Sunshine and showers at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park

Today, braving the cold wintery showers with occasional sunshine, a walk around the lakes and woodland at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park was rewarded with some wonderful wildlife sightings, including two stoats at first oblivious to my presence whilst chasing each other along a woodland path.  Birds included kestrel, goosander and grey heron high up in their nests feeding their fast developing young. Just like me, a male tufted duck had no alternative but to sit out a passing heavy shower of sleet. In contrast, and only a start time afterwards, the sun appeared attracting orange tip and green-veined white butterflies to the woodland glades.  I managed a photo of green-veined white on bluebells while other woodland flowers included wood-sorrel and yellow archangel.

tufted duck in the rain

tufted duck in the rain

green-veined white on bluebell

green-veined white on bluebell

September meeting: Madagascar by Pete Williamson

It’s always good to hear a lecture from one of our own members and tonight’s talk by Pete on his birding trip to Madagascar was no exception. Pete gave us a lively and entertaining talk about his visit to this beautiful island that is home to some amazing wildlife, including the famous lemurs. He covered landscapes and people as well as the wildlife and highlighted just how much deforestation is underway creating a massive threat to the island’s wildlife. Despite the continual threat and destruction of Madagascar at the hand of man, the island still has some incredible species and Pete certainly had lots of images to show us including endemic bird species, chameleons, lemurs, insects, butterflies and flowers. A great talk to kick off the season of indoor lectures.

Madagascar Wildlife

Madagascar wildlife by Pete Williamson

Members’ sightings at the call over included Osprey at Wintersett, grayling butterflies at Horbury Bridge (good to know they are still there) and other butterfly sightings in the warm September sun included comma, painted ladies, speckled wood, red admiral and holly blue. A grass snake was reported from Stanley Ferry Flash which is a new area for this uncommon local species.

There was an exhibit brought in of orange balsam which was found just outside our recording area but members were asked to be on the lookout for it and to report any sightings.Orange balsam (Impatiens capensis) is a North American species which appears to be colonising the UK, usually in low lying areas along river banks and canals and it grows to around 1m tall and is covered in orange flowers in late summer/early autumn.