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Brilliant news from Dealburn road…

The Clearwing moths ( Sesiidae ) are active by day but very elusive. Recently sex pheromones lures have come onto the market where a male (if in the area of the lures ) arrives thinking a female is in the locality, thus giving the observer a chance to record these uncommon/rare moths.

I did my research and found that the Six-Belted Clearwing is found in grassy areas with it’s food plant of Bird’s foot trefoil. DEALBURN ROAD!

So I bought a lure and today at the site I found what I hoped was the best location and as the yellow Trefoil blew in the wind I hung the lure up….

Within about 20 minutes not one but three
Six-Belted Clearwings came in. Brilliant news…

I now need to prove that the species is resident at the site as the lure can attract a male from a distance away so further surveys will take place. Yorkshire Moths status for the moth is National Status: Nb. Local Status: Rare and local resident.



White-letter Hairstreak butterfly…

Went to my daughters house in Birkenshaw last night. Parking the car in the drive and my eye was caught to a small brown butterfly on the house wall.

Amazingly the butterfly was a very worn White-letter Hairstreak..

Now there was an report a good number of years ago of someone seeing a WLH on an Elm tree at Raw Nook NR.

I have since searched and searched over the years for this uncommon elusive butterfly at Raw Nook NR but to no avail….but this sighting…well it’s given me renewed optimism.

Buzzing about the Bio-blitz…

Well the day had finally arrived our big 24 hour Bio-Blitz with the YWT and the sun was in all its glory.   The main aim was to find and record as many species of flora and fora in Toad holes Beck and Raw Nook NR within a 24 hour period as well as enjoying the local bio-diversity.  In addition there were various organised activities throughout the day.

I personally set off at 11 am and wandered into Raw Nook Nr to look for butterflies to record.  On the way I saw at 2 Painted Lady butterflies….brilliant but there was more to come at Raw Nook Nr as I found a Small Heath butterfly….

A site first!!! with the nearest colony been at the Dealburn Road site at Low Moor.

More butterfly news came when the YWT conducted a guided plant and tree walk and found a further 2 Painted Ladies. All these butterflies looked very pale and worn suggesting these migrants had traveled a long distance.

The day seemed to fly by and it wasn’t long before there was a group gathering for the pond dipping session at 5.30pm.

The event was well attended with children’s faces beaming with excitement as they caught and identified (With the help from Sarah from the YWT) numerous pond creatures.

Excited children at the pond dipping ( Some adult also wanted to join in the fun!! )

After my tea I returned to YWT gazebo to be met with big smiling faces…..

Peter Gurney ( YWT officer) had been walking up a small path at Toad Holes Beck where against all the odds he had found a Bee Orchid which has never been recorded before at the site…Brilliant news Peter.

An excellent count of 25 people turned up for the YWT’s Bat Walk at 9 pm and the bats certainly didn’t disappoint…

It was then time to put out my moth trap to see what species of moths we could record.  We also went into Raw Nook putting a sugar/alcohol mixture on some of the trees and watched and recorded various moths feeding…Well…what else would you want to do at 3 am in the morning!!!!

The moth trap was finally opened at 7 am and it was a real delight to note how many people were interested in these wonderful insects.

At 8 am the moment everyone was waiting for the opening of the small mammal trap laid down by experts from the YWT. 

Wood mouse

Brilliant… 2 Bank Voles and 3 Wood mice (which is a new species for our group) were caught. The rodents were then released back to their homes by some very… excited children..

It was now 9am and I was shattered…but just had enough energy to conduct a Bird song Walk.  However, coming back through Toad Holes Beck a member of the YWT shouted ‘ Tree Creeper ‘

Now hands up Martyn I thought no way…I have only 2 records of this rare visitor and both are in autumn…But she was right a stunning adult Tree Creeper..Well done!!!

As yet myself and Peter Gurney have not formulated all the records but my guess would be over 200 species were identified and logged with at ‘least’ 4 new species for our recording area. Further details to follow.

A big ‘Thank You’ to Sarah Goldsmith and Peter Gurney from YWT for all their hard work in making the event such a success.

Buzzing at Dealburn road…

Today I went to look for the Bee Orchids at Dealburn road wildlife site. After a little searching I found an amazing 24 of these beautiful Orchids.

Many are still to bloom so they should be on show till around early July. If anyone would like to see them please email me for more information at http://mvi.priestley @blueyonder.co.uk.

Also there was a further surprise when I saw a Painted Lady butterfly fluttering by…another Painted Lady was also seen later on at Caldene fields. This follows on from a small influx that have come into the country….so watch out they may be some near you..

Exciting times…

Well! some exciting news to report…firstly a date for your diary…

The 29th of June…which is the day of our BioBlitz (An event in which volunteers work together to find and identify as many species as possible)

But it’s not only about identifying species….The event has been organised in the main by the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust ( thanks Sarah..) with plenty of exciting activities for everyone. So come along with the family and do some pond dipping, find out why birds sing, and the bat walk was brilliant last year…so come along and enjoy the wonders of an urban oasis….

EPSON MFP image

And the second exciting news is our groups new emblem .

Sightings and news…

A new Ladybird was added to our list on the 1/6 when I found a tiny 14 Spot Ladybird at Caldene fields.

It was very nearly overlooked due to it’s size and I had to photograph it on a piece of material so it would show up!

A stunning Eyed Hawk-moth was at Caldene fields on the 2/6

And today at Raw Nook Nr I found a Micropterix aruncella a very tiny micro moth which is a site first.

Sadly the pond at Raw Nook NR despite recent rain has not filled up or managed to hold any water…which is a real blow to the bio-diversity of our area. To illustrate this point I have recorded only 1 Damselfly at Raw Nook NR this year to date…..usually good numbers can be recorded.

And finally our group for a long time has wanted a motif to represent the group and our kind friends at the YWT (with our input) have come up with 3 excellent designs….The final design is…..well just a couple of thing to sort out first and then I’ll be ”JUMPING ” with joy to reveal all…

Yorkshire Yellow Rattle Society…

Last year Clare our chair person arrange a workday with employees of the Yorkshire Building Society at Raw nook NR.

Some helped dig up sapling Silver Birches which were encroaching into the heathland.

Whilst others helped clearing small patches of vigorous grasses from the meadow ready for the seeding with yellow Rattle. So why Yellow-rattle, well it is an annual wildflower that thrives in grasslands, living a semi-parasitic life by feeding off the nutrients in the roots of nearby grasses.

So establishing Yellow-rattle is an excellent way of controlling grasses and increasing a nectar rich wildflower meadow. Well….did the YBS boys and girls complete their task and get the Yellow-rattle seeds to germinate?

Yellow-rattle just starting to appear ( MARKED IN RED)

Yes they did…all the areas cleared now have small numbers of
Yellow-rattle seedling growing…

So in about another week they should all flower and thanks to YBS our local insects will have plenty of nectar to feed on…

A surprise at Dealburn Road…

On Saturday 25/5 I decided to leave our recording area and visit the nearby Dealburn Road ( Woodland site ) at Low Moor with the aim of doing some survey work. I have kept wildlife records for this promising wildlife site since 2012 with the aim understanding more about it’s bio-diversity.

One of my main aims was to look for daytime moths. I had just entered the site when I saw a small micro moth in some nearby grass. A quick photo revealed the moth to be a Grapholita lunulana



I recorded a single Grapholita lunulana at the site in 2016 and thought it was just a lucky find but on Saturday I recorded 10 strongly suggesting the moth may breed at the site.

The moth’s status is described by Yorkshire moths as : Nationally Scarce B: Local Status: Rare and local resident

Mother Shipton moth

In addition I found 2 Mother Shipton moths which is a new species for the site.

By the way the name for the moth refers to the forewing markings, which appear to show an old lady or witch’s head…

Increase in moths species…

It’s far too early in the season to suggest moths appear to be increasing in numbers and species this year in our recording area. However, I started recording moths late this year…14th of May. And so far I have recorded 24 different moths of which 3 are new species for our area.

Above is one of the 3 new micro moths, the Cocksfoot moth found in the heather at Raw Nook. The other two were Cauchas rufimitrella &
Esperia sulphurella both at Caldene fields.

These 3 new species bring our moth species list to 319

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