All smiles from Low Moor Banks…

Received some excellent news about the possible Dark Mullein – Verbascum nigrum at Low Moor Banks from Joan Dobson ( Botanist) of BEES.

She has confirmed that the plant is indeed a Dark Mullein and stated ‘ What a record for the site!). It also bring the total of species identified at LMB to 150….

I also had some good news on the moth front with a second known record for our area of a Coxcomb Prominent – Ptilodon capucina

The beautiful but strange looking Coxcomb Prominent

It maybe a ‘Dark’ at Low Moor Banks…

Today I took my lure to the area where I have previously attracted the Six-belted Clearwing moth at Low Moor Banks. This area is near to Dealburn Road where there is an abundance of Bird-foot Trefoil however, the weather was dull and cool, not the kind of weather the moths like. Hence I didn’t attract any.

However, I started explore more around this area and just beyond some Goat Willows I found what I first thought was a Great Mullein – Verbascum thapsus. However, something just seems different about it so I took some photos of the actual flowers, leaves and stem.

And it could be Dark Mullein Verbascum nigrum! which is uncommon in the north and would be a new species for the site.

I have asked Joan Dobson of BEES for her opinion.

I also found a Bee Orchid in poor condition which is possibly one of the two found earlier in the month.

I have to say the lovely Hedge Woundwort Stachys sylvatica (left) is one of my favorite wild flowers with it’s orchid like flowers. And half way up the main path just on the right there is about six just ready to burst into flower.

Also showing off was the large clump of Tansy Tanacetum vulgare. Now the rare Tansy beetle who’s preferred food is the Tansy (But only by water) is only recorded at two UK site!

Is that a beetle I see in the middle of the plant?……Stop dreaming Martyn….

Tansy Without the Tansy Beetle!

A bit of a puzzler…

I went up to Low Moor Banks today armed with my sweep net. I was mainly looking for moths, butterflies and the two Bee orchids which were seen last week.

Sadly I didn’t see any orchids but I recorded 4 male Common Blue butterflies and found 2 yet to be identified micro moths.

However, whist sweeping in some tall grass I found a small beetle…

On closer inspection I thought a Ladybird species…but then thought ” Iv’e not seen one like that before!

I did some research and still nothing fell into place…even thought it must not be a ladybird…But then an image came up of the 10 Spot Ladybird – Adalia decempunctata. Yes I asked the same question..Where are the spots…

Well it is a 10 Spot but of the form ” bimaculata ” And the good news is that this nationally common ladybirds is a new species not only for LMB but for RN and TH Beck as well.

Recent upsurge…

During the last few months I have noticed a welcome upsurge in local and non local people visiting Raw Nook NR. In addition some have been interested in our wildlife and have stopped for a chat.

I have been asked some really interesting questions like… What’s the red and black moths ( Burnet moths ) that I keep seeing flying in the meadow? Is there bats in this area? and What’s that dark brown butterfly with little circles on it’s wings ( Ringlet). And Oh! what’s happened to the pond? ( probable leak)

This interest is great to see and long may it continue.

I had a lovely sight yesterday when a female Southern Hawker dragonfly emerged from the pond and settled on a nearby plant to dry. It stay still in the sunshine for about an hour before flying off over Caldene fields.

A late telephone surprise…

I’m a firm believer in the saying ” Each to their own” and my knowledge of botany is well…OK. However, when I heard some of my botany friends were thinking of doing some survey work at Low Moor Banks…I thought excellent knowing them they will increase the species list for the site.

The weather however, was not kind as it was cool and dull. But the most important issue of the day was that social distancing was maintained throughout.

Joan and Alice two experts enjoying the day…

We had only moved a few metres when the very knowledgeable Joan Dobson stated ” Martyn…we’ve found some Wall Barley Hordeum murinum it’s not on the original list” Then other new species kept coming…as my smile got bigger and bigger!

Sadly there were few butterflies of moths about due to the dull weather but the odd Narrow bordered five spot Burnet moth did make a guest appearance.

Around about 13.00 we decided to call it a day and Joan told me that she would send me the data of any new species that had been found. And talking of finding things NO ORCHIDS had been found.

BUT!!! around about 18.00 I received a phone call from my good friend Joan. ” Iv’e got some good news!..One of the ladies actually decided to stay on a bit and found two rather wet Bee Orchids and a single Common!

Brilliant news…They were found from the main path by taking the first right and they were somewhere off that path….A big thank you to J for her diligent work.

Show stoppers at Low Moor…

But first some interesting news on the Bee Orchids. Sadly still none at Low Moor Banks but I received an interesting email from Shaun who visited Otley wetland a regular site for the Bee Orchid. Shaun explained plenty of Common orchids but surprisingly no Bee Orchids could be found. I just wonder if that hot period of weather we had in spring has affected the orchids?

Anyway show stopper one is the Lime Hawk moth that appeared in my garden today..

Second was from Sue and Geoff ( AKA The Plant finders ! The Early Purple Orchid ) Well they visited Low Moor Banks again and found a Dark Mullien Verbascum nigrum  which is a site first. Thanks again.

Interesting fact…Raw Nook NR has two Dark Mulliens and is not that far from LMB…I wonder if the winds have help the species to get a foot hold at the site.

Still no sign…

Yesterday despite the rain showers I once again visited Low Moor Banks on the Bee Orchid treasure hunt. And once again I failed to find a single orchid. Interestingly last years Bee Orchid area has seen a fairly large encroachment of Ribbed Melilot – Melilotus officinalis. Now whether this has some affect on the orchds..I’m not too such. However, the areas without Melilot still have no orchids…so my thinking maybe totally wrong…

However, on a brighter note..the Narrow bordered 5 spot Burnet moth is having a bumper year at the site…with hundreds seen. Although I could only find a few Six spot Burnet moths.

Whilst I thought the uncommon ( In Bradford) Lesser Whitethroat has not bred at the site this year, now I’m not too sure. As I was looking for the orchid near to last years nest site a male sang briefly before diving for cover….So!…

Exciting news from Low Moor Banks and…

Since the 20th of June I have been looking for the Bee Orchids and the Six-belted clearwing moth at Low Moor Banks.

No look with the Bee Orchid but I did find a single SB clearwing moth and another Long winged conehead nymph (Left) in a different location within the site. This is the second nymph I have found of this rare breeding Bush-cricket which is rapidly moving north.

I also found at least 100+ Narrow bordered 5 spot Burnet moths.

When there are so many males on the wing females can be mated as soon as they leave the cocoon like this pair ( Left).

OK! but what about the Bee orchids?

Well I recently met a couple of knowledgeable naturalists Sue and Geoff at T B beck and drew their attention to the orchids and wildlife at Low Moor Banks.

I then received some brilliant news from Sue who told me: ” We toured the poor grass area where you recommended..(lots of clumps of Lady’s Mantle there) , where we saw quite a bit of Melilot, But no Bee Orchids. However, we found a single Early purple orchid…..Which is a site first!

There was a Common Spotted in front and a huge Early Purple behind which was going over. We saw them from the footpath to the left , above the bank of trees and way down to Oakenshaw park. The flowers were growing in quite lush vegetation on the right of that path.”

A big thank you to Geoff and Sue for checking this area while silly me was checking the normal areas..lesson learnt!

But sadly as yet there appear to be no Bee Orchids at the site. But I will pay another visit in the near future.

Moths have been plenty full with the muggy still conditions and yesterday I recorded 36 different species at Caldene fields with 3 new species for our area. However, there was a couple of show stoppers…here’s one of them!

The stunning Sallow Kitten Furcula furcula

Raw Nook NR on the radio…

I have received a couple of emails stating that they had missed my radio interview about Raw Nook NR and my wildlife records has it was broadcast at a different time on BCB radio as I stated.

Not on for the lime light…but if anyone is fed up of watching there paint dry..ha.ha my interview starts around 13.25 on the time line.


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