Busy Busy June with 3 organised walks.. and our first bee orchid for 14yrs!

We have had a good number of visitors attending, on the 16th June I hosted the Burley walking group, timed to coincide with peak orchid time.

Steve Peel hosted another 30 for the Bradford Countryside walk on 12th June and we had about 12 for the WNS walk on 11 June despite the threat of rain which never really materialised.  Thanks to Ian, Frank, Adam and Brian who attend the work group on the 8th.  Ian and Adam did a great job mending the old bench. Talk to Brad Ornith  Group on 4th.

Has been great to share the results of everyone’s hard work with them all these visitors!

Wildlife highlights included a kingfisher on the lagoon – right on cue for the Nats walk with most people seeing it and our first Bee orchid for c15yrs! Its right by the path – have put some canes next to it so you will easily spot it. It was funny because I had just said to everyone that one of the delights of the reserve was the “occasionals” ie those things that seem to appear and then disappear. I stopped to point out where the musk mallow used to be and John said to me have you stopped here for the bee orchid?  .. what bee orchid I asked .. there it was right at my feet.

The southern marsh/common spotted orchids whilst well down on the last 4yrs are at their peak now – estimate c150 plus some large areas of ragged robin.

In the mini meadow, the yellow rattle is thriving particularly where we have fenced it off.  I have also spotted  a couple of flowers that I didn’t recognise that I will try and ID  have a small patch of stonecrop again something we haven’t seen for a few years.  No sign (yet) of any broad-leaved helleborine – and  on the anglers pond I spotted a few shoots of marsh fern coming through – it’s a relief as I thought we had lost it (We will need to take out some tree branches in the winter as think they are been shaded out)

The anglers have also created floating islands (largely for benefit of fish fry) and covering areas of yellow water lily in attempt to control it (Google earth was updated last year and you will see how extensive it still is)

Birding highlights – goosander and young (last bank holiday) c12 house martins visiting nest holes (today), blackcaps and chiffchaff/willow warbler feeding young (today) regular kingfisher sightings, lots of young blue/great/long tails and wrens, young moorhen on lagoon.

Butterflies – very quiet due to weather and the spring floods? – 1 speckled wood, orange tips and today a painted lady feeding on cow parsley at the east end of the reserve- (which made me think we should sow some seeds on the main site)

Cinnabar moth, banded demoiselle and plenty of damsels





April update -false alarm for a kingfisher nest but surprise visit by barn owl

We made further good progress on the willow hide screen but still have a fair bit to do to make it effective, once complete we can cut some viewing slots. Rachel and Isobel planted up some wood anemones and Ian and his friend Mike (joined us for the first time from friends of Ilkley Moor) moved the rest of the woodbark

The previous Monday I met up with Mark Surgue and his wife who donated money for the bench to WNS/Open Country. They really enjoyed been shown around and he remarked that his granddad would have loved the spot. By coincidence, Brian was also down there. We were hopeful of seeing nesting kingfishers – Jeff Davitt had seen a pair at a hole 20yds upstream from the old bench. With a pair of binoculars, you can see droppings from the male where it perched on the bank adjacent to the hole. We had no luck so maybe its had a change of heart but there were 10 or so sand martins, treecreeper, mandarins (nesting locally?) and a barn owl over the anglers pond ( Denton Hall bird?)  – a first record I know of in past 10+yrs