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Lunar Hornet Moth found at T H Beck…

Yesterday I took my Lunar Hornet Moth pheromone lure to Raw Nook NR and hung it up by the bench in the meadow area. The reason I placed it there is that the uncommon LH Moth likes Sallows and Goat Willow habitat and last year I attracted a male moth at that location.

I only had to wait about 10 minutes before a male was attracted to the scent of the female within the pheromone lure.

Now last year I tried it at T H Beck with no luck. So I thought I would give it another go.

I hung the lure by the large pond with lots of mature goat Willows.

Well with about 2 minutes a rather frisky male was around the lure…A brilliant record for the site. I now know that the species is at RN nr, THB and nearby Low Moor Banks.

It is now thought in the moth circles that because of the Lunar Hornet Moth pheromone lure this moth may not be as uncommon as first thought as a good number of records are now turning up.

New species found at the YWT family fun day

Sarah explaining to some excited children the day’s events

Well I have just about recovered from the family day and ‘ALL’ night event with the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust.

Sarah Goldsmith, Peter Gurney and their excellent team put on the event and with so many experts on hand I knew new species would be found for the reserve.

My main role along with Peter and Simon was finding new moth species with the aid of a sweep net and moth traps.

However, the event got off to a great start with Peter finding some Betony in the wildflower meadow, which is a new species for the reserve.


Peter and his team shaking the trees to catch and identify the fallen insects.

As always the pond dipping at Toad Holes Beck was very popular and encouragingly many Smooth newt tadpoles were found.

Time just seemed to fly by as it was soon time for the bat walk when Peter lent all the excited children their own bat detector! Four Common pipistrelle were at RN and at Toad Holes Beck six Noctule bats put on a fabulous display in the early twilight.

At 3.30am myself and Simon had an excellent experience at Caldene fields when we were near surrounded by a minimum of 9 Common pipistrelle bats feeding ‘ Inches ‘ above our heads!!

Then it was the turn to see how the moths had faired. However, sadly the night was cool and a total of only 31 species were recorded. However, 9 were new species for the reserve including 3 which are new for our recording area bringing my overall total to 411 species.

Heart warming to hear a child say I love moths…The stunning Elephant Hawkmoth…..

An adult Hedgehog was in the meadow at Raw Nook NR ( A welcome sighting) and 2 Wood mice were also recorded.

Apart from the new moth species for the reserve, 2 new plant species were recorded ( Including Wood Sage ha..ha Peter), and we now know Hedgehog and Wood mouse use the reserve. A new Hoverfly species was added to the species list and we also know that there is a healthy population of Noctule bats at T H Beck.

So I have to thank wholeheartedly Sarah Goldsmith, Peter Gurney and all other members of YWT team for staging this excellent unforgettable event!!!

Exciting news from Oakenshaw…

After seeing my blog about Tree Sparrows in nearby Birkenshaw, Chris who lives in Oakenshaw contacted me with some exciting news!

He wrote ” For at least the last three winters three Tree Sparrows have joined our resident house sparrows and visited my feeders daily here in Oakenshaw. ” Thank you Chris!

This is exciting news, Is the Tree Sparrow hanging on in small number somewhere in our area?

So if anyone sees a Tree Sparrow in the Low Moor/Oakenshaw area would you let me know with location and date please . Ok I’m dreaming but if they are hanging on we could put conservation methods in place for them to possibly bred.

If anyone is a bit unsure of the identification between the Tree Sparrow & House Sparrow this RSPB link may be useful

https://www.rspb.org.uk/birds-and-wildlife/wildlife-guides/bird-a-z/old-world-sparrows/

Exciting news from our neighbouring area

Yesterday I went for a new walk around the farmland at Birkenshaw which is about 3 miles east of Raw Nook NR. I had only been there a couple of minutes when I heard the call of an overhead Tree Sparrow!

I then found 3 in a Hawthorn bush. Now as we know the Tree Sparrow is now an uncommon/almost rare bird in some parts of the UK especially Bradford! I then spoke to a local farmer who told me ” I have a about 8 TS regularly feeding on my bird feeder….They have been here for years!!!! The last time I recorded a TS in Low Moor/Oakenshaw was about 10 years ago.

Southern Hawker Dragonflies have been emerging from my garden pond in good numbers so keep in look out in Raw Nook NR around the pond area.

On Tuesday I went to Low Moor Banks and found 17 Small Heath butterflies and 3 Common Whitethroats in song.

Also on Tuesday at RNook two new micro moths were added to the species list as well as a new Diptera (Fly) species. All are relatively common in the Yorkshire area.

Orchids are starting to appear at Low Moor Banks according to Peter Gurney so a walk around the site might produce some good specimens. Any records will be most welcome..

Whilst moths might not be everyone’s cup of tea!

Well…I wonder this moth which was at Caldene fields last night is called the Beautiful Golden Y – Autographa pulchrina

Late news: A male Brimstone butterfly was at Caldene fields on 10/6

A good day on the Patch!

Firstly against all the odds the Coots at Raw Nook pond have a family!

This morning I saw one small chick been fed deep in cover in the Bogbean. This is the first time the species has bred at the site.

There was more good news at TH Beck with a blast from the past, a Little Grebe appeared on the large pond.

I have not recorded the species for about 5 years which is sad as it was a regular breeder at the site. So fingers crossed!!

And the good news kept coming with an excellent count of 5 Southern Orchids at Toad Holes Beck at their normal area.

Also whilst looking in the area I found not one but two Ragged Robin plants which are a site first for our recording area. I suspect there have establish with the wet spring.

I have some research to do on a couple of hoverflies and a beetle, but all in all it was a good day on the patch..

New breeding record

Yesterday I managed to find three 2-spot Lady birds at Caldene fields. Two of them were… well…spring was in the air. But on a serious note, this is a confirmed breeding record which is valuable information for the ecology of the site and it’s protection.

Also some may remember the work we did on the meadow at Raw Nook Nr a few years ago. We cleared patches of vigorous grasses and putting down Yellow Rattle seeds.

Now Yellow Rattle is an annual and it lives a semi-parasitic life by feeding off the nutrients in the roots of nearby grasses which in turn helps to reduce it’s vigorous grasses.

Well our work is starting to pay dividends with the many clumps of Yellow Rattle now forming all over the meadow which is great news!

In the clumps of YR we can then plant wildflowers which will grow better as they which won’t have to complete with the vigorous grasses.

House Martin are now starting to arrive with 3 probable local birds today flying over Raw Nook NR.

Found a possible new moth larva at TH Beck today but need a bit more research before fully sure…

Old friend returns…

Yesterday at Toad Holes beck I was checking on whether the Coot eggs have hatched…and thankfully at least one pair are feeding chicks.

However, I had a surprise when I saw the Terrapin which I personally have not seen at the site for at least 10 years.

Anyway he or she seems to be doing very well and appears to be a lot bigger than I last remember.

However, there could be a bit of a mystery here as I’m sure many will remember the Terrapin at the pond at Raw Nook NR. It lived in that pond for many years but disappeared when the pond first dried out in 2018. Could this Terrapin at THB be the Raw Nook NR one?

Swifts are slowly starting to arrive now with 3 on the 9/5…2 on11/5 and a single today all observed from C fields and all moving N/W.

Wildlife gardening…

If anyone is interested in wildlife gardening and in particular establishing an urban wildflower meadow I brought out my latest Youtube video on How to maintain a wildflower meadow. Checkout my other wildlife gardening videos…Might be of interest…

How to Maintain a Wildflower meadow…The Spring Trim – YouTube

Two Swifts the first of the season flew N yesterday over Caldene fields. No sign of the Sedge Warbler at Toad Holes Beck.. Unfortunately.

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