Our group of about 12 were pleasantly surprised to be met by Pete Smith, with a collection of moths he had trapped on Saturday night, identified and put into magnifying boxes for us to see, including the beautiful carpet moth, snout moth, barred red moth, gold spangle moth and rarer muslin footman moth. Thanks Pete, for such an interesting start to our morning, thanks also to Paul Andrews, from the Butterfly Conservation Society who led, and shared his expert knowledge of Haw Park Wood on an interesting walk through the wood.
All the common species of butterfly were seen along the track to the cornfield, small skipper, speckled wood, gatekeeper, red admiral, small tortoiseshell and meadow brown with ringlets in abundance as we came under the canopy of the wood. Along the main path the bracken and foliage were covered in common blue damselfly. Wildflowers noted were slender St John’s wort, broad leaved helleborine (not quite inflower) and heath speedwell
Paul pointed out a colony of wild honey bees’ busy making honey in a hole halfway up a tree, not easy to see and becoming more of a rarity in recent years.
Heath speedwell – Lesley Taylor
meadow brown – Roger Gaynor
slender St John’s-wort -Lesley Taylor
The bright morning soon clouded over but within a few hundred yards of the car park we came across the first few northern marsh orchids and a hybrid common spotted orchid amongst a waving cloud of meadow buttercups and fading lady’s smock. We followed the path to the left enjoying the patches of bird’s foot trefoil, field penny-cress, crosswort and fumitory – down by the lakeside a pair of oystercatchers expressed their anxiety as we neared their youngster so we returned to the path past lesser stitchwort, hop trefoil and black medick. Swathes of ox-eye daisies and meadow buttercups filled the lakeside meadow as we turned onto the path to the main hide and we were delighted to see a really beautiful display of northern marsh orchids (possibly hybrid) on both sides of the path, they are not quite fully out but still wonderful to see.
Northern marsh orchids
Field panny cress
With little auks being seen off the coast in good numbers over the last few days, it may not have been entirely unexpected that one would turn up inland but it was certainly a massive find for one birder at Anglers CP. Within minutes the grape vine was buzzing and the local birders were dreaming up all sorts of excuses to get out of work early to get this mega rarity on their list. It was the first record for Wintersett, though not the first for Wakefield. The bird seemed lively enough and was actively feeding for most of the afternoon but, as darkness fell and the wind became stronger, it was seen to crawl out onto the bank and huddle sown beneath a sedge tussock.
Eventually the bird was picked up and sheltered overinight before being released at Bridlington the next day where it was watched flying out to sea, Hopefully, it will have made a full recovery.