13th week of Lockdown

From Michele and Phillip. A group of Dryads Saddle fungi, Polyporus squamous, located on a dead tree stump on a footpath close near where I live. Five in total, this is the largest. Phil’s hand is in the picture to give you some idea of the size. We were only out walking the dog when Phil spotted them. 

From Doug. Hello Everyone. Last Saturday Kent, Jill and I went to Gypsy Marsh to admire the Orchids (over a 100 spikes!). Well worth a visit. While there we also saw Painted Lady, Ringlet, Common Blue and a longhorn beetle Strangala maculata.

In the evening I met Annefie and Peter to count glowworms at Thurgoland, fifteen in total; all done with social distancing! While writing this I have just spotted a Siskin on the feeders in the backyard. Stay well and safe. Cheers, Doug and Jill

From Howard. A neighbour once said ‘your garden is like Jurassic park’. I took it as a compliment. Here is my jungle. No dinosaurs seen yet but plenty of other life.

From Rick – a question. I was taking a break from the heavy schedule and noticed this. Maybe someone can identify this caterpillar (moth?) on my next door neighbour’s garage. 12mm long, with red dots and whitish tufts. June 23rd 4pm bright sunshine.

In a garden pond and garden

From Andy. Hope you all are keeping safe and well. I wanted to let you know about my ‘little garden pond’ that is just coming to life. It is a small sandbox that used to belong to my grandson in which I have created the pond.

Observations over last month: I have seen a damsel fly nymph resting on the bottom. This was confirmed by Pam at the British Dragonfly Society as a Large Red Damselfly larva, although she stated that they don’t start to colour up till they emerge from larval case. It scores a 10 in Pond Health so I must be doing something right.

You can see the three caudal gills at the rear of the abdomen. Also there are midge larvae, water lice, and pond snails. And other things in there which I will keep you posted on.

On the bird nesting front the usual Blue Tits have fledged last month,a wren has built a nest but not moved in. A Robin keeps stalking me when gardening to get worms for young. Two Wood Pigeons’ nests, one at front and one at back. Blackbirds’ nests two, sadly one of females was killed by a magpie nesting at the back of our house.

One morning in May, Anne and I witnessed and filmed the Magpie kill and devour the female on our front lawn. The photo was all that was left of it. Although my grandson would say “It’s only nature”. Keep safe and well, Thanks Andy

Great Yorkshire Creature Count

The Great Yorkshire Creature Count: 24 hours in search of the wildlife on our doorsteps took place on Saturday 20th and Sunday 21st June.

Yorkshire Wildlife Trust is on a mission to count all the plants and animals that are hiding in our gardens, yards and window boxes in just 24 hours – and they need our help! https://www.ywt.org.uk/great-yorkshire-creature-count

A number of Barnsley naturalists took up this worthwhile challenge.

River Don fishpass

Trevor has alerted us to the good news this last week for the river Don with the completion of the Masbrough Weir fish pass at Forge Island in Rotherham.

With Sheffield City Council also finishing the fish pass on Sanderson’s weir, this opens the entire migratory route from the North Sea to spawning grounds in and upstream of Sheffield.

Perhaps soon there will be a sustainable salmon population in the River Don after an absence of around 200 years. An adult salmon was found in the river Don in Sheffield last year so they are on their way.

Rearing Orange Tip butterflies

– quite a challenge!

Rearing Orange Tip butterflies. This week, I have started rearing four Orange Tip caterpillars, found on the seed pods of the Garlic Mustard plants in my garden.

The caterpillars are now indoors, in the gauze cage that I had used originally to rear my Painted Ladies a few years ago. They are still on the same plants (in a small vase) and they are munching away, day and night, at the long seed pods and are hopefully free from parasitic flies, birds etc.

Currently about 12mm long, they will develop (hopefully) to about 3.5cm.

Difficult to see and photograph because of their very small size (short and thin). They are well camouflaged, mimicking the seed pods along which they are resting.

You might notice the presence of small clear beads of liquid topping the black hairs on each caterpillar’s back. No one really knows their purpose, perhaps a guard against predators?

The caterpillars will eventually pupate at the 5th (and final) Instar into a Gondola boat-shaped Chrysalis, fastened to a stem with a silken girdle around its waist and a silk pad at its tail end.

Then it’s a long wait until next Spring when they will metamorphose into beautiful adult (Imago) butterflies.

These caterpillars are cannibalistic and the female Orange Tip usually only lays one egg per plant.

I’m hoping to photo-document their progress if I can, that is if they don’t eat each other! Lots of fun! Alwyn.

Barnsley Butterfly Atlas

A request for help with the Barnsley Butterfly Atlas … 

Following a suggestion from Alwyn, a trustee of the Barnsley Biodiversity Trust, the Barnsley Butterfly Atlas project was launched in May 2017 by Sorby Natural History Society and Barnsley Biological Record Centre, with support from the Dearne Valley Landscape Partnership. The project aims to map the distribution of all the butterfly species found across the area of the borough of Barnsley in the 20 year period from 2000 to 2020. [Perhaps with the lockdown we need an extra year?]

So now we are asked to contribute our records of butterfly sightings … from our usual patch or perhaps somewhere different that has not been recorded so much before.

How far have we got: There are distribution maps from data held by BBRC at 07 January 2020 on this Sorby NHS webpage; they show where more recording is needed. http://www.sorby.org.uk/groups/sorby-invertebrate-group/barnsley-butterfly-atlas/

For further information from the start of the project:  https://discoverdearne.org.uk/barnsley-butterfly-atlas/
For information about local butterflies: http://www.barnsleybiodiversity.org.uk/butterflies.html
For tips on identifying butterflies: http://butterfly-conservation.org/50/identify-a-butterfly.html

To get the ball rolling, here are some butterfly records from Peter and Annefie’s walk on Saturday …
Date: Saturday 2 May 2020
Location: Falthwaite & Lowe Wood LWS
Comment: On Wild Garlic and other flowering plants near Stainborough Dike
Grid Reference: 4-figure /1km square: SE3103 [Six-figure reference: from SE318039 to SE314039]
Observer: Peter and Annefie Roberts
Species: Brimstone (2), Comma (1), Holly Blue (1), Orange-tip (Males & Females, numerous), Small White (numerous), Speckled wood (1).

We will send them to Barnsley Biological Record Centre (BBRC): barnsleybrc@btinternet.com.
[Note the change of email address during the lockdown]

Social media …

Barnsley Nats posts on both twitter [and more occasionally facebook]. You can see what we post, ‘retweet’ and ‘like’ on our social media page.

A twitter post tagged @Barnsley_Nats with an image to identify recently had us thinking. Kent and Doug agreed it was a type of ichneumon wasp. However these are notoriously difficult to id at species level without using a microscope …

Photo competition

Later this year, the exhibition ‘International Garden Photographer of the Year’, is due at Cannon Hall. Hopefully all open by late August when it arrives here!

The photo competition ‘Beautiful Barnsley’ is a good opportunity to celebrate the landscapes, green spaces and biodiversity of Barnsley, from the moors to the Dearne valley. The competition is now closed so we will now wait to see the results.

Back From Our Summer Break

Wednesday 2nd October
We are looking forward to seeing you all at the first indoor meeting of our Autumn and Winter Programme. As usual, we start with a members evening sharing knowledge and observations. This of a less formal structure than the meetings with guest speakers. Very much a catch up and news of what everyone has spotted over the break; multi-topic and hopefully with some interesting finds, images and stories. Please take part: it’s always really interesting to hear from a variety of people.

Our printed Autumn and Winter Programme will also be available. 

Saturday 23rd February

There are two activities that we have the option of attending on this date. South Yorkshire Natural History Day or Your Woods Your Future

South Yorkshire Natural History Day.
This event is taking place at the Treeton Miners Welfare, Arundel Street, Treeton, S60 5PW; OS grid Ref SK430876. The meeting will start at 10:00 am and finish at approximately 15:20 pm. Off street parking is available for visitors travelling by car. Buses run from, both, Sheffield and Rotherham; please check www.travelsouthyorkshire.com for up to date information.
There are planned intervals throughout the day; with refreshments available from the bar; prices reasonable.

There will be a number of talks, presentations and displays on many natural history topics of South Yorkshire. Ornothology, Sundew Plume Moth, crayfish and flies are among the topics being covered; full details on the Sorby website.

Booking a place at this event is free and can be done via email to Peter Clegg publicity@sorby.org.uk. Further / changed information can be obtained from the Sorby website

Your Woods Your Future
This event will take place in The Ironworks building in the Elsecar Heritage Centre, Wath Road, Elsecar, S74 8HJ, OS Grid Ref SK384999. This meeting will start at 10:00 am and finish at 16:00 pm approximately. There is a large car park at the Heritage Centre to which is on Wentworth Road (SK384998). From there it is a short walk into the Heritage Centre grounds; which consist of a number of building with good signposting enabling you to get to the correct one. Elsecar Train Station is a short walk away; with trains from both Barnsley and Sheffield. Please check times and be aware that some trains do not stop at Elsecar. Buses run from Barnsley; please check on times and services; www.travelsouthyorkshire.com. Tea and Coffee are mentioned on the itinerary, but no there is no mention of cost. There is a cafe in the Heritage Centre and a pub on the edge of the car park.

This presentation is organised by the Dearne Valley Landscape Partnership (DVLP). Some of the topics being covered are woodland archaeology, biological recording and Willow Tits; all of the topics are related to the woodland environment.

To book to attend this event please go to www.eventbrite.com/e/your-woods-your-future where there is a link to the Register page