A short walk through Ox Close Wood last Sunday proved very fruitful.
A number of fungi are still showing including the common Orange Peel fungus that grows on the soil of unploughed fields and (pictured) the Yellow Brain fungus. This is a parasitic fungus that gets its nutrients from other fungi that feed on dead wood.
Mandarin Ducks are frequently seen on the river. There are eight here.
One of our members, Jinny Casey, enjoys painting and offers some of her, and other, work for sale here. They are all original works of art of animals, plants and landscapes and are framed. Each piece is priced at £20.00 and all donations will go to the Trust.
Jinny advises that she could deliver locally and suggests that the donation be put in an envelope for her collection during delivery.
After not being seen in the area for six or seven years, we thought that the Wall butterfly had become extinct locally. Their numbers throughout the UK have declined rapidly over several recent decades and they now have a High Conservation Priority. Their decline is likely being caused by climate change…. it is thought that warmer summers are causing them to start an additional brood which is laid too late for their under-developed larvae to survive autumn and winter.
So how lovely it was to see their return with quite a few adult butterflies being seen in and around Ox Close Wood and on the way up to Woodhall.
Another new butterfly for the parish this year has been the Dark Green Fritillary. It has been expanding through Yorkshire and had been seen ovipositing in Ox Close. Unfortunately we don’t yet have a good photo of this butterfly. But if you have….!
A short walk today into the wood and along the river found Goosanders, Grey Wagtails and a Jay. The Yellow Star of Bethlehem has been innundated during the recent floods but the patch of plants is growing well with quite a few flower buds showing. Other flora and fauna seen were….
The Brown Argus Aricia agestis is another new butterfly that Trust members have found in Ox Close Wood and in fields in East Keswick. This is great news – showing that the management of our reserves is being rewarded with these successes (see also Silver-washed Fritillary below). The caterpillars’ foodplant is usually Common Rock Rose but more recently they have started to use various geraniums including Meadow Cranesbill of which there is plenty in the parish.
Dead men’s fingers seen in Collingham. We may think of fungi as an autumn phenomenon but they are present all year round… we often see St. George’s mushroom on the bluebell walk in Ox Close. Here are two often overlooked summer fungi. On the left is Dead Man’s Fingers Xylaria polymorpha which grows on dead wood and causes spalting;- the decorative black lines found in some wood. On the right is the Fluted Bird’s Nest Cyathus striatus which tends to grow on soil with wood chip. The “eggs” at the bottom of the nest are spore packets. The cups have evolved so that raindrops shoot the spore packets up to a metre away. They trail a sticky filament that catches on vegetation, ready for ingestion by herbivores and dispersal to new sites. Neither is very showy, but they are interesting!
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.
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.