Valuable milestone reached…

Moths are a great indicator of a healthy environment and a healthy ecosystem

(Butterfly Conservation)

To demonstration this point it is with pride that my moth survey work for our urban recording area of Caldene fields, Raw Nook NR and Toad Holes Beck has just reached 300 different species.  This urban area which is only about 4 miles from Bradford city centre clearly demonstrates that Urban Ecology can and does work.

The 300th moth came on the 9th of July in the shape of a Currant Pug Eupithecia assimilata


Fire alert…

Sadly there has been two deliberate fires at Raw Nook NR during the last few days.  The first I managed to put out myself the second one was more serious and I had to call the fire brigade out.  They were brilliant and the fire was put out.

The real concern of a major fire in both Raw Nook NR  and Toad holes Beck apart from the wildlife and local environment is the smoke pollution drifting across the motorway and railway due to the proximity of the sites.

I would therefore urge anyone living near or visiting the area to be alert to any fires small or large and do not afraid to call the fire brigade as they told me ‘That putting out a small fire is easier than putting out a large one’….

Bioblitz turns out to be a brilliant experience…

Sorry for the late entry about the Bio-Blitz. The event was at held at Toad Holes Beck and Raw Nook NR on 23rd/24th of June and was organised by the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust. But  I’m still waiting for some records to come in and to be honest  24 hours non-stop wildlife recording session caught up with my tender years.  However, what an experience…and something I will never forget.

Seonaidh of YWT setting up the marquee

The morning started with YWT guided walks looking at Tracks and Signs and Tree folklore. Sarah of YWT led a group looking for Mini Beasts and found a fairly uncommon Golden bloomed grey longhorn beetle Agapanthia villosoviridescens in Toad Holes Beck. However, last year I found the Beetle in Raw Nook NR which now proves our lovely friend is living at both sites which is excellent news for our area.

A lady in Sarah’s group also found a Cream Spot Ladybird at Raw Nook NR which is a new species for our records.

Perhaps the main highlight though was the YWT pond dipping and identification session at 18.30 at Toad Holes Beck.  To see so many of the next generation enjoying the outdoors and catching and identifying animals was brilliant. And the best bit was 3 new species were added to our list.

Sarah YWT leading the pond dipping session

The Bat Walk was next and I was really excited to have some YWT bat experts leading the walk.  They supplied the public with bat detectors which was great.  Both Common and Soprano Pipistrelle were in good numbers at both Raw Nook NR and Toad Holes Beck.  I have never done any Bat work in Toad Holes Beck so I was hoping the experts would find a possible new species.  And the tantalizing news came when one of the YWT team picked up a possible Leisler’s bat ..but further work needs to be done to confirm the record…Fingers crossed.

Then it was my turn.  I was doing a moth trapping session at Toad Holes Beck however, at around 3am the light in the trap broke…But all was not lost as 24 species were recorded for the site and 3 new species for our records came to light including a Pinion streaked Snout Schrankia costaestrigalis which has a Yorkshire status of : Scarce and local resident.

Pinion streaked Snout Schrankia costaestrigalis

Day break soon arrived and I led a Bird Walk around the area.  By 07.30 am more people started to arrive as Seonaidh of YWT checked the mammal traps that some children had set the previous evening.  Nothing was found in the traps except in the last one when a vole was caught and released.

A possible Bank Vole!  Although we will have to wait for conformation from YWT.

So it was off to bed for me at around 08.30am…I was shattered but elated at the same time.  It was so good a date of the 19th of June 19 has been muted….bring it on..

Further updates on sightings from the event will be posted.

A big thank you to all at Yorkshire Wildlife Trust!

Preparing for the BIG Day…

On Saturday our group the Low Moor & Oakenshaw conservation group had our monthly work day.  The aim was to cut back as much Bramble as possible and remove the Rosebay willowherb which has encroached into area of the heather at Raw Nook nr.  Also there was a major litter pick in the area and over 6 bags of rubbish and litter was removed.

The main reason for the tidy up was to get the area ready for the 24 hour Bioblitz at Raw Nook nr & Toad Holes beck.

So please come along anytime through the day or night and bring the family.  Enjoy the fun, wildlife, attend one of the guided walks and learn about local wildlife…

Joining in and major announcement…

On Saturday our group the Low moor & Oakenshaw conservation group is carrying out a work morning we’re meeting at 10:00hrs (on Saturday 16th June).  If you would like to join us for this volunteering session, we are meeting at the “A” frame at the end of Albert Terrace Low Moor Bradford ( walk or drive to the bottom) .  This month’s plan is to cut back brambles and rosebay willowherb at Raw Nook and get a full litter pick done before the Bio-Blitz event with Yorkshire Wildlife Trust on the following Saturday.

Now I have mentioned ‘ Bio-Blitz ‘ What is it? well the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust are very kindly working in partnership with us to provide lots of different environmental activities over a twenty four hour period from 10:00am on Saturday 23rd June until 10:00am on Sunday 24th June.  Lots of fun for the whole family!  So please come along even if it for a hour and enjoy. Please see attached flyer for details.

More details to follow as well as full timings for the activities

Exciting news from Dealburn Road…

On Saturday I went to the Dealburn Road site ( Old Low Moor tip ) which our group is involved in and I keep a database of all the records for the site. The main reason was to look for early signs of the Bee Orchids  Ophrys apifera as I am running a walk at 14.00 on the 28/6/2018 to hopefully view them.  If you would like to come along please email me for further information.  I however, didn’t find any signs of the Orchids….so no pressure Martyn…But it is a bit early!

But the exciting news is I heard and saw a male singing Lesser Whitethroat at a suitable nest site.  The bird flew off and sang again at the top of the site.  After looking for the Orchids I went back to the area and was immediately ‘ scolded ‘ by a very anger female Lesser Whitethroat with a tiny amount of food in her beak…..The male then returned and well basically ‘ Told me to clear off ‘  I did as I was told and left the area and viewed at a safe distance the female dive into some high Bramble.

The Lesser Whitethroat is an uncommon breeding bird in the Bradford district…so this is excellent news…But there may be a twist to this story in that the LW above is the male from TH Beck I recorded in mid May.  He left as he couldn’t find a mate but then a male turned up at nearby Dealburn Road 2 days later…so is this bird the TH beck bird who at last has found love…


Moth night at Raw Nook nr…

On Wednesday my son-in-law and myself did a moth trapping session at Raw Nook nr.  This is only the third time I have trapped at the site.  The evening was dry, cloudy and about 10c.

A few moths were about and a total of 19 different species were caught identified and the released.  Out of the total number 10 were new to Raw Nook nr.  And 4 new species I have added to our groups list.

Tinea semifulvella was one a new species for our area.

The total moth species for Raw Nook nr now stands at 89 and our area list is 288.

Chasing the beauty…

Yesterday turned out to be rather special…I first walked into Toad holes Beck mainly to check for any new arrived warblers but there were none…However something caught my eye at distance near the small pond.  It was a smallish dragonfly but the good news was it landed on some nettles.  A brilliant newly emerged Broad-bodied Chaser..

Given that is was new emerged suggested that it has bred at the site possibly in the last 2 years as the nymph develops in the water for at least a year.  Whilst I have a number of records for the insect in our area this is the first time at TH beck.

Later in the day my granddaughter caught a beetle at Raw Nook nr.  It was photographed and further research revealed it to be a Golden-bloomed Grey Longhorn – Agapanthia villosoviridescens which I have not recorded before.

The Old Lady is doing well…

I have recorded the Old Lady moth since around 2009 at both Caldene fields and Raw nook nr but whilst I strongly believed the moth bred in our area I have never been able to prove this…well that is until today when I found an Old Lady caterpillar fast asleep in the moth trap at Caldene fields which is excellent news…

The Local Status of the moth described by Yorkshire Moths is: : Fairly common and thinly distributed or restricted resident.

Dealburn road Woodland site…

Whilst this nearby site is not in our groups conservation area, we still have a real interest in the site and for my part I keep records and observations for the area.

So it was a welcome sight this morning to see 3 Small Heath butterflies enjoying the sunshine.  I have consistently recorded the species at Dealburn Road which has not been recorded anywhere else locally ( to my knowledge).  Also there was a calling Lesser Whitethroat and with the area having idea nesting habitat…well fingers crossed.

Out of focus…Small Heath at Dealburn Road

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