Rare plant find at Raw Nook NR…

Hands up…I have been that busy with Moths/Butterflies etc. I hadn’t checked my email properly. That’s the first part of the story.

Whilst correcting this issue on the 20/7/21 I noticed one from Leah Poppy who had been down to the reserve on 17/7/21 and found two Monotropa hypopitys or Yellowbird’s-nest https://species.nbnatlas.org/species/NHMSYS0021240704

Then within minutes of reading Leah’s email I received another email from Stuart Tordoff who was down on the reserve with B.B.Es and Alice Gingell and others doing a plant survey to say they had found the same two plants!!!

Research reveals that the BSBI ( Botanical society of Britain & Ireland) hold 603 records for the species and it’s status is : Widespread throughout the UK but increasingly rare in the north and west.

I have submitted the record to the BSBI ( finder Leah Poppy ) and the Bradford Botany Group as it is an excellent record for the reserve.

Myself and Peter Gurney WYT went down later in the afternoon and found the plants which was a really exciting experience.

If anyone would like to see our important VIPlant…please email me for direction within the site at mvi.priestley@blueyonder.co.uk

May I take this opportunity to thank Leah Poppy and all my good friends at B.B.Es for finding this wonderful unusual Yellow bird’snest, plant


Summer Activities with Yorkshire Wildlife Trust

May be an image of 1 person and text
May be an image of 1 person and text

Some great news for the school holidays. Sarah and her team from YWT are running a number of really excellent summer activities at ”Our” local nature reserve..Raw Nook. And it’s free!!!

And even better news is parent and guardians don’t miss out as they can join in the fun and learn new skills and enjoy our wonderful wildlife.

Please see leaflet opposite for more information

Or better still Join https://www.facebook.com/groups/BUD.Bradford/

Bradford Botany Group excel…

As you maybe aware myself and Peter from YWT welcomed the Bradford Botany Group to Low Moor Banks on 23/6/21 for an updated plant survey of the site.

The original plant list stood at 157 species.

The group on the night found an excellent total of 129 species.

Finding a further 31 new species! which brings the total to 188 species for Low Moor Banks

Below is a list of the new species that were found and the full list of plants for Low Moor Banks can be found under Plant Species (Scroll down) on the main page of this website.

May I take this opportunity to once again thank all the members of the group for their assistance and knowledge in help us to demonstrate what a wonderful wildlife site this is.

Please find below the new 31 Species found by the Bradford Botony Group.

Hairy Dog rose Rosa corymbifera

Raspberry Rubus idaeus

Goat Willow X Grey Willow  Salix x reichardtii

Common Figwort Scophularia nodosa

Orange Whitebeam Sorbus croceocarpa

Broad-leaved Whitebeam Sorbus latifolia

Wych Elm Ulmus glabra

Short-fruited Willowherb  Epilobium obscurm

Meadowsweet Flipendula ulmaria

Shining Crane’s-bill Geranium lucidum

Druce’s Crane’s-bill Geranium x oxonianum

Wood Avens Geum urbanum

Hoary Mustard Hirschfeldia incana

Hoary Ragwort Jacobaea erucifolia

Hybrid Larch Larix I marschlinsii

Heath Wood-rush Luzula multiflora ssp.multiflora

Spreading Meadow-grass Poa humilis

Smooth Meadow-grass Poa pratenis

Wild Cherry Prunus avium

Sessile Oak Quercus robur

Field Maple Acer campestre

Norway Maple Acer platanoides

Creeping Bent Agrostis stolonfera

Grey Adler Alnus incana

Alder x Grey Alder Alnus x hybrid

Marsh Foxtail Alopecurus geniculatus

Soft-Brome Bromus hordeaceus

Grey Sedge Carex divulsa spp.leersii

Oval Sedge Carex leporine

Dogwood Cornus sanguinea ssp.australis

Bullate Cotoneaster Cotoneaster rehderi

Now! Lunar landings at Raw Nook NR

Following on from the discovery by using a pheromone lure of a Lunar Hornet moth Sesia bembeciformis at Low Moor Banks on 28/6 I thought I would buy a lure to see if Raw Nook held the species.

The species breeds in damp woodland with Willows present. So I thought Raw Nook with it’s abundance of Goat Willows would be ideal.

The first day’ attempt proved unsuccessful. But I went the following day and hung the lure (Opposite left ) on a Goat Willow branch by the bench in the meadow.

After about ten minutes my heart skipped a beat as two large wasp like insects came into view.

Brilliant they were Lunar Hornet moths…a new species for the reserve!

I now aim to try the lure in TH Back to see if the species is there too as there are plenty of Goat Willows in the area.

It is thought in the moth world and probably right too that the species maybe more common than we realise as they are wasp mimics and very difficult observe without the use of a lure.

As I now know the species is in Raw Nook. I will therefore not use the lure again at the site as a pheromone lure which contains the scent of the female can disrupt the breeding cycle of the moths

Lunar landing at Low Moor Banks!

The Blackneck moth is not a common moth in the Bradford area and a friend of mine who also records moth really wanted to see one. So on the 28/6 I took me to Low Moor Banks as I have regularly recorded the moth at this site.

However, he brought with him a Lunar Hornet moth pheromone Lure which hold scent of the female moth.

Therefore before we started to look for the Blackneck moth John suggested we hang the lure on a nearby Goat Willow to see what happens.

Within a about a minute!!! there was a cry from John ” Martyn quick” I ran to the lure and WOW…The lure had attracted a male Lunar Hornet moth…A new species for the site.

However, there was a bit of sadness for me as my camera JAMMED!! So well done to John for taking the photos of the moth.

When our astonishment and excitement had died down we decided to look for the target moth the Blackneck.

I took John to an area I had seen the moth before. And our luck was still with us as straight away I shouted ” I’ve got one John only for John to rely ” I’ve also got one!”

We caught the moths in a net and carefully placed them in a glass container so John could get photos of his long awaited Blackneck moth.

Both moths were released safely back into the area we found them.

So a big thank you to John for bringing the LH moth lure and now another uncommon moth has been added to this excellent urban wildlife site’s species list.

An evening with the Botany group

On Wednesday 23/6 the Bradford Botany Group conducted some valuable survey work at Low Moor Banks. At present the plant/tree species list for the site stands at 151 and the more new species that are recorded the better the conservation for the site will be.

As the experts got to work even the new up and coming botanists were on their knees enjoying one of the 3 Bee Orchids on show.

Interestingly only one Bee Orchid was found in their usual place just off the main path and the other three were found at their old site at the top of the area in a glade by the Alder trees.

There were plenty of ” Oh! now this is interesting ” as the group progressed. Andrew from the group had the important job of not only identifying but recording all the species found.

Whilst I was trying to learn from the expert botanist I was also keeping an eye out for any moths, butterflies and birds.

And thankfully there were plenty of Narrow-bordered five-spot burnet about and I even had help in finding them from the ‘ very young botanists!

When we got the top of the site there was a discussion about a Sedge species that had been found and some leaves were taken for further examination. Then one of the group turn to me and said ” If this is what I think it is….This will be the best site in Yorkshire for the species!

Music to my ears…

On a previous visit to the site I had found 4 Southern Marsh orchids but a further three were found which was great news.

As more and more species were added to the list my ears pricked up as I heard a brief call of a Lesser Whitethroat ( An uncommon bird in the Bradford area ).

It then called again from the same location. This is great news and given the date suggests the species may have bred. A further visit is planned.

So it was an excellent and enjoyable night and judging by the excitement on some of the botanists faces…I can’t wait to receive the complete list of species found and fingers crossed there will be some new species to add to the growing list at Low Moor Banks.

I will update when I receive the completed list of species found.

Our uncommon beetle causes international debate…

On the 14th of June I was opening the moth trap when a rather large unusual beetle crawled out. Now my knowledge of Coleoptera (beetles) is limited to say the least so I took some photos for later investigate.

I ended up on the Coleoptera Facebook site and a chap from Sweden suggested it might be a Ancistronycha abdominalis. https://www.coleoptera.org.uk/species/ancistronycha-abdominalis

Then Michael Geiser replied: This is indeed Ancistronycha abdominalis! Not a very common species. Nice find!

Then a debate started about the beetle with others from Europe asking Michael Geiser for his advice. I researched Mr Geiser and realised why they were asking him for advice…..He is the Curator at the Natural History Museum and he has now gained even more valuable knowledge …The location of our wonderful urban wildlife haven!

There are very few dragonflies about at Caldene fields and Raw Nook NR at the moment due to the damaged dried up pond. However, I saw 4 Southern Hawker dragonflies emerge and fly off yesterday from my garden pond which was great to see.

Talking of ponds Mark Brookes contacted me to say that yesterday he had seen a terrapin in the pond at TH Beck. Now for those that can remember we had a terrapin in the pond at Raw Nook NR and I just wonder if as the pond dried out it moved to TH Beck….but what about the railway line…Hmm

The Roe deer was sighted again walking early morning on Caldene Avenue…giving a surprise to the lady as she open her blinds!

Low Moor Banks surprises…

Yesterday I went to Low Moor Banks to do some recording work and look for any early Bee Orchids. Sadly I could not find any orchids but it is slightly early for this site so not too down hearted.

However, there were some surprises. Small Heath butterflies (opposite) were out in record numbers with a minimum count of 29 recorded!

Perhaps the biggest surprise ( given there is no water) on the site was a female Emperor dragonfly (A site first) hunting over the meadow.

I netted a Two-spot Ladybird which is also a site first.

Two new moth species were added to my moth list for the site a Ancylis badiana & a Grapholita Compostitella.

Talking of moths I used my Six-belted Clearwing lure at a large patch of Birds foot trefoil and attracted a single clearwing.

Three male Common Blue butterlies were on the wing but no females.

At least one pair of Common Whitethroat has bred at the site as I saw an adult with a juvenile.

Also a juvenile Willow Warbler was seen suggesting the species has also bred.

A total of 4 new species were added the Low Moor Banks species lists with a further 2 species needed further ID work.

Nest Box joy & that Roe deer

You may remember that Peter Gurney from the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust put up some nesting and bat boxes up in Raw Nook NR and TH Beck. The boxes were put up well into the new year and really the best time is during the previous autumn and we both thought probably nothing will nest this year but they will be occupied next year.

Well I have been keeping an eye on the boxes….well not good enough apparently! as yesterday I saw a Blue tit with food trying to coax nestlings out of one of the boxes. Then a little head popped out and the nestlings flew to it’s parent and away into cover. So where’s the photo…I didn’t take my camera!!!

However, Andy at Oakenshaw didn’t forget his camera…

I received this photo of the Roe Deer that has been recently seen in our area. First sighted at Oakenshaw at 17.30 !!! just strolling along.

The following day it was seen at Raw Nook NR and then Bradford south golf course and no doubt into Odsal wood.

So you never know what you may see in our urban oasis!

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