines was also recorded, always a good moth to see and one which seems to be doing well this year, as well as a lovely little Marbled Beauty and an Elephant Hawk-moth.


The remaining species recorded were as follows; Clouded Silver (x1), Brimstone (x2), Riband Wave (x5), Buff Ermine (x5), Mottled Pug (x2), Common Pug (x5), Marbled Minor agg. (x6), Green Pug (x2), Ingrailed Clay (x2), Bright-line Brown-eye (x4), Straw Dot (x7), Double-square Spot (x1), Heart & Dart (x9), Rustic Shoulder-knot (x1), Pale Mottled Willow (x1), Scalloped Hazel (x1), Garden Carpet (x1), Bee Moth (x2), Dark Fruit-tree Tortrix (x2), and Beautiful Plume (x1).


2nd July 2015, Thursday
Min 14.8 C, Max 24.7 C, Rain 0.5 mm, Wind W 3
A sunny and very warm morning again, temperatures climbing up to nearly 25 C around midday, but as the afternoon wore on it would become increasingly hazy and eventually cloudy. A short heavy shower would pass through in early evening and despite looking ominous & threatening as it moved in from the WSW it failed to produce any thunder or hail, though the breeze did become quite gusty. After the shower cleared away the cloud would begin to break up with clear spells developing overnight, this allowing temperatures to fall lower than recent nights (8.1 C).

3rd July 2015, Friday
Min 8.1 C, Max 24.5 C, Rain 9.2 mm, Wind E 3
A near perfect summer's day with clear skies and an abundance of warm but not too hot sunshine bathing the weather station and surrounding countryside. However towards the end of the afternoon cloud would begin to slowly increase and thicken, this process continuing throughout the evening and night. After midnight it would also become increasingly murky with humidity levels being very high, and eventually thundery outbreaks of rain would move in from the south after 3 am with bursts of heavy rain (peak rate of 35 mm/h) and moderately frequent lightning (3-4 flashes a minute) for the rest of the night.

A few species of butterfly were fluttering around the garden today, including a Meadow Brown, a lovely Red Admiral and the first of the second brood of Holly Blues this year. A little Mint Moth (Pyrausta aurata) was also noted flying around the edge of the herbaceous border.

4th July 2015, Saturday
Min 12.8 C, Max 26.4 C, Rain nil, Wind SW 3-4
A wet start with outbreaks of thundery rain but this would clear away by 7 am. However in its wake the overnight storms would leave it very grey, murky and exceptionally humid and for much of the morning visibility was almost down to fog levels here on the lowlands whilst up on the Wolds & Moors visibility was as low as 100 metres in parts. Becoming slowly brighter though as the morning progressed and by midday the sun would break through and would rapidly burn away the murk, so much so that it became very hot again with temperatures rising up to nearly 80 degrees in the afternoon. Clear spells in the evening and overnight.

Grosmont
A frustrating weekend up at the cottage as the lack of a plumber has meant that work has yet again come to complete halt, which is doubly frustrating as most of the decorating has now been complete and the house is pretty much ready to be occupied. Hopefully our builder will be able to find a plumber this week as to be honest I am becoming pretty cheesed off about the whole situation, though at least all the electrics are now done.

However to cheer myself up I popped into the excellent book shop that we have here in the village and had a good look around for railway, natural history and local history books, as well as enjoying a chat with village resident and joint-proprietary Mary. So far everyone has been extremely friendly and welcoming to us and it nice to live in a proper living village again rather than some dead commuter village where people don't even know their neighbours. Indeed for such a small village of little more than 300 souls the village is remarkably well served, with a Co-op (which incidentally is the oldest independent co-op in the country), Post Office, a book shop, no less than four cafes (at least), a pub, a private club, three railway related shops, a regular private bus service, a Network Rail train station, and of course the North Yorkshire Moors Railway, reportedly the most popular heritage railway in the world.


After enjoying an hour or so at the bookshop and having a quick lunch back at the cottage, I headed down to the Grosmont MPD where all of the NYMR's fleet of heritage locomotives are kept and maintained. The MPD is seperated from the village by the steep slopes of Lease Rigg but thankfully both a railway and a smaller tunnel cut through the hillside provide easy access, the smaller & now pedestrian tunnel having been built for the original horse-drawn railway which was built by George Stephenson in 1836. Indeed at that time Grosmont didn't really exist and what did exist was simply called 'Tunnel' in reference to the aforementioned horse-hauled Whitby & Pickering Railway (beside what is now the tavern used to be stables for the horses used on the original railway but this was unfortunately bombed in the Second World War).

At the 'sheds' a variety of locos were to be seen, with long staying visitor K4 'The Great Marquess' and a Black 5 in the running shed, whilst the rather sorry-looking B1 No.61264 was standing out in the open, still minus its damaged driving wheels. The frames of Schools Class 'Repton' were also evident, the boiler being away for overhaul, whilst in the deviation shed long term NYMR stalwart No.29 'Peggy' was back inside, this loco unlikely to run for quite some time as she has suffered a cracked cylinder. The West Country 'Hartland' was also in this shed and though she is miles behind schedule she should hopefully be up and running this year.


Locos running today included a couple of diesels, these represented by the resident Class 37 and one of the visiting Class 20's from last weeks gala, whilst the 'kettles' in service included the two Standard 4's. One of the Standard 4's (No.76079) suffered a left rear broken spring on the tender and I was able to watch this being replaced by one of the NYMR staff, a seemingly straightforward job which required the tender being jacked up, the offending spring removed and replaced and finally the loco sent on its way for its next run down the railway. It was also fantastic to see the NER Q6 No.63395 back in steam after a lengthy spell out of running due to a variety of issues, and hopefully this should be back in full service by next week, all being well.

Nature wise it was fairly quiet around the village today though a few Red Admirals were seen fluttering about whilst a Silver Y was spotted on the cricket field. The heavy rain & thunder-storms of the previous night meant that both the Murk Esk & the Esk itself were running high and muddy, the ford to Lease Rigg being a shy under 1 foot at 11 am. Along the river a few Grey Wagtails were noted, including a very confiding individual beside Waterloo Cottages at the bottom of the village, whilst a couple of Buzzards were spotted overhead. Meanwhile up on Sleights Moor the heather has come out even more since last weekend and looked gorgeous in the evening sunshine as we headed back for Beverley.


5th July 2015, Sunday
Min 9.8 C, Max 19.7 C, Rain 5.7 mm, Wind SW 2
A lovely sunny start to the day and feeling a little fresher, but by mid-morning (8 am) cloud would increase with skies becoming largely cloudy for the middle of the day. A few heavy showers in mid-afternoon before becoming brighter & sunnier for a time, though around 6 pm a thunder-storm would pass-by, this producing a number of rumbles and a short burst of heavy rain. Variable amounts of cloud for the rest of the evening and overnight.

I spotted my first juvenile Bullfinch in the garden today, the bird in question actually flying into one of our windows as I watched the British GP (well done Lewis!). The bird was thankfully unharmed by the incident. Meanwhile in the afternoon we were treated to the sight of a Spitfire flying low over our house, presumably part of Beverley's Armed Forces Day, the vintage plane looking and sounding very impressive indeed. I don't know about you but there is something special about the sound of good old Rolls-Royce engine working at full pelt.

Moths
An excellent haul was attracted to the moth trap last night, certainly worth getting up at 4.15 am to beat the ever opportunistic Blackbirds & Robins anyway, with a number of species being new for 2015. In total 179 moths of 52 species would be noted (not including a small number of micros which I didn't bother to record), with 16 new species for the year list and a single new species for my personal list. The new species was a pretty little micro which I have subsequently identified as a BRAMBLE-SHOOT MOTH (Notocelia uddmanniana), whilst new additions to the year list included four Swallow-tailed Moths, two Small Fan-foots, a Barred Straw, a lovely Figure of Eighty, a Spruce Carpet, a lone Light Emerald, a beautiful White Ermine, three Dark Arches, a Shoulder-striped Wainscot, a trio of Small Angle Shades, a Rustic, a Light Arches, one each of Wormwood Pug and Common Footman, and finally a single Marbled Orchard Tortrix.


Other moths recorded were as follows; Brimstone x13, Peppered Moth x4, Marbled Beauty x2, Heart & Dart x26, Willow Beauty x3, Fan-foot x5, Riband Wave x14, Bright-line Brown-eye x10, Rustic-shoulder Knot x6, Green Pug x7, Common Emerald x5, Buff Ermine x8, Dot Moth x5, Marbled Minor agg. x10, Silver-ground Carpet x1, Garden Carpet x1, Scalloped Hazel x5, The Flame x1, Common Marbled Carpet x1, Large Yellow Underwing x5, Elephant Hawk-moth x2, Plain Golden Y x1, Common Pug x1, Silver Y x3, Mottled Beauty x1, Straw Dot x2, Green Silver-lines x1, Grey/Dark Dagger x1, Uncertain x1, Cabbage Moth x2, Light Brown Apple Moth x1, Barred Fruit-tree Tortrix x1, Large Ivy Tortrix x1, Bee Moth x2, Small Magpie x1 and Plum Tortrix x2.

6th July 2015, Monday
Min 8.6 C, Max 19.1 C, Rain 0.9 mm, Wind SW 2-3
A sunny start but like yesterday becoming cloudier from mid-morning onwards, this cloud being thick enough to produce some occasional spells of light rain in the afternoon. Remaining cloudy into the evening with further bits & pieces of rain, though shortly after dusk a spell of heavier and more persistent rain would arrive and continue for an hour or two. Mostly cloudy for the rest of the night.

A juvenile Great Spotted Woodpecker was at our feeding station this evening, joining the usual visitors such as Greenfinches, Goldfinches, Bullfinches, Chaffinches, Blue tits, Great tits, Coal tits, Dunnocks and Robins.

7th July 2015, Tuesday
Min 13.6 C, Max 22.2 C, Rain 2.8 mm, Wind SW 4
A day of sunshine and showers, especially from midday onwards, some of the showers being quite sharp and heavy. However it was a little warmer again today. Mostly cloudy through the evening and overnight with further showers around midnight.

8th July 2015, Wednesday
Min 10.5 C, Max 18.1 C, Rain 7.9 mm, Wind W 3-4
A cool and largely cloudy day with showers or longer spells of rain at times, the rain most frequent around the middle of the day and again in late evening. However after recent muggy weather it was actually quite nice to feel fresh and cool air again, at least I thought so anyway. Rain dying out after midnight with some clearer spells overnight.

9th July 2015, Thursday
Min 8.1 C, Max 19.9 C, Rain nil, Wind W 2
A sunny and pleasant day with plenty of sunny spells, light winds, and temperatures climbing to just shy of 20 C. Clear spells overnight.

10th July 2015, Friday
Min 9.5 C, Max 25.7 C, Rain trace, Wind SW 3
A largely sunny and very warm mid-summer's day with temperatures reaching a high of 25.7 C (78.3 F). Cloud increasing in the evening with even a few spots of rain after dark but this would come to nothing and skies would become clear again by the end of the night.

11th July 2015, Saturday
Min 13.0 C, Max 22.6 C, Rain 0.2 mm, Wind SW 3-4
A primarily sunny and warm day again, especially in the morning and early afternoon, though latterly cloud did increase with the breeze also freshening from the SSW. Becoming cloudy in the evening and overnight with some light rain after midnight but this didn't really come to anything with skies becoming clearer again by dawn.

Grosmont
A good day up at the cottage with completion now within touching distance, though with most decorating tasks already completed I decided to make the best of the weather and enjoyed a walk up to the neighbouring parish & community of Egton. Though no more than one a half miles away the climb to the village is up a steep hill, especially at first where the gradients are in excess of 20%, but once up at the pretty stone built village of Egton one can enjoy outstanding views across the Esk Valley and down to Grosmont below.

The roadside verges with their rich variety of wildflowers, including a few Common Spotted Orchids, attracted good numbers of Ringlets, Meadow Browns, Large Skippers, & Red Admirals, whilst the odd Silver Y moth was also spotted. Overhead the Skylarks sang and in the woods the repetitive songs of Chiffchaffs and mewing cries of Buzzards were frequently heard, whilst along the hedgerows a few Whitethroats were noted too.

After enjoying the view from the top I made my way back to our cottage, enjoying the ever changing view as one dropped in altitude with every step, and over on the opposite hillside the local farmers were cutting a second crop of hay/haylage, the quality of which should be of a high standard this year as the weather has been near perfect for grass this spring & summer. Around Priory Farm House Martins swopped in and out of the busy farm buildings, whilst Swallows hunted over the cow grazed pastures, the distinctive and not unattractive scent of cattle hanging in the warm summer air, and as I crossed over the Esk and headed back into the village across the well cared for cricket field (this is Yorkshire after all), I was again reminded of just how fortunate we have been to have found such a little patch of paradise here in the North York Moors.

Tranmire Bog & Wheeldale Moor
On our way home we made our way up to Tranmire Bog which lies on the edge of Cropton Forest, following the route of the preserved Roman road which crosses the moors towards the coast (this same road probably forded the Esk near Grosmont). It is here beside Rutmoor Beck, the water from which will eventually flow past our cottage, that an area of boggy ground can be found, which in summer hosts a good variety of dragonflies and butterflies, many of which are moorland specialists.


Unfortunately the blustery breeze and largely cloudy skies meant that dragonflies were largely absent, apart from one solitary GOLDEN-RINGED DRAGONFLY beside the road when we first arrived, with other local species such as Common Hawker and Keeled Skimmer being elusive. Butterflies too proved difficult to find with certainly no Small Pearl-bordered Fritillaries on show, but Skippers, Small Heaths & Ringlets did provide some interest nevertheless.



However a family of WHINCHATS more than compensated for the lack of dragons and flutterers, after all birding is still my main love, and at least five and possibly six youngsters were spotted with their parents. Indeed I have never enjoyed such close views of this summer visiting bird before, even on migration, and the male was particularly attractive with his striking plumage. Along Rutmoor Beck a Grey Wagtail also showed well, and as I peered into the peaty but otherwise beautifully clear waters of the beck masses of tadpoles could be seen, a few of which already had legs and were nearly ready to become froglets.


Finally the heather which covers the uplands of this area are now coming into flower throughout this corner of the National Park, and in places now provide a beautiful rich purple hue to the moors, this especially true along the roadsides. This heather attracts large numbers of bumble bees, not to mention a few species of moth too, whilst the beauty of the scene is further enhanced by large patches of cotton grass which flower densely in the boggier corners of the moors. Indeed in places you could be forgiven for thinking it had snowed, an appealing thought on a warm sunny day such as today.


12th July 2015, Sunday
Min 13.3 C, Max 22.2 C, Rain nil, Wind W 4
A pleasant summer's day with plenty of sunny spells and temperatures around 70 degrees, though in the afternoon the breeze was quite blustery. Variable amounts of cloud overnight.

13th July 2015, Monday
Min 11.7 C, Max 19.3 C, Rain 1.8 mm, Wind W 2-3
A dull and damp day with outbreaks of rain and drizzle, especially in the second half of the morning and in early afternoon when it was quite persistent and heavy at times. Becoming drier by the end of the afternoon and even becoming a little brighter in the evening but cloud would increase again overnight with overcast skies by dawn.

14th July 2015, Tuesday
Min 14.0 C, Max 19.2 C, Rain 0.8 mm, Wind W 1-2
A largely cloudy day again with some rain in the morning, though in early afternoon it did become somewhat brighter for a time with even a bit of weak sunshine. However soon becoming cloudy again with grey skies for the rest of the afternoon and evening, this cloud thickening overnight with some light rain &/or drizzle latterly.

15th July 2015, Wednesday
Min 12.3 C, Max 21.0 C, Rain nil, Wind NW 3
A grey and damp start with rain & drizzle but this would quickly clear away with sunny spells developing by the end of the morning. Indeed in the afternoon it would become very pleasant indeed with plenty of sunshine and temperatures climbing up to 70 degrees. Skies remaining largely clear overnight with temperatures falling well into single figures.

Grosmont & Eskdale
We went up to the cottage this morning to discuss a few things with our builders and to also do a few necessary jobs in the garden, which in the recent fine weather is starting to come along very nicely, at least compared to how it looked at the end of the winter anyway. Being beside the Murk Esk does mean we are fortunate in that the garden is already blessed with an abundance of plants, trees and wildlife, indeed on a few recent nights a Grey Heron has taken to roosting in the garden, but hopefully we can improve things yet further and turn our patch into a pleasant place where both ourselves and nature feel safe and at home.


After finishing all the mowing and planting we headed further up the dale to enjoy a very pleasant lunchtime picnic overlooking the delightfully named valley of Great Fryupdale and the fields and woods which so characterise this area of the Esk Valley. The heather was especially beautiful and as we sat quietly upon the hillside we were disturbed by little bar the buzz of busy bees and sheep baaing in the rich pastures below. Evidence of hay cutting was also widespread throughout the valley whilst a few young grouse were noted on the moors, a reminder that the 'Glorious Twelfth' is now less than a month away.


After our picnic we decided to take a tour of the rest of Eskdale, first stopping at the National Park HQ at Danby and then taking a short stroll up at Danby Beacon (which in spring often hosts migrating Dotterel), before heading up to the sizeable community of Castleton which is near the top of the dale. The countryside around here is outstandingly beautiful, at least to my eyes anyway, with a multitude of little dales whose 'esklets' feed the winding river Esk which flows eastwards towards Whitby and the North Sea beyond. Crossing over the expansive heather moorland we dropped down into Rosedale, surely one of the most beautiful valleys in the county, and from there headed for home, crossing the golden cereals fields of the Yorkshire Wolds on a sunny summer's evening.


16th July 2015, Thursday
Min 6.8 C, Max 21.3 C, Rain trace, Wind SE 4
After an unseasonably cold start for the time of year, it would soon warm up in the July sunshine with temperatures reaching above 70 degrees by mid-afternoon. However in the afternoon the breeze would also freshen from the SE and would become quite blustery for the rest of the day and much of the night, with cloud also increasing in the evening. However the forecast overnight thunderstorms failed to materialise and apart from a few spots of rain around dawn it would remain largely dry.

A juvenile Bullfinch was spotted on the sunflower heart feeder today, the first young bird to be spotted with the adults at the feeding station this year. Indeed the half dozen bullfinches, with a little help from the goldfinches, greenfinches & chaffinches, are certainly munching their way through a lot of seed at the moment with the two feeders having to be refilled every couple of days!

17th July 2015, Friday
Min 12.3 C, Max 23.7 C, Rain nil, Wind SW 4
A little bit of light rain around dawn but soon becoming drier and brighter as the morning progressed, indeed by the afternoon it had become sunny and warm with temperatures into the mid-twenties (Celsius), though a moderate westerly breeze made sure it didn't feel too hot. Clear spells overnight with temperatures dipping into single figures.

The young Bullfinch was at the feeders again with the adult birds, whilst the garden had a number of butterflies fluttering about with Ringlets being the most numerous (other species included Meadow Brown, Red Admiral, Speckled Wood & Holly Blue).

18th July 2015, Saturday
Min 9.6 C, Max 20.5 C, Rain 2.5 mm, Wind SW 3-4
A largely settled day with alternating sunny spells and cloudier periods, though as the day wore on cloud amounts would generally increase. Becoming cloudy overnight with outbreaks of rain arriving shortly before dawn.

Grosmont
More work in the garden today, the newly created and planted herbaceous bed occupying us for most of the morning, whilst in the afternoon we did a bit of cleaning in the house, preparing the upstairs for carpet laying in the next fortnight or so. However it wasn't all work and I enjoyed a few quiet minutes sat beside the swiftly flowing river, simply watching and listening to the water as it passed over the rocks and boulders which form the base of the river at this point. A few grey wagtails and a dipper flew past as I sat upon the riverbank, whilst overhead a noisy Grey heron was heard to pass over, probably disturbed somewhat by my presence.


In the garden Ringlet, Red admiral and Speckled Wood butterflies were noted, whilst I also noted the brief fly-by of a Hawker species of dragonfly, the first I have seen in our Grosmont garden this year. Judging by the size and largely black & blue colour I would hazard to guess it was a Migrant Hawker for I always think Southern Hawkers look noticeably lighter and yellower in flight. However up here I can't completely discount Common Hawker either! Meanwhile on the journey home a large Curlew was seen posing on a boulder right beside the road on Sleights Moor, a nice way to end another peaceful day up at our Riverbank Cottage.

19th July 2015, Sunday
Min 11.5 C, Max 18.1 C, Rain 0.9 mm, Wind W 4-5
A wet morning with rain & then showers, some of which were quite heavy, but by the end of the morning conditions would quickly improve with good spells of sunshine developing in the afternoon. However a fresh westerly breeze would peg temperatures back compared to recently with a maximum of just 18.1 C (64.6 F). Variable amounts of cloud overnight.

The countryside around Wold Garth is becoming typically tired looking as we now move into high summer, with most grasses now yellow and many flowers having already gone to seed. The fields too are golden, especially the barley fields, whilst the winter wheat is not far behind either and has noticeably turned in the last week or two. The pea harvest is finished for yet another year whilst the OSR (rapeseed) has been cut and is now drying out in the fields. In the hedgerows the haw berries, though still green, are starting to swell and become more noticeable, whilst the same is true of elderberries and rosehips, the first signs of autumn now manifesting themselves in the countryside. However flowers such as the purple Rosebay & Great Willowherbs and the white trumpets of Bindweed, flowering plants which I so associate with the harvest season, buck the trend and are now everywhere along the hedgerows, field margins and scrublands, natural bunting to adorn & brighten this industrious time of year in Britain's arable lowland counties.

20th July 2015, Monday
Min 8.9 C, Max 23.6 C, Rain 0.2 mm, Wind SW 4
A mixed day with largely cloudy skies in the morning but becoming warm and sunny by midday with temperatures climbing as high as 23.6 C (74.5 F) by early afternoon. However showers would develop from 2 pm onwards, and though these didn't really come to much precipitation wise, they changed the mood of the day with largely cloudy skies persisting for the remainder of the day. Largely cloudy skies at first overnight but clearer spells developing later.

With the butterfly count malarkey thing now running for yet another year I am keeping an eye on the butterflies of Wold Garth, despite the fact it has been a very poor year for them so far this year, indeed possibly the worst I can remember (though whether this is because I have neglected Wold Garth a little this year is unclear). However today proved to be one of the better days this year, no doubt helped by the now flowering buddleias, with species including Large White (5+), Small White (2), Meadow Brown (3), Ringlet (1), Speckled Wood (1), Small Tortoiseshell (2), and Holly Blue (1). The first garden dragonfly of the year was also spotted today, with a hawker species of some kind seen hunting in the walled garden.

21st July 2015, Tuesday
Min 11.9 C, Max 21.6 C, Rain nil, Wind SW 3-4
A pleasant morning with sunny spells, though a moderate WSW breeze did make it feel coolish when the sun wasn't shining. Becoming cloudier in the afternoon but nevertheless remaining largely bright with still the occasional sunny spell from time to time. Mostly cloudy overnight.

A nice family day with my sisters and their children joining us here at Wold Garth for a day of fun and sports, including the likes of tennis, cricket and even croquet (how awfully middle class sounding!). However more interesting was the rescue of a young hedgehog which had fallen down one of the drains and who was struggling to keep his/her head above water. The drain was too small to get our hands down so we had to work it out using a variety of tools, this not helped by the hedgehogs understandable lack of co-operation (I'm sure if strangers started jabbing you with sticks you wouldn't enjoy it either), but eventually we got it out and let it recover in a newspaper nest in a quiet corner of a warm summer house. Though I was worried the animal might die of shock, plus the fact it must have been in the drain for at least 12 hours, the hedgehog, which we named Sebastian, recovered quickly and after a rest and a meal of cat food and water it was released back into the garden, hopefully none the worse for its ordeal.

22nd July 2015, Wednesday
Min 12.6 C, Max 17.4 C, Rain nil, Wind W 2
A largely cloudy and cool day, at least for the time of year, with temperatures not rising much above 60 degrees Fahrenheit. Indeed in mid-afternoon the cloud was thick enough to produce some spots of drizzle but this was barely enough to dampen the ground. However in late afternoon the cloud would begin to break up with a sunny and pleasant end to the day. Skies becoming largely clear overnight with temperatures falling into single figures.

23rd July 2015, Thursday
Min 7.4 C, Max 18.3 C, Rain nil, Wind W 3
A bright start to the day but as the morning wore on it would become cloudier, a brisk WNW breeze making it feel quite cool at times. However sunny spells would develop again in the afternoon though nevertheless temperatures would remain below the seasonal average with a modest maximum of just 18.3 C (the July average for Beverley being about 21 C). Clear spells overnight with temperatures dipping well into single figures.

Moths
Clear skies and coolish overnight temperatures (7.4 C) meant it was hardly a vintage night as regards mothing, but nevertheless when I arose at 5 am I found some 52 moths in and around the trap, with a total 21 species represented. Of these eight were new additions to the 2015 list, with a single Burnished Brass (one of my faves), nine Common Rustics, a solitary Lesser Broad-bordered Yellow Underwing, one Clay, an attractive Scalloped Oak, a Dun-bar (which I always think look a bit like the aforementioned species), a single Smoky Wainscot and finally a Garden Grass Veneer.

The other species recorded were as follows; Dark Arches (x12), Cabbage Moth (x2), Uncertain (x2), Rustic (x1), Marbled Minor agg. (x3), Heart & Dart (x2), Large Yellow Underwing (x5), Common Footman (x2), Buff Ermine (x2), Brimstone (x1), Common Marbled Carpet (x1), Common Pug (x1), and finally Bee Moth (x2). After 14 mothing nights so far this year at Wold Garth the species total for 2015 has now increased to 115. Whether we will make the double century this year remains to be seen, though the 2013 total of 249 now looks very doubtful indeed!

Deep Dale & Cot Nab
We headed up into the high Wolds this afternoon to visit what is, along with Frendaldale, my favourite valley in these peaceful chalk uplands. The weather was initially largely cloudy but sunny spells did break through from time to time, especially latterly, whilst a brisk NW breeze gave a cool edge to the air, which was actually very welcome when you are walking up and down dale! As I stepped out of the car door the sweet scent of pineapple weed filled my nostrils, a smell which immediately takes me back to my childhood years, whilst beside the roadside other flowers such as willowherb, meadow cranesbill, scabious and woundwort provided splashes of varied colours and hues.


Descending into the aptly named Deep Dale we passed through rich wildflower covered grassland, this side of the valley having not been grazed by sheep this spring & summer, these flowers attracting good numbers of butterflies, especially Ringlets, whilst other species in this part of the valley included Small Tortoiseshell, Meadow Brown, Large White & Green-veined White. However the largest number of butterflies would be encountered around Cot Nab, an area of SSSI grassland, with species recorded including several dozen Marbled Whites, 100+ Ringlets, a dozen or so Meadow Browns, lots of both Large & Small Skippers, a couple of Small Heaths, two Red Admirals, a single Speckled Wood (this appropriately enough beside the woodland), and a very tatty Painted Lady, the first I have seen away from the coast this year.



A few moths were also noted, including Chimney Sweepers, Grass Veneers, a Snout and an Antler Moth, whilst it was great to see a single dragonfly hunting along the edge of the wood, this turning out to be a Southern Hawker. Indeed it is always pleasing to see dragonflies up on the Wolds as the lack of water in this area of free draining chalkland means they are an uncommon sight in most areas. Meanwhile other fauna of note included a single Roe deer, a number of Willow warblers, three Buzzards, and at least three singing Yellowhammers, all of these brightly coloured buntings being in the vicinity of Callis Wold Farm.



Flora wise plenty of typical chalkland flowers were noted, some having already being mentioned earlier in this post, but it was very pleasing to note that Dropwort is continuing to thrive at Cot Nab, a chalk loving species which is otherwise quite hard to find these days on the Yorkshire Wolds. The presence of many Harebells now in flower was also a welcome treat, these being a flower which I so associate with the Wolds in high summer, whilst trefoils, selfheal, clovers, fairy flax, eyebrights, bedstraws and many others beyond my ID skills provided a beautiful spectacle to enjoy and admire.


24th July 2015, Friday
Min 6.0 C, Max 16.8 C, Rain 1.7 mm, Wind N 3
After an initially bright start it would soon become cloudy and would remain so for the remainder of the day, the cloud gradually thickening as the day wore on. Feeling cool in a gentle to moderate NW to N breeze whilst temperatures reached a disappointing high of just 16.8 C. Overnight the cloud would continue to thicken with some outbreaks of rain in the second half of the night.

The barley harvest is now well underway locally, with the first few fields having already been gathered and baled in the Beverley district. This is definitely one of my favourite times of the year and I love to see golden stubble in a freshly harvested field, not to mention the evocative scent of fresh straw on a warm summer's evening. However admittedly it is not always quite so pleasurable for the farmers &/or contractors whom have to not only cope with the vast amounts of dust produced by combines (though modern combines are well sealed these days), but also have to deal with the ever constant worries about the weather, moisture levels, fuel expenses and machine maintenance. However when it is all done and dusted the feeling of accomplishment must surely be one of the most rewarding of feelings that one can possibly experience.

A hedgehog was snuffling around the lawn in late evening, though judging by its large size it was not the same one we rescued from the drain earlier in the week. A couple of Pipistrelle Bats were also hunting around the Yew trees around dusk, or at least I assumed them to be Pipistrelles (one day I will actually get around to buying a bat detector!).

25th July 2015, Saturday
Min 10.5 C, Max 19.2 C, Rain 0.2 mm, Wind NW 4-5
A wet and grey start with outbreaks of rain being driven along by a brisk northerly breeze, but as the morning progressed sunny spells would develop with a largely dry and clement afternoon following, the temperature rising to just shy of 20 C. However in early evening a brief shower would pass over, dampening the ground, but this would soon clear with skies clearing again by dusk. Under clear skies the temperature would dip well into single figures overnight with a low of 5.5 C, a new record July minimum for our East Yorkshire weather station.

Grosmont
My eldest sister and my niece joined us up at Grosmont today on what was, eventually, a fine summer's day with plenty of sunshine and temperatures in the high teens. In the afternoon my sister, niece and I enjoyed a walk around the village, crossing the double fords, my sister and niece having to cross in bare feet because they had no wellies (silly townies!), and as we passed behind the church I noticed both a Speckled Wood and a Comma sunning themselves in the trees, the Comma being the first I have seen this year amazingly. On Sleights Moor a young Lapwing was also nice to see, showing as it does that a few still manage to breed here despite minimal management, whilst Meadow Pipits were as numerous as ever.

As regards the cottage their has, yet again, been minimal progress and I think we will have to take some action as the situation is becoming ridiculous. I obviously sympathise with the builders current problems but this has now been going on for far too long and I do feel that our good nature is now being taken advantage of. I obviously won't bore you will all the details but my patience is wearing pretty thin to say the least.

26th July 2015, Sunday
Min 5.5 C, Max 18.3 C, Rain 9.1 mm, Wind SE 3-4
A sunny and cool start to the day and though it would remain bright throughout the morning, cloud would gradually increase with skies becoming grey and overcast by early afternoon. Rain would arrive shortly after 1 pm and would continue for most of the afternoon and into the evening, the rain being quite heavy and persistent at times, especially in mid-afternoon. Further outbreaks of rain at first overnight but becoming drier later, though it would remain largely cloudy with low cloud & murk over the Yorkshire Wolds at dawn.

Bempton Cliffs
Today I went up the famous sea-bird colony on the Yorkshire coast with my eldest sister and niece, arriving at the chalk cliffs shortly before 10 am. The weather was bright and quite warm, though a cool breeze blew across the exposed cliffs, and now that we are quite late in the season it was relatively quiet as regards human visitors with very few photographers and their giant lenses taking up the best spots.


As regards the bird life the cliffs are now noticeably emptier, with most auks having now left, bar the odd late Guillemot and a very few Razorbills, though looking out to sea plenty were still in the area, including quite a large number of Puffins. Indeed flying Puffins seemed to outnumber Razorbills and at least equaled Guillemots so perhaps they have had a good year. Plenty of Kittiwakes have also left the nest, the distinctive W shape on the juveniles back being obvious as they flew past, though many still remain on their nests with their parents. Gannets meanwhile are still raising their young, though some of the youngsters are at least now starting to lose their fluffy white feathers.

Other observations included a Grey Seal bobbing up and down in the waves below, whilst a few species of butterfly or moth were noted, including lots of Ringlets, a couple of Small Tortoiseshells, Silver-ground Carpet (which is a little late for this species I would have thought), and a beautiful Yellow Shell Moth.


27th July 2015, Monday
Min 11.1 C, Max 15.9 C, Rain 18.5 mm, Wind NE 2
A largely cloudy but dry start, with even some sunny breaks prior to 9 am, but cloud would quickly thicken and increase with persistent rain &/or drizzle for the rest of the morning and into the first part of the afternoon. However conditions would improve for a time in mid-afternoon though this wouldn't last long with further outbreaks of rain in late afternoon and the evening, these periods of rain &/or drizzle continuing throughout the night.

The harvested pea-fields attracted a decent variety and number of gulls this morning, including Black-headed Gulls, Common Gulls and Herring Gulls, whilst the odd Lapwing was also noted. Such fields can be a good place to look for birds at this time of year, especially after rain, and it has only been in the last week that Common Gulls have again begun to appear locally, this species of gull disappearing from the local area during the spring and early summer months. Meanwhile the mown meadows were also attracting further Black headed Gulls and Common Gulls, the birds in question probably looking for worms after the rain yesterday.

28th July 2015, Tuesday
Min 11.6 C, Max 15.5 C, Rain 12.8 mm, Wind W 3
A thoroughly wet day again with periods of rain throughout the morning and for much of the afternoon, though their were some drier interludes at times in the afternoon with even the sun breaking through from time to time. The rain becoming more showery in late afternoon and the evening, some of these showers being heavy (80.6 mm/h), though overnight conditions would improve with variable amounts of cloud.

Ryedale Show
Despite persistent, and at times heavy rain, we attended the 149th Ryedale Show today, arriving just before 9 am in what was to prove incessant rain. However I have to admit I quite like rain, especially if you are dressed for it, and for events such as these it does actually help to control the number of visitors. Indeed though I usually hate crowds, which for me is anyone outside of the family or any gathering of more than three people, I do make an exception for agricultural shows and I try to visit both the Ryedale & the Nidderdale Show every year, the Ryedale being my favourite eastern Yorkshire show, whilst the Nidderdale I still consider as my local, even though I haven't lived in Nidderdale for 25 years.




As ever we started first by checking out the cattle, with classes for Shorthorns (my favourites), Limousins, British Blues, British Blondes, Angus, Highlands, Herefords, and Longhorns on the beef side of things, whilst dairy classes were held for Holsteins, Friesians, Ayrshires, Jerseys, Dexters and Shorthorn Cows, not to mention a few other classes for less common breeds &/or rare breeds. As ever the quality was top notch (though not as good as Nidderdale despite what the Ryedale locals might say), with a few on show having returned from the recent Great Yorkshire with victories to their names.




From the cattle we moved on to the sheep, and though Ryedale is largely a lowland area, though admittedly with some rougher country in the north of the region, not to mention the steep downland valleys of the Yorkshire Wolds, the sheep classes are quite varied and well represented with good numbers of the usual suspects, including Mules, Swaledales, Wensleydales, Mashams, Teeswaters, Cheviots, Texels, Jacobs, Suffolks, Hampshires, Leicesters, Blackfaces & Charollais. A few less common breeds included Soay, a very diminutive breed indeed, Border Leicesters, characterised by their almost hare like ears, and perhaps my favourite, at least as regards looks, the very pretty Kerry Hills. a breed which became very scarce for a time, indeed it was classed as a Rare Breed until quite recently, but has subsequently found favour again, especially amongst small-holders.




Whilst other's went to look at the pigs I headed down to admire all the gorgeous equine flesh on show, horses for me being the very peak of mammalian evolution. Ryedale is at the heart of what is perhaps one of the most horsey corners of England, this in part thanks to the large number of racing stables at nearby Malton, but also the rich history of Thoroughbred breeding in the region, and the fine quality of the local hunting country. As a result the Ryedale Show is one of the best shows in Yorkshire for the equestrian minded and I spent a very enjoyable few hours watching the various in-hand and ridden classes in the numerous show-rings. Towards the end of the show two representatives of the Derwent Hunt also made an appearance with their historic pack of foxhounds, and whilst most of the hounds were happy to meet the local children, one decided to go and explore the rest of the show by itself, much to the amusement of many whom gathered to watch. All in all a cracking show as usual though hopefully the weather will be kinder to the 150th show next year!




29th July 2015, Wednesday
Min 9.2 C, Max 17.7 C, Rain 1.0 mm, Wind NW 3-4
A much better day than recently with plenty of sunny spells, though nevertheless the odd shower in the afternoon and the evening did provide some nuisance value. Temperatures were also disappointing for the time of year again, the north-westerly breeze having origins far to the north of the British Isles. Largely cloudy overnight with further light showers from time to time.

A few butterflies were in the garden today, including Large White, Small White, Holly Blue, and best of all, a single Gatekeeper, a rare visitor to our East Yorkshire garden. Indeed I had just finished writing about how uncommon they are on this side of the Yorkshire Wolds with a couple of other bloggers when lo and behold one flew right past me. Maybe next time I should complain about the lack of Swallowtail butterflies locally.

30th July 2015, Thursday
Min 10.0 C, Max 15.8 C, Rain trace, Wind SE 2
A largely cloudy and grey morning but becoming brighter as the morning wore on with sunny spells by midday. Remaining largely bright and sunny for the remainder of the day, though in late afternoon a couple of very light showers would pass over, producing little more than a few drops as they did so. Skies becoming clear overnight with temperatures plunging well into single figures, indeed by the end of the night temperatures had fallen as low as 5.0 C (41 F), a new record low for July.

A single Barn Owl was seen hunting over the local fields at 6.30 am this morning, whilst large numbers of Common & Black-headed Gulls (plus the odd larger species of gull & lapwings) are continuing to glean the muddy & harvested pea fields. Meanwhile a very poorly looking Greenfinch was noted around the bird feeders today (indeed the poor bird was found dead in the evening), and since it was showing all the classic symptoms of Trichomonosis I have temporarily stopped feeding the garden birds, and have thoroughly disinfected the feeders. Thankfully I haven't noted any other sick looking birds but I will remain vigilant as this unpleasant disease is something which can devastate local bird populations.

31st July 2015, Friday
Min 5.0 C, Max 20.7 C, Rain nil, Wind SW 2
A largely fine, sunny and pleasant end to July, though the day had begun on a somewhat chilly note, especially so for what should be the warmest time of year (indeed the minimum recorded this morning was the lowest temperature I have ever recorded in July, beating the previous record which was set just a few days ago!). Variable amounts of cloud overnight.

At least two Holly Blues were fluttering around the Yews and herbaceous borders this afternoon, whilst other butterflies included Comma, Meadow Brown, Large White, Small White and Small Tortoiseshell. Meanwhile in the evening a large Hedgehog was again seen feeding beneath the bird feeding station.