Saturday, 19 May 2018

My... Mr Fly what big eyes you have...

Ramsons (Allium ursinum)

18 May 2018

To day was my first trip to Ben Rhydding Gravel Pits Nature Reserve this year, during the winter months it is a quiet place but in summer it bursts open with flowers and insects.

I had hoped to spot a few Early Orchids but nothing was showing, looking back last year it was June when I took this photo. But the leaves should have been showing.

June 2017

Chiffchaffs were out singing the Willow Warblers so hard to see amongst the trees now the leaves are out.

Field Forget-me-not

Ground Ivy
Wall speedwell
The edges of the path is covered in bramble and flowering Hawthorn trees, it was not hard to spot the many insects making most of the flowering plants.
The first of many Dameselflies

I still need to find a ID for this Damselfly, as you can see it is black with blue stripes, not blue with black stripes ... like the common blue.


Red-and-black Froghopper - Cercopis vulnerata
Leafhoppers, planthoppers, froghoppers, treehoppers and cicadas are a sub-order of insects from the order Hemiptera.
There are around 400 species in the UK



Crosswort is distinctive in that it displays tiny, yellow flowers that surround four-leaved whorls around the stem. The other yellow-flowered member of the bedstraw family, Lady's Bedstraw, has clusters of flowers at the ends of its stems giving it a more 'frothy' appearance.

Ramsons (Allium ursinum)

The bulb of the plant was used to create tonics to relieve rheumatic problems and lower cholesterol, and 
 this species can be used to aid identification of ancient woodland sites.

Ramsons (Allium ursinum)

The grove snail or brown-lipped snail
Beetles represent the largest insect group with around 4,000 species in Britain and 300,000 worldwide. They are easy to recognise as their front wings are hard, covering the second pair of wings and the abdomen. All beetles have biting mouth-parts.

I think this is a Green Leaf Weevil  (Phyllobius maculicornis)

Wood Forget-me-not.

Although Water Forget-me-not may have been the source of many early garden varieties of this popular plant, most are now forms of Wood Forget-me-not. A pretty plant with bright blue flowers, Wood Forget-me-not can be found along woodland rides and edges, in ancient and wet woods, and sometimes in hedgerows and verges as an escaped garden variety. It flowers between April and June.

Wood Forget-me-not has hairy stems and narrow, oval leaves. Clusters of five-petalled, azure-blue flowers with white or orange centres appear at the tops of the stems.(LINK)

Wood Forget-me-not.

Snipe Fly /Male
Snipe-flies are active predators and can often be found sat head-down on fence posts or sunny tree trunks on the look-out for passing prey. They catch smaller insects in flight, taking them back to their look-out post to eat. The larvae live in soil and leaf litter, and are also predatory. The Downlooker Snipe-fly is the most common species. (LINK)

 Fringecup (Tellima grandiflora)

Common Carpet

This fly Gymnocheta viridis  had to be one of my favourite insects I came across to day, it's so ugly but amazing  at the same time. They adults feed on pollen and nectar, whilst the larva feed on caterpillars etc.

Friday, 11 May 2018

This time two years ago... Bolton Abby

Many of you will have visited some part of the Bolton Abby estate over the years and quite familiar with it's landscape, buildings and lovely walks .

I have not been about much on blog land but this does not mean I have not been out... 
Last year I got a E-Bike, but this year I have fallen in love with riding again. Starting out managing to go 7 miles even with the bike assisting me to going out most days from 10 miles to over 30.. I often don't take my camera as i love the freedom of riding. 

But today the bike stayed at home and after the busy Bank holiday I made the trip to Bolton Abby. Parking at Barden Bridge (cost me ten pounds!) Turns out I went two years ago to see the Pied flycatcher on the 10th of May 2016.

A little bit cooler today after the heat we have had... spent a very pleasant four hours just wandering up and down the river.

Starting out at the bridge, which I had not realised was actually a  Aqueduct.

The large turreted bridge which crosses the River Wharfe north of Strid Wood is the aqueduct. The splendid castellations hide the pipe that carries water from the reservoirs at the top of Nidderdale to the cities of West Yorkshire.

The bridge provides the perfect place to cross the river if you wish to shorten the Strid Wood to Barden Bridge circular route.(LINK)

The Dippers like this stretch of the river.

Two young chicks
Common sandpiper

Greater Stitchwort 

 Wood sorrel (Oxalis acetosella)
Rocky walk down to the Strid

The walk through the woods gives you great views of the river Wharf that runs through the Bolton Abby estate .
It was so nice seeing the Bluebells in the dappled sunlight, photos of wood filed Bluebells never seem to capture the real beauty.

Amongst the Bluebells there were many other wildflowers to be spotted.

Toothwort (Lathraea squamaria )

This early flowering plant is parasitic on the roots of trees particularly Corylus avellana (Hazel) and Ulmus sp. (Elm). It isn't common in the north of Scotland or the extremes of east and west in England but in Northern England.

Opposite-leaved Golden-saxifrage,Red Campion, Bugle,Forget-me-not,Water Avens, Ramsons,

Lady's Smock (or Cuckoo flower)

Cavendish Bridge
Cavendish Pavilion

A well needed break of (expensive) coffee and a sandwich.

Grey Wagtail
I walked over the Cavendish Bridge and followed the river back , you end back at the aqueduct bridge (about 2.5 miles) or you can carry on to Barden Towers. I have never walked this way before.

This is the highest part of the walk back looking down on the Strid, all the way I was on the look out for a flycatcher.

Pied flycatcher

The pied flycatcher is a small, flycatching bird, slightly smaller than a house sparrow. The male is mostly black on the upperparts and white underneath, with a bold white patch on the folded wing. Females are browner.

It is a summer visitor and breeds mainly in western areas, spending the winter in West Africa.

Male Redstart 
Barden Towers

Standing on the bridge looking up and down the river.

I had a lovely four hours here, felt I had had my moneys worth (parking) as it had been such a lovely day.

If you have been before I do hope it brought some lovely memories back, if not been you can see it is a beautiful place to visit.