Monday, June 10, 2013

Big Accipters and rare Orchids,North York's....08.06.2013.

A good forecast saw Chris and myself heading out bright and early for North Yorkshire today in the search of large birds of prey and rare orchids.After a fairly uneventful drive,apart from having to brake for a female Roe Deer in the middle of the road at Watton we eventually arrived at the first site we were visiting today,the stunning Troutsdale valley.We were a tad early in the day to see any Honey Buzzards really,but we were hopefull.After getting our kit together to the chorus of Wood Pigeons in the nearby Wykeham forest,we made our way to our vantage point after an unsuccessful look for Dippers on the nearby River Derwent.Before long we were watching our first Goshawk,a male,which gave away his presence by scattering Wood pigs in all directions as he flew through his forest home,a nice start.This same male was seen again 3 more times,giving some great views.One other Gos was seen,a distant female at the other end of the valley,which was watched getting some unwanted attention from a Carrion Crow,but she looked well capable of turning the tables on the Crow.Other raptors seen included a single Common Buzzard and a hunting male Kestrel.A second look for Dippers on the river,again drew a blank,but a nice Grey Wagtail was watched feeding along the bankside.This bird was really dull and looked like a fairly newly fledged juv,but could have just been a poorly marked female.After our search for raptors we made our way back to the car and travelled the fairly short distance over to site number 2 for the day.After being given some privileged information from our friend Allan,our main target was eventually found alongside its commoner Early-purple Orchid congeners...the stunning Burnt-tip Orchid.We spent some time here photographing this beautiful flower,one of which i had wanted to see for some time.Also here was a single Dingy Skipper,our first of the year.After getting our fill of photos of this stunning Orchid,it was off to Orchid site number two for the day.A bit of a walk was involved to this site,but it was well worth it,with at least 100 Fly Orchids on show.We had visited slightly later last year,but it was still an impressive sight.Other flora here included at least 50 Common Twayblade,Common Rockrose,Wild Thyme and the stunning Quaking grass.Lepidoptera were well represented by decent numbers of Small Heath and bird wise a couple of Common Buzzard mewed overhead and several Siskin were seen also.As we retraced  our footsteps a couple more Dingy Skipper were seen alongside a disused quarry.The final site for the day was the excellent Pexton ponds and at last my first odonata of the year.Rough estimated numbers included at least 400 Azure and 50 Large-red Damselfly and 10 Four-spot Chaser.Incredibly these are my first records for the year,it just goes to show how dire the spring weather has been for insects.Also on the insect front,i managed to find a 'New' hoverfly for myself in the form of a female Anasimyia contracta which was watched nectaring on hawthorn blossom,a stunning little fly.Also here,was a lovely showing of more wildflowers and these included our fifth species of Orchid for the day in the form of several examples of Narrow-leaved Marsh Orchid,another new species for us both and a profusion of the carnivorous Common Butterwort were seen also.After our visit to this fantastic site we wandered slowly back to the car,seeing a couple more goodies on the way which included another Grey Wag and a stunning male Broad-bodied Chaser which was watched flying around a small farmyard pond,a nice bonus.So what a fantastic day in this beautiful part of the country and another successful visit to this part of the country under the belt.
Burnt-tip Orchid.

Dingy Skipper.

Fly Orchid.

Common Twayblade.

Quaking Grass.

Chrysolina polita.

Anasimyia contracta.

Common Butterwort.

Narrow-leaved Marsh Orchid.

Male Large-red Damselfy.

Male Broad-bodied Chaser.


  1. Sounds like a great day out Steve and some nice pics too.

  2. Thanks was brilliant :)