Purple Hairstreak

phWe are pleased to report there have been several Purple Hairstreak sightings of late. Now is a good time to spot the elusive creatures, who spend most of their time living amongst the branches of oak trees. The warm summers evenings are ideal for spotting them flitting amongst the leaves although getting a photo is not easy. There is more than one oak tree on the site so if you’re interested why not pop down on a warm and sunny evening and take a look. 6:30pm onwards is a good time.

oaktreeleavesI hasten to add the butterfly photo is not one of ours but we are working on that! You only tend to see them from a distance but if you see butterflies in the oak trees, at that time, it is more than likely this is what they are. We saw some tonight in an oak tree in the Northern corner of the North Lawn:

Site map

Bottle digging problems

Bottle digging continues at the Nature Reserve and proves to be a thorny issue. The latest dig was in a discrete area, but leaving broken glass and rubbish exposed is not something you want to encourage on a Local Nature Reserve. The photos here don’t really do it justice, but it would be interesting to hear other people’s opinions on this pastime.

I can see why some of these areas have been dug and some of the finds may be interesting but it is a bit disrespectful to the volunteers, who have worked hard for the site to be awarded Local Nature Reserve status, to be confronted with this.


Butterflies Today

A lovely afternoon with White Letter Hairstreaks – about 30 counted in all with Dave Howson, also seen, Red Admiral (not white unfortunately!), Small Tort, Small Copper, Small and Large Skipper, Comma, and are Les Blues crossing the A65 and moving onto our Reserve?….

Birds this morning, butterflies this afternoon

First Small Skippers out in 1st meadow, White Letter Hairstreak doing well, 7 counted on roadside path through 1st meadow. Also seen, Large White, Red Admiral – speaking of the latter, first in our garden this evening for 2014. Bankings of Brambles looking good for Silver Washed and possibly a White Admiral later this Summer? Marbled white or 2nd brood of holly blue may surprise me soon, but I’m off outnow to find Purple Hairstreaks…hopefully!

Bird watching

During the warmer months my wildlife photography tends to concentrate on Butterflies, but an early morning hour’s mooch around the reserve has good potential for bird watching and photography given the range of habitats in the vicinity. The lagoon is always throwing up surprises – though unfortunately no Otters for me yet….! The river Wharfe extends along the length of the Reserve, along which I have yet to record a Dipper!, but many species around including Mallard, Moorhen, Little Grebe, Little Egret, Redshank, Pied Wagtail, Grey Wagtail, Common Sandpiper, Oystercatcher, Kingfisher, Sand Martin (latter nesting opposite the seat at Eastern End and always a challenge to photograph)! Goldfinches and Blackcaps have been constant companions elsewhere on the Reserve, the Great Spotted Woodpecker always nearby but unfortunately no sign of flycatchers. Several locations around the Reserve are ideal for both Pied and Spotted Flycatcher – so maybe next year?!

Ben Rhydding Gravel Pits, 30-June – 1st July

Ben Rhydding Gravel Pits this past Weekend