I'm following a tree and wonders at Ben rhydding gravel pits nature reserve






Once a month I have been following a tree, this year it is the turn of the Larch tree.
There are two Larches I am following one a Japanese Larch and the other a Common Larch.

I did miss out on July and this month is a little catch up as things are quiet on the tree.
The new growth is fresh and green, the cones are at full size and have not managed to see much wildlife amongst the trees , just the odd Wood pigeon.
Blackberries are starting to fruit under the tree, and Cleaver's have grown up the branches, I thought they looked a bit like a  Ant hill. Honesty seed pods are green but soon will turn paper thin, they have done well this year hiding in the edge of the tree they are missed my the man mowing the grass.




Ben Rhydding gravel pits nature reserve 


After seeing the White-letter Hairstreak at the park the other day 
I remembered were I had seen some on the internet. 
It had been just down the road from me at  

Ben Rhydding Gravel Pits nature reserve.


Alongside the beautiful river Wharfe near Ilkley the Ben Rhydding Gravel Pits Nature 
Reserve has a variety of habitats and is a great place to observe birds,
 plants,butterflies and Dragonflies and if you're lucky you might even spot a Otter.


The first thing I spotted was this couple of bees mating, she has to be the biggest bee I have ever seen.


Late summer
As the season progresses nests begin producing offspring which are not workers. New queens (females) and males are produced in order to allow the colony to reproduce. The male bees leave the nest and do not normally return. They do not collect pollen and spend their time feeding on nectar from flowers and trying to mate. New queens leave the nest and mate soon after. Mating behaviour varies between species but typically involves several males competing in one way or another. Most males never mate.

Once mated, new queens feed heavily on pollen and nectar, storing the energy as fat inside their bodies. This fat will be used to provide energy during a long hibernation. The old queen and her nest will naturally come to an end as summer turns in to autumn. Only the new queens survive until the following spring, by hibernating underground.(Link)



On their website there is a report they have seen Common Blue here
and this is what I was hoping to see, sadly not to day but I did get to see some other 
Butterflies. 

Small Copper



 Skipper


Small tortoiseshell
Musk Mallow


Eyebright
One of our aims at the Ben Rhydding reserve has been to try and promote a wider variety of native plants for birds and insects and we have already planted many plug plants and spread wildflower seed in a coppiced area of Hawthorn. We are happy to report that, after a long period of little plant life, the latter has sprung into life with new flowers making the most of the extra light now available to them. In a bid to try and understand what sort of plants the reserve would support, Steve Peel, of Natural England and a regular volunteer with us, has also analysed a series of soil samples for us. We were most grateful for his efforts since the information will be very valuable in our continued efforts to enhance the site’s biodiversity. (Link)

Walking the path alongside the river I could hear something in the trees, not the best shot due to the Ivy, but you can just make out a Stoat, I think. Looking at the photo he/she is checking out a old birds nest.






There was a lot of Hoverflies about and insects, I think this one is a Tachinid Fly.


At the far end of the reserve there is a bench up on the banking, I did look out for a Otter but no luck to day.

Meadow Brown


Purple Loosestrife



Green veined white Butterfly

The  White-letter Hairstreak Butterfly has been feeding in the same patch of flowers for weeks and easy to find, they don't fly of like other Butterflies so nice to be able to watch them close up.
They have a really pretty face.




Comma Butterfly
Speckled wood Butterfly 


Having spent over two hours here It was time to go home, I spotted a young frog in the grass, but of before I could get a photo, but this hopper stayed long enough to have it's photo taken.



Ben rhydding gravel pits nature reserve is fast becoming a wonderful place to see nature,
a big thank you has to go to Wharfedale Naturalists Society for all their hard work.



Comments

  1. Nice catch with the stoat. I had no idea about the gravel pits, something for me to check out soon! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Pam, it's a lovely quiet place, good for butterflies at the moment...
      Amanda xx

      Delete
  2. Great to catch up with your trees! The butterfly pictures are wonderful, great work is being done there! xx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Amy, it just shows what a few people can do, becoming a lovely place to visit.
      Amanda xx

      Delete
  3. Hello Amanda, the tree is beautiful. I like the pine cone. Lovely collection of butterflies and the Stoat sighting is neat. The nature reserve sounds great, thanks for sharing your visit. Have a happy day!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Eilleen, glad you like the photos of my trip..
      Amanda xx

      Delete
  4. A lot of great shots and good info Amanda. I have just seen and photographed my first Small Copper in years. The WL Hairstreak was a good capture.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Roy, It was a good day for Butterflies...
      Amanda xx

      Delete
  5. Excellent Amanda and it looks like a fantastic location. Since I have never recorded WL hairstreak myself I might have to enjoy a trip over to Wharfedale some time soon, indeed I could combine it with a trip to the Keighley & Worth Valley Railway :-)

    Great to see the stoat and I enjoyed seeing the Eyebright, one of my favourite flowers :-)

    Kindest regards :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks David both places worth a visit, it's must be a good place for the WL hairstreak, interesting to see if they come back next year..
      Amanda xx

      Delete
  6. Wonderful post Amanda and some gorgeous photos. Just love the White-letter Hairstreak - I think we'll all be visiting this great nature reserve that you have found :) Great picture too of Small Copper - I was saying to David T yesterday I always struggle round here to see this species and still haven't seen one yet this year.

    Lovely to see the stoat too :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks RR, this place can only get better and better, it would be great to see the otter and they have recorded a Little Egret here to. Had a Small Copper at the park last year, still might get one this year. Better to see a Stoat rather than Mink I think.?
      Amanda xx

      Delete
  7. Just amazing photo's Amanda, and the bees are just fantastic.

    Great to see the stoat too, thank you for sharing.

    All the best Jan

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Jan, isn't the bee just wonderful, I could not get over the size of the Queen...
      Amanda xx

      Delete
  8. Cracking pictures of the small coppers especially and that WL Hairstreak is sublime! You do realise how lucky you are having it so still and so close for so long? I'm longing to see one :o) Love the stoat too xxx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks CT, both encounters with the WLH have been the same were they have just stayed on the flower feeding, only moved when I tried to get it on to my finger, they must be well laid back in Yorkshire....
      Amanda xx

      Delete
  9. We have got the decorating bug at the moment, so might take a week of from bloging , unless something really exciting happens..!XX
    Amanda xx

    ReplyDelete
  10. Lovely flowers and butterflies!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Lea glad you liked the post...
      Amanda xx

      Delete
  11. It seems to be a week for stoats, Amanda! What wonderful photos: I'm only so sorry that I didn't have my camera to hand when I saw the one outside our front door. Superb photos ... butterflies, flowers ... so much magnificent wildlife! And those bees are just incredible! happy weekend!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Caroline , glad you liked the post, Otter has been spotted at this place so might get lucky next time.
      Amanda XX

      Delete
  12. Lovely post, great to see the variety of butterflies and what luck to see the hairstreak again! That mass of dead cleavers at the base of the tree reminds me of here, I hate the stuff as it swamps everything. Cool to see and capture the stoat too, but for me the highlight is the mating bumble bees, that's something I've never seen before! xx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Mandy, I could not get over the size of the queen bee, and well made up about the hairstreak as a lot of people have not seen one.
      Amanda xx

      Delete
  13. What an array of wildlife - you only spent 2 hours here, I'd have to spend 2 years to get such amazing pictures. I came across a pair of bees mating in my own garden last year, fascinating stuff! I have not seen a single butterfly here this year and many you have shown I am unfamiliar with. Great post!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Angie, going to make my place to go on a Sunday morning as there is so much to see..
      Amanda xx

      Delete
  14. The stoat was a great find. Loved all the butterflies too - hoping to get out to do some butterfly hunting the next couple of weeks. There's a white-letter hairstreak colony near us but I'm still to spot one. x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Julie, hope you go to see the butterflies...

      Delete
  15. Popped over to check you were ok then read your note about taking a week off for decorating :-). Hope it's going well xx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks CT, so nice of you.. up to my eye's in paint, trouble is you start one room and the rest looks crap ! started on the kitchen now !!!!!!
      Amanda xx

      Delete

Post a Comment