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WFV, St Chad's Churchyard, Headingley, 29th Oct 2019

Submitted by Wildlife Field… on Thu, 31st Oct 2019, 5:14pm

The church grounds are locally renowned for their population of waxcap fungi and today was a repeat of the 2018 outing which, although yielding a goodly variety of fungi, produced very few waxcaps. That year was the worst in recent memory for waxcaps & we met with a similar failure at another venue in Mirfield. The consensus amongst the mycological community was that the spring & summer had been unusually dry.

The mini-bus was reluctant to start following several overnight frosts and after an anxious wait for it to be recharged, seven of us set off on a sunny but chilly day. On arrival we met up with Sue and Marilyn who had used their own transport. 

WFV, Stainforth, 15th Oct 2019

Submitted by Wildlife Field… on Wed, 16th Oct 2019, 11:47am

Today was a total contrast to our attempt to watch the leaping salmon at Stainforth Force a couple of years ago. 

The salmon like fast flowing conditions, ideally a couple of days after heavy rain (so this was the compensation for a wet Apple Day event on Sunday), and a pleasant autumn day made for ideal conditions for the on-lookers. 

We parked in Stainforth, started our day by looking at the moths and caddis flies on the toilet block walls, and then followed the Pennine Bridleway down to the Little Stainforth Road. The botanist back-markers enjoyed the walls along the bridleway which were covered in a variety of mosses and lichens, whilst others made their way directly down to the river (with only one person taking a diversion to the café for a late breakfast). A dipper flew past as we arrived. Apart from this I didn’t really pay any attention to the birds today.

WFV North Cave Wetlands 1st October 2019

Submitted by Wildlife Field… on Thu, 3rd Oct 2019, 9:21pm

Alert leader John had read on the day before our trip that Blacktoft Sands RSPB Reserve, our original destination for today’s expedition, had been closed due to flooding and so took the wise decision to switch the venue to North Cave Wetlands, a YWT reserve where we were likely to see a similar selection of birds.  North Cave is an ever-evolving reserve based on a worked-out sand and gravel quarry with on-going adjacent extraction that will eventually form part of the reserve.

Bearing in mind last week’s wet trip to Skipton Woods and a weather forecast that wasn’t too optimistic, it was with some trepidation that ten hardy souls ventured forth into the heavy spray of the M62 heading east.  Five hours later we were all well pleased with our day. 

WFV, Foulridge Canal, 3rd September, 2019

Submitted by Wildlife Field… on Wed, 4th Sep 2019, 6:50pm

A small party of eight set off to Foulridge and after parking up near Foulridge Wharf we set off on the canal towpath towards Mill Hill Bridge. 

The day started dry but rather cloudy but less breezy than of late. Before long we saw a flock of long-tailed tits We watched them for a few minutes before their high-pitched twittering call faded away as they moved on. A nuthatch was heard before being spotted flying across the canal. A little further on the towpath the descending song of willow warblers gave away their presence before a pair were seen in flight. Large numbers of Canada Geese were gathered in a field and not far away there was also a large flock of lapwing. Some unusual looking white geese with knobs on their orange beaks were quite raucous as they bathed in their small pond and interacted with each other ( later identified as Chinese White Geese). 

¬¬Masham North Yorkshire - Leaf Sculpture Trail - 20th August 2019

Submitted by Wildlife Field… on Fri, 23rd Aug 2019, 8:27pm

For this, our last visit of the summer programme, 10 of us visited the charming market town of Masham, Lower Wensleydale, on a beautiful late summer’s day. The plan was to follow the 3 mile circular walk Leaf Sculpture Trail around the area. The trail is made up of 6 leaf sculptures designed and made by Alain Ayers, with the assistance of local businesses and residents; local stone reclaimed from the old railway station platform was used for the project, which was commission by Masham Parish Council. The route proved to include varied habitats with plenty of interest for the botanists.

WFV, Ledston Luck & Roach Lime Hills, 13th Aug 2019

Submitted by Wildlife Field… on Wed, 14th Aug 2019, 3:09pm

The day began with a trip to a garage for a replacement tyre after which Julia sadly had to leave us. We had previously received notice of two cancellations and then we had another absentee on the day; so we were left a select band of six, our driver Kevin, Amanda, Alice, Sue N, Jane & myself.

It was a fresh day following overnight rain. A mix of clouds & blue sky with a northerly breeze but thankfully no rain forecast. Our next disappointment was the toilet stop at Kippax Leisure Centre. This venue nowadays only opens at 13:00 on a Tues! 

Our first site, Ledston Luck, was just 5 min's around the corner. This used to be a coalmine which only closed in 1986 & is now a YWT local NR. We were able to park the mini-bus in the nearby Enterprise CP and then had a walk of a few hundred yards alongside the very busy A656 Ridge Rd to our destination. A party of volunteers were busy at the entrance removing excessive vegetation, one of them known to our driver!

Hirst Wood Burial Ground and Trench Meadow, 30 July 2019

Submitted by Wildlife Field… on Wed, 31st Jul 2019, 12:00pm

Today we stayed local for visits to two contrasting sites. 

We started at Hirst Wood Burial Ground, gathering in the gloom of the wooded burial ground adjacent to Nab Wood Cemetery. BEES Friday volunteer group have been involved in some management of the site over the past couple of winters, so I wanted to return in the summer to collate a species list for the site, and get some ideas about the best way forward to implement the ecological management plan. 

The land is owned by St Paul’s Church and managed by the Hirst Wood Burial Board. Since regular burials ceased in the 1980s, the site has developed into a woodland habitat which the Church recognise as offering value as natural green space and a space to pay respects and for contemplation. The recently devised management plan states the aim to sympathetically manage for both access to graves and support the ecology of the site.

WFV, Three Hagge Wood Meadow Project, 23 July, 2019

Submitted by Wildlife Field… on Wed, 24th Jul 2019, 3:56pm

 On what was destined to be one of the hottest days of the year, 12 of us set off for Escrick near York, to visit the Three Hagge Wood Meadow project.  We were greeted on arrival by Professor Dave Raffaelli and Rosalind Forbes Adam, whose family own the estate on which the project is sited.  Through the introductory talk by Professor Raffaelli we learnt that the site was originally an arable field of 25 acres on which had been planted 10,000 native trees of 28 different species alongside local wild flowers, with the aim of creating a wood meadow ecosystem which could support the most diverse habitat thereby increasing biodiversity.

WFV, Langstrothdale, 16th July 2019

Submitted by Wildlife Field… on Wed, 17th Jul 2019, 3:57pm

You may have believed that the source of the Wharfe was at the northern extreme of Upper Wharfedale, but you would be wrong. It does in fact rise in the above named minor dale.

A full mini-bus driven by Stuart made its way via Bingley, Keighley, Cracoe, & Kettlewell towards our toilet stop in Buckden and then onto our destination New Bridge. The weather began cooler than expected but later warmed considerably, with plenty of sunshine, but always with a keen westerly breeze.