Field Meeting: Ackworth School June 10th

Hope to see you all at Ackworth School on Sunday for a look at the natural history of the school grounds, hosted by one of our members Francis Hickenbottom. Weather permitting Francis will give us a guided tour of the site sharing his knowledge of the wildlife found there.

In the event of rain (which is highly probably!) Francis has some contingency plans which will include looking at the extensive moth collection.

We meet at 10:30am in the main school car park which is on Pontefract Road, Ackworth, WF7 7LT.

Look forward to seeing you all there.

Last minute news! Anyone with a telescope may want to bring it along as there is a chance to see a sparrow hawk nest.


April 10th Member’s Night

Last night was another fascinating and entertaining member’s night. Member’s night is always great as it allows members to show us what they have been doing in the past year. Last night was we had four fantastic speakers and a record number of amazing sightings.

Local Sightings:

  • Holly Blue
  • Speckled Wood
  • Green Veined White
  • Peacock
  • Orange Tip
  • Great White Egret – 9th April
  • Swallow – 9th April
  • Wheatear – 23rd March
  • Chiffchaff
  • Willow Warbler
  • Black Cap – 9th April
  • Sand Martin
  • Female Sparrow Hawk
  • Corn Buntin
  • Danish Scurvy Grass
  • Stitchwort
  • Frog Spawn
  • Adders

John Gardner, our president, was up first to show us some fabulous video footage of water voles feeding along a riverside in Derbyshire. He also showed us some spectacular images of red kites taken at the famous feeding station at Gigrin farm in mid Wales.

Next up, was Colin Booker, who showed us an excellent range of slides ranging from Slovakia, Spain and South Africa. These included butterflies, fruit bats, leopard, rock python, some spectacular red breasted and lesser streaked swallows and many more.

Roger Gaynor gave us a taste of his travels around the country, with some great photos of insects, dragonflies and butterflies from our own area and plants and birds from further afield such as spring squill on the Isle of Man and dormice and bats in the Yorkshire dales.

Fancis Hickenbottom finished off the evening with an excellent look at the night skies. It has been a particuarly good time for seeing planets and Francis has managed to photograph many of them including Jupiter, Venus, Mars and Mercury. He also showed us some fascinating constellations such as Orion, Taurus, Cassiopia and Signus aswell as giving us a wealth of information as to when and where to look.

A very big thank yu to all members who showed slides on the night. We very much look forwards to our next members night.

Next Meeting – April 10th Member’s Night

Don’t forget that our next meeting is member’s night – its always an interesting evening as we get to see what our members get up to.

So far we have Colin Booker, Francis Hickenbottom and Roger Gaynor bringing a selection of their slides; if you have something that you would like to share please feel free to bring it along – if you have slides please send us an email so we can schedule them into the programme.

We look forward to seeing you on Tuesday.

Calder Wetlands In Bloom

Member Pauline Brook submitted the following records of flowers in bloom at Calder Wetlands and Pugneys Country Park. The warm spring weather produced a good number of spring flowers, some of which are early for the time of year.

Image from

  • Coltsfoot
  • Red Dead Nettle
  • Dandelion
  • Daisy
  • Common Field Speedwell
  • Fumitory
  • Shepherd’s Purse
  • Chickweed
  • Groundsel
  • Pineapple Mayweed
  • Lesser Celandine

Sightings March 13th Meeting

Calder Wetlands provided us with some good early spring records.

  • Sand Martin (3rd March – Earliest ever record)
  • Chiffchaff
  • Longtailed Tits (Seen nest building)
  • Grass Snake

Also, seen at Ackworth School

  • Longtailed Tits
  • Pied Wagtails
  • Pipistrelle Bat
  • Buzzard

Horbury Golfcourse had sightings of a Ring Necked Parakeet and there have also been early butterfly sightings with Red Admiral on the 1st of March.

Also reported at the meeting was a sighting of a Great Horned Owl near Nostell! Unfortunately it was an escapee.

We are always happy to recieve your records and sightings and look forward to hearing them at the next meeting.


Phil Abbot “Flowers and Flyers of Estonia”

Phil Abbot visited the Society last night to share with us a recent visit to Estonia in search of wildflowers. Phil has visited the Society several times with tales of her botanical travels, and once again has given us a fascinating talk and an insight into the flora of yet another fantastic country.

Phil visited Estonia as part of a botanical field trip, exploring several areas in search of common and rare wildflowers. The rural nature of the country produced numerous species and what particulaly stood out were her shots of wildflower meadows carpeted with poppies and cornflowers.

Thank you to Phil for entertaining us once again!