If anyone is thinking of visiting Brockadale for the marbled whites, they are absolutely at their peak just now. Many have only just hatched and are in immaculate condition and are on the wing with ringlet and meadow brown. I had a very productive photo session there today. More photos over at Wildscenes
Tuesday was a warm, but dull afternoon as we walked down the track bordered by wheat fields enjoying the germander speedwell, hedge woundwort, cornus and dog rose with both black and white bryony winding their way through the hedgerow. As we turned left onto the hill and the terrain changes to limestone the wildflowers were prolific with swathes of yellow rock rose, wild thyme, milkwort, fairy flax, eye-bright and three species of orchid – common spotted, bee orchid and twayblade. Other flowers were bird’s-foot trefoil, ladies bedstraw, agrimony, clustered bell flower, yellow vetchling and musk thistle which smells delightful for those prepared to get close to the flower. There are so many flowers to see on this small hill it’s hard to avoid standing on them.
I have been putting out the moth trap recently at Ackworth School during the recent good weather. Here are pictures of a couple of the more colourful moths caught during the past week. Elephant hawk moth is a regular but this is the first ghost moth that I have caught in Ackworth.
I’m well out of the birding loop these days and I’ve only just got wind of a long staying great northern diver at Lady Lakes in Mirfield which has been there for about 5 months! Thinking there might be a photo opportunity, I nipped over there and sure enough I saw this amazing sub-adult great northern diver. I couldn’t understand why it was in Mirfield in June and not in Scandinavia along with the rest of its kind until I saw it feeding. On every dive it brought up a large crayfish, presumably signal crayfish, and heartily scoffed them down. Living on a rich crayfish diet like that must outweigh the long flight north :¬)
The bird regularly surfaced right in front of the anglers on the lake but would not come up in front of me and my camera! I managed a few grab shots before being thrown off the lakes by the owner – only fishermen are allowed on. So, if you go along, stay behind the otter fence and you are fine. Lots of black-tailed skimmers there too.
I was sent this picture of an unusual bumblebee by a friend in Pontefract who found them nesting in the roof of his house. I believe that the bees are tree bumblebees (Bombus hypnorum). This species entered the south of Britain only about ten years ago but it has spread up through England and it has reached Scotland. More information is available at treebumblebee.
It was a fine morning for our walk along the lakeside at Pugneys with plenty of meadow buttercups, ox-eye daisies and bird’s-foot trefoil. As we turned left we saw patches of cut leaved cranesbill, smooth hawks beard, dog-rose, common and tufted vetch, Jack-go-to-bed-a-noon. Abundant blue damsel flies tinted the grasses blue as they swayed in the breeze – another left hand turn took us onto a damp track alongside the second lake where we admired yellow iris, bistort and burr reed. Turning into the field stepping through the mud a large patch of creeping cinquefoil welcomed us and we began to see a number of orchids dotted about in the grass – common spotted orchid and northern marsh orchid making our damp trek worthwhile. Roger photographed this orchid which is probably a hybrid common spotted x northern marsh orchid.
Here are a few images from a recent Brockadale trip. Bee and common spotted orchids are flourishing and there were plenty of insects