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.

Shared observations II

Several people have sent in contributions at the end of week two of the ‘lock-down.

From Doug:  Whilst wending my way to recover my moth traps from the allotments near our house, I heard a Greater Spotted Woodpecker drumming, which started a train of thought about other woodpeckers that have been seen in Silkstone Common. 

I have not heard a Green Woodpecker’s yaffling call for a while and wondered if any others have seen or heard one in their area. All this underlines the importance of recording not just rare species but more common ones that may decline.

This weeks insect sightings have been low due to the colder weather and I have recorded the following moths: Small Quaker, Common Quaker, Clouded Drab and Hebrew Character. Highlight of the week my first record of a Red Mining Bee for 2020. Stay safe and well, Doug

From Gill’s garden in Dodworth: Here the Chiffchaff has been silent today and I feel that it is the herald for Summer for me. It is calling from Ratten Row, Dodworth and all the scrubby and so far undeveloped land (thank goodness) on Strafford Walk. It was a bit closer on Saturday but I still claimed it for my weekly BTO listing this last week – the first quarter!

From my greenhouse this afternoon a Song Thrush popped up from the scrub and then went into the thicket/ back hedge and that is another favourite bird of mine. Is it nesting?‑ I shall be watching!

We too have had up to a dozen or more Blue Tits this winter and now there is a threesome and bound to be some disappointment there. Also we often get pheasants and on Saturday the shorter-tailed cock pheasant had two ladies in tow and another that hadn’t had its tail damaged was a Johnny no mate! 

Stuart’s account of Lock-Down in Penistone: We have also got into a bit of routine this past week which includes morning coffee in the garden summer house. Now, this is nothing very grand and is smack bang in the centre of Penistone, but we do have bird feeders which I top up while my wife makes the tea and coffee. We have a good head of House Sparrows which are always entertaining as well as visits from Coal Tits, Blue Tits, Dunnock, Robin and Blackbird. What you might call the staple urban species.

We also have a good many Jackdaws (we had eight all at the same time today) one of which is “pied” with a mix of black and pure white feathers. We also get a regular pair of Wood Pigeons which after clearing out the seed tray soon start kissing and canoodling which today got even more serious and x-rated; they certainly know it is Spring! As well as the garden entertainment we also get the “fly-pasts” with regular Canada Geese and even a pair of Buzzards that maybe are using the thermals of Tesco`s roof to their advantage.

After our morning coffee we go out for our “one-exercise-a-day-walk” this takes us up past the Penistone Show Ground fields and for a nice circular walk. When the weather has been warm we have had good sightings of butterflies (Peacock and Tortoiseshell) as well bumblebees. The birds have also been interesting with Curlew, Lapwings and Skylark all within 15 to 20 minutes walk of the Tesco store in Penistone town centre. I am sure there will even more to see in the coming weeks (months!). Stuart

More on bees another time. And let’s have your observations of butterflies and moths (Jill spotted a Brimstone on 22 March), frog and toad spawn (Monica reported 7 frogs with spawn on 31 March), hedgehogs appearing, and birds nesting. Or anything else of note!

Sharing observations

Peacock in garden

Barnsley Nats brings together people who share an interest in natural history and the wildlife of the Barnsley area. We have a programme of meetings and field visits throughout the year. However these are suspended due to the Corvid-19 restrictions.

Especially at this time,we are sharing observations and other information here on this website. To contribute: email barnsleynats@gmail.com or post a comment here -with an image if you have one. Look below for some sightings and observations shared …

Shared observations I

“Sitting in my summer house in the garden, I’m overjoyed to see butterflies fluttering about. I’ve seen a tortoise shell and a peacock. I’m watching a pair of great tits sussing out a nesting box on my neighbour’s silver birch. A big bee has been bumbling around too.  I’m so lucky to have my own little out door haven.  I had a new pond put in last year and have high hopes for lots of fun observing that too.” Judy.

“We saw a Red Admiral in the Dearne valley in February, plus a Comma on Monday and a Peacock on Tuesday this week.  Also had a micromoth (Garden Cosmet) in our bathroom over the weekend and a Nursery-Web Spider in back garden today.  Flowers include Lesser Celandine, Wood Anemone and Primrose.  Yes Spring has finally arrived!  We plan to take our daily quota of exercise around Monk Bretton, Burton Bank or the Dearne Valley whilst this good weather remains, and hope for further sightings in the days ahead.” Arthur + Pat. 

“The wildlife has been smashing in the lovely weather. Like you noticing all sorts of mating and nesting birds, a few peacock butterflies and so far seven species of bee in the garden.  Wow!  We heard the dawn chorus at around 5am today… just happened to wake up and it was fabulous.  So clear without the usual traffic hum in the background.  And then we went (much) later for our exercise walk down the Dearne. Really quiet again, just the birds, the bees and the odd tortoiseshell butterfly; and including two sightings of kingfisher.  Magic!  Mark and Catherine

“I too have been noticing a lot more in my garden and tweeting some of it. It’s really nice to be able to take in some distracting positive messages. I have long tailed tits nesting in my back garden. First time or just the first time I’ve noticed?” Pete

“With living in the town centre I always thought I missed out, a little, on nature. But now I know this is not true: I get to hear the dawn chorus every morning on my way into work.

Here are my sightings over the last week: 1 comma butterfly on a dandelion on my way home from work. While sat in the back garden (which is matchbox size); two peacock butterflies and a white tailed bumble bee. One heron in flight, heading from Morrisons towards the hospital. This I have spotted on two occasions.

Phil spotted a wren on the garden wall; its a long long time since I’ve had wrens in the garden. Out and about on short walks with the dog. Herb Robert, this grows readily where pavements join walls and this is in flower even some seed heads. Harts tongue ferns growing in the crevices of the old Holgate school wall. There is no sign of the trees on Shaw Lane showing new growth after the cut back.

Then there are the daily sighting of pigeons, magpies, crows, hedge sparrows, blue tits.” Michele and Phil

Doug’s message

Doug Brown, Barnsley Nats President, has sent this message to everyone:

This is the end of the first week of the lock-down, but I can still record the local bird and wildlife.

Last week when life was fairly free, I noticed fair numbers of Long Tailed Tits and Wrens on the TPT at Thurgoland pairing up. I think that the mild winter has boosted numbers of both at home; speaking of which we have had up to six Blue Tits, two Great Tit, two Nuthatch and up to thirty Goldfinch on the feeders at home. On the down side we have not had any Siskin or Redpoll and only the odd Greenfinch this winter.

The warmer weather this last week has encouraged butterflies to emerge out, such as Comma, Brimstone, Peacock and Small Tortoiseshell in Silkstone Common.

Sunshine brought out the ‘aging moth trapper’ on a few nights this last week which resulted in the following species being recorded, Small Quaker, Common Quaker Hebrew Character and Early Moth.

Please take care, best wishes, Doug.

PS. If you would like to get in touch, we are looking forward to hearing about the wildlife you have seen and what you have observed.

Trees in Winter

Saturday 14th March
On this field visit we will be led by Doug Brown; looking at the trees in Cawthorne Park.
With the recent restoration work in the park it is expected to still be muddy in places. Please dress for the weather
The meeting point will be the main car park at Cannon Hall; SE272079, post code S754AT. Meeting for our usual 10am start. This is a pay and display car park, £1 for two hours and £3 for all day. For anybody travelling by bus you need the 94 route from Barnsley. This is a limited service on Saturdays. Please check time with the service operators; it is a approximately one hour travel time and then a walk to the meeting point.

Rockley

On Saturday 8th February, we have a field visit to Rockley. Our leader for this will be Geoff Jackson. There is usually plenty to see on our, now annual, visit to Rockley. As the weather is some mild just now we could be in for some early sightings.
We will be meeting at 10:00 am at the car parking area for Rockley Furnace on Rockley Lane which is opposite to the entrance to Rockley Abbey Farm S75 3DS (Grid Ref. SE337020). Please take care not to block any of the residents access when parking. If needs be please park under the MI flyover and walk back down to the meeting point

The area is usually quite muddy; please dress for the weather; boots, hats, gloves etc…

Hedgerows in the Landscape

On Wednesday 5 February, we have a presentation on ‘Hedgerows in the Landscape’ by Catherine Artindale. It covers their history and importance in the landscape as well as their natural history. 
Catherine led two very popular and informative field visits last year – to hedgerows in the Stairfoot and Hoyland areas. Where we tested out the Hooper hypothesis on dating a hedgerow.
It will be interesting to hear more, from Catherine, about this topic.

Room 11, Barnsley Town Hall, 7 pm, Wednesday 5 February Experience Barnsley Entrance. The security staff will advise you on the room number; if we have had to move for any reason.

Members Presentation Evening

Wednesday January 22nd.
With the diversity of our members personal topics being so vast, this is a highly interesting evening. Filled with short talks, photo and video clips, as well as hands -on samples for us to observe. Fell free to add to the evening or just come and see what others have brought along.

Our members presentation evening was, as usual, action packed with a wide range of topics. Both hands-on and projected images.
May I offer a very big thank you to everybody for their presentations.

Barnsley Canal and Wilthorpe Marsh

Our field visit on the morning of 11 January is a circular walk along Barnsley Canal and Wilthorpe Marsh.

We are meeting at 10am in the car park down Smithies Lane opposite The Fleets (a former pub now a Barnsley College sports centre).
Grid Reference: SE346078. Postcode S71 1NL.
If the car park is full, there are local side streets. Bus number 12 runs regularly down Smithies Lane: the 09.37 and 09.52 buses from Barnsley Interchange get there for 10am.

Looking forward to seeing everyone

2020

May we take this opportunity to wishing everybody a Happy New Year.
You are more than welcome to come along and join us for any of our meeting or field visits.

We kick start 2020 with an indoor meeting on January 8th.
This will be a presentation by Alwyn Timms; entitled The Discreet World of Barnsley’s Small Blue Butterfly

We also have a field visit on January 11th. Details to be confirmed.
And on January 22nd our indoor meeting is a members short presentations. This is very much a nature wide array of topics.

Our updated 2020 Spring Summer Programme will be available for viewing shortly.