HARROGATE NATURALISTS: MEMBERS’ DAY
SUNDAY 20th JULY 2014
With the temperature rising, it was a good start to the day as we began by concentrating on butterflies among the creeping thistles; Meadow Brown, Gatekeeper, Ringlet, Small Skipper and Small Tortoiseshell being the most noticeable. A superb Comma was admired and photographed and a late Cinnabar moth flew by. Carpets of Common Centaury, Yellow-wort, Bird’s-foot Trefoil and Self-heal provided a colourful backdrop to the scene.
A visit to the lakeside was very productive for dragonflies with an Emperor patrolling close by, a Black-tailed Skimmer posing on the shoreline for the photographers, with Common Darters and Four-spot Chasers within feet of the members.
After lunch, we searched the area around the pond for the four species of damselfly present, the main attraction being Emerald damselfly, which was soon seen. Brown Hawker dragonflies zoomed overhead and Four-spot Chasers held territory. The site for the White-letter Hairstreak was the next stop but, due to the prolonged hot weather, the bramble flowers on which the butterfly can usually be seen at close range, were almost over. After much searching, several were seen at the top of the elm tree. Soon after this, the afternoon’s observations were brought to a speedy conclusion with a tremendous downpour that lasted 30 minutes.
Not forgetting the birds, a Common Buzzard surveyed the scene from its perch on the pylon, four Common Redstarts were present and, on the lake, were family parties of Common Terns, Mute Swans, Great Crested and Little Grebes, while the constant activity of the Sand Martins all added interest to an excellent day – though the heat was too much for some!
June E. Atkinson Honorary Warden