Richard Bell made a video of the Wakefield Naturalists’ Society field meeting to Walton Country Park earlier this year. I couldn’t make it to that meeting due to work commitments but it looks like I missed a great field meet with lots of nature to see and photograph.
Pauline and the botanists have been on a visit to Hetchell Woods near Leeds and sent in the following list of sightings.
Wood Speedwell (bright green leaves)
Common Dog Violet (niche at the end of the spur)
Jack by the Hedge/Garlic Mustard
Good Friday grass (sedge)
Barren Strawberry (gaps between petals)
Early Purple Orchid
Lady’s Smock (abundant)
Wren, Chiff Chaff, Song Thrush, Green Woodpecker, Goldfinch, Blackcap
Colin sent in a report of early purple orchids in flower at Brockadale YWT reserve where he also had spotted flycather.
early purple orchid at Brockadale
The Danish Invasion
300 yrs on from the Vikings, the Danes are still coming after us! The salty spray produced by cars during the winter months makes the central reservations of motorways a hostile place for many plants but Danish scurvy grass, which usually grows on sea-cliffs, likes this environment. It is in flower now and produces the thousands of tiny white flowers that pepper the ground in the middle of motorways and along the verges. Danish scurvy grass is continuing its advance inland and is now spreading along the A-roads. The plants in this picture are growing alongside the A638, just outside Ackworth.
Danish scurvy grass along the roadside verges
The wet weather over the past twelve months might have been bad for some species but it has been beneficial for this large patch of marsh marigolds in Hemsworth. Growing in some particularly damp ground beneath a stand of crack willow, the recent sunny days have brought them into flower producing a carpet of large yellow flowers.
Marsh Marigold (Caltha palustris)
Marsh Marigold (Caltha palustris)
Brighter weather today and much warmer, if a little windy but definitely feels like spring is in the air. Mark Archer was at Southern Washlands this morning an had the first 5 sand martins of the year at the site along with 4 willow warblers. Other migrants will be hot on their heels
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 provided us with some good early spring records.
- Sand Martin (3rd March – Earliest ever record)
- Longtailed Tits (Seen nest building)
- Grass Snake
Also, seen at Ackworth School
- Longtailed Tits
- Pied Wagtails
- Pipistrelle Bat
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.
On Thursday 17th November about 24 of our members went along on an organised visit to the Rosse Observatory, near Carlton, Pontefract for an evening of star gazing. We weren’t disappointed! After days of gloomy, murky November weather (albeit mild) our expectations for seeing any stars were pretty low. However we were more than delighted when the gloom broke to produce a glorious sunny autumn day which continued through into the evening giving excellent clear skies. The clear skies meant the Observatories star attraction, the telescope, could be put into action and we were all treated to spectacular views of Jupiter together with it’s 4 moons clearly visible though the scope.
We split into two groups and while one group climbed the ladders to the observation deck, the other group were treated to an illustrated talk all about the solar system with some mind blowing facts and figures – it’s not only Prof. Peter Cox who knows his stuff!
We swapped over and repeated the process and once everyone had seen Jupiter, the computerised telescope was turned towards the galaxy Andromeda, a spiral galaxy some 2.5 million light years away from earth: Awesome!!
The Rosse Observatory is well worth a visit. Here is a photo, thanks to member Roger Gaynor, taken on the evening to give some idea of the size of the telescope.
Join us on 8th November for an illustrated talk on the prickly subject of hedgehogs. Hedgehog rescue worker, David Tomlinson, will explain the life and times of the British hedgehog and why the species is having a turbulant time of it. See the meetings page for full details