New Butterfly for Ox Close Wood

The Silver-washed Fritillary (Argynnis paphia) has been seen for the first time by Trust members on 12th July ’19. Comparing the various photos that have been taken since then, there appear to be two males and a female. It’s likely that they have spread from colonies near Bramham. The butterfly recorder for VC64 advises that he has a record of one seen on two or three occasions last year – so this year’s sightings are not the first for the wood.

Silver-washed Fritillary (Argynnis paphia), a male showing the sex brands on its forewings.

Seen recently in the area

Common Green Shield Bug

This is a Common Green Shield Bug, Palomena prasina, laying eggs on a walnut leaf.  It used to be uncommon in Yorkshire – restricted to southern England – but has moved northwards. Despite its name this species is less often seen than the Hawthorn Shield Bug. Shield bugs are not beetles but are from the true bug family of insects, related to cicadas, pond skaters, leaf hoppers and aphids.

Summer Bird Survey

A small group, six adults and two children, made the usual tour of the parish looking for as many bird species as could be identified; both by sight and call.
It has been very noticeable that there have been very few Swallows this year. They migrate to Britain over the Sahara from South Africa and travel in daylight up to 200 miles a day.
Being such a small bird they are sensitive to changes and can be affected badly by storms, very dry or very wet conditions and food availability. Their reduced numbers have been been noted throughout Europe.
On the other hand, there were a good number of Wrens calling all around the parish. It’s likely that the relatively mild winter has aided their survival rate.

A total of 42 species were identified (in the order they were seen or heard)….

  • House Sparrow
  • Robin
  • Wood Pigeon
  • Red Kite
  • Starling
  • Lapwing
  • Blackbird
  • House Martin
  • Rook
  • Dunnock
  • Blue Tit
  • Swift
  • Magpie
  • Chaffinch
  • Chiff Chaff
  • Yellow Hammer
  • Wren
  • Crow
  • Buzzard
  • Pheasant
  • Long-tailed Tit
  • Tree Sparrow
  • Jackdaw
  • Greater Spotted Woodpecker
  • Swallow
  • Skylark
  • Lesser Whitethroat
  • Pied Wagtail
  • Mallard
  • Moorhen
  • Curlew
  • Green Woodpecker
  • Goldcrest
  • Goldfinch
  • Black-headed Gull
  • Song Thrush
  • Reed Bunting
  • Jay
  • Great Tit
  • Blackcap
  • Greenfinch
  • Coal Tit

The next (Winter) bird survey will take place in early 2020, the date of which will be arranged this Autumn. Keep an eye on Forthcoming Events above and in the next Newsletter.

Strange Fruit

Rose briars are bearing strange fruit this time of year. It would seem that the lazy owner of the dog that resulted it this ought to be on his, or her, lead. It’s a shame that all dog owners can’t be responsible people. As with football hooligans; it’s the actions of a minority that gives the rest a bad name.

Ox Close is a nature reserve. Our activities and aims are for the enhancement of nature and the enjoyment of the public. Please respect our wishes…. dogs must be ona lead and clean up any mess.


Seed sowing

December 2nd: Children from the local communities learned how to sow wild flower seeds, some for their own gardens and some for the Methodist church wild flower garden project . The children collected seed heads from a variety of wild flowers and examined the differences between the seeds. Using our tried and tested method, which has been acquired by previous experience using seeds from plants within our Nature Reserves in East Keswick, they carefully sowed seeds from a selection of plants.

Corporate volunteer day

One of our members works for Network Rail and, on 26th October, he organised a “Corporate Event” in Ox Close with his colleagues. The day was a great success. The day started by filling and lighting one of the charcoal kilns and other activitied included moving logs and using the stock trailer to round up the cows from the Marsh to transfer them to the wood. The burn produced a respectable 41 bags of charcoal.

The kiln is nearly ready for lighting

The Dexters are moved to Ox Close for a few weeks.

The built up environments of East Keswick benefit birds

On the 18th February we held our annual winter bird survey and recorded 53 species of birds. No Curlew or Lapwings were seen this year but new for the winter bird survey were Little Owl, Mute Swan and Blackcap. The Blackcap is usually regarded as a summer visitor but, with recent warmer winters, our local birds are able to remain in the area along with others that have migrated southwards from the north.

The RSPB’s State of Nature Report, 2016, states 56% of UK species are in decline. We have found that the built-up areas of our villages their gardens, hedgerows, trees and flowers provide valuable habitats for these declining species. In fact, our ten years of annual bird recording have shown that we have a good variety of bird species in the village. This is in contrast to the surrounding area’s intensively farmed land. Whilst some landowners are sympathetic, modern farming practices provide little in the way of suitable habitat, food or shelter.

2017/18 Winter Bird Survey

Our Summer Bird Survey is on 17th June. Please join us. Check out the Upcoming Events box above.