A depleted group of three met up at Ripon City Wetlands on this fine but breezy day. We were joined by Stuart and Yvonne (the boat people). The visit met all expectations more especially botanically. Much interest was shown in the odanata, however bird species were limited.
This newly created YWT reserve occupies a disused sand and gravel quarry with lakes, grassland, ponds, hedgerows and canal side. The facilities include a wooden gazebo ( we took lunch there away from the wind), picnic tables, several attractive information boards, a hide and well made gravel paths.
The extent and variety of the summer flora was stunning! Alice recorded 117 species the greatest number for any Bees trip. Here are some of the highlights. Some of the less familiar plants were :- Bristly Ox-tongue, Giant Bellflower, Common Centaury and Common Spotted Orchids. Birdsfoot Trefoil was dominant throughout the reserve. Other plants included Rough Chervil, Wild Carrot, Greater Burnet Saxifrage, and Hemlock Water Dropwort. The walk along the canal bank was a real treat with White and Yellow Water Lilies, Meadow Cranesbill, Common Valerian, Water plantain, Water Figwort: Bulrush and Spiked Rush.
Stuart is a keen photographer and dragonfly specialist. We saw Common Blue damselfly, Blue tailed damselfly and Banded demoiselle. Also an interesting cluster of Mullein caterpillars on Figwort. Butterfly species included Ringlet in good numbers, Meadow Brown, Small Skipper and Red Admiral. Bird species seen included Pied wagtail, Oystercatcher, Heron, Buzzard, Yellowhammer, as well as Swans and Black headed gulls. ( The reserve is worthy of a visit in November for the Starling murmuration).
In summary this was an excellent day out for those involved who included Alice, John, myself, Stuart and Yvonne. It comes with a strong endorsement to be included in a future Bees programme.?!
We were very fortunate in having Stuart join us for the day. He has provided us with some stunning images which can be viewed in the Gallery.