For the final session of the spring/summer term we travelled into North Yorkshire to visit one of Yorkshire Wildlife Trust's reserves. It's a favourite site for dog walkers who ensure their animals leave their filth behind, but is also popular with joggers and butterfly hunters who flatten the habitat in their desire to obtain the perfect photograph.
When you reach the second week in July inland bird life, away from water, always tends to quieten down, but the Yellowhammers continued to punctuate the day with their simple refrains. A young Redstart went through the car park at lunch time, and a few Blackcaps sang, as did a couple of Chiffchaffs. The Little Owl was vocal, but apart from one quick view as it flew across the cliff in the morning, the pair remained out of sight. The Kestrel chicks seemed to have fledged, but we still had glimpses of both the parents and the youngsters.
Although the birds were on the quiet side, the site came up trumps with insect life. The Banded Demoiselles were in very high numbers wherever we reached any water, and the butterflies were still thriving on the flower-filled hillside. Some of the Marbled Whites were beginning to look faded, but Gatekeepers were recently-emerged and looked very fresh and bright. A Comma was seen briefly, and both groups managed to glimpse a fast flying Dark Green Fritillary, but it refused to perch for us. A very fresh Brimstone, from a 3rd brood fluttered not far from the gate into the first woodland.
Marbled White & Meadow Browns
A Cluster of Clustered Bellflower
After the morning session many of the participants convened at a local hostelry for the end of term celebration. However, after the afternoon session a surprise awaited the assembled throng...To be continued...