Meandering Around the Reserve
Sunday, August 18th 2019
Lark and Taurus were not bothered by the wind, although their tails and manes were blowing a little.
I was followed by Taurus hoping that I might just have a treat hidden somewhere, but when nothing appeared he began feeding on the grass.
Bees and hoverflies were out in force flying from flower to flower to feed. Devil's Bit Scabious is a favoured flower.
Wild Angelica and Wild Carrot (below) have large, mainly flat, umbels of flowers and these are often covered by many insects of all shapes and sizes.
Warm damp weather is ideal for the growth of fungi and some are begining to appear.
This polypore fungus grows around anything in its way.
Saturday, August 17th 2019
Setting off for a walk around I did not think that there would be much on the wing due to the very strong wind. I was wrong. However trying to photograph those on the wing proved interesting. Photographs include vegetation and no insect, totally out of focus vegetation and of course hands and fingers trying to hold the flower still! But some insects did co-operate and I was able to obtain some lovely photos.
I have seen Brimstone butterflies fly this way and that way but never close enough even to get a splodge, but I was lucky today.
Speckled Wood butterflies have not been common over the last few weeks but almost every sunny glade had at least one sunbathing.
I wondered what sort of leaf was waving in the wind, until I realised that it was a Common Blue butterfly hanging on tightly to a stem. It did not move as I crept closer to get a macro shot.
Hand rails of bridges, especially along Risedale Beck, can often reveal some interesting creatures. I spotted a tiny Pale Tussock Moth caterpillar crawling along. These moth caterpillars used to be a pest on hop crops in south east England. The pickers called them Hop Dogs and some claimed that they could cause a severe allergic skin reaction. We do not have hops on our species list but we do have a wide variety of deciduous trees and plenty of Bramble on which the caterpillars feed. They can take up to two months to reach a size of 40mm and they are then ready to pupate.
Saw-wort blooms in a hidden away part of the reserve and provides nectar for many butterflies and bees. Where once there was only one clump of this plant, now there are several.
Before More Rain
Thursday, August 15th 2019
Everything is continuing to grow! Volunteers spent some time on the heath removing invasive species. These include Bramble, Willow, Gorse and Silver Birch.
There were several small Oak seedlings which were dug up and replanted. I always stop and wonder how they came to be there, a Grey Squirrel hiding acorns for the winter and forgetting where they were, or was it a Jay, doing the same thing.
After much hard work in the sunshine, five trailer loads of brash were removed and the heath was looking so good.
Work on the back garden fence and gates also continued.
The overhanging branches in the back garden were trimmed and the pond was also given some tlc.
And finally before the rain arrives the lawns were mown.
Thank you to our volunteers for all their hard work.
A Wet Day
Wednesday, August 14th 2019
There is one thing to be said for our weather at the minute and that is, that it is changeable. I am not sure if the weather hasn't consulted the forecast or it is the other way around. A forecast of a dull day with some sun later in the afternoon turned out to be a thoroughly damp, soggy, wet day. The moth traps caught very few moths overnight so it did not take us long to ID them. As we had time we set to on indoor jobs. Some volunteers inputted species data whilst others sorted photographs for displays. Volunteers also supported the nest box building activity. Thank you to everyone who helped today. Foxglove volunteers have such a valuable and variable range of skills that help to keep the reserve looking so good.
Out in the rain for a quick walk it was obvious that everything had water droplets! Wild Carrot is a biennial and consequently does not always grow in the same place each year. There are several flower heads near the heath. Some of them have the red centre petals.
Seed heads are already beginning to develop. When I looked at this one it looked 'odd', as the bowl shape is full of water.
Instead of being covered in insects this Devil's Bit Scabious was covered in water droplets.
When you get the 'right sort' of weather a hidden world can appear. A spider's web was spun on a stem of Hawthorn.
Cutting, Strimming, Painting, Sawing and Pulling!
Tuesday, August 13th 2019
Hayley and Emma were busy cutting back yet more branches overhanging the access road and main paths. This is almost like painting the Forth Railway Bridge!
The fence surrounding the back garden was given some protective stain. At the same time a path was cut through the long grass avoiding the orchids that are setting seed.
Ragwort is poisonous to stock and some had grown around Plover's Pool so was pulled up and removed. Where there is no stock we leave this flower as it is excellent for bees, butterflies and day-flying moths, not forgetting the Cinnabar Moth caterpillars.
The volunteers then headed to the woodland, where a bridge needed some attention.
There was plenty of advice given to Richard as he repaired the boardwalk.
Our volunteers worked hard and by the end of the day some tasks could be crossed off the 'Job List'! Thank you very much, all your effort is really appreciated.
The winner of our 'Guess the Number of Sweets' competition was Mrs Kerry Bell with a guess of 380. Thank you to everyone who supported us.