This was a solo visit by Nick in the end! Having crashed to the far end of the pond with a hand held bat recorder all I had to show was a number of Common pipistrelle in the 90mins of recording plus a couple of Common frogs serenading (bit late for that?) so I came home feeling it was not worth it. Checking the results of the static recorder I left by the car it was nice to find recordings of both Common and Soprano pipitrelle, Noctule and also a Myotis bat species. None of these were in great numbers but certainly would have been a more interesting spot to stand. Not sure about whether it is worth adding bat boxes at this stage. Another visit may be worth it.
A good turn out of 10 people helped check the FC boxes left after last weeks round. A total of 61 good boxes were checked at 3 sites and some 19 boxes that were damaged were removed for repair where possible. In the morning sets at Broadhead and in Wykeham were checked but, after last weeks excellent result, we only had 16 Soprano pips. The differentiation between the two species using wing venation and ‘smell’ still causes a fair bit of discussion but concensus is slowly improving. 5 went on to finish off the boxes in Cropton in the afternoon but sadly this was a complete blank. It did give people a chance to have a look at the Juniper that was growing there.Before we put up any replacement boxes there we plan to have an evening visit with bat detectors to see what bats are around the area as it may be that on the edge of the moor it is too windy and cold to have much success. We will also look at old records to see what has been found there in the past.
8 people managed to respond to their alarms and get out on the dawn chorus walk at Forge Valley. Birds were a little different to last year, for example more Blackcaps but only a single brief Marsh tit. There was a brief sighting of a Tawny owl and the Grey wagtails put on a good show near the car park. It was then on to ‘The Kennels’ for tea/coffee and a bacon buttie kindly provided by Louise.
Ten Members gathered at Hay Bridge at 6pm and were shown around this private wetland Stewardship Scheme by professional Ornithologist Chris Bradshaw. The pastures north of the Scarborough-York railway line were walked, and several pools within the fields were visited. Water levels are generally fairly low at this time of year to allow for agricultural work, but most of the pools retained some water.
The main interest was in the birdlife, although a few plant species were recorded. Birds of prey featured quite well, with Sparrowhawk, Kestrel, Common Buzzard and Barn Owl seen, but the highlight was of a juvenile Hobby overhead as the group assembled to leave about 8-00pm.
Edible Mushroom (Agaricus campestris).
Greylag Goose (over 470 feral birds).
Great Black-backed Gull.
On a very overcast evening 14 members met at the main car park in Forge Valley and walked North along the board walk and riverside.
The Botanists were successful finding the following.: Herb paris (paris quadrifolia); Great Horsetail (Equisetum telmataea ); Alternate-leaved Golden Saxifrage (Chrysosplenium alternifolium); Opposite-leaved Golden Saxifrage (c.oppositifolium); Large Bittercress ( Cardanune amara) and Early Purple Orchid (Orchis nuascula).
Fungi found was Microbotyrum violaceum (A Rust) and Polyporus squamosus (Dryad’s saddle).
The Birders struggled in the deteriorating light but 3 separate Tawny Owls were heard and a Curlew flew over. Other birds seen; 2 Song Thrushes; Blackcap; Wren; Goldcrest; Pheasant; Great Spotted Woodpecker; Marsh tit; Robin; Chaffinch and 3 Mallard.
Returning south we walked to a viewing area where Brian Walker and Brian Cockerill used the Bat detector to tape some Pipistrelle bats flying along the river.
After an enjoyable evening the meeting closed at 21-15 hrs
The Society’s Outdoor Evening Field Trip to Ellerburn Bank on the 25th was a great success. There were also a number of guests from Whitby and Ryedale Nats. A number of orchids were seen, ie. Fly, common spotted, greater butterfly, northern marsh and an undetermined hybrid.
Graham Featherstone ran a moth trap and caught a good number of moths.
There were excellent sightings of nightjars and bats and rounding everything off 3 female and one male glow worms were discovered.
Fly orchid photo by Ian Glaves.